LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- A month ago Thursday, Oregon beat Arizona State at home to snap a three-game losing streak.
Prior to that game, the Ducks were sitting in 10th place in the Pac-12 standings, and at 15-12 overall on the season. But the Ducks haven't lost a game since, and on Thursday night, they'll face Virginia in the semifinals of the South Region of the NCAA Tournament.
“We’re really confident. We can’t wait to play Oregon," said UVA guard De'Andre Hunter. "It’s going to be a tough competition, a tough battle, but I feel like we’re ready."
“I have great respect for Oregon, and for Coach Altman. Dana’s done a terrific job. What he’s done with his team, to kind of change some things and then win 10 games," said UVA coach Tony Bennett. "All you’ve got to do is watch them and see what they’ve done in the last number of games, to appreciate and respect their caliber of play.”
The Ducks' 10-game winning streak is tied with Auburn for the longest among the 16 teams who advanced to the second week of the NCAA Tournament. Oregon has outscored its opponents by 17.9 points per game during that stretch, which includes four wins in the Pac-12 Tournament, and last weekend's victories over Wisconsin (72-54) then UC-Irvine (73-54) in the first two rounds of the South Region.
With those two wins, Oregon became the first school to ever reach the NCAA Sweet 16 twice as a No. 12 seed. On Thursday, No. 1 seed UVA will stand between the Ducks and the program's third regional final appearance in four years.
“When you’re in the NCAA Tournament, anything can happen. It’s the reason why they call it March Madness," said Oregon senior forward Paul White. "So the seeding doesn’t mean much, it’s just how well a team is playing, and how well we can keep it up.”
“We’re just playing the game of basketball," said Oregon freshman guard Louis King. "It’s a game of runs. People doubted us at first. We took that to heart and we came back stronger. We know why we’re here, and we’re trying to get the job done.”
“This has definitely been a special ride, and we’ve all enjoyed this. But we don’t want this to stop yet," said Oregon junior guard Payton Pritchard. "This is exactly where we want to be, playing the No. 1 seed. It doesn’t get much better than this.”
Listed at 6-2, Pritchard -- the most outstanding player of the Pac-12 Tournament, who has averaged 16.3 points with 54 assists and 25 steals during the Ducks's 10-game winning streak -- is the only Oregon starter shorter than 6-9. King is leading Oregon in both scoring (13.4 ppg) and rebounding (5.6 rpg), while shooting 37.9 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
UVA is in the Sweet 16 for the 10th time in program history. Oregon will be the lowest seed Virginia has faced in a regional semifinal, but the Wahoos are just 3-3 all-time against No. 12 seeds.
On Wednesday, the Wahoos echoed Oregon's feelings on how little seeds mean at this point in the tournament.
"They have one through five, guys that can score. They’re really athletic, and they make shots," Hunter said. "And they pride themselves on defense.”
“Their length is definitely the biggest thing that jumps out. They have a bunch of different shot-makers, a good point guard. A real athletic big man that blocks a ton of shots, catches alley-oops," said UVA guard Ty Jerome. "They're a good team, athletic team, and they'll be a good challenge for us."