Many NCAA Tournament bracket fans hesitated this week when filling Oregon's name into the second round.
That's because the team's leading shot-blocker and versatile scorer Chris Boucher was ruled out for the season with a torn ACL suffered during the Pac-12 Tournament.
Boucher is a fantastic player on both ends of the court, but the No. 3-seeded Ducks persevered Friday to beat the dangerous No. 14-seeded Iona Gaels 93-77 in the first round. It begs the question, can Oregon really thrive without Boucher?
Though Oregon isn't the deepest team in the nation in terms of squad rotation, the Ducks have seven or eight players that can reach double-figure scoring. Dillon Brooks is still the motor that runs this offensive unit. His ability to hit from outside and drive to the rim keeps defenses on their back heels all game long.
Brooks scored 18 points with four rebounds and four assists against Iona.
Point guard Tyler Dorsey led the Ducks with a game-high 24 points. Blessed with quickness off the dribble and a reliable jump shot, Dorsey is an able second scoring option who can take over games in his own right. Consistency is his biggest issue, but he has been more aggressive in recent games.
Whenever a key player goes down, another, or maybe two players, need to step up. For the Ducks, it could be guards Payton Pritchard, who scored 16 points Friday, and Casey Benson.
Both Benson and Pritchard featured more of a facilitating role throughout the season. They are both able scorers, though, with Pritchard especially proving his scoring prowess during an illustrious high school career.
Then there is the post, where Jordan Bell and Kavell Bigby-Williams now rule the roost. Bell, an underrated presence on both ends of the court, is a 6-9 power forward who scored 17 points with 10 rebounds against Iona.
Bigby-Williams is a similar player to Boucher. They are both long, rangy forwards who can step out and hit shots. They were both terrific junior college players before transferring to Oregon, and they both have a penchant for making plays on the defensive end.
If Bigby-Williams can give Oregon even half of Boucher's average production (11.8 points, 6.1 rebounds per game), the Ducks will be just fine.
A Final Four run is still in the cards for Oregon, especially in the wide-open Midwest Region.