Oregon remained in the nation's top 25 after a split of games last weekend, but the troubling rankings for the Ducks could be what the computers think of the Pac-12 co-leaders.
In those evaluations, Oregon doesn't fare so well, and ratings done by computers are used by the NCAA committee that selects and makes the pairings for the NCAA Tournament.
In the balloting of the media for The Associated Press, Oregon was at No. 24 in the poll released Monday. That makes it seven consecutive weeks for the Ducks to be listed among the nation's top 25 by the media, though Oregon wasn't in the USA Today top 25 this week, where the voting is done by the coaches. In that poll, Oregon was second among "others receiving votes" with 37 points. Virginia Commonwealth was 25th with 52 points.
Oregon isn't as highly thought of by the computers. In the NCAA's version of the Ratings Percentage Index evaluation of teams, Oregon is 49th through the weekend games, which puts the Ducks fifth among Pac-12 teams.
The NCAA RPI lists Arizona at No. 11, Colorado at 29th with UCLA 42nd and California 45th, all in front of the Ducks.
The Sagarin Ratings use a similar computer system, and have Oregon at No. 45. That listing puts the Ducks third among Pac-12 teams, with Arizona 17th and UCLA again at No. 42. Colorado is 47th and California 50th.
In a typical year, teams in the top 50 of the computer rankings are almost assured of berths in the NCAA Tournament. The problem for Oregon would be if the Ducks fell out of that grouping, still a possibility if the Ducks stumble in these final two weeks of the season.
While the game at Colorado on March 7 is only likely to help the Ducks with computers, Oregon's other two remaining foes will probably hurt the Ducks with the computers, with Oregon State at No. 183 in the NCAA RPI and Utah at No. 177 in that computer listing. The Ducks play host to OSU on Thursday and then complete the regular season at Utah on March 9.
One factor that would definitely help the Ducks with the NCAA's selection committee would be the return of freshman point guard Dominic Artis. He has missed the past nine games with a stress fracture in his left foot, and the Ducks have gone 5-4 in those games after being 17-2 prior to his injury, with Artis starting those first 19 games of the season.
The committee has in the past made it known that it considers the impact of injuries, though how much will also depend on how well Artis plays when he returns, and if Oregon is playing better with him back in the lineup.
It's anticipated that if the doctors give Artis clearance, he might play in a limited role Thursday.
Oregon enters the penultimate week of the regular season tied with Arizona for first place in the Pac-12 at 11-4, with UCLA at 10-4 and California at 10-5.
The regular season standings are primarily used for seeding the Pac-12 tournament.
The Pac-12's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament goes to the winner of the conference tournament, to be held in Las Vegas from March 13 through 16. Washington won the Pac-12 regular season title last year with a 14-4 record, but was beaten in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament and ended up in the National Invitation Tournament after being snubbed by the NCAA.