Ducks can reach the Sweet-16 with a win over St. Joe's on Sunday.

SPOKANE, WASH. -- One of the more pleasant surprises this season has been the play of 6-10 center Chris Boucher. The former junior college player came to Oregon with a reputation of being a great shot blocker, but what fans came to discover is that Boucher has a great 3-point shot and displays a lot of leadership for the teams.

Boucher has averaged 12.3 points per game, 7.5 rpg and 3.0  shot blocks a contest. So far this season he has a total of 106 blocked shots (a school record) and additionally he has hit 37 successful 3-point shots. He started the season off a bit shaky from the free throw line, but has made tremendous strides and is now just under a .700 free throw shooter at .693 percent.

His leadership has shown up in games where he has always been contributing, whether it is scoring, rebounding or making timely blocked shots and protecting Oregon's goal.

He has quickly become one of the fan favorites but when talking to him, one gets the very strong impression that Boucher is all about his team and working together with his mates for success at Oregon.

This Sunday at about 6:40 p.m. the Ducks will have the opportunity to face St. Joseph's for a chance to advance to Sweet-16. While Oregon had a relatively easy time with Holy Cross by way of a 91-52 win on Friday night, St. Joe's had a real test and looked as though they would be headed back to Philadelphia, but an official review of the last play of the game against Cincinnati ruled that the last slam dunk did not count as the ball had not left the player's hand and St. Joe's won the game to advance to meet the Ducks.

Looking at the history of St. Joseph's one sees a lot of connections to the University of Oregon and the state of Oregon. Former women's head coach Paul Westhead is a St. Joe's grad. Joe Lunardi, the guy fans read to see who's in or out of March madness is a former Hawk; and two coaches who were associated with one of the greatest basketball teams to ever take the floor, we St. Joseph grads. Jack McKinney and the legendary Hall of Fame Coach, the late Dr. Jack Ramsey coached the1976-77 National Basketball World Champions, the Portland Trailblazers.

Could this current group of Ducks rekindle the spirit of the '76-77 Blazers and win the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship? The Ducks will have another opportunity to accomplish that task on Sunday with tip off scheduled for about 6:40 p.m (Pacific). in a game that will be carried on TBS.


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