There was a time, and not long ago, where everyone expected Oregon State to stink. And by that, we mean at the start of the season — as the Beavers were picked to finish 12th in the Pac-12.
Now, they are headed to the Elite Eight.
The Beavers were the first team to win in the Sweet Sixteen, holding off fellow sleeper Loyola-Chicago by a 65-58 count Saturday. Senior swingman Ethan Thompson led the way with 22 points.
Along with being projected to finish last in the Pac-12, Oregon State entered the NCAA Tournament as a 12 seed. Interestingly, the Beavers are doing all this after having lost perhaps their best player last season to graduation. That would be Tres Tinkle, the son of coach Wayne Tinkle.
Now, they are getting it done as a team in the truest sense. The ball moves. The rebounds are chased. The defense bends its knees and shuffles its feet. All of it has led to the Beavers playing their best basketball when it means the most.
Including the Pac-12 tourney, the Beavers (20-12) have won six straight.
And this season marks just the third time in school history that they’ve won three tournament games. Of course, they had to win the Pac-12 tourney just to qualify for the Big Dance. This is also the first Elite Eight berth for Oregon State since 1982, when it lost to Patrick Ewing and Georgetown.
Overall, Pac-12 teams are 10-1 record in the tournament. And at least two of them will be in the Elite Eight, considering USC and Oregon play each other on Sunday.
View the entire updated NCAA Tournament bracket right here.