(CORVALLIS)—The Oregon State men’s basketball team earned itself a miracle on Wednesday against the Washington Huskies at home, and now, the Beavers just need to take care of business today against the Washington State Cougars on Senior Day. A victory today will get OSU back to .500 in the Pac-12 Conference with just two more games to play next weekend in Southern California.
The Cougars are just 1-15 this season in the league, while the Beavers are 7-8 currently. With a win today and a split against UCLA and USC, Oregon State will make it very hard for the NCAA Tournament committee to exclude them from March Madness. The Beavers haven’t made the Big Dance since 1990.
With a .500 finish in Pac-12 play and their current RPI of 27 likely to stay level with the projected finish noted above, all the OSU men really need to do is one game in the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas in two weeks—and they will get their invitation to the NCAAs.
Right now, the Beavers are 16-10 overall, and if they won two games in the league tourney, they will reach 20 wins. But even at 19-12, Oregon State is going to get invited to March Madness—thanks to the current No.1-ranked schedule in Division I men’s basketball. That’s a testament to Head Coach Wayne Tinkle’s goal for the program longterm: playing anyone, anywhere at anytime.
That kind of formula has worked for schools like Michigan State very well in the past two decades, and Tinkle is wise to follow that strategy: OSU will be seasoned and tough come NCAA Tournament time, and that’s when you want your team peaking.
Of course, the Beavers need to take care of the Cougars today and then squeeze one win out of that road trip next weekend. The Trojans (19-9, 8-7 in conference) and the Bruins (15-14, 6-10) won’t concede anything, and OSU will have to earn its way into March Madness.
The team knows it has a chance now, of course, and sometimes, that’s all that matters. A win today would get them one step closer to their goals.
Tip off is at 3:30 p.m., and the game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network as well.