Miller: Oregon State vs. Houston Elite Eight Preview

Posted on March 29, 2021

  By Dane Miller, SportsPac12

The domination continues.

For just the second time in the Conference’s history, three of its teams will play in the Elite Eight.

And even though the history made in this Tournament will never be forgotten, there’s business left to take care of.

Oregon State’s Cinderella story continues against Houston, as the Beavers have a chance to advance to their first Final Four since 1963. No one could have imagined OSU would be in this position at the start of the season, let alone at the start of this month.

But history awaits.

I preview that game here, and my pick, along with Nick Bartlett’s, Stephen Vilardo’s, and Anthony Gharib’s appear at the bottom.

No. 12 Oregon State v. No. 2 Houston

Elite Eight
Monday, March 29th
4:15 pm PT, CBS


Wayne Tinkle and his players have cemented their legacy in Corvallis, etching their names in Oregon State lore.

At the height of their dream season, it might be easy for some to say this is the end of the line for the Beavs. They will point to Houston’s superior athleticism and length, arguing that OSU will be overwhelmed—that Tinkle’s team doesn’t have the talent to win.

Those same people were the ones telling us the Big 10 was the best conference in America, that UCLA didn’t deserve to be in the Tournament, that Oregon State would be crushed by Oklahoma State, and that the Bruins had no chance against Alabama.

And on and on.

It’s the disrespect from everyone outside of the Pac-12 bubble that has driven its teams to such heights, feeding off of each other’s success in a brotherhood of camaraderie that’s unlike anything we have seen in decades.

But on a Monday night in Indianapolis, you may as well throw the standard analysis out the window.

Who wants it more?

Which team is willing to make the effort plays—the heart plays—to carry their program onward?

There arguably isn’t a hotter team in America than the Beavers. It’s taken a series of perfectly aligned dominoes for the orange-clad underdogs to get to this point, and each step of the way they have busted the next door down.

Nobody has been able to stop them yet, and Tinkle and Company will be damned if it’s going to be a team from the American Athletic Conference that prevents them from getting to the Final Four.


Forget the disadvantages OSU has in points per game, field goal percentage, turnovers committed, rebounds, and blocked shots per game.

If those statistics decided matchups, the Beavs’ run would’ve ended in the Pac-12 Tournament.

No, it’s heart that got Tinkle’s team here. And it’s heart that will take them further.

The Oregon State zone has the capability to disrupt the wing-heavy Cougars, and the game plan could be fairly straightforward: Bully Ball.

Houston’s forwards arguably don’t have the strength to deal with getting punched in the mouth every time they enter the paint, and OSU has the depth to take a few fouls. From the tip, look for the Beavers to put an emphasis inside the perimeter on both sides of the court, directly challenging the lanky UH wings.

For teams of destiny, the matchup doesn’t always matter.

But tonight, it’s arguably the best matchup the Beavs could have asked for.


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