Miller: Oregon State vs. Oklahoma State Preview

Posted on March 21, 2021


  By Dane Miller, SportsPac12

The Pac-12 enters the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament as the only multi-bid league that remains undefeated.

And for just the third time in the Conference’s history, and the first since 2009, five of its teams have advanced to the Round of 32.

But the Pac-12 still doesn’t get the respect it deserves. When broadcast analysts are asked about the Conference’s success, they begrudgingly acknowledge the record and quickly move on to talking about another league.

Some even make excuses for why the other team lost.

That’s par for the course for the Conference of Champions, showing how much work remains to be done.

With just one game today, the opportunity for Oregon State to continue its Cinderella dream is here for the taking.

I preview that matchup below, 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. 4 Oklahoma State

Sunday, March 21st
6:40 pm PT, TBS

Loyola-Chicago’s upset of Illinois adds an extra layer of intensity to this battle.

The Ramblers are a good team, but the path to the Elite 8 appears to have become easier for whichever program emerges victorious.

Cunningham

But Oklahoma State is a scoring, rebounding, and shot-blocking machine that easily presents the biggest challenge the Beavers have faced so far in the Big Dance.

True freshman Cade Cunningham is a more offensive-minded, guard-version of Evan Mobley, and arguably the clear front runner to be the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.

And with a supporting cast that goes six deep, the Cowboys have the capability to beat anyone they face.

Yet, the shoe has fit for Oregon State up to this point.

There wasn’t a single pundit, even in the West Coast media, that predicted the Beavers to win the Pac-12 Tournament, let alone a game in the NCAA Tournament.

But here they are, one game away from the Sweet 16.

On paper, the Cowboys have significant advantages in rebounds per game, field goal percentage, and points per game. But the 4-seed from the Big 12 turns the ball over at one of the highest rates in Division I basketball, and doesn’t particularly share the ball.

Tinkle

As a result, Oklahoma State’s assist-to-turnover ratio is among the lowest in the country, providing a weakness for Wayne Tinkle to exploit.

Tinkle’s emphasis will likely be on rebounding, forcing turnovers, and playing strong in the paint. The effort his team displayed against Tennessee was arguably the difference in the game, and their motivation to replicate that intensity should remain.

It’s another mountain to climb, but the Beavers have the heart to reach the summit.




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