I don’t know how long it has been since all four basketball programs from Oregon and Oregon State have made it to the post season, but with Oregon State not getting to the NCAA Tournament since 1990 and Oregon being the big brother in basketball making back to back NCAA Appearances it has been long enough. On the Women’s side Oregon made the NIT back in 2008 and will return to the National Invitational Tournament this week. Oregon State reenters the Field of 64 for the first time since 1996. (anyone remember the #1 song back then? Oh never mind, not important.)
What is important is that some programs have taken solid steps and laid the groundwork for the future and others are now learning the baby steps process. The Oregon State Men’s team has not gotten it done with Craig Robinson at the helm. I realize they made it to the post season and will go to the College Basketball Invitational, but they are among several major conference programs in the field this year including Penn State, Texas A&M and UTEP – the others in my opinion are mid major teams. The Indiana Hoosiers had an invite to the CBI but felt they were ‘above’ playing in the tournament so their season came to a close.
It is however an opportunity for the team to continue playing and practicing and of course getting better, which is what it is all about. The Beavers Host Radford on Wednesday Night in Corvallis. Tiptime is 7pm.
The Oregon State Women finished the season an impressive 23-10, and 13-5 in Pac-12 play to earn an 8 seed in the Women’s NCAA Tournament. The Beavers will take on 8 seed Middle Tennessee in Seattle, Washington on Sunday March 23rd. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 5pm PT. Just down I-5 both the Oregon Men and Women are headed for the post season.
The Oregon Women on Monday evening accepted a bid to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament which will extend the season for Head Coach Paul Westhead, whose contract was not renewed past this season. The team is led by Sophomore Jillian Alleyne who broke the Pac-12 Rebounding Record in their final game in the Pac-12 Tournament last month. The Lady Ducks welcome in Pacific on Thursday night at 7pm. The game will not be televised, but will be available on the Pac-12 Live Steam on Pac-12.com
Last, but not least the Oregon Men have to be proud of how this season has ended. It started with a 13-0 non conference record, followed by a complete disaster heading into Pac-12 play starting the conference season 3-8 before reounding to a respectable 10-8 to close out the year. There were also several key stretches of wins for them this season which gave them the opportunity to play for the second year in a row in the NCAA Tournament as a 7 seed in the West Region. The games this weekend will be played in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Ducks will take on 10 seed Brigham Young(BYU) on Thursday in the Second Round of the Tournament. Gametime is set for 12:10PT on TruTV. The winner on Thursday will face either #2 seed Wisconsin or #15 seed American on Sunday. One thing to note. If the Ducks can get past the first weekend a possible matchup next week would be with #3 seed Creighton, the former team of Oregon Coach Dana Altman.
Regardless of how well or not well the season went for all four of these teams a new season starts for all of them. One or two may even surprise us but one thing is true. The steps taken from this point can only lead to good things down the road.