Yahoo Sports College reporter Pete Thamel explains how Oregon State’s stifling defense propelled it to a 65-58 win over Loyola Chicago to head to the Beavers first Elite 8 since 1982*.
*Oregon State’s 1982 games have been vacated
PETE THAMEL: One week after issuing the NCAA tournament's definitive defensive gem, Loyola of Chicago ended up on the business end of the latest. This is Pete Thamel in Indianapolis at the round of 16 of the NCAA tournament, where number 12, Oregon State, has advanced to the Elite Eight after suffocating number eight Loyola 65-58 in a Sweet 16 slog. The Beavers are in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1982. And they become just the second number 12 seed to advance to the Elite Eight to go along with Missouri back in 2002.
Three weeks ago, Oregon State was a fine looking NIT team. They were the fifth best team in the Pac 12. They had zero chance of earning an at-large to the NCAA tournament. Since that time, they've become the country's hottest team. There's no other way to say it. They've beaten UCLA, they've beaten Oregon, and they've beaten Colorado in must-win Pac 12 tournament games.
Then in the NCAA tournament, they've knocked down number five Tennessee, number four Oklahoma State, the potential number one pick in the NBA draft, and now number eight Loyola, who many people thought would cruise out of this bracket and advance to the Final Four again. But give Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle credit. Things weren't going well early. He went zone. And Loyola just kept missing. They missed 3 after 3 after 3. They ended up five of 23. And they really weren't that good. One of those was a desperation one at the end that didn't count.
The Ramblers simply couldn't hit the broad side of a barn today in Indy. And Oregon State has found a way again. They've won with great defense like today. They've won with blistering shooting. Ethan Thompson, again, was their offensive bell count. He finished with 22 points on 6 of 13 shooting. Oregon State finished 41% from the field, respectable against number one defense in the country. And they win 65-58. This is Pete Thamel in Indianapolis at Bankers Life Fieldhouse at the NCAA tournament.