Oregon State Beavers vs Houston Cougars – Elite Eight March 29

NCAA Tournament – Elite Eight – Midwest Regional

(12) Oregon State (20-12, 10-10) vs. (2) No. 6 Houston (27-3, 14-3)

  • Time: 4:15PM PST | 6:15PM CST | 7:15PM EST
  • Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
  • TV: TBS

Opening Tip

The Houston Cougars and Oregon State Beavers are on the cusp of returning to the Final Four after long years away from the college basketball’s final weekend.

The Cougars last appeared in 1984 when Phi Slamma Jamma with Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler were en vogue in southeast Texas while it’s been 58 years since the Beavers’ last appearance in 1962.

Houston coach Kelvin Sampson will coach his 1,000th career college basketball game against the Beavers as the Cougars are the only team in the nation to rank in kenpom’s Top 8 in the nation in offensive and defensive efficiencies.

Oregon State comes in with five wins over Top 25 competition which is the most since the 1975-76 team won the same number. It’s also their first regional final since 1982.

Vs. The Spread

Oregon State:

  • The Beavers are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 7 of Oregon State’s last 9 games
  • The Beavs are 6-0 SU when playing as underdogs in their last 6 games

Houston:

  • The Cougars are 15-5 ATS in their last 20 games
  • Houston is 2-6 SU in their last 8 games vs. Pac-12 competition
  • The Cougs are 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games played in March

Last Time Out

Senior Ethan Thompson continued his sensational post-season with a game-high 22 points and Oregon State held Loyola Chicago to only 33.3 percent from the floor as the Beavers passed the Ramblers, 65-58, to advance to the Elite Eight. The Beavers closed the first half on an 11-0 run as they held LU scored for the last 6:37 of the opening 20 minutes. Warith Alatishe recorded a double-double for the Beavers with 10 points and 11 boards.

Houston’s defense halted Syracuse sharp-shooter Buddy Boeheim’s heroics as he made 3-of-13 field goals and only one three in the Cougars 62-46 win over the Orange. Quentin Grimes led the balanced Cougars’ offense with 14 points while Justin Gorham netted 13 and Marcus Sasser popped in 12 points. DeJon Jarreau may have been the player of the game though as he had primary coverage on Boeheim but had nine points, eight boards, and eight assists in 34 minutes.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Oregon State +7.5 (-105) +285 O 129.5 (-110)
Houston -7.5 (-115) -355 U 129.5 (-110)

Advantage, Oregon State

Oregon State Beavers Logo 101x101Coach Wayne Tinkle has this club believing to the point where no one on the squad has negative thoughts or thoughts of loss and that makes them even more dangerous. Ethan Thompson is averaging 20.3 points and has made 25-of-26 free throws in his three NCAA Tournament games. How he finds driving lanes vs. the Cougars’ defense will be an interesting storyline in this game. Jarod Lucas is also adept to the dribble-drive as he and Thompson account for 289 of the Beavers’ 622 free throws (46.4%). The duo also accounts for 34.3 percent of the Beavs’ assists.

Watch the depth and dynamics of the Beavers’ rotation as well. Maurice Calloo and Rodrique Andela give them big minutes as Calloo is a proven shooter while Andela is the team’s second-leading rebounder at 4.5 per game.

Key Beavers Stat:

Oregon State plays a solid brand of defense, but the Beavers have upped the ante in the NCAA Tournament in holding Tennessee, Oklahoma State and Loyola Chicago to a combined 31.3 percent from the field. They have been able to come back on offense and make 43.7 percent of their shots as well. From three, they have limited those three teams to 24.6 percent while making 41.7 percent of their own triples.

X-Factor:

The ability of Roman Silva, Alatishe, and Andela to defend the paint against the athletic Justin Gorham, who leads the AAC with 8.6 rebounds per game, and Brison Gresham will be an important determinant. Alatishe is by far the most athletic post in the game and cannot get into foul trouble as his length will feed the OSU interior on the boards and with shot-blocking.

Advantage, Houston

Houston Cougars LogoTalking defense, the Cougars lead the nation in allowing opponents to shoot 37 percent from the field while allowing only 55.5 points per game. Kelvin Sampson’s teams have their own mental toughness and play with huge chips on their shoulders. DeJon Jarreau likely will have primary coverage on Ethan Thompson as this is the most anticipated matchup in this game. Thompson’s savvy though will allow him to find other Beavers to give them the chance to step up if Jarreau starts to control the matchup.

Key Cougars Stat:

Quentin Grimes (19.1 ppg, 41.7%-3) is a big time offensive catalyst and he nets 18 points per game and acquired the AAC Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player in the AAC Tournament. His range can be something that makes OSU have to adjust it’s defense and reach out on the perimeter. Marcus Sasser (13.3 ppg) seemed to get his shot and aggression back on Saturday as the Houston perimeter will be in for a challenge vs. the Beavers’ three-point defense which allows 29.8 percent on the season.

X-Factor:

The offensive boards are one of the dynamics that helps the power of the Cougs as they are averaging 14.1 per game in their wins over Cleveland State, Rutgers, and Syracuse. Oddly, they averaged 14.3 per game in the season, so the consistency on the glass is prevalent. Overall, Houston has been out-rebounded only three times this season as they have a paltry (+9.3) advantage on the glass while the Beavers are at (+1.1).

Winner: Oregon State (+7.5) 63, Houston 62

The Bets
Oregon State +7.5
-105
Oregon State Beavers
+285
UNDER 129.5
-110
Sub Categories:
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.