Oregon State looks to take its Cinderella run into the Final Four, while Houston tries to take advantage of an unprecedented path. History is going to be made when the 2021 Elite Eight begins play on Monday night, but the question is which team will make it? Let’s check out their NCAAB odds as No. 12 seed Oregon State looks to continue its Cinderella run through the postseason.
Oregon State Beavers vs. Houston Cougars
Monday, March 29, 2021 – 07:15 PM EDT at Lucas Oil Stadium
The Bubble was a distant dream for the Beavers on March 7, when the regular season ended. Oregon State lost five of its final nine games to finish at 14-12, 10-10 in the Pac-12. Then it found March Magic. The Beavers stormed through the Pac-12 Tournament, winning three games in three days to get an NCAA tournament bid they only way they could.
Since arriving at the dance, No. 12 seed Oregon State has upset Tennessee by 14, Oklahoma State by 10 and ended fellow Cinderella Loyola of Chicago’s run to reach the Elite Eight. While the Beavers were knocking off a No. 4, 5 and 8 seed, Houston was taking a very different path.
The No. 2 seed Cougars blew out No. 15 Cleveland State by 31 to open their tournament run. Then the bracket cleared out for Houston. Due to upsets, the Cougars have faced No. 10 Rutgers and No. 11 Syracuse. With No. 12 Oregon State now standing in the way of a Final Four bid, Houston is looking to become the first team to beat four double-digit seeds in a row.
Oregon State already has five wins against Top 25 teams this season, the most for the Beavers since 1976. Three of them have come in the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournaments. Oregon State now looks to post its first win over a top 10 team since 2015.
The Beavers have become a different team in the postseason. After allowing opponents to shoot .438 from the field all season long, Oregon State is allowing just .313 shooting percentage from foes in the NCAA Tournament.
Oregon State shot .342 from three in the regular season but has hit .417 from beyond the arc in the postseason, while reducing opponents’ three-point accuracy from .312 to .246. The Beavers already led the Pac-12 in three-point defense but have found another level recently. Loyola shot just 5-of-23 from three and 33 percent from the field in the Sweet 16 loss to Oregon State.
While Oregon State has found its defensive groove in the tournament, Houston never lost it. The Cougars led the nation in effective shooting defense this season and are No. 10 in defensive efficiency. The Cougars are in the top 10 in three-point defense, two-point defense and blocked shot rate.
Syracuse saw just how stiff the defense could be, managing a program NCAA Tournament low 46 points in the Sweet 16 loss and shooting just 5-of-23 from three. The Orange also shot just 9-of-27 from two. “It’s the best defense we’ve seen this year,” said Hall of Fame Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.
While Oregon State has been shutting down the three, Houston matches up well against the Beavers, since the Cougars don’t lean heavily on the shot. Houston hasn’t hit more than eight threes in a game in the tournament yet and have had eight or fewer in four of its last five games.
Oregon State will struggle with Houston’s defense. The Cougars haven’t allowed more than 60 points in the tournament and just three foes have hit 60 over Houston’s 10-game winning streak. Houston has allowed just one of the last 13 opponents to hit 70.
The Cougars aren’t getting those miniscule point totals by slowing it down. Houston has topped 70 in seven of the last 10 games, scored over 80 five times and topped 90 in three games. Oregon State has topped 80 in regulation just four times this season.
For out NCAAB pick, look for Houston to turn up the pressure and choke out Oregon State’s Cinderella run with another efficient defensive showing.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.