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Oregon State Will Meet VCU Friday

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Beavers the 7 seed in the West

Gary Payton II has taken Oregon State back to the NCAA Tournament.
Gary Payton II has taken Oregon State back to the NCAA Tournament.
USA Today photo via SB Nation

Oregon State has completed the GP split, returning to the NCAA Tournament under the leadership of Gary Payton II for the first time since his father Gary Payton led the Beavers there 26 years ago. The drought that has lasted since 1990 was the longest among Power-5 conference teams that have ever been to the tournament.

Oregon State (19-12) will play Friday in Oklahoma City, taking on 10 seed Virginia Commonwealth. The Rams finished in a 3 way tie atop the Atlantic 14 (10) Conference, with a 14-4 conference record, and reached today's A-14/10ths conference championship game, before losing 87-74 to St. Joseph's, to finish 24-10.

Tip will be at 12:30 PM CDT, 10:30 AM PDT, and TNT will have the tv coverage.

The winner will meet the winner of the 2-seed Oklahoma-15-seed Cal State Bakersfield game on Sunday.

Oregon, the regular season and tournament champions of the Pac-12, are the 1 seed in the west, and will play on Friday as well, in Spokane, WA. The Ducks will have to wait to find out who though, as it will be the winner of one of the play-in games in Dayton Wednesday, between Holy Cross & Southern.

It's the first time ever that both Oregon and Oregon State have made the NCAA Tournament in the same year.

The Ducks clearly played their way into a 1 seed with yesterday's 31 point win over Utah in the Pac-12 Tournament Championship game, which capped a rare case of the upper seed winning every single tournament game, going 11 for 11.

Oregon's second opponent would be the winner of the St. Joseph's-Cincinatti contest.

A 7-seed is a significant accomplishment for the Beavers, and it recognizes the strength of their schedule, in that Colorado only collected an 8 seed. The Buffs begin play Thursday, taking on Connecticut in Des Moines, IA. The winner will face overall tournament 1 seed, as well as the 1 seed in the "South", Kansas.

The "South", and Spokane, WA, is loaded with Pac-12 teams, as California will also play there on Friday, against Hawaii, with the winner getting the winner of the Maryland-South Dakota State game.

Arizona is also in the "South", but the 'Cats have to go all the way to Providence, RI, to play Thursday. They won't know their opponent until Tuesday night, after the Play-In game in Dayton between Vanderbilt and Wichita St.

The 'Cats clearly got the toughest draw of teams in the Pac-12, relative to possibilities, as though they should win, the "Play-In" game they draw the winner from is clearly the toughest of the 4 play-ins, they if they advance, they probably get Miami, if the Hurricanes handle Buffalo.

USC also got a tough draw, as an 8 seed that's also below the Beavers, and have to go to Raleigh, NC, to play Providence on Thursday. If the Trojans advance, they will likely meet North Carolina, who will be playing essentially a home game, after doubtless beating the winner of the Play-In game between Florida Gulf Coast and Farleigh-Dickinson.

The Pac-12 got 7 teams into the tournament, with Utah in as a 3 seed in the Midwest. The Utes get a great deal, and get to play Thursday in Denver, which is within the Pac-12 footprint, and an easy trip for their fans.

They will face Fresno St., after the Bulldogs won their way into the tournament, and a 14 seed, by upsetting San Diego St. in the Mt. West Tournament. The Aztecs didn't get in, and will be in the NIT.

The winner of the Utah-Fresno St. game will get the winner of the Seton Hall-Gonzaga game.

The only other team from the west to make the tournament is Weber State, the winner of the Big Sky Conference. The Wildcats even got a 15 seed, a step up from what the Big Sky has often been saddled with, and though they have to play Xavier, it will be in St. Louis on Friday. That's an Atlantic 14 town, but St. Louis fans probably are not Xavier fans.

The outrage of the tournament, other than seeding Virginia as a 1 in the midwest when they should have been a 2, was Syracuse not only getting in, but as a 10! St. Marys, the WCC regular season champion is headed to the NIT as a result, among several better qualified teams left out (and certainly probably 20 teams that should be seeded higher). Monmouth, with 27 wins, was left out.

Iona, one of Oregon State's early season quality wins, is in the tournament, as a 13 seed, and will take on Iowa State Thursday in Denver.

The Pac-12 was one of 4 conferences to get 7 teams in, along with the ACC, the B1G 10, and the Big XII. It's the most teams the Pac-10/12 has ever gotten into the NCAA Tournament, besting the old record of 6.

More details to come, as we will learn where in the NIT Washington will go later this evening.

UPDATE:

Washington will host Long Beach State in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday.

BYU & St. Mary's were also picked up from the west.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

(Kurt Sahr contributed to this article.)