If you would have asked me (or anyone really) a month ago if the Oregon State women’s basketball team were on track to make their 7th straight NCAA tournament appearance, the answer would have undoubtedly been no. At the time OSU was 3-5 and had lost their last five games — all while missing seven other games due to Covid issues.
But since that mark, with Oregon State being able to consistently play games and the addition of future star Talia Von Olehoffen, the Beavers have won six out of their last seven games with very impressive performances over UCLA and Oregon on the road.
Now, on the same week as the conference tournament and two weeks ahead of NCAA tournament selections, ESPN has the Beavers as a 10-seed in the Alamo Region of the tournament bracket in their latest bracketology that released Monday morning. In that scenario, the Beavers would match up with projected 7-seed Alabama and with a first-round win, would match up with the winner of the projected 15/2 seed match of Louisville and Idaho State.
Obviously, in this strange Covid season, OSU will take any seed and tournament bid, but just for fun, let’s look at the possible scenarios that can hash out over the last week of the season.
First, a 10-seed isn’t a bad place for the Beavers to be, because if they can win their first-round game, they would avoid having to play a number 1-seed in the second round... the bad news is, they would have to play the next best opponent, the 2-seed.
Unless the Beavers lose in the opening round of the conference tournament on Wednesday morning to Cal (who is 1-12 in conference play, 1-15 overall) I don’t see the Beavers dropping anywhere below a 10-seed in the NCAA tournament. But what about if the Beavers make a conference tournament run? That’s where things get a little interesting.
If Oregon State can somehow pull off an amazing conference tournament run, which would include wins over Oregon, and most likely Stanford and Arizona/UCLA, it’s hard to see OSU not being seeded anywhere lower than a 6 seed. That would be a significant jump, because then you would again avoid playing the 2-seed and the 1-seed until the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight rounds respectively.
But in an unfortunate circumstance, the most likely outcome would probably be an opening-round win over Cal and possibly another win over Oregon in the second round of the tournament. And with those results, I can see the Beavers being upgraded to an 8 or a 9 seed in the NCAA tournament which is a place you really don’t wanna be if you’re looking for a deeper tournament run because you would then match up with the number 1 seed in the second round.
All and all, the turnaround this team has made from just over a month ago can not be understated, and the fact that we get to speculate how far this team can go in the NCAA tournament is enough to be excited about over the coming weeks.