(8) Oregon State (11-7) will face (9) Florida State (10-8) today in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in San Marco, TX. The winner of the game will move on to the second round in the Hemisfair Regional.
It has been a tale of two seasons for Oregon State. The Beavers started out 3-5 with a five game losing streak that included a home loss to 5-16 Utah. OSU also went on a 29 day Covid pause in the middle of that five game losing streak. However, the Beavers have turned things around in a big way. Oregon State is 8-2 in their last 10 games and those two losses were to a Stanford team that is the overall top seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The thing that stands out the most when looking at their roster is the overall size of the team. The Beavers have two 6’9 players (Andrea Aquino and Jelena Mitrovic), a 6’6 player (Kennedy Brown), two 6’4 players (Taylor Jones and Jovana Subasic) and two 6’3 players (Ellie Mack and Taya Corosdale). That is a total of seven players 6’3 or taller. FSU has only two such players (6’5 River Baldwin and 6’3 Valencia Myers).
The (partial) saving grace for Nole fans is that Aquino and Brown haven’t played this year. However, Jones, Mack and Corosdale have started every game and they will be a serious challenge for the smaller Seminole front line. Jones is the main one to watch here as she averages 11.9 points and 9.1 boards a game.
With all of the size that OSU has it is a bit ironic that their best player is their 5’9 senior point guard Aleah Goodman. Goodman averages 16.1 points and 4.8 assists a game. She leads the team in both categories. Goodman is also a deadly shooter (.852 FT, .494 3PT). Talia von Oelhoffen is her backcourt mate. The 5’11 freshman was a consensus top 30 recruit and it hasn’t taken her long to adjust to the college game. Von Oelhoffen shoots .467 from deep on her way to averaging a second on the team 12.5 points per game.
The Beavers are an elite shooting team hitting 40.6% from deep which is second in the nation. OSU is also a fairly deep team as nine players average over 10 minutes a game.
Oregon State represented a bit of a conundrum for the committee as they are definitely better than an eight seed based on the quality of their team. However, they are fairly seeded based on the quality of their resume. The fact is that the five game losing streak counts and must be considered by the committee. However, it is obvious that this team has put whatever issues they had then behind them. They are playing impressive basketball right now and will be an absolute handful for the Seminoles.
In order to win FSU needs to turn the game into a track meet. This will allow the Noles to take advantage of their edge in athleticism. Florida State must also hold its own on the boards against the bigger Beavers. Finally, the Seminoles need to defend the three and hope that OSU has a bit of an off day from behind the arc. The Committee did the Seminoles no favors with this matchup but FSU is a talented bunch and can absolutely win this game.
The game is scheduled for today at 7:30pm and will be broadcast on ESPN 2.
Oregon State (11-7)
NET - 36; RPI - 68; SOS - 41
Q1 (4-5); Q2 (3-1); Q3 (2-1); Q4 (1-0)