After reaching the Elite Eight for the first time since 1982, the Oregon State Beavers will set their sights on the Houston Cougars for a chance to reach the Final Four. As the #12 seed, Oregon State has been the underdog in every game they’ve played in this tournament. They’ll be in that position again on Monday night as they’re currently listed as an eight-point underdog.
The public has taken a liking to the underdog beavers as they’re getting 56% of the money on 49% of tickets thus far. It’s hard to put the finger on anything specific that the Beavers are doing better than any team, but two things that stand out are that they’re shooting better from the field and the free-throw line.
Oregon State’s effective field goal percentage in the tournament is 50.3% compared to 48.8% during the regular season. Their free-throw percentage is up to 86.2% during that span versus 77.1% during the regular season. But perhaps the biggest contributor to their success has been their ability to get out to a fast start in their games.
The Beavers have led at halftime in every game in the tournament, and on two occasions, they’ve had double-digit leads with an eight-point lead in another game. Oregon State is +36 at the end of the first half while Houston is +15 with an average lead of five points.
The first ten minutes of the game could be a good indicator of how things could play out especially considering that Houston’s offense has been stagnant at times with an effective field goal percentage of 47.2%.
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