Author: Dawson Haywood
I think we can all come to an agreement when I say we all wanted to see Oral Roberts in the Elite Eight. There is just something about an underdog shining in the March Madness Tournament that tugs at our heart strings just a little bit. This year’s Oral Roberts team reminds most NCAA Basketball fans of the 2012-2013 Florida Gulf Coast team that made their run in the tournament as a fifteen seed and making it to the Sweet 16. That Florida Gulf Coast team and this years Oral Roberts teams are the only teams to be the fifteen seed and make it to the Sweet Sixteen.
Let us learn a little big about this year’s Cinderella Team. Oral Roberts is a Private Evangelical School located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. So already we can give Oral Roberts the Oklahoma State Champion title for being the only team from Oklahoma out of three that made the tournament this year to make it to the Sweet 16. The team finished 18-11 (10-5) this year with their most impressive win before tournament play being against South Dakota State back in February. During the season they lost to every team that would eventually make the tournament this year.
Oral Roberts’s run began on February 27th when they beat Western Illinois and then proceeded to go on a seven-game win streak which includes the Summit League Tournament and the Big Dance until eventually losing to a very well coached Arkansas team. The team was led by sophomore guard Max Abmas who averaged 24.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assist per game this season. What is awesome about this team is that they are only losing three players this season due to graduation.
In my opinion, Oral Roberts’ run this year was slightly more impressive than FGCU’s 2013 run because their regular season was only slightly better than okay. FGCU placed second in their conference in the regular season and was only one game behind winning the title behind Mercer, who is now in the Southern Conference. Based on their season performance, FGCU was better equipped to make a run in the tournament. This year’s Oral Roberts team finished fourth in the Summit League, which is home to South Dakota State, South Dakota, and North Dakota State. To get to the Sweet 16, Oral Roberts beat #2 Ohio State in the first round and #7 Florida in the Round of 32. In 2013, FGCU beat #2 Georgetown in the first round and #7 San Diego State in the Round of 32. Both teams lost to the #3 seed in the Sweet 16, FGCU losing to Florida and Oral Roberts losing to Arkansas.
I have a good feeling this is not the last we have seen of Oral Roberts and that should be exciting for all March Madness fans. Their Cinderella story continues, but next season they will have more of a chip on their shoulder. This team knows how good they can be and being one shot away from being the only fifteen seed to ever make the Elite 8 is going to leave a bad taste in this young team’s mouth. It would be wise to not sleep on this team next year. 2021-2022 Oral Roberts revenge tour. You best believe I’ll be rooting for them all season long.
This Article is Presented by The Heatin' Up Podcast