There is no doubt about the identity of the worst Power Five Conference team in college basketball. With a stunning record of 3-22, the state of Oregon is awful. It’s ugly on paper and things look even more shit-tasker when you take a closer look at that feces. OSU has taken one win over a high-level conference team, has not won all season outside of Corvallis, and currently has a 12-game run with 10 double-digit losses.
That one win against a prominent conference team was the Beavers’ lone Pac-12 Conference win against Utah, which is 4-13 in league games. The pair of other wins came in the team’s November 9 season opener against Portland State and a 22-point win over Nicholls State. The victory over the Utes followed defeating NSU, giving Oregon State a season-best two-game win streak. Baby steps people.
The win over Nicholls should have put the Beavers behind their longest losing streak of the season, 10 games in 36 days. Except now, the quest for Oregon state victory is No. 4 on Day No. 53. Last Friday was Day No. 49 of 2022. The search for a drought-ender continued after a road loss of 83-68 to the current No. 2 Arizona last Thursday. The Beavers were only behind at half time. That’s a lesson to be learned from this OSU team: Even if it plays well for a long time, it loses by double digits. On Saturday, Oregon State lost 20 to Arizona State, a game that was never quite competitive.
It’s amazing to see Oregon State in this place of misery. Just under 11 months ago, the Beavers played in an Elite Eight. It’s a valid counter argument that they had to win a lackluster Pac-12 tournament to even qualify for the Indianapolis bubble marathon. And despite the uniqueness of the 2021 NCAA tournament, it’s still March Madness. Crazy happens when games are played in those scenarios. Oregon State took advantage and was a six point loss to Houston away from the Final Four. That also means the Beavers won the same number of matches in The Big Dance’s bubble as this season.
Oregon State’s start on that win-or-go-home journey kicked off with a win over UCLA, which nearly bounced the Beavers off The Big Dance before the Bruins moved from the top four to the last four. In the Sweet 16, Oregon State defeated the Loyola-Chicago team that outranked the tournament’s league-leader Illinois and finished the first weekend. To even get to that point, the Beavers defeated No. 5-seed Tennessee and a Cade Cunningham led Oklahoma State with double digits.
This year’s OSU squad sounds like a completely different team. With the transfer portal filled with players from every inch of college basketball, it’s possible that eighth-year Beavers head coach Wayne Tinkle just got the wrong mix of players to match at a high level. While it takes at least an eight-player rotation to be successful in a major conference, seven Beavers from last season are still doing their thing in Corvallis. Division I teams may only use 13 scholarship players per season.
The current nosedive isn’t the first in Oregon State under Tinkle’s tutelage. In 2016-17, the year after the Beavers was the only other NCAA Tournament appearance of his tenure, Oregon State finished 5-27, including a 1-17 in conference play. Fortunately, the Beavers can’t finish worse than that in the Pac-12, but will need two more wins in the coming weeks to reach that five win threshold. Do you know how hard it is to win just five games over the course of a basketball season? Most schools schedule as many mid-sized games at home to fill their records. Oregon State did, but lost to schools like UC Davis, Princeton and Samford. Another hard boon in disguise is that Tinkle’s squads won at least 16 games each season between the two head-shaking outliers.
Every other high-level conference team holds Oregon State’s double win total, with Georgia’s six-victory season, another miserable failure for former Indiana head coach Tom Crean, being the second-lowest total for a team of the Power Five. . The Bulldogs are still 28 places ahead of Oregon State over KenPom, with the Beavers dropping to No. 235 in America after Thursday’s loss and remaining there today. Powerhouses like the state of Kennesaw and Northern Colorado would be the favorites against the Beavers in a neutral spot. Truly a season of misery.