Only once has a No. 12 seed reached the Elite Eight before.
Now it's happening again, following Oregon State's 65-58 upset of Loyola Chicago in the men's NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 on Saturday. Of course, more history is being written in a March Madness that's already seen a record number of upsets and double-digit seeds advancing to the second weekend.
Villanova was poised to pull off an upset of its own by giving No. 1 seed Baylor all it could handle. But the Bears showed their mettle in fending off an inspired effort.
A look at the biggest winners and losers from Saturday's Sweet 16 games at Indianapolis:
Oregon State. Coach Wayne Tinkle's game plan against the most disciplined halfcourt offense in the country was brilliant – playing zone and forcing Loyola Chicago into 5-for-23 shooting from beyond the arc. The Beavers (20-12) fed off their star, Ethan Thompson (22 points), and shot 18-for-20 (90%) from the free throw line to reach their first Elite Eight (non-vacated) since 1966.
Oregon State guard Ethan Thompson (5) hangs on the rim after dunking against Loyola-Chicago during their Sweet 16 game. (Photo: Marc Lebryk, USA TODAY Sports)
Baylor. The Bears (25-2) played about as bad as they could have in the first half, missing most of their threes and getting out-muscled by a physical Villanova squad driven to pull off an upset. But coach Scott Drew's team came out a different team in the second half and took control of the game midway through on its way to a 62-51 win. Baylor survived despite first-team All-American Jared Butler's struggles (1-for-9 from beyond the arc). Davion Mitchell (14 points) carved through the 'Nova defense to drive the Bears, who advanced to their first Elite Eight since 2012 and third under Drew's tenure.
ANALYSIS: Ugly game a beautiful win for Oregon State
Loyola Chicago. The Ramblers (26-5) were the favorites against No. 12 seed Oregon State, coming off the second-round upset of No. 1 Illinois. But a zone defense, which this team had only seen in 5% of games previously, completely took a normally potent offense out of its element – contributing to a season-worst 16 first half points. By the time Loyola Chicago caught up in the second half and players not named Cameron Krutwig started making shots, it was too late. This team led the nation in defense and had a legitimate shot to get back to the Final Four after its surprise run in 2018. But they unperformed against the Beavers to bow out earlier than expected.
SWEET 16: What you missed in women's, men's tournaments Saturday
Villanova. The No. 5 seeded Wildcats (18-7) came out swinging in the first half for a seven-point lead at halftime and kept that momentum going early in the second half. But Baylor's guards proved to be just too good. Coach Jay Wright inspired this team – playing without Big East player of the year Collin Gillespie – to silence doubters as a Cinderella slayer (beating Winthrop and North Texas to get to the Sweet 16). Yet it was the absence of Gillespie that was most felt late in the second half when 'Nova needed a boost.
Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.
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