Correction: This editorial originally described Oklahoma State University's record in the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament incorrectly. The editorial has been corrected.
Evangelist Oral Roberts was fond of telling his flock to “Expect a miracle.” But, it helps to have the better team on the court, too.
That was what the players of Oral Roberts University men’s basketball team have brought to the NCAA championships so far. They have proudly showed themselves the better, more skilled team.
With ORU’s Sunday defeat of the University of Florida, Tulsa’s “other” hometown team became only the second 15th-seeded squad in NCAA Tournament history to make it to the Sweet Sixteen.
But the big game, the big shocker of the tournament so far, came two days before, when the Golden Eagles toppled No. 2 Ohio State in overtime 75-72.
Excuse us. The people in Columbus, prefer to be called The Ohio State University. As in: The overrated The Ohio State University lost.
It marked the first NCAA Tournament win for ORU since 1974, when it got to the Elite Eight.
Continuing that momentum, ORU took down seventh-seeded Florida 81-78. They will face No. 3 seed Arkansas with tip-off at 6:25 p.m. Saturday on TBS.
Forward Kevin Obanor and guard Max Abmas, the nation’s leading scorer, have become standouts on the Cinderella team. Credit goes to the perseverance of the players, Coach Paul Mills and his staff, who kept up a positive outlook and faith their hard work would pay off.
It’s an exciting and celebratory time. The team has brought national attention to its small, private, faith-based school and to Tulsa.
We also congratulate the squads from the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University for their performances.
OU came into the tournament in somewhat of a slump having lost five of its last six games. But at the No. 8 seed, the team rallied to win 72-68 over Missouri in the first round. It couldn’t fend off top-seeded Gonzaga in the second.
Coming off a winning season, OSU won its first round game against Liberty, but lost to 12th-seeded Oregon State in the second round. The Cowboys fought hard to make up for a deficit at halftime but couldn’t get traction for a win.
The state of Oklahoma has much to brag about with three teams having made the Big Dance.
A beautiful attraction of the tournament is how the underdogs have an equal shot at the national championship and even the most prestigious schools go home to pout if they lose once. ORU joins the impressive ranks of the improbable teams getting within grasp of the title.