Beavers, however, were not bothered aesthetically.
Othon Stetson scored 22 points to lead Oregon State, which for the first time since 1982 did not retain the possibility of running in a regional final. Selected to finish last in the Pac-12 at the start of the season, the Beavers will play Houston, which cooled off Buddy Boehm and the Syracuse shutdown, 62-46. Boeheim, who scored 55 points combined in the Orange victories over San Diego State and West Virginia, was able to manage just 12 against the Tenacious Houston defense, which kept him 3 of 13 shooting. The Cougars, ranked second since 1984, after three consecutive trips to the Final Four, have not arrived yet.
Still, Sunday appears open to Brackett (25-2) opposite the unbeaten Gonzaga, who played Creighton, who has been to three regional finals in the last 12 years but never made it to the Final Four. By Saturday afternoon, the boiler expected to be there was in great danger.
Villenova, who had won two of the last four national titles, wore Gillespie’s knee ligament until three weeks ago. The Wildcats (18–7) lost three of their final four matches before the tournament and were viewed by many as an early upset candidate. But the Wildcats regrouped and Somerome forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl eased into wins over Winthrop and North Texas State in the second weekend.
Nevertheless, it appeared on paper as a terrible matchup for Villanova. The worst of the tournament’s remaining 16 teams was a 3-point shooting defense, and Boiler – led by his three-guard trio of Jared Butler, Davian Mitchell and Makio Tegu – was the nation’s best 3-point team, making 41.5. Percentage of his shots behind the arch.
But Villanova threw soft zone press into the boiler several times and when the Bears joined their offense, the Wildcats toggled between zone and man-to-man defense in half the court. This left the bear. He made just 3 of 19 3-pointers.
At the other end of the court, although Robinson-Earl was held to a modest 8 points and 12 rebounds, the Wildcats threatened Baylor with slick interior passing and ability around Jermaine Samuels’ rim, which was 16 points, and Justin Moore, and who added 15.
And when Villanova’s Brandon Slater landed Jonathan Tchamwa Tchathatoua on the wing and dipped over 6-foot-9 Matthew Mayer, it put Villanova ahead 39-33.