Beavs

Oregon State Beavers want the Elite Eight run to the start of something bigger

Beavs

Oregon State had a season to remember.

From being selected to finish last in the Pac-12 in the preseason media poll to being one of the final eight teams standing nationally, Beaver Nation will remember this one for years to come. 

So will head coach Wayne Tinkle.

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"It was a heck of a run," said Tinkle after the loss to Houston Monday evening. "We had a helluva run, and we'll keep building this thing moving forward." 

Prior the 2020-21 season, it had been 39 years since the Beavers had won an NCAA Tournament game. Oregon State not only did that but won three, making the Elite Eight for the first time since that 1982 season. 

"I think it's only the second time Oregon State has won three games in the NCAA Tournament, said the head coach. "The first-ever Pac-12 Tournament championship. We're going to be able to reflect and enjoy all of that."

"I can't really put words to it," said senior Ethan Thompson. "It's been an amazing experience. To do it with this group of guys, I don't know, the bond we've created as a team, as a staff, a program, it's been amazing.

Among Tinkle's favorite parts of the run, is all the joy his team has brought to Beaver Nation, especially given how harsh the previous twelve months have been. 

 

"Man, it's incredible, not just for Beaver Nation, but everything our society's been through the last 12 months," he said. "I'm telling you, I mean, the joy we've been able to bring to the families of our foxhole, our team, and then so many others that were looking for some kind of therapy, some kind of joy, happiness through all of this. I mean, it's amazing. It's amazing."

"It didn't end the way that we wanted it to, but it's been an amazing ride. The love and support from Beaver Nation is everything, and it's incomparable," added Thompson.

However, Wayne Tinkle will not only look at the 2020-21 season as a great season, he wants it to be the beginning of something larger for the Oregon State program.

"We did this in 2016," said Tinkle of making the tournament. "We had a lot happen to us with injuries, and it took a lot of the momentum.

"This [Elite Eight run] impacts us with regards to recruiting, support, and the confidence that our guys are going to have."

But, he's focused on building the program the right way.

"We're just going to continue to build. Even though we had this tremendous success, it's not going to change who we are. Even when we had the low lows. It didn't change who we were. We just continue to grind and do things the way that we do them, and we know it's going to lead to even greater things.

"Again, this was almost an unprecedented run, but we feel like we were this close. If we all can find a way to gain that much more from each other, we'll be able to take another step.

I'm so thrilled for our university, for our state, for our program. I know there's great things ahead.

Tinkle on making the Elite Eight

Now, he doesn't want history to repeat. After winning the Pac-12 Tournament, he proclaimed the Orange Express has returned.

Time will tell if it's back for good but in the meantime, the memories from this season will last awhile.