Historical matchup information is courtesy of College Basketball Reference’s Matchup Finder. Note that this data only goes back to the 1949-50 season.
Midwest 12. Oregon State Beavers (20-12, 10-10 Pac-12 Automatic)
vs. 2. Houston Cougars (27-3, 14-3 American Automatic)
7:15 p.m. on CBS (March Madness Live game link) at Lucas Oil Stadium’s Equality Court (Ian Eagle and Jim Spankarel with Jamie Erdahl reporting)
Either OSU’s Wayne Tinkle or UH’s Kelvin Sampson will earn his first Final Four berth as a coach with a win today, while both of their teams are looking to reach the season’s final weekend for the first time in a very long time. The Beavers’ last Final Four came in 1963, when they lost to Cincinnati by 34. (The Bearcats ended up losing the title game to Loyola Chicago, the program Oregon State defeated on Saturday, oddly enough.) Their other appearance came in 1949 when only one win was required to reach the national semifinals. As for the Cougars, they have five Final Four trips, though they were unable to finish higher than second in their most recent run—a three-year streak under Guy Lewis from 1982 to 1984.
The pair’s last meeting was a 49-45 grinder in the first round of the 2009 CBI. The Beavers took that one in Corvallis—on their way to the tournament title.
South 3. Arkansas Razorbacks (25-6, 13-4 SEC At-Large) vs.
1. Baylor Bears (25-2, 13-1 Big 12 At-Large)
Again, either Arkansas’s Eric Musselman or Baylor’s Scott Drew will reach his first Final Four as a coach with a win in the nightcap. Of the four teams in action this evening, the Razorbacks own the shortest Final Four drought. The most recent of their six trips came in 1994, when the Nolan Richardson-coached squad won the whole thing, and 1995, when Arkansas’s quest for a repeat fell just short. Baylor has the longest, dating back to 1950—again, when a team only needed to win once to reach the semifinal round.
The Bears and Razorbacks have met just twice since Arkansas departed the Southwest Conference for the Southeastern Conference after the 1990-91 season. It was a quasi-home-and-home series that saw the Hogs win a January 2008 meeting in Dallas and the Bears claim a blowout win in North Little Rock in December 2009.