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Oral Roberts Mens Basketball

Oral Roberts Golden Eagles

Oral Roberts University is in the Tournament!

It’s been 22 years since the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles have been to the NCAA Tournament. They earned the right to be a part of March Madness by beating Chicago State 85-72 in the Mid Continent Conference Tournament. On the way to securing their tournament berth, the Golden Eagles also easily defeated Western Illinois (60-53) and Valparaiso (77-58).

The year before, coach Scott Sutton’s team lost the championship and their NCAA bid when, with 1.3 seconds left, Oakland, Michigan’s Pierre Dukes sunk an off-balance shot from 3-point land. A year later Oral Roberts’ Ken Tutt, who didn’t want to leave anything to chance this time, scored 25 points to lead his team into March Madness.

Although many basketball writers had anticipated the Golden Eagles success in their 2005-06 college basketball previews, very few of those writers, if any, would give them a prayer of a chance of making it through the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Like so many other teams from less competitive conferences, Oral Roberts is about to face a level of competition they have rarely experienced.

When playing out of their conference this year, the team was 8-8, losing to Utah State, Missouri State, Montana, and nationally ranked Oklahoma (22). On the road the club lost 8 and won 7. Neither of these facts bode well for the Golden Eagles.

Leading the team is forward Ken Tutt, a junior who can nail shots (14.0 PPG) and command the floor. Senior guard-forward Larry Owens was third in team scoring, hitting for 11.9 PPG, and second in rebounding, grabbing 8 RPG. Forward Caleb Green, a junior, led the Golden Eagles in scoring (21.0 PPG) and rebounds (9.0 RPG). This triumvirate will carry the brunt of responsibility when the team takes the court in the first round of the tournament.

In order to secure a first round victory, the Golden eagles will certainly need to earn it since they’ve drawn Memphis, one of the most dominant teams in the nation, as their initial opponent. The Golden Eagles have worked long and hard to get to the tournament, and although they’re certainly big underdogs, there is nothing to say they can’t be the 2006 version of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Panthers.

Oral Roberts represents the true test of a basketball team being asked to play beyond its capabilities. Then again, ultimately that’s the true task of every team in the NCAA Tournament.

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