As Oral Roberts coach Paul Mills prepared his players for Friday’s overtime game against Ohio State, the No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and finalist in the Big Ten tournament, he had a message for them.

He said we’d win.

Mills said he preached confidence to the Golden Eagles, who are seeded 15th and defeated the Buckeyes 75-72 for their first win in the NCAA Tournament since 1974, when they were known as the Titans.

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Few expected Oral Roberts to win.

In ESPN’s men’s tournament, more than 95 percent of bettors (nearly 14 million) chose the Buckeyes, who were favored by 16 points. It is the biggest upset since UMBC’s first-round victory over first-seeded Virginia in 2018 at 20.5 and the eighth highest since 1985.

The loss marked a tumultuous season for an Ohio State team that had positioned itself as No. 1 at one point in the season. The Buckeyes started February with four road wins in the Top 25. Up to 18 years old. Christian Holtmann’s team had an 18-4 record in February, but the Buckeyes lost their next four games before winning the Big Ten tournament, where they lost to Illinois in overtime.

Year wins Distribution Lost
2012 ul. 15 Norfolk. +21.5 2 Missouri
2018 16 UMBC +20.5 1 Virginia
1993 15 Santa Clara +20 2 Arizona
1997 15 Coppin Street. +18.5 2 С. Carolina
2001 15 Hampton. +17.5 ul. Iowa, 2nd.
1986 14 Little Rock +17.5 3 Notre Dame
2016 15 medium tenge. +17 Michigan, 2nd.
2021 15 Oral Roberts +16 ul. Ohio, 2nd.
*Since 1985*

First of all, I want to give praise to Oral Roberts, Holtmann said after the game. I think they played very well, as we expected. I thought their two players, who are obviously struggling for us, were excellent. So give them, their coaches, their players, their program, the university, a lot of credit for this win.

Max Abmas, the nation’s top scorer, finished with 29 points (10-for-24, 5-for-10 from the 3-point line) and Kevin Obanor scored 30 points and 11 rebounds in the biggest rebound performance of the NCAA Tournament so far.

We have a lot of confidence, Aubanor said after the game. At the end of the day, when we’re ranked, it’s just a number. We put our shoes on like they put their shoes on. … We just knew we were underdogs and we wanted to win for our brothers.

Overall, the Buckeyes finished 3-6 in their final nine games of the season. Justin Ahrens and Dwayne Washington Jr. missed a possible three-pointer in the final seconds of overtime. Ohio State had 16 turnovers. Oral Roberts had six.

The Buckeyes were no match for Abmas and Obanor, making 7 of 16 three-point shots, while Ohio State made just 1 of 10, according to research from ESPN Stats & Information.

But Mills had no intention of dwelling on the victory. He said he appreciated the historic nature of the game, but also wanted his team to prepare for Sunday’s game against Florida, which advanced to the second round after beating Virginia Tech on Friday.

He said he would advise his team not to comment on non-essential texts until Monday.

I thought we were going to win, Mills said. Our boys thought we were going to win. The reality is that you turn around and play someone else. So your celebration had better be quick.

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