7. Oregon State Beavers (7-4) LW: 7
Far worse than the naughty list or any sized lump of coal, Oregon State’s early holiday ‘gift’ is one that no major conference team wants to receive: A home nonconference loss to a mid-major program.
In the Beavers’ case, that defeat came at the hands of Kent State.
Initially thought to be a case of ‘the epitome of brutality’, made famous by CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, it was later revealed OSU and KSU had a multi-year series scheduled, rather than Kent State being paid to come to Corvallis.
Nonetheless, the Beavers have lost to the Golden Flashes in both of the past two seasons, including a 66-63 result on Friday.
KSU senior guard Jaylin Walker torched OSU for 26 points and seven rebounds. On the other hand, Beavers senior guard Stephen Thompson Jr. had one of the most anemic offensive performances of his career.
Thompson shot an abysmal 1-of-16 from the field for a season-low three points.
While the loss doesn’t constitute the ‘epitome of brutality’, it is the epitome of the Pac-12’s struggle to win in nonconference play. At 7-4, Oregon State faces Central Connecticut State before the start of the conference schedule and will likely enter the new year right in the middle of the standings.
However, teams like OSU have essentially no margin for error if it hopes to earn any sort of postseason recognition. The Beavers are on a two-year NCAA Tournament drought that is likely to extend given the overall weak standing of the Pac-12.