The Oral Roberts Golden Eagles have emerged as one of the surprising stories of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Indianapolis.
The bracket-busting started Friday, when Oral Roberts – a No. 15 seed – stunned almost everybody with a 75-72 upset of No. 2-seeded Ohio State. On Sunday, Oral Roberts pulled off another surprising victory, toppling No. 7-seeded Florida, 81-78, to reach the Sweet 16. Oral Roberts will play No. 3 seed Arkansas in the Sweet 16 on Saturday.
This is Oral Roberts’ best NCAA Tournament showing since 1974, when the Golden Eagles reached the Elite Eight with a run that included wins over college basketball blue-bloods such as Syracuse and Louisville before bowing out against Kansas.
Oral Roberts’ unlikely March Madness run actually started two weeks ago in the Summit League men’s basketball tournament.
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How the Golden Eagles got to March Madness
In the regular season, Oral Roberts finished fourth in the eight-team Summit League with a 10-5 league record, finishing behind South Dakota State, South Dakota and North Dakota State.
On March 7, Oral Roberts opened a three-day run to win the conference tournament. In its first-round game, Oral Roberts defeated North Dakota. The next night in the semifinal, Oral Roberts defeated the regular-season champion South Dakota State Jackrabbits. It then defeated North Dakota State in the conference championship game to punch its first NCAA Tournament ticket since 2008.
Oral Roberts is powered by conference player of the year and the nation’s top scorer, guard Max Abmas. Forward Kevin Obanor (18.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game) and guard RJ Glasper (11 points per game) also averaged double digits in scoring for the Golden Eagles this season.
What is Oral Roberts University?
Founded as a private university in 1963 and located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Oral Roberts boasts an enrollment of more than 4,000 students and offers more than 70 undergraduate majors. According to the school’s official website, its mission is “to develop Holy Spirit-empowered leaders through whole person education to impact the world.”
The university was founded by Oral Roberts, a famous evangelist.
Who is Oral Roberts?
Granville Oral Roberts was born on Jan. 24, 1918, the son of a Pentecostal preacher. He lived to be 91 years old, dying in 2009. During his lifetime, Roberts emerged as a well-known figure in religious circles, with a televised faith-healing ministry that attracted millions of followers, according to his New York Times obituary. Roberts was remembered as a founding father of the “prosperity gospel,” a belief that prayers can deliver wealth and health.