The Bad News Beavers are back

Are those the Oregon State Beavers at 8-3 as a basketball team?

Were it not for a wildly sub-par performance Sunday afternoon in Connecticut, they'd be 9-2 and possibly even getting some votes in the Top 25.

Wow, what a turnaround from the past six years when the program was competitive, but didn't stand out as being even remotely worthy of national attention beyond coach Craig Robinson's brother-in-law.

This season, coach Wayne Tinkle has the Beavers looking like - they might finish ahead of Oregon in the Pac-12 standings. At least OSU supporters can ponder if that's possible.

Heck, it's not just the record, but the victories that get some attention starting with DePaul on Thursday. It wasn't just a victory, but a shellacking - 90-59 - at Gill Coliseum. That followed a 71-43 win over Grambling State three days earlier. Maybe it was the water in Corvallis ... that didn't transfer to the East Coast where the team lost 60-52 to Quinnipiac Sunday.

Tinkle, who got a nod as "Sexiest Coach in America" by a female writer last season, has a team of "Bad News Beavers" sparking attention to team records. When was the last time the Beavers reached the NCAA Tournament? The year was 1990. A whole century ago. The team hasn't finished as high as fifth since 2010, and hasn't finished higher than that since 1990, the year after Ralph Miller retired and left successor Jimmy Anderson with a team capable of winning the conference title.

Last season, OSU finished 16-16 and 8-10 in conference games, matching it's top conference win total for the previous 21 years.

Oregon State has finished with a winning record just twice in the last 24 years.

The Beavers, who have five players with passports to play here, are off until a home game with UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 30, then travel to Eugene for a January 3rd game with the Ducks, who are also 8-3, but with a far less impressive resume so far. Oregon, though, has a program that responds to late-season pressure, so 8-3 is just fine. Oregon State is a program that simply needs to respond to every game, and it's been doing that this season in a way it hasn't for decades.