CORVALLIS -- In the immediate aftermath of Oregon State's loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament one week ago, coach Craig Robinson delivered a simple message to his team: Don't check out, the season's not yet done.
The Beavers might have been hoping for a bid into the National Invitation Tournament, but with a 16-15 record, it was obvious they were heading back to familiar territory.
At 7 p.m. today, Oregon State will host Radford at Gill Coliseum in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational, a third-tier postseason tournament that includes 16 teams and a best-of-three championship series.
This marks the fourth time in six years the Beavers have been in the CBI, a tournament they won in 2009, Robinson's first season in Corvallis.
"This is what we earned, and you've just got to deal with it," junior forward Eric Moreland said before practice on Monday. "None of us wanted to be in the CBI, we wanted to be in higher tournaments, but we're going to go out and play hard."
Robinson, who also noted his disappointment at not making the NIT, said there was no discussion about turning down an offer to play in the CBI and that his team wanted to keep playing.
"Disappointed people might look at it as, 'Why are we playing in the CBI?' I don't see it that way," Robinson said. "I think every opportunity you get to coach your team and your team gets to play real competitive games is important."
Besides, Moreland said, the Beavers, who have
"We haven't proved ourselves to be Indiana, where they say, 'We don't play in the CBI, we're better than that.' We haven't proved that," he said. "When we get invited to something we take it and try and win a championship."
That's what the Beavers did in 2009, beating UTEP in three games to win the title. Oregon State won two games in the 2012 tournament before losing to Washington State in the semifinals. In 2010, the Beavers were one-and-done in the tournament, dropping their opening-round game at Gill Coliseum to Boston University, 96-78.
"First of all, that was a completely different team," said center Angus Brandt, who was a seldom-used freshman on that 2010 team. "I think that group had checked out."
This year's team is led by a senior group that includes Brandt, forward Devon Collier and guard Roberto Nelson, who led the Pac-12 in scoring at 20.5 points per game.
They'll be matched up against a Radford team that is 21-12 overall and went 10-6 in the Big South Conference.
This is the first trip to the postseason for the Highlanders since making the NCAA Tournament in 2009.
"This is an outstanding achievement for our young basketball team in just our third year together," third-year Radford coach Mike Jones said. "Being one of a select group of Division I teams who get to keep playing basketball and get to compete for a postseason championship is exciting. We are humbled and grateful for this opportunity and look forward to competing with all we have."
Radford is led by junior all-league forward Javonte Green, who averages team-highs of 16.9 points and 8.2 rebounds. But the Highlanders start just one player taller than 6-4, compared to the Beavers, who have a pair of 6-10 starters in Brandt and Moreland, and also the 6-8 Collier.
"They look undersized," Brandt said. "Looks like it's going to be a game we'll be able to take advantage of our size and look to score in the paint. But they have 20 wins this season so obviously they know how to score and they know how to win games."
The winner of tonight's game will play either South Dakota State or Old Dominon on Monday. Those two teams play each other at 4 p.m. today. The semifinal games will be one week from today, followed by the start of the championship series on March 31.
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