‘Got to Give Props’: Stephen A. Smith Is Hyped About Oral Roberts at 2021 March Madness

Published 03/24/2021, 2:30 PM EDT
Mar 19, 2021; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Oral Roberts Golden Eagles forward Kevin Obanor (0) and guard Carlos Jurgens (11) and guard Max Abmas (3) and forward Francis Lacis (22) celebrate after an overtime victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Mackey Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports


2021 March Madness has reached the Sweet Sixteen stage, and the tournament is unpredictable as ever. The biggest underdog so far have been the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles, who recently became just the second #15 seed to advance to this stage of an NCAA Tournament. 

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Oral Roberts advanced to the 2021 NCAA Tournament as a #15-seed and were expected to head home in the first round. But that’s where everyone went wrong. The Golden Eagles came into the tournament to create an impact, and they’re now looking to create further upsets heading into the Sweet 16. 

Oral Roberts pulled off an upset against #7 Florida Gators in the second-round and joined the 2013 Florida Gulf Coast team as the only #15 seeds to reach the last-16 of an NCAA Tournament. 

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Mar 19, 2021; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Oral Roberts Golden Eagles guard Max Abmas (3) and guard Carlos Jurgens (11) and head coach Paul Mills and forward DeShang Weaver (14) huddle after an overtime victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Mackey Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen A. Smith is excited about the extending Cinderella run of Oral Roberts

There is always one team that enjoys a Cinderella run at an NCAA Tournament. Likewise, Oral Roberts is this year’s special team to watch out for. The team posted an 18-10 regular-season record and came into March Madness on the back of a five-game win streak.

It has now turned into a seven-game win-streak now, and there’s the possibility of it extending further. Renowned sports journalist Stephen A. Smith always gets hyped about underdog teams, and he had massive words of praise for Oral Roberts.

“These brothers can play. They beat Ohio State and they beat Florida and they are the second number 15 seed to reach a Sweet 16. Look, I got to give props. When we talk about Cinderellas we got to talk about that because Cinderellas is what you expect of a March Madness,” Smith mentioned. 

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Smith also hailed Golden Eagles’ Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor for their offensive heroics throughout the season. As per ESPN, “Oral Roberts is the third Summit League team to reach the Sweet 16, and the first since 1998.”

The Golden Eagles will now play #3 seed Arkansas Razorbacks in the Sweet 16. Oral Roberts would look to extend their stay in Indianapolis with a win, but the odds are once again against them. Can the dynamic duo of Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor help them pull off yet another upset? 

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Arjun Athreya

1822 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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