OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oregon State has spent the week celebrating its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 26 years.

The next step for Gary Payton II and the Beavers comes Friday. Seventh-seeded Oregon State (19-12) faces Virginia Commonwealth in Oklahoma City.

The 10th-seeded Rams (24-10) are making their sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, though this is the first under coach Will Wade — a former VCU assistant under former coach Shaka Smart who spent the last two seasons at Chattanooga.

Despite being the higher seed, Oregon State enters the game as an underdog — thanks in large part to its relative inexperience compared to that of VCU. The Rams have reached the tournament nine times since 2004, including their 2011 Final Four run.

Payton is the son of former NBA great Gary Payton.

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