Brown paid attention, as he always does during this time of year, when the field is selected. A self-admitted superfan of college basketball, he dreamed that one day his school would come up on the screen.
That’s what made Sunday so special.
“This is the most exciting time of the year, March,” Brown said. “This is what everybody looks forward to. It’s a fun time of the season. Everyone is going to be watching on every channel: Tru TV, CBS, ESPN. It’s just fun to watch it and now be a part of it."
Since arriving at OSU in 2010, Brown knows what it’s like to miss out on postseason play.
His freshman season, he averaged 6.4 points and 2.5 rebounds for a Cowboy team that won 20 games and exited the NIT with a second-round loss to Washington State.
Last year, he was OSU’s starting point guard for much of the season, boosting his numbers to 10.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. But that year ended with a, 88-70 loss to Missouri in the Big 12 Tournament, and 15 wins isn’t good enough to even make the NIT.
Those experiences make this March that much sweeter.
“It does make me appreciate it more,” Brown said. “No matter who we’re playing at this point of the season, I appreciate being able to play.”
It’s one thing to appreciate being in the tournament. It’s another to succeed in it. As OSU's most veteran player, Brown understands that sentiment. It’s something the Cowboys have discussed within the team since the season began.
“We’ve always talked about making it to the tournament and making a run when we get there,” Brown said. “I think most teams have. It’s very good that we made it here and now it’s time to get down to business … We’re going to take it one game at a time. First up is Oregon. After that, we’ll focus on the next team.
“We’ve been on the road a lot this year, we’ve done well on the road. We went to Puerto Rico and we won it. That helped us out a lot. Going to Cali is not really a big deal.”
The Cowboys showed they’re battle tested this season with experience against two of the tournament’s number-one seeds — Kansas and Gonzaga. Had Marcus Smart not missed two free throws in the final 8.7 seconds against GU, the Cowboys might have recorded victories against both schools during the regular season.
“Playing those teams has helped us out for this tournament,” Brown said. “I think that was the best schedule we could ever play. Putting Gonzaga in there. In the Big 12 playing against Kansas State who got a four-seed, playing against Kansas who got a number-one seed. Iowa State’s in there. Even Oklahoma. We had a very good conference this year and I think we helped each other out going into this tournament.”
But after watching the NCAA Tournament on TV for years, Brown understands that things are tougher in March. And what happened in the regular season means nothing when it’s win or go home. As the Cowboys prepare for Oregon on Thursday, he anticipates something fans of the game, like him, will enjoy.
“They’ve got a nice offense,” Brown said. “It’s going to be a good one.”
UP NEXT: Oregon
The Cowboys (24-8) will face Oregon (26-8) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at 3:40 p.m. Thursday in San Jose, Calif. / TV: TNT / RADIO: KSPI 93.7 FM