Arizona at Oregon St Preview
Arizona will try to salvage a road split when it takes on Oregon State on Saturday. The Beavers, as is typical under Craig Robinson, are a talented team thatís struggling to put the pieces together.
Oregon State started the season well by racing to a 9-2 record. Its only defeats were close loses to Alabama and Kansas. Since then, though, the Beavers have lost three of four gamesóall at home. This stretch includes a one point loss to a Towson team that notched a single victory last season. Oregon State is 0-2 in Pac-12 play after double-digit loses to Oregon and Arizona State.
Roberto Nelson leads the Beavers with 15.5 points per game while shooting an impressive 44% from three-point range. Playing suffocating defense against Nelson will be key for the Wildcats. Arizona has struggled mightily with containing perimeter shooters, and cannot afford to let the Beaverís most dangerous player go off. However, the Wildcats also must be careful not to overlook Ahmad Starks. The diminutive guard is third on the team in scoring and shoots a hair below 44% from behind the arc. This game could easily be decided by long distance shooting.
Eric Moreland is Oregon Stateís best rebounder. The 6í10Ē sophomore averages a double-double and shoots an incredible 62% from the field. Devon Collier is another dangerous player with size; heís second on the team in scoring and rebounding. Joe Burton, at nearly 300 pounds, also provides plenty of beef in the post. The Beavers used to have an even bigger team, but center Angus Brandt was sidelined with injury just four games into the season.
Outlook: The Beavers are desperate for a win. Starting the Pac-12 season 0-3 at home is an alarming prospect for this team. They can be dangerous, as they have no shortage of talent and size. Furthermore, for whatever reason, Oregon State has been a huge thorn in Arizonaís side since Sean Millerís arrival.
The Wildcats are also in need of a win. Arizona isnít in danger of having its season tailspin out of control like the Beavers', but there is still a lot on the line. If the Wildcats want to remain among the nationís elite and compete for the Pac-12 crown, this is a game they can ill afford to lose.
Based on Oregon Stateís disappointing play as of late, it seems unlikely an upset is in the works. Although the Wildcats have struggled for stretches on both sides of the ball, the Beavers are far more erratic. Of course, if Arizona fails to show up until the final few minutes again, things could get interesting.