Oregon State Preview

Tim Tebow vs. Tom Brady or Devils vs. Beavers? Where is your focus going to be on Saturday evening? While the NFL Playoffs swing into full force, the Arizona State Sun Devils (5-11, 1-3) will look to get back to their (periodic) winning ways against the Oregon State Beavers (11-6, 1-4) to close out their first home weekend of Pac-12 play.

For the Sun Devils, nothing is coming easy – with a roster influx and an unorthodox rotation, ASU looked tired in the waning minutes of their last couple games and most recently against Oregon, the Ducks just outlasted the Devils and pulled away late to win a 67-58 battle. Trent Lockett is playing out of position running the point and he's giving it his all but he needs help around him. Lockett finished with 23 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds to lead ASU but Carrick Felix was the lone Sun Devil in double digits with 11 points in the loss.

All the excitement and hype the Beavers received for their non-conference results have fizzled quickly as OSU has lost four of their first five conference games including two consecutive brutal overtime losses at the hands of Stanford and Arizona. Jared Cunningham continues his leap to stardom with each game and led the Beavers in Tucson with 22 points.

Projected Starters

G - Jared Cunningham (17.8 PPG, 3.1 APG) vs. Trent Lockett (14.3 PPG, 44% 3PT)

G – Ahmad Starks (13.7 PPG, 38% 3PT) vs. Carrick Felix (10.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG)

G/F – Eric Moreland (4.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG) vs. Chanse Creekmur (4.9 PPG, 36% 3PT)

F – Joe Burton (9.9 PPG, 6.4 RPG) vs. Jonathan Gilling (4.7 PPG, 42% 3PT)

F – Angus Brandt (9.8 PPG, 47% 3PT) vs. Ruslan Pateev (4.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG)

Backcourt

After Cunningham, the Beavers have a few more dangerous weapons in their arsenal in the form of Ahmad Starks and Roberto Nelson. Cunningham is a player than can do absolutely everything and gets to the foul line more than anyone in the Pac-12. Starks and Nelson are aggressive shooters that can score in bunches. They could both prove very problematic for the ASU zone that often allows good shooters a lot of open looks. Challe Burton, the Swedish freshman is another guard who will get some run off the bench.

Another game, another unusual lineup with Lockett running the point with Creekmur and Felix to his left and his right – the lack of depth has really hurt ASU and in a season where a lot of things have gone wrong, the fact that Jahii Carson isn't available and Keala King's attitude got him the boot – the backcourt that could have been has just been pummeled.

Edge – OSU

Frontcourt

Like Oregon, the Beavers have a big, physical squad with a good amount of depth that poses problems for their opponents and will be especially tough for ASU to keep up with. Moreland, Burton and Brandt are solid interior players that are very long and disruptive. Burton and Moreland are solid in the paint while Brandt is more comfortable in the mid-range game and can even hurt you from three-point land if left open. Devon Collier is a stud and he doesn't even start while Kevin McShane is another big body that provides the starters a rest.

Luckily, Kyle Cain is back in the fold after his suspension to add to the frontcourt depth as Ruslan Pateev really has improved his game but can't be out there for more than 25 minutes a game. Jordan Bachynski is the third man in the three-deep depth chart and when he is productive, it usually means good things but his productivity is inconsistent to say the least.

Edge – OSU

How ASU Wins

Trent Lockett will get his. Carrick Felix will probably get his. Then who? Oregon State has a deep rotation with a lot of talent up and down the roster. ASU is depleted and hasn't gotten much consistent help outside of Lockett and Felix. Gilling seems like the only guy really capable of scoring and his effort is vital to ASU's chances of surprising the Beavers. Doesn't matter who it is but someone else needs to pick it up and help Lockett and Felix. Simple as that.

Final Score – OSU 81 ASU 69


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