Oregon State Preview

The picture is now awfully clear for the Arizona State Sun Devils (18-11, 8-9). Many experts said ASU would need at least a split in Oregon to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. Following a 67-61 loss to Oregon Ducks on Thursday, the maroon and gold are in a must-win situation against the Oregon State Beavers (6-23, 0-17).

The Sun Devils trounced the Beavers in early January by a score of 72-53 and OSU is still winless in conference play. No Pac-10 team has ever lost all 18 conference games. Oregon State's season has been a disaster from the get-go as they lost Sasa Cuic to professional basketball overseas and then halfway through the season, head coach Jay John was fired and hyped Kansas transfer C.J. Giles was dismissed from the team. There was also an incident with the Washington Huskies in Corvallis that nearly escalated into a brawl and now the Beavers are trying to finish the season without infamy. In the first meeting between these two teams in Tempe, James Harden scored 24 points while Jeff Pendergraph was a force inside with 18 points and 9 rebounds.

Head Coach – Kevin Mouton (Interim)

Projected Starters

PG – Josh Tarver – (7.0 PPG, 2.5 APG)
SG – Seth Tarver – (10.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG)
SF – Marcel Jones – (10.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG)
PF – Omari Johnson – (7.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG)
C – Roeland Schaftenaar – (4.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG)

Impact Reserves

G – Rickey Claitt
G – Joey McConnell
F – Lathen Wallace
F – Sean Carter
C – Calvin Hampton

Overview

The Sun Devils haven't been to the NCAA Tournament since 2003 and with one more win, it is likely they will make their return. Oregon State has played with little heart and little passion all season long however no team wants to earn the dubious distinction of being the first team to go winless in conference play. ASU cannot look ahead and they need to play consistently to lock up a 9-9 conference record.

Guards

Derek Glasser and Jamelle McMillan will man the point against Josh Tarver while Ty Abbott will go up against Josh's twin Seth on the wing. Glasser and McMillan were both inconsistent against Oregon and need to come back strong against OSU. Abbott also played poorly against Oregon and has been on a cold streak lately. Glasser will be alright but Abbott needs to find his rhythm as the season takes on a whole new level of importance in the next few weeks.

Solid Edge – ASU

Forwards

Marcel Jones is a solid ballplayer with a good all-around game but he is the lone bright spot for the hosts. Harden and Rihards Kuksiks will need to provide as much scoring as possible to get ahead early and stay ahead. Arizona State can ill afford to have a cold day on offense or be complacent in this game. And as we all know by now, as Harden goes, usually so go the Devils.

Solid Edge – ASU

Centers

Jeff Pendergraph is the soul of this team and I have a funny feeling that Big Jeff is not going to let a chance at the NCAA Tournament slip through his hands. Thus, don't be surprised if he takes this team on his back if it's close early on. He should have his way against Schaftenaar like he did last meeting.

Solid Edge – ASU

Final Score – ASU 77 OSU 60


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