For Oregon State, this season represents a change in attitude as Craig Robinson has taken over after playing his college ball at Princeton and later coaching at Brown. In a situation eerily reminiscent of Herb Sendek's first season in Tempe, Robinson has focused a lot of energy on instilling a winning attitude and also recruiting. A former basketball powerhouse in the Ralph Miller days of the 1980s, the Oregon State Beavers have not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1990.
Head Coach – Craig Robinson
G – Rickey Claitt – (8.4 PPG, 51% 3PT)
G – Seth Tarver – (6.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG)
F – Omari Johnson – (10.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG)
F – Daniel Deane – (7.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG)
C – Roeland Schaftenaar – (7.6 PPG, 3.3 RPG)
The Beavers are a guard-heavy squad and use a pretty steady rotation for every game. Rickey Claitt and Josh Tarver split duties running the point while Seth Tarver, Calvin Haynes, and Omari Johnson spread out on the wings. Claitt and Seth Tarver usually get the starting nods and have been solid if not spectacular this season. Claitt has been able to score in spurts and Tarver has shown his versatility this year by doing everything well on both ends of the floor.
If Claitt can expose the zone like Jerome Randle did for Cal and Tarver can deny Harden some looks – the Beavers will keep it closer than many expect.
For the Sun Devils, getting the most minutes in the backcourt will be Derek Glasser at the point with James Harden and Ty Abbott on the wings. Harden was dominant against Cal by keeping the defenders guessing all game long.
Abbott is in a tough cold stretch right now and his shots need to start finding the net if the Sun Devils expect to win. He does however compensate for his offensive struggles with solid defensive efforts.
To be successful, Glasser and Abbott need to take some pressure off of Harden and keeping the Beaver defense honest. If Abbott tries to shoot himself out of the slump and fails, the Beavers may capitalize like Cal did.
Edge – ASU
In terms of size, this matchup favors the Beavers. Deane and Schaftenaar are big bodies that take up a lot of space in the paint. However, size is not the only thing that matters. Both big men are not terribly offensive and they've had trouble with talented post players. If Deane and Schaftenaar can get Jeff Pendergraph into foul trouble, they have a fighting chance.
The big if in this game is Jeff Pendergraph's health status. After spraining an MCL on Sunday at Cal, Pendergraph was limited in practice early in the week but is reportedly good to go now. We'll see at game time. JP4's complement, Rihards Kuksiks, had a big weekend in the Bay Area and will look to continue his rapid improvement against OSU. If Pendergraph is back and Kuksiks can keep knocking them down, the Beavers will be overwhelmed.
Edge – ASU
Oregon State's best player isn't even a starter – yet. Calvin Haynes started his season a little later than his teammates and in six games, he has posted 14 points or more in every game he has played. He drives to the basket well and can hit it from the perimeter if he has some room. Josh Tarver is another experienced player that is capable of filling in at any backcourt spot and can't be fazed. The Beavers do lack an inside presence off the bench but Calvin Hampton can provide some quality minutes when needed.
The Sun Devils bench continues to be inconsistent but a couple players may start logging more minutes. If Pendergraph's MCL Sprain isn't 100%, Taylor Rohde and Eric Boateng will share time in his place. Also, while purely speculative, it wouldn't come as a total shock to see Jerren Shipp start stealing minutes from the slumping Ty Abbott. Shipp is well below Abbott's athletic level and defensive prowess but Shipp is an intelligent ballplayer who matches up well against bigger guards.
Edge – OSU
Final Score – ASU 70 OSU 59