This game will be decided by how well Oregon State's zone defense can contain the high-flying Ducks. The Beavs don't have the offensive firepower to win a shootout with Oregon - they lead the conference at 76.4 ppg while the Beavers are last at 60.5. But the Beavers are No. 2 in the league in allowing just 58.3 points per game. Something has to give. Most pundits think Oregon will be able to go on enough runs to win, and do so rather easily. But Las Vegas has different ideas - Oregon is just a one-point favorite. Oregon State would be the No. 6 seed in the Pac-12 tournament if it began today. The Beavs can't do any better than No. 6 with just one game remaining before the Pac-12 tournament, but they could fall out of that spot with a loss.
Oregon State has struggled offensively all season but the 1-5 stretch has been about tired legs. But what's frankly surprising is that they held up as long as they did.
OSU entered the season with but eight scholarship players. That fell to seven when Victor Robbins was suspended. The past two games the Beavs have basically been operating with 6 1/2, as Olaf Schaaftenauer has been dealing with flu-like symptoms.
Still, first-year coach Wayne Tinkle is the odds-on favorite for Pac-12 coach of the year. OSU was picked to finish dead last in the Pac-12 media poll and some went do far as to predict an 0-18 Pac-12 record.
Tinkle (somehow) has the Beavs at 17-9, 8-9 at the Pac-12.
Oregon at 22-8 (12-5 Pac-12) is probably in the NCAA tournament now regardless of what else happens. But a complete collapse, such as a loss to the Beavs coupled with a second-round loss as the No. 4 seed in the Pac-12 tournament could make things dicey depending on what happens elsewhere.
The game will be televised on the ESPNU at 8 p.m.
Oregon State and Oregon meet for the 344th time, the longest rivalry in college basketball. The Beavs hold a 185-158 edge in the series.
An Oregon State win would result in the second time in the past 25 years Oregon State finished .500 or better in conference play, be just the third time in the past 25 years that Oregon State won at least 18 games and be the first time Oregon State won back-to-back Civil War home games since 2009-2010.
HOOPS: Beavs host Ducks in Civil War
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