If OSU (14-15, 8-9) comes up short, and depending on how the other conference games turn out, Oregon State will finish with no worse than a No. 7 seed, meaning the Beavs have avoided the dreaded play-in game on the first day of the Pac-10 tournament. (The winner of the 8-9 game this year would have to play four games in four days to win the tourney, and there's little time between the first and second games for the 8-9 winner.)
The blueprint for an Oregon State win over the Huskies is not a complicated one. The Beavs must dictate the pace and not allow UW, who lead the Pac-10 in scoring, to score quickly. The UW will be looking to run all game, and transition defense will be key.
The Beavs are playing some good defense of late in their zone packages, primarily the 1-3-1, but they broke down in the second half against WSU the last time out, allowing the Cougars to erase 18 of a 19-point lead. When OSU plays with energy on the defensive end, however, they can beat anyone in the Pac-10.
OSU is tops in the conference at steals (8.3) and three-point percentage defense (30.3). The former could come into play, the latter probably won't -- the UW has not been a strong team shooting from beyond the arc this season.
It's also senior day in Corvallis, and OSU's Josh Tarver, Seth Tarver, Roeland Schaftenaar and Calvin Hampton are to be honored pre-game.