Hoops Preview - Oregon State

So far, so good. The University of Washington Huskies are 3-0 in Pac-10 play as they head into their contest with the Oregon State Beavers Saturday at 3:30 p.m. PST. The game will be aired live from Hec Edmundson Pavilion on Fox Sports Northwest and the ISP Radio Network, including KJR-950AM in Seattle.

Oregon State (7-7, 2-1), came into the season with rather low expectations. In the pre-season, the Beavers lived up to that billing. However, with two early wins over Arizona and Arizona State, Oregon State is currently in a tie for third in the conference.

One thing to keep in mind is the unique Princeton offense that OSU Head Coach Craig Robinson likes to run. On the defensive end, Robinson favors the zone, especially the 1-3-1.

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said the zone will be hard to break down for the Huskies.

"Hopefully we can present some problems to their zone," Romar said. "I know it is much more difficult to play against their zone when you have smaller guards. That has shown with teams that play against them that have smaller guards, struggle a little more."

One of the keys to the Beavers' zone success is Jared Cunningham. The 6-foot-4 sophomore guard is averaging 3.3 steals per game, which puts him at a tie for No. 2 in the country. On the offensive end, the Oakland native is averaging 14.1 points per game on 47 percent shooting from the field, 80 percent from the free-throw line and 42 percent from three.

Second in scoring behind Cunningham is senior guard Calvin Haynes. The 6-foot-3, Reseda, Calif. native is averaging 11.2 points on 43 percent shooting from the field. He also averages 3.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Last season Haynes finished as a second-team Pac-10 performer.

Leading the way in the rebounds department is Omari Johnson, with seven per contest. The 6-foot-9 senior forward is also contributing 9.9 points per game on 50 percent shooting from the field and also chips in with 1.5 steals per game. Although he attended high school in Los Angeles, Johnson was born in Kingston, Jamaica.

Expect Joe Burton, Lathan Wallace and exciting freshmen Ahmad Starks and Roberto Nelson to also play their fair share of minutes in this game.

Although Oregon State won't block many shots, the team ranks first in the country in steals per game and steal percentage. From an opponent's perspective, the Beavers are prone to blocked shots, giving up an average of 2.6 blocks a game to their competitors, which is the 45th highest mark in the country.

Romar said Friday that this is a more athletic Oregon State team than in the past few years and it can be seen on the defensive end of the ball. "They are more wide open, not as deliberate as they have been in the past," he said. "They get up and down a little bit more. In their zone, they have really good size one through five, and they can present problems for you."

Following this game, Washington will take their show to the Bay Area to take on the Cardinal of Stanford (9-4, 2-0) on Thursday at 7 p.m. PST. As of right now, there is no TV for this game; however, the game will be aired live on the ISP Radio Network, including KJR-950AM in Seattle.


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