Hoops Preview - Oregon State

With a solid win to end the non-conference part of their schedule, the Washington Huskies (6-5) will now have their focus set on the Oregon State Beavers (10-2). The first Pac-12 game in Washington basketball history will take place Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Alaska Airlines Arena.

It begins at the same time as the Alamo Bowl, so UW is keeping the arena open post-game to watch the remainder of the bowl game free of charge on the jumbotron.

Oregon State, who has been the class of the Pac-12 so far this season, only has losses to No. 22 Vanderbilt and Idaho. Looking for signature wins the Beavers haven't had much, but they did beat 9-3 Texas.

Making the moves for the Beavers is Craig Robinson, who is in his fourth season at Oregon State and has a 49-57 record. Most notably known for being the brother-in-law of President Barack Obama, Robinson has had only one winning season in his coaching career, which was during the 2007-08 season at Brown. His team went 19-10 that year.

As for Robinson's squad, Jared Cunningham is arguably the best player in the conference. The 6-foot-4 junior guard averages 16.8 points per game on 45 percent shooting and 8.3 free-throw attempts per game. To go with that, he is third in the nation averaging three steals a game and No. 39 in plus/minus average at plus-16.4.

Another steal artist, Ahmad Starks will start at the point guard spot. A diminutive 5-foot-9 sophomore, Starks is No. 68 nationally in steals with 2.1 thefts per contest, but he also averages 12. 5 points, three assists and just 1.3 turnovers per game.

Starting at one of the forward positions, Devon Collier averages 14.1 points per game on 65.7 percent shooting, good enough for No. 17 nationally. The 6-foot-7 sophomore from the Bronx, N.Y. is also averaging 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.3 steals per game.

Although not a starter, Roberto Nelson is high up on the charts in terms of pure talent. A 6-foot-3 sophomore guard, Nelson is averaging 11.2 points on 46 percent shooting coming off the bench. Nelson started the season out slow, but has put up 12, 11, 16, 21, 20, 14 and 16 points in his last seven games.

As a team, Oregon State has just four upperclassmen, so they are considered young. The Beavers also have five players 6-foot-10 or taller. Using coach Robinson's unorthodox 1-3-1 zone on defense, Oregon State seems to be turning the corner under his watch. Boasting the No. 27 defensive efficiency in the country at 88.4, the Beavers also allow just 0.88 points per possession (No. 25 in the country). The Beavers are also No. 5 in steals per game with 10.4 and No. 35 in blocks per game at 5.1.

On offense, Oregon State will feature the Princeton Offense. Most notably, the Beavers average 83.4 points (No. 8) and 18.3 assists (No. 5) per game. Oregon State also draws 23.2 fouls per contest, which is only behind Kansas State (25.9) and New Mexico State (24.8).

Historically, Washington holds the all-time series at 153-137 and is 101-40 at home against the Beavers. Oregon State's last win at Washington came in 2003, which was coach Romar's first season at UW. Romar has a 14-5 record against the Beavers while Robinson is just 1-6 against the Huskies.


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