Tournament Preview - Oregon State

With a solid win against WSU, Oregon State has earned the right to play Washington in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals Thursday noon at the Staples Center. The tournament game will be aired live on ROOT Sports and will be carried on 950-KJR AM. This is the first game for the Huskies as they try and go for a tourney three-peat for the first time since Arizona won three from 1988-1990.

Oregon State (18-13, 7-11) has been sort of an enigma this year. Starting out the season 10-2 with only losses to Idaho and a good Vanderbilt team by two points, the Beavers looked to be a team on the rise. However, the orange and black never put it together during Pac-12 play.

Despite that, the Beavers aren't without talent, as Jared Cunningham is considered to be one of the best players in the conference. Averaging 18.2 points on 44 percent shooting, the experienced 6-foot-4 junior guard is a solid offensive player. But, it's on defense where the Oakland native makes his big impact as one of the best on-ball players in the country, averaging 2.6 steals a game.

In the paint, Devon Collier will be a force to watch. The 6-foot-7 sophomore is averaging 12.8 points a game on an efficient 61 percent shooting. The Chicago native also pulls in 5.1 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals a game.

Manning the point guard spot will be the pint-sized Ahmad Starks. Although the sophomore is just 5-foot-9, Starks is a scoring threat, averaging 12.4 points a game. The Chicago native also provides 2.8 assists and 1.7 steals a game. He is also a threat to put up a 3-pointer, as he is No. 96 in deep balls made with 71. He hit four early bombs in OSU's first-round tournament win over Washington State Wednesday.

As a team, Craig Robinson's unique style has some advantages and disadvantages. For the good, the Beavers are ranked No. 5 nationally in steals per game (9.3), No. 5 in free throw attempts (817), No. 10 in points per game (79.3), No. 12 in free throw rate (45.1), No. 39 in field goal percentage (47), No. 42 in efficiency (109.1) and No. 47 in assist to turnover ratio.

Unfortunately for the Beavers, they are just No. 155 in total rebounds per game (34.7) despite averaging 72 possessions per game. Oregon State is also No. 233 in turnover percentage (19.1), No. 289 in defensive field goal percentage (45.5) and No. 295 in points allowed per game (72.5).

Historically, Washington controls the all-time series 155-137 and is 4-1 in neutral court games. The Huskies won both games of their home-home this series; 75-60 in Seattle and 59-55 in Corvallis. If Washington wins, it will be the 14th time UW has beaten Oregon State three times in a season. It last happened during the 2009-2010 season.


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