Game 16 Preview: Oregon State vs. Arizona

Oregon State vs. Arizona  /  7:00PM, Gill Coliseum / No TV

Heading into Sunday's Civil War, the Beavers were alone in last place in the conference standings. Now, with that game against Oregon tacked up as a win, the Beavers are only a game out of the conference lead. It looks like that's the way the Pac-10 is going to be this season.

"I think this will happen all season, as long as no one has any major injuries," Oregon State head coach Craig Robionson said regarding the close Pac-10 race. "You never know from game to game who is going to be playing well and who is going to be playing poorly. Home court advantage is big, compared to playing on the road. I think it can stay this close for awhile."

The Beavers are looking to at least get themselves into the upper part of the Pac-10 standings with their second straight win of conference play, which would put them at 2-2 heading into Saturday's game against Arizona State.

Arizona swept the Beavers last season, but they're not the team they were a year ago. There's no Chase Budinger or Jordan Hill, and there's a new man in charge-- but they're still Arizona, and there's something to be said for that.

Leading the charge for Arizona are freshman Derrick Williams and senior Nic Wise, both who are averaging right around 15 points per game. Also new this year is Solomon Hill, a 6-6 freshman out of Fairfax High in Los Angeles who, along with Williams, should be a star in the league someday. He's averaging just under 9 points per game.

The Wildcats don't have any statistics that jump off the page-- they're a slightly above average offensive team, and a slightly below average defensive team. This is definitely a game the Beavers can win-- but like you'll read Coach Robinson say below, you never know what team will be playing the best on any given night. The Beavers just need to be able to get high percentage shots down low with Schaftenaar, Wallace, and Burton, then shoot a decent percentage from the three-point stripe, and everything should work out. Arizona has historically been a streaky team that can score buckets in droves, so the Beavers need to stay patient, stick to the game plan, and wistand any potential Arizona runs.

Defense has been a huge reason the Beavers have at least been close in every Pac-10 game thus far, and a disruptive zone presence on defense definitely wouldn't hurt the Beavers tonight against Arizona.

That's all I have... the parity in the league is making it harder and harder to preview games. You'll find some more quotes from Craig Robinson's weekly Pac-10 teleconference after the break.

--Jake | (jake.buildingthedam@gmail.com)

Head Coach Craig Robinson

On playing poorly against Seattle, then beating Oregon at Mac Court

"I think you have to take a look at the way we played at Seattle U. For the first time since I have been here, the guys split back into the way they played before I got here. We had a few days before the Oregon game we re- emphasized the way we should be playing and I think the guys were quick to respond to that because they remember all to clear of the Seattle game and what it use to be like."

"What people fail to realize, is that these guys are just a year away removed from losing every game in the conference in the their careers and it's easy to slip back into that if you take your eye off the ball a little bit. When you start to feel good about yourself, you slip back into the bad habits because they are much more familiar when them then the newer habits. I think that explains what happened against Seattle and turning it around in a weeks time because they have had some exposure to what we should be doing that's gotten us past where we use to be."

On how he handled his team after the Seattle loss

"I tried to make the practices after Wednesday so hard that they wouldforget about the loss to Seattle. Thepractices were harder, longer, earlier and more physical."

On Sunday's win at Oregon

"I didn't see it coming out the way it did. I thought we would have our normal effort. The main characteristics of an Oregon State team, no matter what the talent level is, we always play hard, try to execute precisely and
play good defense. We did no of that on Wednesday, but did a good job on Sunday."

On the Conference parity

"I think you have to look at the fact that a few years ago the league was filled with pros who left early and got drafted and are playing professionally. I think that's what it is. Which in turn makes it more of an inexperience issue, rather than just a youth issue. Guys that remained didn't play as much as they guys did you left. At least from what I can see it's more of inexperience than lack of really good playing sticking around for an extra
year."

--Jake | (jake.buildingthedam@gmail.com)

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