Oregon St.'s Jared Cunningham and Oregon's EJ Singler will lead the Beavers and the Ducks into the 336th Civil War today. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)
Oregon St. (13-7, 3-5) at Oregon (15-5, 6-2) at Matthew Knight Arena 3:30 PM PST / Fox Sports Net & ROOT Sports NW / KEJO 1240 AM / KPAM 860 AM (Streamed)
It's the season's first basketball installment of the Civil War, and if that wasn't enough, this time around, its a pretty big game as we reach the midway point in the Pac-12 season, and both teams are playing well right now, having both swept the LA schools last week.
The Ducks swept the Arizona schools the week before as well, and ended last week tied with California for first place in the Pac-12. The Beavers first weekend sweep of the LA schools since 2005 left them only 3 games out of first place, as they bounced back from their disappointing 1-5 start to the conference season.
Oregon got a 26 point, 7 rebound effort from Medford, OR, native E.J. Singler, which included a 16 of 17 performance at the free throw line, in their win over UCLA. It's usually a question of figuring out whether it will be Singler, Garrett Sim, or Devoe Joseph that has the hottest hand, or the most favorable matchup, in any given game, and then riding that hot hand. Against the Bruins, all 3 were in double figures. All 3 have taken their turns at almost single-handedly shooting down an opponent.
Oregon St. got an 18 point, 5 assist show from Jared Cunningham in their win over USC. Devon Collier added a dozen points, and Eric Moreland grabbed 11 rebounds for the Beavers. Coupled with their Thursday night victory over UCLA, it gave coach Craig Robinson his first ever career sweep of the LA schools.
Against Oregon, the more Oregon St. can get done thru Collier, Moreland, Angus Brandt, and Joe Burton, the better their chances are. The challenges the Beavers have had at picking up perimeter shooters will need to be tightened up, or the possibility exists of Singler, Sim, and Joseph all going wild at the same time with outside shooting.
This is the 336th time the Beavers and the Ducks have got together for some hoops, and Oregon St. has a 31 win advantage overall, having won 183 times, and also the advantage in Eugene, where they have won 86 against 70 losses. Oregon cut into both of those deficits last season though, sweeping the season series.
Oregon pulled out a 63-59 win in Corvallis, in front of a near sellout of Beaver fans, and backed it up by blowing Oregon St. out of Matt Court by an 82-63 score in their first visit to the then new home of the Ducks.
The Civil War wins started and ended a run in which Oregon won 6 of 8 games, and Oregon St. lost 7 of 8. The Ducks salvaged a season that appeared headed for disaster, after losing 7 of 8 games before the first meeting, but ended with Oregon winning the CBI tournament in coach Dana Altman's first year in Eugene, while the Beavers saw a promising start to the season go completely off the tracks.
In 2009, it was the Beavers who got a sweep, starting with a win in their last ever appearance in Mac Court.
Getting their first win at "The Matt" would be a good step for the Beavers in their efforts to finish the season strong, and hopefully reach the post-season. A road win anywhere in the conference has been particularly elusive for Oregon St., as they have lost 13 conference games in a row in other Pac-12 buildings, and 14 straight in those buildings, including last year's loss at Colorado.
Oregon needs the win to keep pace with Washington in the Pac-12 race, after the Huskies completed a weekend sweep in the desert with a 69-67 win over Arizona in Tucson Saturday evening.
Oregon St. can not move up from 8th, place with a win, but would remain ahead of Arizona St. and Washington St., after the Sun Devils downed the Cougars 71-67 Saturday. More importantly, the Beavers would remain only 3 games out of first place with half the conference season ahead, as the top 7 teams are bunched within 2 games of each other.
Here's the place to share CIvil (and uncivil) War stories, critique the half-court stripe on Kilkenny Court (they colored in the area inside the almost invisible out-line lines), and speculate on how the second half of the Pac-12 season will go.