Oregon St. (17-13, 7-11) vs. Washington St. (15-15, 7-11) at The Staples Center in Los Angeles at NOON PST / Fox Sports Net & ROOT Sports Northwest / KEJO 1240 AM / KPAM 860 AM (Streamed)
Oregon St. and Washington St. kick off the Pac-12 Tournament with the 8/9 matchup, in a showdown at high noon. Conference regular season Champion Washington (21-9, 14-4) awaits the winner Thursday.
The Cougars were stumbling to the finish line, having lost 4 of 5 after defeating Oregon St. 83-73 back on Feb. 9, despite a 33 point night by Jared Cunningham, but managed to beat conference doormat USC 43-38 Saturday. It secured them the home-court jersey for the tournament opener, as all they needed was a tie with the Beavers, having also won 81-76 back on New Year's Eve in Spokane, to claim the tie-breaker.
It was the Brock Motum show, as the Coug's Aussie poured in 27 points, 16 in the second half. The rest of his team only came up with 16 points, and no other player on either side had more than 11 points.
The Beavers ended a 5 game losing streak with a weekend sweep of the conference's newest members, beating both Utah and Colorado by double digit margins at Gill. Oregon St. opened a couple of 31 point leads before coasting home to a 77-67 win over the Utes, as Cunningham came alive after halftime, scoring 15 of his game high 17 points.
Saturday saw the Beavers beat the Buffs 83-69, after Ahmad Starks hit 5 consecutive shots, and scored 14 straight points, early in the second half.
Motum had 26 points and 8 rebounds in the win in Spokane, and backed that up with a 24 point, 9 rebound effort in the rematch in Gill. If Oregon St. is going to get to the second round of the Conference tournament, they are going to have to manage Motum better. The Cougars do have other weapons, and the Beavers will be well served if they play another balanced team game like they used to conquer Colorado. But which northwest rival the Huskies meet probably will be determined by how Motum does.
Here's the place to discuss how your extended lunch and the Beavers' game are going.
Feel free to speculate on how the Pac-12 will fare at getting teams into the post season as well, a prospect that wasn't helped by having 4 of the 5 top teams all falter on the road on the last weekend of the season. Only Oregon can feel good about how they are playing, which could open the door for a first day interloper or two to do some damage as the week goes on.
After one of the wilder seasons in some time in the Pac, the tournament should similarly have some surprises in store.