UPDATE.... Poll added at the bottom. You should vote.
The Beavers hit the road this week for what will be their first Pac-10 roadtrip under head coach Craig Robinson, and they have a lot to live up to.
In case you're just joining us, Oregon State beat USC 62-58 last Sunday, breaking a 21-game conference losing streak. And for the first time in a long time, the Beavers are out of the bowels of the Pac-10 conference standings and currently sit at 1-1.
Two games into the season, the Beavers are currently tied for third place in the Pac-10 conference standings.
Along with Oregon State sits Arizona State, who is also 1-1 after beating Stanford 90-60 and losing to Cal 81-71 last week on the road. The Sun Devils will return to Wells-Fargo Arena for their Pac-10 conference opener against the Beavers on Thursday, then play the Ducks on Saturday.
When these two teams met on January 5 of last year at Wells-Fargo Arena, Arizona State prevailed 72-53. Then-freshman James Harden scored 24, and then-junior Jeff Pendergraph tossed in another 18.
When the two teams met again on March 8, it was the same story. The Devils won a narrower game by the score of 77-64. Lathen Wallace had 22 points in that game for Oregon State.
Just like he did in the game I just mentioned from last year, sophomore James Harden (pictured, right) will likely lead the Sun Devils in scoring... he's been doing it consistently all season. He's currently the Pac-10 scoring leader, averaging 23.4 points per game. That mark puts him at tenth in the nation. He averaged 17.8 points per game last season. Harden is also second in the conference in steals, and seventh in assists. The kid can play.
The Sun Devils other major threat is senior big-man Jeff Pendergraph. The 6'9", 240 post is averaging 14.3 points per game, and currently has the highest field goal percentage (66.4) in the conference. Unsurprisingly, he's the Sun Devils' leading rebounder, averaging 7.4 per game. Along with USC's Taj Gibson, this guy is also headed for the professional ranks soon. It will be interesting to see if the Beavers can contain him as well as they did Gibson on Sunday.
Rihards Kuksiks, an undersized forward from Latvia, has started every game this season after being bothered by knee problems last season. He's a dual threat guy who can drive to the rim or shoot from outside-- he's fourth in the Pac-10 in field goal shooting.
Sophomore Ty Abbott exceeded expectations last year as a freshman, when he started all 34 games for the Sun Devils, averaged almost 10 points per game and made 76 three-point shots making him one of the top 10 freshmen long-range shooters in Pac-10 history. He's currently third on his team in three-point shooting (shooting 27.8 percent) but he could break out of the slump anytime soon.
Running the point for the Sun Devils will be junior Derek Glasser, who's tied for fourth in the conference in assists. He averages 6.1 points per game and 5.0 assists per game, and is one of the Pac-10's best.
The Sun Devils enter the game with the fifth best scoring offense in the Pac-10; and they're winning games by an average of 16.3 points. They're the best free-throw shooting team in the conference, and they're talented from behind the arc as well. ASU is also an unselfish team, ranking #1 is assists.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7:37 on FSN.