It's Nike N7 Time again! This year, Oregon St. hosts the Montana St. Bobcats for the third annual Nike N7 game, where the Beavers partner with Spirit Mountain Casino to honor Native American Heritage Month, and will wear special turquoise Nike uniforms like they have the past two years, and the special edition Nike Air Max HyperAggressor N7. The turquoise color of the Nike uniforms is a distinct departure from the traditional orange and black and is deeply symbolic of friendship and community in Native American culture.
The first 5,000 fans who enter Gill Coliseum will receive a free Nike N7 shirt.
It's an important game for Oregon St., who will be playing their first game in a long time without senior center Angus Brandt. But the Beavers will have to figure out how to get along without Brandt, who suffered a season ending ACL tear in his right knee late in the going in their 66-58 win over Purdue in the third place game in the 2K Sports Classic in Madison Square Garden.
Oregon St. has had 8 days off since their trip to New York, though they did visit the White House at the invitation of First Lady Michelle Obama, the sister of head coach Craig Robinson, for Thanksgiving Dinner.
The Bobcats from the Big Sky Conference opened their season with an 87-72 loss at Seattle on Veterans' Day, but bounced back to bounce Portland 83-64 at home. Montana St. lost 86-72 Thanksgiving eve at the Air Force Academy.
So far this season, its been a pair of junior transfers, 6'0" guard Antonio Bigelow and 6'5" forward Flavien Davis that are leading the way for the Bobcats. Bigelow and Davis are 1-2 in both scoring and assists for Montana St.
Another junior transfer, 6'9" center Paul Egwuonwu, leads the Bobcats on the boards, averaging 6.7 per game, slightly more than the points he scores.
On paper, the Beavers should handle the rebuilt Bobcats, who lost 8 in a row down the stretch before winning their last game of the regular season, only to be eliminated in the first round of their conference tournament. Montana St. went 12-17 last year, including a 7-9 mark in the Big Sky Conference.
But with the need to adjust scheme and rotations, as well as adjust mentally to the loss of Brandt, who will red-shirt and return next year, something Joe Burton specifically addressed this past week, the game takes on a greatly increased importance.
If you get the Pac-12 channel, or are listening to Mike Parker's call of the game, here's the place to asses how the Beavers are moving forward minus Angus, or reflect further on yesterday's Civil War game.