Washington (16-11, 8-7) at Oregon State (15-10, 6-8) / Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, OR / 8 PM PST / ESPNU / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon State and Washington meet for the 298th time tonight, and the stakes are about as high as ever, in what could prove to effectively be a playoff game. Both the Beavers and Huskies are hovering around the fringe of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament, with most projections currently having both in either the "First Four Out" or the "Next Four Out", though some are projecting Oregon State as one of the last teams in.
All those projections are based on results to date, and subject to a lot of change, especially for Pac-12 teams, as there are still head to head games between high RPI teams in the next 2 weeks, plus the Pac-12 Tournament. And that doesn't even take into consideration that the standard for an at-large berth will move up or down depending on outcomes in other conferences, especially depending on whether a team that's going anyway wins a conference tournament, and gets a guaranteed bid, or an upset occurs, putting a team that won't get an at-large bid in, and also reducing the number of at-large bids trickling down to the middle or below of the Pac-12 tournament.
It's possible tonight's winner could still get left out, but its also possible the loser will still get in, possibly over the winner, depending on what else happens in the next 2 1/2 weeks. But both teams really help their case with a win, and its arguably the most winnable resume builder for both teams.
Despite being a game and a half of the Beavers in the Pac-12 standings, the Huskies are currently behind in the battle for NCAA tournament at-large berths. Washington's RPI is at 69 entering the game, whereas Oregon State is at 32. The reason is the Huskies have only 3 wins against top 50 RPI opponents, and are 11-11 against the RPI top 200, while the Beavers have 6 wins against RPI top 50 opponents.
Washington comes in having just snapped a 4 game losing streak that took them from conference front-runner status to bubble team with a 64-53 win over Stanford.
Oregon State on the other hand is going the opposite direction lately, having lost 2 in a row, both by double digit margins that still understate the degree to which California and Oregon dominated much of the game, on the way to an 83-71 win by the Bears, and a 91-81 Civil War win by the Ducks.
Both of those were on the road though, and this week the Beavers are back at Gill Coliseum, and for senior week, the last 2 home games for Gary Payton II, Olaf Schaftenaar, Langston Morris-Walker, an Jarmal Reid.
Washington leads the all time series that dates back to 1904 by a 158-139 margin. It's the only regular season meeting between the Huskies and Beavers, as the Pac-12 schedule rotation has the Oregon schools not traveling to the state of Washington for a game for the first time since 1911!