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Oregon State Basketball: Opponent Preview - Arizona Wildcats (Game 27)

Even with all their success, it’s been a turbulent ride for Arizona so far.

NCAA Basketball: Arizona at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Wildcats (21-6)

  • Latest BTD Pac-12 Power Rankings: 1st Overall
  • Head Coach: Sean Miller (9th Season)
  • Top Performer: Deandre Ayton (19.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG)
  • Points For: 81.7 PPG (35th)
  • Points Against: 71.9 PPG (163rd)
  • Last Game/Streak: 77-70 Win at Arizona State (2W)

The Skinny

With four games left on their regular season slate and a game-and-a-half lead over USC and UCLA in the Pac-12 standings, Arizona can surely begin to close the door on securing the league’s regular season title on Thursday night against Oregon State. After all, the odds are totally stacked in the Wildcats’ favor, except for the small technicality that they’ll be playing this one on the road in Corvallis.

But c’mon, is a less-than-daunting road environment like Gill Coliseum that big of a cause for concern for a talent-deep team like the Wildcats? Unfortunately for the members of Beaver Nation, probably not.

While the potentially hostile (you have to imagine fans pack the place for Arizona) environment could help to rally Oregon State into at least bringing their best effort, how the Beavers actually get over the hump and knock off Arizona is just about anybody’s guess. For once, the Beavers front-court simply doesn’t trump the Wildcats’ Deandre Ayton and Dusan Ristic duo and Sean Miller has the beauty of relying on five-to-six different guards/play-makers on any given night to compliment their future professional bigs in the paint.

Wayne Tinkle has some slightly less options.

Unless the bench can find their way and give the starters for Oregon State the help they’ve been searching for, it could be another long night in the Pac-12’s best college town.

Prediction: Arizona 77, Oregon State 63

Players To Watch

Deandre Ayton (FR - Forward): What can you say about Ayton that hasn’t already been said? Along with Oklahoma’s Trae Young, he’s probably one of the most confusing players to try and contain on a scouting report as he can do just about anything he wants with the ball on the floor at any time. His size, skill, versatility and talent should be a complete headache for the Beavers all-night long.

Allonzo Trier (JR - Guard): Even with all the hype surrounding this team being centered around Ayton (and rightfully so), Trier has still found his way to keep himself as the focal point of this Wildcats’ group. When all is right with Arizona, the love gets shared around. But when the wheels begin to come off, it’s always Trier holding the group together.

Dusan Ristic (SR - Forward): Ristic’s name could easily have been replaced by Rawle Alkins or Parker Jackson-Cartwright or a slew of other Wildcats, but the seven-foot senior’s recent string of improved play gives him all the reason to be listed here. His current streak of three double-doubles in his four outings only scratches the surface on his impact.

Game Info

  • Date: Thursday, February 22nd
  • Time: 6:00 PM PT
  • Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
  • Coverage: Fox Sports 1