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Oregon State Basketball: Opponent Preview - Arizona Wildcats (Game 24)

Arizona will be the test of all tests for Oregon State this year.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 05 USC at Arizona Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arizona Wildcats (22-2, 12-1)

  • Head Coach: Tommy Lloyd (1st Season, Overall: 22-2)
  • Points For: 84.9 PPG
  • Points Against: 65.0 PPG
  • Last Game/Streak: 92-68 Win at Washington (6W)

The Skinny

Arizona State v Arizona
Bennedict Mathurin leads a potential number one seed Wildcats squad.
Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images
  • Bennedict Mathurin (17.0 PPG)
  • Azuolas Tubelis (14.9 PPG)
  • Christian Koloko (12.0 PPG)
  • Kerr Kriisa (10.2 PPG)
  • Oumar Ballo (7.7 PPG)
  • Pelle Larsson (7.3 PPG)
  • Dalen Terry (7.0 PPG)

Great offense. Great defense. Great coaching. There’s not too much that Arizona doesn’t bring to the table and in the first season under new head coach Tommy Lloyd, as the Wildcats are as locked in as they can possibly be since their late January defeat at the hands of UCLA.

After dropping just their second game of the year to the Bruins, Arizona has toppled their in-state rival Arizona State twice, exacted revenge on UCLA, knocked off a red-hot USC group and now head into a home clash with the Beavers after winning three-straight Pac-12 road games by a combined 48 points.

They’re not only playing unbelievably sound basketball and nearing a chance to clinch the league regular season crown by the day, but they’re also ranked in the top six nationally in points, assists and rebounds per game. That poses quite a test for a Beavers group that just picked up it’s tenth-straight loss, it’s twentieth overall on the season and moved to 1-11 in league play.

While versatile option Bennedict Mathurin does get the ball rolling for Arizona, much like Lloyd’s previous home at Gonzaga, it’s not a top-heavy, but an insanely deep approach that wears out opponents against the Wildcats, especially on the offensive end.

Guard Kerr Kriisa is by far the heart-and-soul of the group (who also happens to be a lethal long-range sniper), while fellow backcourt mates in Pelle Larsson, Dalen Terry and Justin Kier would all contend for starting roles on near every other team in the Pac-12. Up-front, the Wildcats are no different, with Azuolas Tubelis being eerily reminiscent of a “Zags-esque” talent, aided behind him by true centers Christian Koloko and former Bulldog Oumar Ballo, who both can man the middle with ease.

With just two defeats to their name on the campaign (which both came on the road against potential Elite Eight programs in Tennessee and UCLA), I’d have to say that Oregon State doesn’t need a miracle to pull out even a close loss in this one...they need something much, much stronger than that. If you’re a Beavers fan, just make sure you have some back-up plans for if this one goes south.

Game Information

  • Date: Thursday, February 17th
  • Time: 4:30 PM PT
  • Location: McKale Center (Tucson, Arizona)
  • Coverage: Pac-12 Network