The Arizona Wildcats and Oregon State Beavers are set to do battle Thursday night in Tucson.
Arizona (12-4, 2-1 Pac-12) is coming off a disappointing road loss to the Colorado Buffaloes that snapped its nine-game winning streak, while Oregon State (10-5, 2-1) comes in off a win against the Oregon Ducks.
Even though Arizona and Oregon State have the same conference record, the Wildcats are favored by 15 points, per ESPN.
KenPom gives Arizona a 90 percent chance of winning with a projected score of 81-67.
Our predictions for the game are below. Be sure to leave yours in the comment section.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m. MST and the game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.
Ryan Kelapire — Arizona wins 86-73
Oregon State is one of the overlooked teams in the Pac-12 (probably because they were so awful last year), and I really like the talent they have. Tres Tinkle is heathly now and can do a lot of great things, the Thompson brothers are promising (Stephen, especially), and Drew Eubanks is an athletic big that’s as good as any in the conference (aside from Deandre Ayton, of course).
But asking them to win in McKale is too much. I predicted a 13-point victory for Arizona, but I could see this game being much closer than that. One problem for Oregon State is it’s a poor shooting team, so I don’t see how it will score enough to outlast the Wildcats’ offense.
Christopher Boan — Arizona wins 77-74
Oregon State is a sneaky good team under Wayne Tinkle, thanks in large part to his large adult son, Tres, who’s averaging 18.3 points per game this year. The Beavers aren’t a sexy offensive machine, putting up just over 75 points per game this year, but feature a potent defense that leads the conference in points allowed (68.6), while ranking second in defensive rebounds per game, behind Arizona.
The Beavers are much better than their 115th spot in the latest KenPom standings, and could pose problems for the Wildcats, in a trap game of sorts before Saturday’s matinee against Oregon. Tinkle, in combo with Stephen Thompson Jr. and Drew Eubanks, average 48.6 points per game combined, and could pose issues for Arizona’s bipolar defense.
Not expecting the Beavers to beat Arizona for the first time since their shocking 58-56 win in 2015, but I’m not ruling it out either.
Jason Bartel — Arizona wins 85-55
Ryan tells me Oregon State might only lose this game by 15. So I’m going to double that number since I think the Wildcats will crush them at home after losing like they did in Boulder.
Pac-12 teams aren’t good enough to succeed on the road. See what OSU did to CU in Corvallis and then what CU did to the Arizona schools last week as the only proof you need of that.
Alec Sills-Trausch — Arizona wins 77-59
Oregon State plays slow, doesn’t defend particularly well, and doesn’t score well either. That’s all a recipe to get smoked by Arizona. (Though, to be fair, I said almost the same thing against Colorado and that didn’t work out... mea culpa everyone.) But with this game in Tucson, with the students back, McKale will be rocking and this shouldn’t be close. Now, let’s hope Miller reaches the team and figures out this defense issue as we’re only two months out from the NCAA Tournament and UA is still ranked 75 in Adjusted Defense per KenPom. Which, my friends, is very bad.
Matt Sheeley — Arizona wins 79-68
Following Arizona’s three-point loss to Colorado that felt like a 15 point loss, one might expect a huge bounceback effort from the Wildcats. But I’m starting to wonder if Arizona has an edge or an extra gear at all. Maybe these Wildcats just are what they are — a super-athletic offensive team with no depth and little effort on defense. Either way, that version of Arizona should be enough to get the job done against the Beavers on Thursday night. OSU doesn’t have the athleticism and simply can’t score enough to keep up with the Wildcats.
Marcus Russell (Oregon State writer from Building the Dam) — Arizona wins 72-61
Oregon State has not proven to be a good road team in recent years. Arizona is also extremely talented (even if they are facing some adversity).