Arizona (13-5, 4-1) fell to Oregon on Thursday, thanks to a “selfish” offensive performance. That same night Oregon State (11-5, 3-1) lost 70-67 to ASU, nearly erasing an 18-point second-half deficit in Tempe.
Here are some things to watch for on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. MST on the Pac-12 Network.
Head coach’s son
If the season ended now, Oregon State forward Tres Tinkle would be the Pac-12 Player of the Year. The son of OSU head coach Wayne Tinkle, Tres is averaging 20.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
The junior’s 3-point (.310) and free-throw percentages (.741) are down from last season, but they have risen since the start of Pac-12 play where he is shooting 37 percent from 3. If there is a weakness in Tinkle’s game, it is his inability to stay healthy. He missed almost the entire 2016-17 season with a broken wrist and has been dealing with a sprained ankle recently, which forced him to sit out in OSU’s overtime win vs. USC.
Tinkle has played in the last two games, but is not quite 100 percent. Even still, his numbers in conference play are scorching and, at 6-foot-8, the Wildcats do not have an obvious answer for him defensively.
Assistant coach’s sons
Oregon State has two more coach’s sons on its roster in brothers Ethan and Stephen Thompson Jr., whose father is an assistant coach. The Los Angeles natives are OSU’s third- and second-leading scorers, respectively.
While Stephen, a senior, is older, Ethan, a sophomore, has been the better player this season. His point-per-game average (13.2) is slightly lower than his brother’s, but his shooting percentages are much higher.
Ethan had 21 points and made five 3s against Arizona State on Thursday. He is shooting 39 percent from distance this season.
Stephen had 34 points and made five 3s in the win against USC, along with 10 rebounds. Aside from Tinkle, he is OSU’s leading assister at 3.8 per game.
Both Thompsons are solid players and would probably start for Arizona.
Arizona had problems with Oregon State’s 1-3-1 zone both times it played them last season, so don’t expect this year’s team, which is far less talented, to have an easy go of it.
Like the Ducks, who stymied Arizona on Thursday, the Beavers have a terrific paint presence in junior college transfer Kylor Kelley. The 7-footer is averaging 4.0 blocks per game in just 23.2 minutes. His block percentage (18.5) is the best in the country.
Kelley is also a solid rebounder (6.2 RPG) and finishes well at the rim, presenting a tough matchup for Arizona center Chase Jeter and company. Opponents are only shooting 42 percent on 2-point field goals against OSU this season, the seventh-lowest mark in the country.
As a whole, teams are only shooting 39.6 percent against the Beavers this season, the second-best mark in the Pac-12 from a defensive standpoint. Oregon is No. 1.
Salvage the series
Arizona and Oregon State were both handed their first Pac-12 losses on Thursday, and now desperately need to avoid a sweep or they risk falling two games behind the first-place Washington Huskies, who play Cal on Saturday.
KenPom projects Arizona will beat OSU 68-63 with a win probability of 68 percent. The Wildcats have historically dominated the Beavers under Sean Miller, winning 12 of the last 13 in this series, and OSU has not beaten Arizona in McKale Center since 2009-10, Miller’s first season at the UA.
That season was also the last time Arizona lost consecutive home games.
“It’s a chance for everybody to bounce back,” Jeter said of Saturday’s game. “And I think we’re gonna do a good job responding.”
Clean it up
Arizona has to do the little things well to win games this year, like rebound and take care of the ball, and at least one of those things has evaded them in both their home losses.
Against Baylor it was rebounding that did Arizona in. Against Oregon it was turnovers and bad shot selection.
Oregon State is 293rd (of 353) in the country in forcing turnovers, so there is no reason the Wildcats should have trouble taking care of the ball Saturday. Oregon State is a good offensive rebounding team, though, so it seems like keeping them off the glass will be the key to this game.
Thursday marked the first time all season Brandon Randolph did not score in double figures, as Oregon held him to five points on 2-of-9 shooting.
While he will surely score 10 or more points against the Beavers, his efficiency and shot selection are more important than his sheer point total. Randolph is shooting 35 percent in Pac-12 play, a number that needs to come up.
Randolph is also a perfect 15 for 15 from the stripe in conference play, so ideally he can find a way get to the free throw line more often. He is only averaging three per game in Pac-12 play.
70 is the magic number
The Beavers are 10-0 when scoring more than 70 points, but 1-5 when they score less than 70. Arizona is 2-3 when it scores less than 70 and 11-2 when it scores more than 70.