The No. 24 Arizona Wildcats wrap up their first conference road trip of the season on Sunday night when they visit the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis, Ore.
Arizona (11-4, 1-1 Pac-12) is coming off a heartbreaking 74-73 overtime loss at Oregon on Thursday night, a game in which it led by 11 in the first half and was up by six in late in the second half. OSU (11-4, 1-2) lost 82-76 at home to ASU.
The Wildcats have won seven in a row against the Beavers, most recently last February when Devonaire Doutrive’s putback in the final seconds gave them a 74-72 win at Gill Coliseum, where Arizona is 5-3 under coach Sean Miller.
Tip off is set for 8 p.m. MT and the game will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1. Head to our basketball section for complete coverage.
Below are our staff predictions:
Adam Green — Arizona wins 75-63
Unlike how it was against Oregon, Arizona is clearly the more talented team in this matchup. Add in the fact that the Wildcats are likely upset from letting one against the Ducks get away and, well, you have to think they’ll come out and take it to the Beavers.
Will it be a wire-to-wire blowout? No, as that would be very difficult to do in what is one of the more difficult environments in the Pac-12. But eventually Arizona will start to pull away and, unlike against Oregon, finish.
Brian J. Pedersen — Arizona wins 76-72
Arizona hasn’t been swept at the Oregon schools since 2006 and it’s not going to happen this year, as long as the Wildcats take what they did during the first 38 minutes against the Ducks and stretch it out to the end. The late collapse masked what had been a very strong effort in a hostile environment, particularly from the players who had never been in that atmosphere before. Oregon State is a very experienced team and has plenty of talent, but it just lost at home to an ASU team that UA blew the doors off. Had the Wildcats won in Eugene this could have been a place for a letdown, but not anymore.
Ronnie Stoffle — Arizona wins 83-69
These two teams are actually statistically similar. They both check in at 11-4 and convert approximately 48 percent of their field goals. Arizona averages 38.1 rebounds and 16.7 assists per game and Oregon State 34.7 and 15.5, respectively.
They are tied in steals per game at 6.9. In fact Oregon State is statistically better with 6.2 per game while the Wildcats average only 4.1.
They biggest difference is average margin of victory, 17.7 for Arizona and 9.8 for Oregon State. This margin of victory is even more important when you consider each team’s strength of schedule. According to teamrankings.com, Arizona’s SoS ranks 15 and Oregon State’s is 99.
The bottom line is Arizona is far more talented despite an equal record. It is a road game so it shouldn’t be a walk in the park. However, I expect the Wildcats to convincingly handle business Sunday night.
Christian Mortensen — Arizona wins 74-56
I’m picking the Wildcats to bounce back in a big way from their overtime loss to Oregon on Thursday night.
While Oregon State is 11-4 with an impressive win at Colorado just last week, I still see Arizona having too much talent for the Beavers to realistically handle — even at home.
So far this season the UA has taken care of business against the teams that it should beat, and the Cats haven’t lost to Oregon State in more than five years. I’m expecting both those trends to continue Sunday night in Corvallis.
Ryan Kelapire — Arizona wins 81-74
ASU beat Oregon State on Thursday, so this is game the Wildcats cannot afford to lose. Tres Tinkle is arguably the best all-around player in the conference and Ethan Thompson is one of the better guards, capable of scoring and distributing.
But the guy who worries me the most is Kylor Kelley, the nation’s No. 1 shot blocker. Arizona’s big men aren’t exactly the most physical, and if the Wildcats cannot get it done inside they will need to hit their jump shots to escape with a win. And we know how much they have struggled to do that in premier games this year.
Still, Arizona has more talent and Wayne Tinkle is no Dana Altman, so I’ll take the Cats in a close one.