The Arizona Basketball men’s team looks to get back on track in a must-win road game against the Oregon State Beavers.
Must win. After leaving Eugene with a heartbreaking loss in overtime by one-point, Arizona Basketball travels to Corvallis to take on the Oregon State Beavers. In a Pac-12 conference that is still up for grabs, the Wildcats must win this one to stay at the top and prove why they were just a few bad fouls calls away from beating one of the top teams in the country.
Having now played one road game, the Wildcats freshman have a better understanding of what it will take to win on the road. Yes, the Beavers don’t have the same overall skill level as the Ducks do, but the Wildcats can not take anything for granted in this one. The Beavers will be looking to get back on track themselves after suffering a 82-76 home loss to the Sun Devils (that must hurt).
The Wildcats opened Pac-12 play with a 28 point win over the Devils, so on paper, they should be the favorites in this one against the Beavers. In this conference, getting the sweep is a bonus on the road, but being able to get the split on the road and winning at home is the formula to success in the Pac-12. Getting over a devastating loss will impact this team slightly, but they have to remain focused and get the W!
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This season, the Beavers are 11-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play. Similar to the Wildcats, they haven’t had any marquee wins against Top 25 teams. Returning from last season and the leader of the team, Tres Tinkle, has averaged 19.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists in his senior year. Against the Wildcats, he has put up some big number, but not big enough to help his team to get the victory.
The Wildcats will still though need to make sure they contain him and limit good looks. Wouldn’t be surprising to see Josh Green, one of the elite defenders in the Pac-12 guard him. Ethan Thompson is another player they will need to contain. He has averaged 16. points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game.
Both teams shoot about the same percentage from the field and three. It will be key for the Wildcats to continue to get the ball inside to Zeke Nnaji and others in the frontcourt. Against the Ducks, in the first half, they did that but then shied away from it in the second half. They will need to do it for 40 minutes against the Beavers to wear them down.
As has been the case for the majority of the season, the Wildcats have the depth and athleticism to dominate, but it comes down to execution. They are scoring more points per game then the Beavers, they have the talent to control the boards, they have a lot more scorers on their team. The question is though, can they put all these pieces together and execute for 40 minutes and not just one half.
Right now the Wildcats are currently ranked No.24 in the nation, are 11-4 overall and 1-1 in the Pac-12. Getting a win against the Beavers would build back up the confidence and momentum as they head back home against Utah and Colorado.
A little reminder on how good this team can be when they are executing:
One other interesting thing to pay attention to in this one is Chase Jeter and Christian Koloko. Who gets the start? Who plays more minutes. Based on how each played the last game, Koloko deserves the chance to start.
Date: Sunday, January 12th
Time: 8:00pm MST, 7:00pm PST
Location: Gill Coliseum
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network Arizona Wildcats (Try Tunein Radio)
At Zona Zealots, we look forward to Arizona Basketball getting back to running the floor and dominating their opponent. This is a must-win for the Wildcats and the time is now to get the job done. As always, Bear Down, Arizona!