Arizona Basketball returns home to face Oregon State

It was not a great week for Arizona Basketball (13-6, 7-6) as the Wildcats fell to Utah and Colorado on the road, now they return home against Oregon State (10-8, 6-6).

There’s no place like home, and for Arizona Basketball, that may certainly be the case as the Wildcats finally return to the friendly confines of McKale Center to take on Oregon State in yet another Pac-12 showdown on Thursday evening.

With the Beavers coming to town, it should provide a great opportunity for the Wildcats to get back on track. However, winning won’t come easy, especially with how Arizona has been playing of late.

The last time these two teams met was back in January in Corvallis, OR, where the Wildcats came away with the lopsided, 34-point win. Ben Mathurin had 31 points, Jordan Brown had 25, while Azoulas Tubelis finished with 15 of his own.

If Arizona is to win, they will need similar output, although I see the Beavers playing a bit closer in this one.

Mostly led by guards Ethan Thompson and Jarod Lucas, together the two have played very well this season, and should challenge the Wildcats’ depleted backcourt.

Outside of those two, the Beavers get solid production off the bench and despite their inconsistencies as a team, they have still shown that they can be a competitive and talented group capable of pulling off the upset.

Overall, they shoot it pretty well from outside, converting at just under 36 percent as a team. They also get to the line with decent consistency, on average, shooting 20 free throws per game.

If the Wildcats are to come away with the victory over the Beavers, these are the Keys to the Game:

DEFENSE: Arizona has been abysmal defensively this year. Blame it on Sean Miller not getting through to this group, blame it on injuries, youth, etc. numerous factors could be contributing to the Wildcats deficiencies this year.

At the end of the day, this group just hasn’t gotten it done with any consistency, and if they are to beat the Beavers, it starts on the defensive side of the ball.

Communicate, rotate, maintain your responsibilities, all things the Wildcats will need to do in order to improve their defensive performance and also shut down Oregon State.

No More Slow Starts: Arizona played three bad quarters in a row before finally coming to life in the second half against Colorado to nearly pull off the comeback victory. Against Oregon State, Arizona cannot afford another slow start.

Despite what some may think, Arizona’s offense has been rather efficient this year, averaging 77.7 points, meanwhile shooting 38 percent from three, and shooting nearly 25 free throws per game. The production is there, but Arizona cannot have any more slow starts similar to Utah and Colorado otherwise they could very well lose.

Bench Production: Arizona needs to have more consistent scorers outside James Akinjo, Mathurin, and Tubelis. Jordan, Terry, Koloko, et al. have largely been inconsistent. Blame it on Arizona’s bench not being as deep as we initially thought they would be, nonetheless, the bench needs to step up in a big way.

With Oregon looming, Arizona needs to find more consistent scorers outside of the big three if they are to find success this week.

Game Information:

Date: Thursday, February 11th, 2021

Time: 6:00 PM MST (Arizona Time), 5:00 PM PST

Location: Tucson, AZ – McKale Center (14,545… 0)

Line: -11.5 Arizona

Television: Pac-12 Network

Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network Arizona Wildcats (Try TuneIn Radio)

Team Records:

  • Arizona Wildcats (13-6, 7-6):  Arizona has hit a bit of a rough patch, losing three of their last four games. Oregon State should be a winnable game, but the Wildcats need to be ready.
  • Oregon State Beavers (10-8, 6-6): Plagued by inconsistency, surprisingly, Oregon State is sitting in seventh place in the Pac-12, one game behind Arizona. OSU is coming off a big loss to Colorado and will look to pull off the upset on the road.

All-Time Record: 67-22 Arizona. Since 1949-50, Arizona has dominated this series and will look to continue their success against the Beavers as the Wildcats will face off against them for the second time this season.

Hopefully, Arizona comes out with a strong performance and picks up the win against Oregon State. As always, Bear Down, Arizona!