What Lies Ahead
At this point in the season, the Oregon State Beavers (11-7, 1-5) have virtually no shot at a PAC-12 title, but can finish out the season with some much -needed wins to maybe grab an invite to the CBI Tournament for the first time since 2009.
They made an early first round exit in that one, as they were pounded by Boston University, 96-78.
Oregon State will play three games in January, two of which will be home games. The first against UCLA (10-7, 2-2), a team who they haven’t beaten since the 2005 Pac-10 tournament, making UCLA’s domination of the Beavers, the longest active streak by a league team against another.
The Beav’s came out on the wrong side of a two-game sweep in 2010, the first being a 62-57 loss in Corvallis. OSU blew the opportunity to take this one after clawing their way back from a 17-point halftime deficit to take their only lead, 57-55, with 2:44 to play on Roberto Nelson‘s 3-pointer.
The Bruins the went on to score the final seven points to win it.
Oregon’s bigs will have to contain center Joshua Smith who put up 15 points in last year’s reversal in LA, if they want to come out on top here.
If the Beavers survive their date with the Bruins, they will get just one day of rest before hosting PAC-12 basement dweller USC on Jan. 21.
The Trojans, who are likely to still have zero wins in conference play after coming from what is likely to be a shellacking by the Ducks two nights two nights before, are a team the Beavers must take advantage of.
This year’s scoring leader Jared Cunningham had a big night in the first of two meetings last year with SC, scoring a career-high 24 points, including a game-preserving late lay in as Oregon State held on for an 80-76 win.
However, Cunningham was held to just 11 points in LA a few weeks later, as the Trojans capitalized on 19 Beaver turnovers to grab a 67-56 win.
Despite the Beavers troubles this season, they should have no problem containing the Trojans’ last place offense.
Hopefully, Oregon State will have snatched their first two games in January, before they hit the road to face in state rival Oregon who pelted the Beavers both times in 2010.
The Beavs did however beat Cal, one of only two PAC-12 teams the Ducks have succumbed to this season, so if they can find the same offensive firepower, they could pull off the upset.
That win alone could punch their ticket to a postseason tourney.