CBB Picks: Arizona Wildcats at Oregon State Beavers
Arizona Wildcats (11-4 SU, 8-7 ATS) at Oregon State Beavers (11-4 SU, 10-5 ATS)
When: Sunday, January 12, 10 p.m.
Where: Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, Ore.
Point Spread: ARIZ -4/ORST +4 (BetNow - Deposit $100 and get $50 FREE!)
Total: O/U 143.5
Last Time Out:
Arizona fell 74-73 in overtime to Oregon; Oregon State lost 82-76 to Arizona State
Scouting the Wildcats:
When does a loss feel like a win? When it comes the way Arizona’s did at Oregon, there’s a lot for the Wildcats to be encouraged about. Arizona played one of the best teams in the nation to a draw for 40 minutes and then couldn’t make the one final play it needed to claim victory. For a team that’s been searching for an identity, that’s a result that it can build on.
In order to build on it, the Wildcats have to keep getting more out of their freshmen. Nico Mannion and Josh Green seemed to grow up against the Ducks, showing that Arizona is a lot more than Zeke Nnaji. Nnaji didn’t play that well against Oregon, making this a chance for him to bounce back from both a tough loss and a below-average game for him personally. If he can, it bodes well for Arizona’s future.
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Scouting the Beavers:
If Oregon State could get their two stars some help, they’d be challenging for the Pac-12 title. In Tres Tinkle and Ethan Thompson, the Beavers have two of the best scorers in the league and can count on about 35 to 40 points a night from the two of them together. The problem for Oregon State is that beyond those two, there’s really not much else.
That was evident in the loss to Arizona State, as the two of them combined to make 15 of Oregon State’s 23 baskets, and each scored 22 points. The rest of the team shot 8-for-29 against the Sun Devils, and Arizona State’s more balanced attack proved to be the difference. Tinkle has been asked to do far too much by his father Wayne during his Oregon State career, and while he’s established himself as a genuine star in the Pac-12, he can’t make the Beavers a winner with only Thompson as his help. Unfortunately, that really is Oregon State’s identity at this point. The Beavers don’t play defense well enough to make up for being a two-man show on offense, and other than perhaps Kylor Kelley, nobody seems able to assume the responsibility of being a scorer. At this point, the Beavers are who they are.
Gill Coliseum. There’s good news and bad news for Arizona in making its trip to Corvallis. The bad news is that the Wildcats have come away with a split of the Oregon trip on their past eight swings through the state that doesn’t let you pump your own gas. Because the Wildcats didn’t pull out the win in Eugene, that’s also the good news, as Arizona hasn’t lost both games on the Oregon trip since 2006.
That said, it hasn’t been just the Ducks who have been pulling their weight when Arizona comes north. The Wildcats have a record of 5-3 against the Beavers in Corvallis in this decade, and even when Arizona has managed to beat Oregon State at Gill, things rarely come easily in Corvallis for the Wildcats. Of Arizona’s past five games at Gill, three were decided by five points or less, and a fourth went to overtime, where Arizona pulled away for a 10-point win. Going back even further, of the past eight games between these teams in Corvallis, six were either decided by five points or fewer or ended up needing an extra session. Oregon State might not always win at home, but the Beavers are almost always a stiff challenge.
Arizona will Cover if:
The Wildcats can hit from the perimeter. Both teams have played Arizona State, and both came away with very different results. That’s because the Sun Devils shot 50 percent from behind the arc in Corvallis and 14 percent from deep in Tucson. What does that tell us? One of two possibilities is true: either the Sun Devils just had an awful night at Arizona (or a really good night at Oregon State), or the Beavers suck at defending the 3. Given that Arizona’s 3-point defense is good but not great and Oregon State is statistically 250th in the nation at defending the 3, it’s almost certainly the latter. That means that 3-pointers will be available for Arizona’s guards, and the Wildcats are one of the top 50 teams in the nation at hitting from 3.
Oregon State will Cover if:
The Beavers can play with the same defensive ferocity that they displayed at Colorado. Oregon State is 1-2 in Pac-12 play with its one win at Colorado, and that came because the Beavers threw a 1-3-1 trap at the Buffaloes and used that to get back in the game. Oregon State has the potential to play tough defense, which is something that has to be maddening for the elder Tinkle at this point in the season. If the Beavers are going to keep the NCAA tournament as a possibility for their season, they have to step up on the defensive end.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
One of two things is going to happen in this game. Either the Wildcats are going to blow the Beavers out of the building, or it’s going to be a tight contest throughout. I don’t think a mid-range victory for Arizona is a likely prospect because the Wildcats shoot the deep shot well, yet I can’t discount how difficult Oregon State has made Arizona’s life when the Wildcats come to Corvallis.
The bet on this game I feel most comfortable with is the over, as I think Tinkle and Thompson will get their points, and the Oregon State defense won’t be able to stop Arizona from hitting the 3-pointer. I don’t feel confident in taking eithuer side in this game, given that Arizona has struggled so much in this building.
If you’ve got to take one of the teams, though, it’s hard to be successful from 3-point land in back-to-back games, and Arizona shot it well against Oregon. I think the Wildcats might struggle to adjust to an arena that has not been kind to them, and that tells me Oregon State keeps it close. I’ll take the Beavers here. Bet your Sunday sports picks FOR FREE by taking advantage of a special 100% REAL CASH bonus offer from one of the best sportsbooks online –> MyBookie! Must use bonus code PREDICT100 and sign up through this special link.
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