FACTS & STATS: Site: Staples Center (18,997) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: FSN. Home Record: OSU 12-5, WSU 10-4. Away Record: OSU 4-7, WSU 4-8. Neutral Record: OSU 1-1, WSU 1-3. Conference Record: OSU 7-11, WSU 7-11. Series Record: Oregon State leads, 163-121.
GAME NOTES: The Washington State Cougars shoot for consecutive wins for the first time since January as they clash with the Oregon State Beavers today as part of the first round of the 15th annual Pac-12 Conference Tournament at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
WSU, the eighth seed in this year's event, last won back-to-back outings against Stanford and California at home on Jan. 19 and 21, respectively, but has captured only four victories since. The team did however close out the regular season last Saturday with a 43-38 victory over USC on the road to finish with a league mark of 7-11, which is where OSU ended up as well.
The ninth-seeded Beavers have also found it difficult to come up with wins as of late, posting just three since the beginning of February. But on a positive note, OSU did log two straight triumphs to close out the regular season, topping Utah (77-67) and then conquering Colorado (83-69).
Neither one of these teams has ever won the conference tournament as Oregon State enters this year's affair with a record of 6-12 in the event, and WSU 5-12.
Washington State has won four straight over the Beavers, but the all-time series still favors Oregon State, 163-121. The teams have met once previously in the conference tournament, with OSU putting up a 74-68 victory back in 1988.
The winner of this contest will be back in action on Thursday afternoon against top-seeded Washington.
Under the direction of head coach Craig Robinson, who just happens to be the brother-in-law of President Barack Obama, the Beavers led the conference in scoring this season with 79.6 ppg and also paced the league and finished fifth in the nation in steals with 9.3 per outing. Leading the way on the floor is Jared Cunningham who leads the Pac-12 in scoring (18.2 ppg) thanks to 22 consecutive contests in double figures. But more than just someone who looks to accomplish big things at the offensive end of the floor, Cunningham also leads the program in steals as well with 2.6 per game. Also playing major roles on offense for the program are Devon Collier and Ahmad Starks who have averaged 12.8 and 12.4 ppg, respectively, the latter making a team-high 67 three-point baskets.
While the Beavers have the top scorer in the Pac-12 in Cunningham, Washington State has someone who was right on his tail up until the end of the regular season in Brock Motum who is putting up 18.1 ppg. However, when it comes to scoring in league games specifically, Motum is at the top of that list with his 20.7 ppg, adding more than six and a half rebounds in those contests as well. Unfortunately, beyond Motum the Cougars are sorely lacking in scoring punch after Faisal Aden (14.5 ppg) went down with a season-ending knee injury in late January. Next on the list is Reggie Moore (9.1 ppg) who is probably just as important as a passer with his 160 assists over the course of 30 games. Marcus Capers (5.6 ppg), the only player other than Motum to start every game, gives the team some added help on the glass with close to five boards per outing.
Washington State has not performed well on neutral floors in the state of California this season, losing all three such outings during the 76 Classic in Anaheim back in November. One would hope the Cougars have long forgotten that trip, but Oregon State will probably keep WSU winless in such games this season if all goes to plan for the Beavers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon State 72, Washington State 63
03/07 10:33:39 ET
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