It’s easy to say that this is the most important road trip of the year as the Huskies head to Oregon this week for games against the Beavers and Ducks. First up, the (15-10, 6-8) Oregon State Beavers.
Don’t let the losing conference record fool you. The Beavers have beaten Oregon, Cal, USC, Utah and Colorado. They also have an RPI of 33 with wins over 6 teams in the top 50.
Projected Starters: F Tres Tinkle (Fr., 6-8, 220), F Drew Eubanks (Fr., 6-10, 240), F Olaf Schaftenaar (Sr., 6-10, 235), G Gary Payton II (Sr., 6-3, 190), G Malcolm Duvivier (Jr., 6-2, 210).
Key Bench Players: G Stephen Thompson, Jr. (Fr., 6-4, 170), C Cheikh N’diaye (Jr., 7-0, 240), G Derrick Bruce (Fr. 6-3, 165).
Clearly, the Huskies will need to key in on Gary Payton II. The matchup with Andrew Andrews will be huge and Andrews will have to find his shooting touch for the Huskies to have a chance in this game. GP II was a late bloomer and is an explosive player who will cause fits for the Dawgs. Like his father, he is a great defender with long arms that will disturb the Huskies' ball handlers.
In addition, coach’s son Tres Tinkle has been playing well for the Beavers of late. The freshman forward averages 13 points and 5 rebounds. Stephen Thompson, Jr., son of the former Syracuse standout, averages 10 points per game and is a very good shooter. The Huskies will need to ensure a hand is in his face from 3. He’s averaging almost 38% from behind the arc.
This will be a game based on style of play. The Huskies will need to try and push the tempo, forcing the game into the 80s. While the Beavers can play that game, they can also slow down the tempo and force a half-court style. The Dawgs will need to start off quickly and avoid lulls of time without scoring.
As always, rebounding, fouls, and shooting will be key for the Dawgs to pull out a very important win for the tourney hopes. Looking at the boards, the Huskies (ranked second in the conference) own an almost 7-rebound per game edge on the Beavers (ranked 11th). UW has been out-rebounded by their opponents the last three games and this needs to turn around for a road victory.
Look for a big game from Andrews who will be playing in front of a lot of family and friends in his last trip to the Oregon schools.
Washington 86, Oregon St. 80