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Oregon State Game Preview & How to Watch

Can Washington avoid getting swept over 3 games in a midseason Northwest challenge?

NCAA Basketball: Oregon State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch (and bet)

Date: Saturday, 2/10/24

Tip-Off Time: 4:00 pm PT

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Streaming: Pac-12.com/live

Radio: Huskies Gameday App, Sports Radio KJR

Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Betting Line: Washington Huskies -5

Oregon State Beavers 2023-24 Statistics:

Record: 11-12 (3-9)

Points For per Game: 68.8 ppg (274th)

Points Against per Game: 73.5 ppg (199th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 105.8 (188th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 105.6 (165th)

Strength of Schedule: 42nd

Oregon State Key Players:

G- Jordan Pope, So. 6’2, 165: 17.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 47.0% FG, 40.3% 3pt, 85.3% FT

It was clear last year that Pope was one of the key building blocks for the Beavers and he has taken another leap as a sophomore. He has increased his assists by about 50% without raising his turnover rate and has kept his efficiency pretty close while greatly increasing his shot attempts. Pope doesn’t add any defensive value but he does everything for them on offense playing 37 minutes per game so that’s not really his fault. He might be wearing down a little bit averaging 13 points and 4 turnovers per game during OSU’s current 3-game losing streak but he killed UW in the first meeting.

Last Game vs. UW: 29 pts, 5/10 3-pt, 5 ast, 2 TO

G- Christian Wright, Jr. 6’3, 185: 4.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.0 apg, 35.4% FG, 26.7% 3pt, 78.6% FT

Some guys just aren’t good at scoring the basketball. It happens. He’s a 6’3 guard who shoots below 20% for his career from 3-point range but somehow 86% from the free throw line. It’s perplexing. Wright is asked to matchup on the best opposing guard to save Pope that matchup and generally does a pretty good job but he’s someone that UW can absolutely just stash Sahvir Wheeler on when the Beavers have the ball.

Last Game vs. UW: 3 pts, 0 reb, 0 ast

G- Dexter Akanno, Sr. 6’5, 210: 10.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.2 apg, 38.0% FG, 31.6% 3pt, 70.5% FT

This is by far Akanno’s best offensive season as he has finally both cut down on turnovers and discovered a 3-point shot. He is now shooting 39% from deep in Pac-12 play despite missing his last 6 attempts. That outside shot has helped open up the threat of a drive and he loves to take it to the basket and draw fouls. He was coming back off an injury during the first UW game and only played 9 minutes (he has played at least 19 in every game since).

Last Game vs. UW: 0 pts, 0/5 FG

F- Tyler Bilodeau, So. 6’9, 220: 13.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.1 apg, 50.9% FG, 29.6% 3pt, 80.4% FT

The native of Kennewick, WA was a bit overwhelmed at times as a freshman but has looked pretty good so far as a stretch 4 for OSU. The outside shot is still a work in progress but he has already taken more free throws this year than he did all last year including going 8/9 from the FT line as part of a 26-point performance in a win over USC. He’s a very good rebounder and will be a true problem as soon as that outside shot becomes reliable. Bilodeau has scored in double figures now in 6 straight games.

Last Game vs. UW: 21 pts, 8/13 FG, 7 reb, 0 TO

F-Michael Rataj, So. 6’9, 220: 7.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.5 apg, 41.2% FG, 22.6% 3pt, 70.7% FT

The other part of OSU’s 6’9 stretch 4 platoon. The German has really struggled to shoot it so far but is making more than half of his shots inside the arc to compensate. Unlike Bilodeau he is a little more finesse and prefers to focus on rebounding while taking only the occasional shot when he’s open. Neither he nor Bilodeau is much of a rim protector though.

Last Game vs. UW: 2 pts, 4 reb

The Outlook

Washington has certainly experienced their share of horrors in Corvallis and this will be the last time they play there in Pac-12 play. Last year was one of those horrors as UW gave up a 21-0 run in the first half, Franck Kepnang tore his ACL, and the Huskies lost by 1 to one of the worst P5 teams in the country.

This year the Beavers are improved but are still not a very good team. They capitalized on a soft non-league schedule to get out to an 8-3 start but have since lost 9 of 12 to start out Pac-12 play including a 79-72 defeat in Seattle.

The Beavers are dangerous in Corvallis though. All 3 of those wins came at home including a buzzer-beating 3 giving them a win over Arizona a few weeks ago. For the year OSU is 11-3 at home with one of those losses coming in overtime to Stanford. This is a completely different team when they don’t have to leave the friendly confines of Gill Coliseum.

What’s clear this season is that as goes Jordan Pope, so go the Beavers. In Oregon State’s 3 conference wins he has averaged 29 points and 6 assists (which is almost the exact same stat line he put up in a loss in Seattle this year). In OSU’s last 5 losses he has averaged just 12 points per game and never eclipsed 14 total. If Washington can find a way to slow Pope down then there isn’t enough firepower elsewhere on the roster to make up for it. UW showed in the first game that you can win if Pope goes off but you’re playing with fire if you don’t keep him contained.

The bigger problems for OSU have come on the defensive end. They are last in the conference in defensive efficiency during Pac-12 play, beating out 11th place Washington. They’ve done that despite somehow leading the conference in 3-pt% defense. The Huskies shouldn’t try to settle for outside shots. Instead, OSU gives up more free throws than anyone else and is 10th or worse stopping 2-pt shots and offensive rebounds. The game plan should be to continually drive against a team without many shot blockers and get to the free throw line as much as possible.

Entering the week it looked like UW might be without both Paul Mulcahy and Koren Johnson but each played a good amount against Oregon. We’ll see how their bodies reacted to that effort but hopefully each is one again able to play as they recover from back and shoulder injuries respectively. The good news is that Braxton Meah continues to look okay despite recovering from an ankle sprain and hasn’t missed a field goal attempt in the last 3 games.

Washington going 0-4 in the games at Colorado, Oregon, Wazzu, and at Oregon is particularly painful because the schedule presents some great opportunities now. 6 of UW’s next 7 games including tonight are against teams ranked 90th or worse at KenPom with 4 of them coming in Hec Ed. The Huskies should be favored in at least 5 of those 6 and if they were merely at .500 in conference play there would be a chance to make a huge leap in the standings. That leap could still happen but now it might take them from 10th to 6th instead of the door being open from 7th to 3rd.

It’s not hard to see Washington losing this game. They could easily just settle for contested 3-point shots and shoot their way out of the game while Jordan Pope torches Sahvir Wheeler at the other end. The respective home/road game splits for each team suggest that OSU should at least be able to keep it close. I’ll take the Huskies to pull it out but this would scream trap game if UW were in a position to look past anyone. They’re not.

Prediction

My record this year: 16-7 Straight Up, 9-13-1 Against the Spread

Washington Huskies- 83, Oregon State Beavers- 81