The Wildcats are licking their chops heading into what they hope will be a fifth consecutive win over the Beavers tonight. But they are also licking their wounds after the Ducks tore a gaping hole into their unblemished record.
The Beavers (10-5, 0-2) have an opportunity to take advantage of a team coming off a poor performance in its second road game in three days. But they will have to do it without Eric Moreland, who was suspended indefinitely on Thursday for violation of team rules. Moreland was leading the conference in double-doubles, and has proved somewhat of an X factor, being the team's best rebounder, defender and shotblocker. (Freshman Victor Robbins will also sit out tonight, also for team rule violation).
OSU felt Moreland's absence on Thursday, where they lost by ten to ASU. Hopefully, they've taken the roughly 48 hours to get over it. "Everybody's frustrated but we can't be...we have to keep playing hard and not let this derail us," said Devon Collier after the game.
Moreland wasn't the only thing missing. According to Collier, there was a much more deciding factor, "We're playing good defense but we're not communicating enough. When we stopped communicating that's when ASU went on their run."
Tonight, the Beavers look to avoid opening 0-3 in Pac-12 play for the first time in five seasons. They haven't dropped their first three league games since they went 0-18 in the 2007-08 season.
To do so, they must contain the Wildcat's leading scorer Mark Lyons, who had 21 points for his second 20-point effort in three games.
The Wildcat perimeter defense has been leaky of late, (Oregon shot 63.6 percent (7 for 11) from 3-point range), and the Beavers are one of the best outside shooting teams in the conference. If Ahmad Starks and Roberto Nelson play with confidence outside the arc and don't pass up on good shooting opportunities, it could make all the difference. Starks has played well in the past two games. Nelson, who averages a team-high 15.5 points,needs to bounce back after finishing with eight points on 2-of-7 shooting Thursday.
And I sound like a broken record here, but the Beavers MUST out rebound their opponents.
Tip off is at 5PM