The Oregon State men’s basketball team has arguably their most important road trip of the season coming up this weekend: at Colorado and Utah. But the next two games could have more implications than just two wins.
Let’s look ahead at the next four games for the Beavers: at Colorado (10th in Pac-12 at 2-5), at Utah (second in conference at 5-2), and then a home-stand against Stanford (9th in Pac-12 at 3-5) and California (last in Pac-12 at 0-8). Take out the Utah Utes, and the Beavers are facing teams with losing records the next four games before finishing the season with arguably the toughest part of their schedule.
Oregon State only plays team’s with losing records once this season (besides Washington State): Stanford, California, and Colorado.
If the Beavers can pull out four wins, they would head into the second chapter of the Civil War in Corvallis with momentum on their side as well as an 8-3 Pac-12 record looking to crush the dreams once again of their in-state foe.
The second half of Oregon State’s schedule goes as follows: at the Los Angeles schools, UCLA and USC (the Beavers split that series in round one in Corvallis); hosting the Arizona schools (lost to both these teams in Arizona); and wrapping up their season on the road at the Washington (lost to by 20 points at home) and Washington State (defeated the Cougars by 13 in their first meeting).
“There’s a long way to go. One thing we have to do - we have to make up for the home loss on the road this weekend. We’re in good shape. We have to go get some stuff done this weekend. Lot to be playing for - and our guys are confident,” says Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle.
Wayne Tinkle’s squad must handle their business in the next two weeks.
Records: Oregon State (12-7, 4-3 Pac-12); Colorado (11-8, 2-5 Pac-12); Utah (11-8, 5-2 Pac-12)
Game times: Oregon State at Colorado, 6 PM (PT) on Thursday night; Oregon State at Utah, 2 PM (PT) on Saturday afternoon.
Players to watch (Colorado Buffaloes):
The Buffaloes are young with just one senior and three juniors on their roster.
“Colorado is playing well, particularly at home,” says coach Tinkle. (Colorado is 7-1 at home).
This Buffaloes offense all starts with sophomore guard McKinley Wright IV. He is currently second in the Pac-12 conference in assists (5.1 per game). The other Buffaloe to watch for is sophomore guard/forward Tyler Bey, who is the conference’s third leading rebounder (9.2 per game). Not allowing Bey to give the Buffs second-chance points will be crucial in this game.
Matchup to watch: Ethan Thompson vs. Wright IV at the guard position.
Players to watch (Utah Utes):
Interesting enough for the third-placed Utah Utes, there are no individual’s in the top 5 in any statistical category right now. This Utah group is just a solid group who all work well together, and makes sense too with exactly half of their roster being either seniors or juniors.
Senior guard Sedrick Barefield is currently averaging 16.2 point per game and is also .416% from three-point range. Alongside Barefield is senior Parker Van Dyke, who is also .407% from three-point range.
Matchup to watch: Last Sunday, the Utes came away with the 70-66 win at Stanford, however in that game, the Utes were blocked 10 times. This is an absolute gift for Beavers’ forward Kylor Kelley, who is leading the Pac-12 in blocks per game (3.7).
But while the Utes struggle down low, they make up for it behind the arc as they are leading the conference in three-point field goals at .382% as a team.