Arizona Basketball

Three top storylines: Arizona Wildcats vs. Oregon State Beavers



First-year coach Wayne Tinkle has the Beavers playing boldly at home with a 9-0 record (Oregon State photo)

First-year coach Wayne Tinkle has the Beavers playing boldly at home with a 9-0 record (Oregon State photo)

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PP: Productivity Points (Points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, FGs made, FTs made added together and then subtracted by missed FGs, missed FTs, personal fouls and turnovers)
MIN: Minutes played overall
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)

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Top three storylines for tonight’s game:

1. Oregon State different team in Gill Coliseum

The Beavers are 9-0 at Gill Coliseum this season, their best start at home since the 1998-99 team opened 10-0.

They are also impeccable against the odds at home. Oregon State is 8-0 against the spread at Gill Coliseum (the win over Mississippi Valley State was not on the board). Arizona is favored by nine points as of this writing.

The 1979-80 Oregon State team finished its season 13-0 at home. The 1981-82 and 1983-84 teams concluded their seasons 11-0 at Gill. The Beavers are averaging 72.2 points at home and 59.6 on the road, while allowing 52.9 points at Gill Coliseum and 65.2 in away and neutral site games

The difference is how the Beavers take care of the ball and execute Wayne Tinkle’s inside-outside game in Corvallis. Oregon State’s turnover margin at Gill Coliseum is plus-4.6 compared to plus-0.4 on the road.

The Beavers have committed less turnovers than their opponent in seven consecutive games.

The Wildcats, behind steady point guard T.J. McConnell have a plus-2.7 turnover margin. He ranks 19th nationally in assists per game (5.9) and 21st in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.14).

Arizona must get Oregon State out of its comfort zone by getting in its own behind McConnell.

2. Tinkle’s points-in-the paint philosophy.

Despite having a lack of size on the frontcourt, Oregon State is focused on getting most of its shots in the paint. The Beavers are outscoring their opponents 426-256 in points in the paint. They have not faced a frontcourt like Arizona’s, however, that includes 7’0″ and 245-pound center Kaleb Tarczewski and 6’9″ and 230-pound forward Brandon Ashley.


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NO. 7 ARIZONA (14-1, 2-0) AT OREGON ST. (10-4, 1-1)
Tip Time: 8:01 p.m. MST
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Aaron Goldsmith/Sean Elliott)
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
Overall: Arizona leads, 58-20
In Corvallis: Arizona leads, 22-14
Current Streak: Arizona won 7
Last Meeting: Arizona won, 74-69, on March 5, 2014
Sean Miller vs. Oregon State: 7-3

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Present RPI ranking of Arizona’s non-conference opponents. Arizona is No. 9 with a strength-of-schedule ranking of No. 66. Oregon State has an RPI rating of No. 122.
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With Angus Brandt, Eric Moreland and Devon Collier having exhausted their eligibility, power forward Daniel Gomis (6’10” and 223 pounds) and reserve center Cheikh N’diaye (7’0″ and 230 pounds) are Oregon State’s only frontcourt players outside of forward Olaf Schaftenaar who are taller than 6-foot-7.

Schaftenaar, who may not play because of a sprained ankle, is not a prototypical big man like Tarczewski. His game is more like Ashley — extending to the perimeter.

Without true post-up players, Oregon State concentrates on pressuring opponents into turnovers and using screens to free up their frontcourt players. Arizona’s size with Tarczewski and reserve center Dusan Ristic (7’0″ and 245) will make it difficult for the Beavers to get open looks off those picks.

“We’ve got to get to where we’ve got the inside-out balance,” Tinkle was quoted as saying by “We’ve got to get to where we’ve got the scorers inside and we’ve got to collapse.”

Arizona coach Sean Miller has indicated the Wildcats’ inside game is their bread-and-butter for a successful season.

The Wildcats and Beavers have similar moderate attempts from three-point range (Oregon State has attempted 221 and made 76 while Arizona is 80 of 216 from beyond the arc).

3. The Glove Part II?

Gary Payton II is Oregon State’s catalyst much like his dad almost a quarter-century ago from 1987-90.

The younger Payton’s achievements:

— He leads the Pac-12 and is tied for fourth in the nation in steals (2.9). His father led the conference in steals in 1988, 1989 and 1990 and is the Pac-12’s career leader.

— He has a steal in all 14 games and multiple steals in seven straight. The Oregon State records are 37 straight games with a steal by the elder Payton and 16 straight games with multiple steals by Brent Barry.

— He is averaging 4.0 steals in the last six games.

— He leads the team in scoring (12.4), rebounding (8.1) and steals (41). He is second in blocked shots with 13 (Gomis leads with 15). No player in Oregon State history has led the team in all four categories in a season.

Freshman wing Stanley Johnson will likely match up with Payton II the most. McConnell will also draw the assignment when the younger Payton shifts to point guard.

Arizona generally concerns itself with a scoring threat as its primary objective against the opponent. In this game, it will be executing against the defense Payton II generates on the perimeter. The Beavers feed off that defense on the other end.

Present RPI ranking of the Pac-12.
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[table “” not found /] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also has published articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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