Tip time: 6 p.m. PT/ 7 p.m. MT
Television: Fox Sports 1
The Pac-12 Conference basketball schedule can be a wonderful thing. Teams travel in pairs to play each other and this weekend the Sun Devils visit Oregon and start off with the Oregon State Beavers Thursday night in Corvallis.
ASU update (8-6, 0-1):
The Sun Devils expectedly took one to the chin in Tucson Sunday night against No. 8 Arizona, falling 73-49. Gerry Blakes led ASU with nine points, but also turned it over eight times. Savon Goodman, who had come on strong and was averaging over 15 points per game coming into the contest, managed just two points after getting into early foul trouble. The better news for the Sun Devils is that they have beaten the Beavers in four of the last five and 10 of the past 12 games against them. Goodman still leads ASU averaging 13 points per game and Eric Jacobsen is leading the team with 7.1 rebounds per game
Oregon State update: (9-4,0-1):
The Beavers dropped their first game of the conference season 71-59 to Oregon. OSU has overachieved in some sense this season under new head coach Wayne Tinkle. They're an undefeated 8-0 at home, the team's best start since 1998-99. Gary Payton II is carrying on the legacy of his father in Corvallis after transferring in from Salt Lake Community College. He leads the team in scoring (12.4 points per game) and rebounding (8.4 boards per game). Sophomore guard Malcom Duliver is also on a hot streak, averaging 10.8 points per game in his last five contests.
Keys to victory
1. Stop the turnovers
It's evident that turning the ball over has become an issue for this team after they lost the ball 22 times against Arizona. They're averaging just over 15 per game. The bad news for ASU is Gary Payton II is tied for third in the country averaging three steals per game and has multiple steals in six straight games. On top of that, OSU's turnover margin is +5 in home games this season.The Sun Devils have to hold onto the ball to have success.
2. Find a hot hand early
ASU shot 29. 4 percent from three and 32.6 percent from the field against Arizona. OSU is 8-1 when holding its opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field and 1-3 when they don't. It will be important for the Sun Devils to find a player who is stroking it in the first few minutes, potentially a Bo Barnes or Jon Gilling. OSU is shooting a lights out 47.2 percent from the field at home so if the Sun Devils can't get their defense situated, they might have to run with them in a track meet and that means finding solid shooters.
3. Get to the boards
OSU fields two players at 6-foot-10 in Olaf Schaftenaar and Daniel Gomis, both of whom have seen meaningful minutes in almost every game. But its actually a guard in Payton II who is leading the way for the Beavers on the glass. Jacobsen should have his hands full again in the paint, but he also has 25 pounds on Gomis and Schaftenaar. Blakes has shown some rebounding ability this season and is third on the team with 4.9 boards per game. It's going to need to be a team effort on the boards and ASU should be rewarded if they win the battle. OSU has been out rebounded in its last three games and has lost two of them.
Prediction: ASU: 72 OSU: 66