Record: 11-4, (3-0)
VS ASU last year: 1-1
NET ranking: 70
Points scored: 74.3 (174 of 353)
Points allowed: 66.1 (48 of 353)
Over the past three years, Wayne Tinkle’s Oregon State Beaver teams have been vastly different. They were led to the NCAA Tournament by Gary Payton II in 2015, after his graduation and a season-ending injury to Tres Tinkle in 2016, the Beavers won five games the entire season. In 2017, they were in the middle of those two seasons, going an even .500 and winning seven games in the Pac.
As they enter Tempe, the Beavers are one of the remaining three teams undefeated in conference play along with Arizona and Washington.
Tinkle is healthy this season, he leads the Beavers in scoring with 20 points. The other two Oregon State scorers to worry about are also coach’s sons. Sons of assistant coach, Stephen Thompson, Ethan Thompson and Stephen Thompson Jr. are two very good shooters. When Tinkle was out against USC last week, Thompson Jr. took control of the game scoring 34 points for the Beavers. His younger brother in Ethan has scored less than 10 points once in his past nine games.
Oregon State won’t be a non-stop offensive team that will shoot a team out of the building, but they have a trio of guys that can get hot at any moment. After the Utah game, Bobby Hurley mentioned how the easy buckets led to the Utes gaining confidence in their shooting strokes. Tinkle and the Thompson brothers will need to be frustrated by ASU’s defense in order for the Sun Devils to win.
The other player that has started to make an impact for the Beavers is seven-footer, Kylor Kelley. The junior currently leads in the nation in blocks per game with 4.2 and is second overall in total blocks with 63. Kelley is also the fourth top scorer for Oregon State behind the trio already mentioned, he’s had a handful of games in double digits, but hasn’t registered a double-double this week.
No matter the opponent, ASU itself needs to find consistency as Bobby Hurley vocalized earlier this week:
“We just have to find, pinpoint an area that I can lock in on that we need to get better at. It seems we’ve been a little bit all over the place with different things that are breaking down. We have to be a little more consistent,” he said. “Some nights it’s been shot selection, at Stanford it was turnovers and free throw shooting, against Utah it was transition defense. There have been different things. Princeton was our shooting percentage and a lot of missed layups.
“Some of the losses, we’ve hurt ourselves, and on the road you can’t do what we did in the first half against Cal and get down big and hope that’s going to work. And then you can’t start the second half the way we did at Stanford … We watched the film Sunday morning and showed the guys the things we need to address. We’ve just got to play better.”
The Beavers’ four losses have been by an average of four points, they haven’t been blown out all season. Sun Devil fans, despite how much you don’t want to hear it, this is most likely going to be another close game.