Oregon State (15-12, 7-8) at UCLA (21-7, 10-5)
When: Sunday, 6 p.m., Pauley Pavilion TV: FOX Sports 1 (Rob Stone, Jarron Collins) Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)
No. 1: Will Zach LaVine handle the ball more? Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams are returning after their one-game suspensions on Thursday, so LaVine won’t get anywhere close to the 17 shots he took in the double-overtime loss to Oregon.
But it’s about more than just his point total. His father, Paul, has been long insistent that the 6-foot-4 freshman is a point guard. LaVine’s brief stint there against the Ducks didn’t disprove that argument. Late in regulation, Bryce Alford and LaVine swapped roles in the backcourt, with the latter taking the reins of the offense.
Alford has been serviceable as a backup point, but he could be even more effective as a two guard — where he can move off the ball and get better looks. The two 3-pointers he hit during the last 33 seconds of the second half were both assisted by LaVine. More importantly, though, is that giving the ball makes LaVine much more comfortable and better utilize his athleticism. Continue reading →
At a glance: Craig Robinson is a man known less for his coaching acumen than for his being Barack Obama’s brother-in-law. Through his first four years in Corvallis, the Beavers have hovered around mediocrity, finishing with 18, 14, 10 and 21 wins. They made the postseason three times, but only to the College Basketball Invitational. Only once have they won even eight conference games.
This year’s Oregon State squad isn’t exactly breaking the pattern, though injuries haven’t helped. Center Angus Brandt, a floor-stretching 3-point threat who also averaged 11.3 points and 8.5 rebounds, tore his ACL in November. At Pauley Pavilion, the Beavers will also be without forward Eric Moreland, who is serving the end of a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules. The 6-foot-10 sophomore is sixth in the nation with 11.1 rebounds per game, and his absence Continue reading →