The Arizona Wildcats knew they would have a tough road to a Pac-12 championship if they hoped to win the conference title. After a gutsy victory over the UCLA Bruins on Thursday, the UA will have a quick turnaround before facing the Oregon St. Beavers on Friday evening. Most figured the No. 1 seed Washington Huskies would walk right past the 7-11 Beavers, but a strong shooting performance and solid execution down the stretch led OSU to a victory at the buzzer.
The Wildcats faced the Beavers only one time in the regular season, and they needed overtime at home in order to secure the win. The two teams do not like each other; at the 2011 Pac-12 Tournament, Joe Burton was ejected for throwing an elbow into the face of Kevin Parrom. Earlier this season, a small brawl broke out in OT in front of the Arizona bench.
Needless to say, do not be surprised if the game gets a bit physical, especially in the second half. This is do-or-die for both schools.
Arizona will likely go with the same starting lineup it used on Thursday, which consisted of Jordin Mayes, Kyle Fogg, Nick Johnson, Solomon Hill and Jesse Perry.
As far as predictions go, I would like to think the Wildcats will go in as the favorites, but this Oregon State team can play and easily win this evening. The UA has to do a good job of protecting the boards and they cannot afford to turn the ball over against the Beavers and their pesky zone defense if they hope to win. In the end, I think the 'Cats hit a few more free throws down the stretch and win by a score of 71-69.