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MBB Game 28 Preview and Open Thread: Oregon Ducks at Oregon State Beavers

Oregon Ducks (19-8, 10-5) at Oregon State Beavers (15-12, 5-10)

4:30 PT :: Gill Coliseum

TV :: FSN (National)

Pomeroy Prediction :: OSU 81-78

Oregon heads into Corvallis for the Civil War in a game that is a must win for the Ducks. I'm not going to sit here and tell you its a must win for NCAA Tournament chances or hosting NIT games or whatever. None of that matters today. This is a must win for pride. A must win because for what the team has accomplished this season, the blemish on the record is that home loss to Oregon State, a game in which the Ducks played so inexplicably poorly and gave away a game that had no business being close. This game is a must win because getting swept by OSU almost singlehandedly makes the season a failure.

I'm not going to bother with the statistical roster breakdown. We've played these guys before. Jared Cunningham is the best scorer in the conference. Ahmad Starks can shoot from anywhere. Devon Collier and Angus Brandt are more than capable down low. Roberto Nelson is dangerous. But it wasn't any of those guys on offense that beat Oregon last game. It was the pathetic performance against OSU's 1-3-1 zone. It was the first time that the Beavers put 6'10" Eric Moreland at the top of that zone, and Oregon shot less than 40% and turned the ball over 23 times. In spite of that, they lost by only five. Oregon should beat Oregon State, be it in Eugene, Corvallis, or Kalamazoo. This game will come down to how the Ducks handle that zone. If Oregon turns the ball over left and right again? Oregon State will get the win. But if Oregon handles it the way they did in both matchups last year, OSU will lose their fifth straight and will spend March looking to add another date to the CBI banner that hangs midcourt at Gill.

Not even in Ernie Kent's 2-16 season did we get swept by the Beavers. It simply cannot be allowed to happen.