College Basketball Handicapping Selections: #3 Arizona Wildcats at Oregon State Beavers

#3 Arizona Wildcats at Oregon State Beavers
Gill Coliseum – Corvallis, Oregon

Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 11:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports 1
Opening Line: Arizona -9
Current Line: Arizona -10
Opening Total: 135
Current Total: 138
Opening Money Line: Arizona -450 / Oregon State +355
Current Money Line: Arizona -600 / Oregon State +450

Arizona is a 10 point favorite at Oregon State Wednesday night.
Arizona is a 10 point favorite at Oregon State Wednesday night.

The 27-2 Arizona Wildcats have already clinched the outright regular season Pac 12 title with a 14-2 record. The Wildcats will be the #1 seed in next week’s Pac 12 Tournament in Las Vegas. However, Arizona can’t afford to stumble as they close out the regular season with a two game road trip to the Oregon schools. The Wildcats are in line for one of the four #1 seeds in the NCAA tournament. First up for the Wildcats is a trip t0 Corvallis Wednesday night to face the 15-13 Oregon State Beavers. Oregon State is 7-9 in conference and alone in 10th place.

Arizona leads the series against Oregon State 57-20, including 26-14 in Corvallis. The Wildcats have beaten the Beavers 6 straight times, including 76-54 in Tucson February 9.

Arizona is coached by Sean Miller. Arizona has losses at California and Arizona State. Both losses were by a combined 5 points. The Wildcats have key wins over Cal Poly, Long Beach State, at San Diego State, Rhode Island, Drexel and Duke in the pre-season NIT in New York City, Texas Tech, UNLV, New Mexico State, at Michigan, Washington State, Washington, at UCLA and USC, Arizona State, Colorado twice, Utah twice , Cal, Stanford twice (including 79-66 Sunday in Tucson, Oregon and Oregon State. Arizona has won four straight games. Arizona is 18-10 ATS and the total is 8-17-2 this season.

Arizona is outscoring teams 74-58 this season. The Wildcats are #5 nationally in points allowed. Arizona is shooting 46.9% from the field and 35.6% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #54 nationally in field goal percentage.  Arizona makes 66.2% of their free throws and are #292 nationally out of 351 teams in that category. Wildcat opponents are shooting 38.3% from the field and 30.1% from 3 point range. Arizona is #8 in field goal defense and #24 in 3 point defense. The Wildcats average 39.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 26.4. Arizona is #17 in rebounding and #6 nationally in rebounds allowed. The Wildcats average 15.2 assists, 10.6 turnovers, 5.7 steals and 4.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.2 assists, 12.5 turnovers, 4.6 steals and 3.2 blocks per game.

Guard Nick Johnson averages 16 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Forward Aaron Gordon averages 12.2 points, 8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. Both Johnson and Gordon are on the Wooden and Naismith Awards semifinal list. Forward Brandon Ashley averaged 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1 assist per game. He broke his foot in the Cal loss and is gone for the season. Center Kaleb Tarczewski averages 10.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1 block per game. Forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson averages 8.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. Guard T.J. McConnell averages 8.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Guard Gabe York averages 6.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

Oregon State is coached by Craig Robinson. Oregon State has losses to Coppin State, California Washington twice, at Depaul, Akron and Hawaii in a tournament in Honolulu, Colorado, Utah, at Arizona State, at Arizona, at Oregon, and at UCLA Sunday 74-69. OSU has key home wins over Portland, George Mason in Honolulu, Stanford, Oregon, USC twice, UCLA, Washington State twice,  plus a road win at Maryland. The Beavers have lost 2 of their last 3 games. Oregon State is 13-11-1 ATS and the total is 10-13-2 this season.

Oregon State is outscoring teams 75.4-74.5 this season. OSU is #291 out of 351 teams nationally in points allowed. The Beavers are shooting 48.3% from the field and 39% from 3 point range. Oregon State is in the top 30 nationally in both categories. The Beavers make 70.5% of their free throws. OSU opponents are shooting 44.3% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. The Beavers averages 34.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.2 per game. The Beavers average  13.7 assists, 13.3 turnovers, 4.9 steals, and 4.7 blocks per game. Opponents average 14.5 assists, 10.7 turnovers, 6.3 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.

OSU guard Roberto Nelson averages 20.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1 steal per game. Forward Devon Collier averages 13.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game. Center Angus Brandt averages 12.5 points, 4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. Forward Eric Moreland missed the first 12 games of the season due to a suspension but returned for Pac 12 play. He has averaged 8.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.9 blocks per game in 16 games so far this season. Guard Hallice Cooke averages 7.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Challe Barton, Victor Robbins, Langston Morris-Walker, Olaf Schaftenaar, Malcolm Duvivier, Daniel Gomis, and Jarmel Reid will also get significant minutes in the rotation. None averages more than 4.4 points per game.

Arizona is 4-0 ATS overall, in Pac 12 games, and against teams with winning records, 4-1 after a straight up win, 13-5 after a cover, 7-3 in road games and against teams with winning home records.

Oregon State is 4-0 ATS against teams with winning road records, 15-5-3 in Wednesday games, 15-7-2 after a straight up loss, and 3-8 after a cover. The home team is 4-0 ATS in this series recently. The Beavers are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 games against Arizona, including 4-0 in Corvallis.

Arizona has played some of their best basketball of the season with 3 straight wins by double digits. They could win this game by 20 or 30 points if they want to, but this seems like a potential trap game against a mediocre Oregon State team on the road. I think Arizona pulls out a a close win on the road.

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