NCAA Basketball Picks for Oregon State vs. Arizona

Willie Bee

Sunday, February 9, 2014 1:49 PM GMT

It wasn't easy, and it certainly wasn't pretty, but the Arizona Wildcats survived their first full-game test without Brandon Ashley in the lineup. Now they'll look to build off Thursday's win against a second straight visitor from the Beaver State.

This time the visit is from the Beavers themselves as Oregon State treks to Tucson for Sunday's battle with the No. 2 Wildcats. You'll need the Pac-12 Network to see the action which is set to get underway at McKale Center a little past 7 PM (ET).

Betting started with the Wildcats laying 14.5 points, and the spread is a unanimous -15 following overnight trading. SBR's live college basketball odds will have a total for the contest just as soon as sports books get up enough courage to release one.

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The schools only met once on the hardwood a year ago, and Arizona ran its streak to five straight in the series with an 80-70 victory at Oregon State. That spread opened with the Wildcats laying 10, but closed -11to give some Beaver backers their seventh cover in the last nine clashes.

'Over' bettors went home happy after last season's matchup slipped past a 147.5 point mark. Arizona has a hefty 56-20 advantage over OSU, and is 30-6 playing in Tucson.

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Beavers Start Road Trip With Loss At Arizona

Oregon State (13-9 straight up, 10-9 ATS) came south to the Copper State earlier this week and dropped an 86-82 overtime decision to the Arizona State Sun Devils. Craig Robinson's charges caught the Sun Devils cold early for a 7-point lead in the first half, but couldn't hold the advantage.

It was the second overtime game for OSU in the last three trips to the floor, and the +7 line Beaver backers received was good enough for a second consecutive cover. Oregon State converted 10-of-16 shots from 3-point range and won the battle on the glass, but too many turnovers (15) and sending the Sun Devils to the line 40 times proved costly.

Hitting long-range jumpers is the strength of this Oregon State team. The Beavers are fourth in the country swishing 41.7 % of their 3-pointers throughout the season, and that number has gone up to nearly 49% on the Pac-12 schedule, the best mark by any team in conference play so far.

'Cats Need To Find Replacement For Ashley's Offense

Losing Ashley to a season-ending ankle injury is forcing Sean Miller to a shorter rotation for Arizona (22-1 SU, 13-9 ATS), leaving his bench a bit thinner. Ashley was averaging about 12 points per game before he suffered the injury in the loss at Cal a week ago, and gave the Wildcats an additional scoring threat inside and out.

Now Miller is having to turn to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who had been one of the first players off the bench, and while the freshman enjoyed a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) in Thursday's victory vs. Oregon, he's not as versatile on offense as Ashley was.

Hollis-Jefferson will pick up some of the offense with Ashley on the bench now, but more is also going to be expected from center Kaleb Tarczewski plus guards TJ McConnell and Gabe York. The Wildcats also can't leave 16 points on the charity stripe, as they did in the narrow win over the Ducks.

Oregon State has not performed well away from Corvallis, winning just three of its 10 games outside of Gill Coliseum, but the Beavers have split those decisions vs. the college basketball odds. With Arizona still trying to find its way without Ashley, I'll take the road 'dogs in this clash for my free college basketball pick.

College Basketbll Pick: Oregon State +15

Season: 32-24-3 (+5.6)