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Utes Have Big Opportunity To Snatch Massive Road Win Against Oregon State

Utah Utes forward Timmy Allen (1) drives on the Oregon State Beavers in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. Utah won 81-69. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah men’s basketball team is desperate for a road win and they have a great opportunity when they travel to Corvallis to face the Oregon State Beavers.

The Utes hold a 14-9 overall and 5-6 Pac-12 record this season and have won their last two games against Stanford and California. But, they are just 1-6 in true road games this season, including six straight losses. Utah is sitting in 8th place in the conference standings.

Oregon State is 14-9 overall and 4-7 in conference play after their big win over then-No. 14 Oregon last Saturday and have won two of their last three. The Beavers are 9-3 at home and are in 11th place in the Pac-12 standings.

Utah leads the all-time series against Oregon State 16-11. Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, the Utes are 7-6 against the Beavers and 2-4 in Corvallis.

This will mark the second and final regular season meeting between the two schools. Utah won the previous matchup on January 2 in the Pac-12 opener at the Jon M. Huntsman Center with an 81-69 victory.

Utah Getting Offensive Groove Back

After struggling with their shot throughout the last handful of games, the Utes found their groove on offense against the Cal Bears. In their 60-45 win, Utah shot 45 percent from the field. From beyond the arc, the Utes still struggled by making just 5 of their 18 attempts. But, they attacked the rim and was able to get 32 points in the paint and turned their great defense into great offense with 22 points off of 17 Cal turnovers.

Hopefully, Timmy Allen is getting back to his Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate play. He scored 21 points – his second 20+ point game in Pac-12 play, the last time was against Oregon State. Allen shot 8-16 from the field. Before the game against Cal, Allen was shooting just 32 percent from the field in conference play.

The Utes did not have Both Gach for four straight games due to a knee injury. His status against Oregon State is unknown.

Utah also had a great week from freshman big man Branden Carlson who had his first career double-double in Utah’s win over Stanford with 15 points and 10 rebounds along with 8 blocked shots. He tied Jason Washburn for third all-time in school history for most blocks in a single game. Carlson was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week.

Oregon State Has Momentum

The Beavers had one hiccup in their last three games, losing by two points to California. They went on the road and beat a good Stanford team by five points in Palo Alto and knocked off Oregon by 10 points in the Civil War on Saturday.

Tres Tinkle is one of the best players in the Pac-12 this season averaging the fourth most points at 19, 6.8 rebounds and a league-best 2 steals per contest. Ethan Thompson is posting 15.1 points, 4.3 boards and 4 assists per game.

If Utah wants to beat Oregon State, they will have to win the rebound battle. The Beavers are 11th in the conference in total rebounds per game (33.3), 9th in offensive rebounding (8.9) and last in defensive rebounding (24.3). But, they are third in the Pac-12 in blocks per game with 5.3. Kylor Kelley leads the entire conference with 3.7 blocks per game along with 11.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

As a team, Oregon State is top three in the Pac-12 in points per game (73.3), field goal percentage (46%) and No. 1 in free throw percentage (74%). But, they are ninth in three point percentage (32%). So, Utah should put an emphasis defensively in getting the Beavers to shoot three-pointers as opposed to getting to the rim.

Utah’s NCAA Tournament Hopes

Part of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee process is the information compiled from five major metrics, the NET rankings, the three metrics from ESPN, including Strength of Record, BPI and RPI. The final two metrics that are used are the rankings from KenPom and Sagarin.

Utah is ranked No. 70 in the NET ranking after their win over California. Oregon State is No. 66 in the NET rankings after their win over Oregon. The Utes are the ninth highest ranked team in the Pac-12 according to the NET rankings, while Oregon State is eighth.

Here is where the other metrics have the Utes this week:

  • RPI – 58
  • SOR – 65
  • BPI – 118
  • KenPom – 104
  • Sagarin – 80

For Oregon State, here is where the other metrics have them ranked:

  • RPI – 63
  • SOR – 97
  • BPI – 83
  • KenPom – 80
  • Sagarin – 78

Also, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee uses the Quadrant system where they put the opponent in a quadrant depending on their five ratings in their major metrics. Entering the game against Oregon State, Utah is 3-6 against Quadrant 1 opponents. Their six losses came against Oregon, San Diego State, Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State and USC, while their three wins were against BYU, Kentucky in Las Vegas and Stanford.

The Utes are 4-1 against Quadrant 2 teams with wins over Nevada, Minnesota and Washington and Oregon State, with their only loss against UCLA. In Quadrant 3, Utah is 3-2 with both losses coming against Tulane and Coastal Carolina in the Myrtle Beach Invitational and their three wins coming against Ohio, California and Washington State. The Utes are 4-0 in Quadrant 4 with wins over UC Davis, Weber State, Central Arkansas and Mississippi Valley State.

Oregon State has a 4-3 record in Quadrant 1, beating Arizona, Colorado, Stanford and Oregon with their three losses against Oklahoma, Washington and Utah. They are 1-3 in Quadrant 2, beating Iowa State and falling to USC, Arizona State and Washington State. The Beavers have a 1-3 record in Quadrant 3 with their lone win coming against California. Their three losses were against UCLA, Texas A&M and California. The Golden Bears are 8-0 in Quadrant 4 with victories over UC Santa Barbara, Portland State, CSUN, North Dakota, San Jose State, Wyoming, Grambling and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

The Utes and Beavers will tip-off at 7 p.m. on Thursday with the game being broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.

The Crimson Corner podcast is the one-stop for all things University of Utah Athletics hosted by Utah insider Trevor Allen. Ute fans will find interviews with current players, coaches, and staff alongside expert analysis of every game, story and angle coming out of the University of Utah.

You can download and listen to the podcast,Β here.

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