Two of the Pac-12’s two Cinderella teams from the 2021 NCAA tournament meet for the second time this season on Saturday when Oregon State hosts UCLA No. 12 at 4 p.m. ET on CBS. Around this time last season, the struggling Beavers found a groove en route to a Pac-12 tournament title and a surprise Elite Eight run. Such a run this season seems highly unlikely considering OSU is only 3-23 (1-15 Pac-12). But a home game against the Bruins represents a great opportunity for the Beavers to salvage a signature win from an otherwise dismal season.
The Bruins (20-6, 12-5) are just 4-4 this month in a stretch that has left them behind Arizona in the Pac-12 standings. However, February was a month of injuries for the program. Among those dealing with health issues of late have been Tyger Campbell, Johnny Juzang, Peyton Watson, Cody Riley and Jaime Jaquez Jr. Only two Bruins – Jules Bernard and Myles Johnson – have appeared in every game this season. But third-year coach Mick Cronin has built an extensive roster that has allowed UCLA to weather the injury onslaught reasonably well.
Oregon State lost star guard Ethan Thompson from last season’s 20-13 team that made the Elite Eight and was unable to recapture the magic of that run. The Beavers started 1-10 with losses to Tulsa, Samford, Princeton and UC Davis before league play began. The Pac-12 slate has brought little reprieve. Oregon State has been close at times, such as a double-header loss to USC on Thursday. But mostly, the Beavers were blown out like the first meeting between these teams, which UCLA won 81-65 on Jan. 15.
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UCLA vs. Oregon State prediction, tips
Featured Game | Oregon State Beavers vs. UCLA Bruins
If you’re waiting for Oregon State to turn things around and find the mojo it had during last season’s magical NCAA tournament run, you might be waiting a while. The Beavers are far behind in the talent department and have shown little, suggesting they have a surprise of this caliber in the tank. UCLA’s battle with injuries this month makes it something of a wild card. But the Bruins are deep enough to do business here regardless of who isn’t available. Prediction: UCLA 80, Oregon State 62.
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