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Pac-12 Review: Oregon State only wins with Paytons

The Beavers pull off a big upset, as road wins are still very tough to come by.

Godofredo Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Game of the Week: Oregon State 58, Arizona 56 ; Team of the week: Oregon State

Obviously much of the reaction to OSU's upset win was how long it had been (15 years) since the Beavers last beat a top 10 team. But that simple stat undersells how bad it's been for Oregon State basketball fans.

Gary Payton played four years for OSU. In his final three years, Oregon State made the NCAA tournament. But that wasn't necessarily unusual for the Beavers. They went to the tournament five previous times in the 80s. And sure, it was painful to lose in the first round each time (twice to lower seeds) but at least OSU was a good, relevant team.

They have not been back to the NCAA tournament since. TWENTY FIVE YEARS. Just think about that. The NCAA tournament has been so watered down that they basically let nearly half of every power conference in each year. And yet OSU has never been in the tournament since The Glove.

Since The Glove, Oregon State has gone 296-422, which averages out to about a 12-18 season every year. For a quarter of a century. Craig Robinson actually has the highest winning percentage for an OSU coach over that time frame, because he constantly scheduled the worst, weakest non-conference schedules known to man each year.

Now, suddenly, Gary Payton (II) is back at OSU. And he's putting up stats that are probably familiar. Like almost 3 steals/game, and a decent number of assists, and some solid shooting at a low usage level. Just fine for a lightly recruited 3 star guard and true freshman, playing for a rebuilding team. And OSU has hope for the first time in decades.

Player of the Week: Kevon Looney, UCLA

Looney basically single-handedly carried UCLA over Stanford with a monster 27 point, 19 rebound performance. Chipping in 15 and 7 against Cal was a nice, unnecessary cap on top of his earlier performance. The 5 star freshman forward combines the size and athleticism to mix it up inside with 3 point range. Now that he's starting to live up to his recruiting potential, the Bruins are looking much improved. Hooray.

Disappointment of the week: Washington

This site will have ample coverage of Cal's struggles, in case you were wondering. No, let's talk about the team that has lost 4 in a row after rising high in the top 25 with an undefeated start to the season. What has happened to Washington? Well, outside of Robert Upshaw's rim protection and rebounding, the defense has been awful. Hardly anybody can hit a 3 pointer, so teams are free to collapse on UW's interior players, and the offense has struggled as a consequence. In short, nothing is going right.

Losing on the road to Stanford is certainly forgivable. But allowing Cal's offense to go off in the 2nd half certainly looks suspect, and losing at home to Wazzu is embarrassing (sob).

Next Week


UCLA at USC, 6:00, ESPN2
Stanford at California, 8:00, ESPNU


Colorado at Arizona, 6:00, ESPN
Oregon State at Washington, 6:00, Pac-12 Network
Utah at Arizona State, 7:00, Fox Sports 1
Oregon at Washington State, 8:00, Pac-12 Network


Colorado at Arizona State, 1:30, Pac-12 Network
Utah at Arizona, 4:00, Pac-12 Network
Connecticut at Stanford, 6:00, ESPN2 
Oregon State at Washington State, 6:00, Pac-12 Network


Oregon at Washington, 5:30, ESPNU

This week, Utah travels to Arizona. It's one of the two biggest games in the regular season. It's on the Pac-12 Network, while Stanford and UConn (admittedly, a pretty good game) is on ESPN2. That's dumb. Oops!

The California schools are both playing their rivalry games, which means the ugliness that is most of them won't be overexposed.

Meanwhile, the northwest schools are facing off, which naturally means that Oregon State/Washington State is the big match up. Duh. Tune in.

Have you noticed that I'm having trouble drumming up excitement for basketball season? You should forget everything you just read, and purchase tickets for Cal WBB's Friday night game at home vs. Arizona State. MBB is a sport that will betray you and hurt you. WBB offers only fun.