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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Beaver trap

Oregon State may be the last team that No. 18 Arizona wants to see with a Pacific-10 Conference championship on the line.

The Wildcats need two wins this weekend to cut the nylon on Saturday afternoon at McKale Center.

As the Beavers walk into McKale Center tonight with a three-game winning streak against the Wildcats, they could be the team that shatters Arizona’s aspirations for cutting down the nets on Lute and Bobbi Olson Court.

The only problem is the last time Arizona beat Oregon State (10-17, 5-11 Pac-10), NBA players Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill were on the Wildcat roster. The Beavers swept the Wildcats last season for the first time since 1983 and gave them their first conference loss this year on Jan. 2.

“”They’ve beat us three times,”” said Sean Miller, who hasn’t beaten OSU. “”I wish that I could say that didn’t happen, but they’ve earned all three victories. We’re trying to prevent them from beating us four times.””

Despite being ninth in the conference, the Beavers believe in themselves.

“”They’re just a really confident team,”” Miller said. “”They may be the most confident team in the Pac-10.””

In addition to their recent success against Arizona, Miller said the Beavers’ confidence is apparent in their attitude.

“”Reading their comments, I’m sure they’re probably guarded coming into this game about being over confident against us,”” he added. “”I know that was something that they talked a lot about before last game. They’re a confident group of people.””

The Beavers’ confidence stems from the Wildcats struggles against their defense.

“”Their 1-3-1 has really bothered us,”” Miller added.

Oregon State has rarely run the 1-3-1 this season and has increased its tempo offensively, but Miller wouldn’t be surprised if it went back to its old ways.

“”They played their 1-3-1 more last year as a team. This year they don’t play it as much,”” he said. “”I’m anticipating they’ll play it a lot against us because they had success against us.””

So what does Arizona have to do to break down this 1-3-1 zone?

“”Take care of the ball, attack their 1-3-1 zone with more confidence,”” Miller said, “”making sure that, regardless who we play, we’re ready on our end.””

If the Wildcats can snap a three-game losing streak against the Beavers, they will move one game closer to a Pac-10 title and finishing the season with an undefeated record at McKale Center.

Arizona is 15-0 at home and has won 16 in a row at home, dating back to last season. The Wildcats lost five games on their home court last season, but this time, protecting their court was a point of emphasis for Miller.

“”I think it would be special,”” Miller said of finishing the season undefeated at home. “”The Pac-10 has been in existence for 35 years, and there have only been 25 teams that have been undefeated at home.

Finishing the season with an undefeated record at home will signify the rebirth of McKale, after it appeared to lose some of its juice last season.

“”For us to have a chance to do it says a lot about our crowd,”” Miller added. “”It says a lot about the atmosphere we have at McKale. It’ll be a compliment to our team.””


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