OSU — Michael Cobbins (6-foot-8, 220 pounds, sophomore)
Oregon — Arsalan Kazemi (6-foot-7, 226 pounds, senior)
Analysis: Of the four frontcourt starters in this game, Kazemi is the shortest. But despite that, he's also the best rebounder. A transfer from Rice, Kazemi has averaged nine or more boards in all four of his college seasons, including 9.5 per game this year, third best in the Pac-12. He's also a capable scorer, averaging 9.3 points. So it'll be key for Michael Cobbins, an above average interior defender, to neutralize Kazemi and try to play this one to at least a draw.
OSU — Phil Jurick (6-foot-11, 260 pounds, senior)
Oregon — Tony Woods (6-foot-11, 243 pounds, senior)
Analysis: Woods is more offensively skilled, while Jurick is a bit more impactful on the defensive end. But let's be honest, neither is expected to play a vital role in this one. Woods occasionally puts up a big game, but he's been quiet of late. And Jurick has been basically nonexistent, with Ford routinely banishing him to the bench three minutes into each half, not to be heard from again.
OSU — Phil Forte/Brian Williams and Kamari Murphy
Oregon — Carlos Emory and Johnathan Loyd
Analysis: Both teams have two bench guys expected to play vital roles in their respective postseason runs. Forte, in particular, is huge for the Cowboys, but must correct his struggling shot (he's 18/70 — 25 percent — from three since the beginning of February) to maximize his value. For Oregon, Carlos Emory plays a similar role, as a microwave scorer off the bench who can get hot at any time (he went off for 20 huge points in the Pac-12 title game). If either of the two gets hot, it could swing the game.
OSU — 24-8 overall, 13-5 Big 12, No. 5 seed
Oregon — 26-8 overall, 12-6 Pac-12, No. 12 seed
Analysis: This really has become one of the more intriguing matchups of the opening weekend. Oklahoma State brings the star power (Smart/Nash/Brown), while Oregon brings the momentum (Pac-12 Tourney champs) and motivation (wildly under-seeded at a 12). But when both teams are at their best (certainly not a guarantee), OSU seems to have a better best, a higher ceiling. But it should be a good one.
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