The first round of the Pac-10 Tournament, or what's become the play-in round, begins on Wednesday as the Stanford Cardinal and Oregon State Beavers open play at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Stanford comes in as the higher seed, finishing eighth in the Pac-10 with a 7-11 record. Oregon State, on the other hand, finished ninth, compiling a 5-13 record in Pac-10 play and 10-19 record overall.
On paper, the Stanford Cardinal are the better team, though they fell the last time these two teams met, losing to the Beavers by seven in Corvallis. Stanford possess a better defense, holding opponents to an efficiency rating of 98.6, as well as a better offense, with a 103.9 efficiency rating itself. Oregon State, on the other hand, gives up just over one point per possession (100.8 efficiency) and puts up just over a point on the offensive end (101.1 OEff).
Oregon State's effective field goal defense has been atrocious as the Beavers allow opponents to shoot 54.3 percent by measure of eFG, one of the worst marks in the nation. The Beavers steal percentage is about the only positive, a product of head coach Craig Robinson's system. The Beavers 13.6 steal percentage ranks among the best in the nation, no shock to anyone who's watched Oregon State operate.
For the Beavers, it's all about Jared Cunningham. The athletic wing posted a 106.1 ORtg this season, the best mark on the team. Josh Owens and Jeremy Green are Stanford's threats on the offensive end, each posting ORtgs above 100.
Stanford is the clear favorite in Wednesday's matchup, and should move-on to face Arizona in the Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinals. It all gets underway on Wednesday at 6 p.m. on FSN, live from Staple Center.
Here's the rest of the schedule for Wednesday games, and the bracket for the first two round.
No. 8 Stanford Cardinal vs. No. 9 Oregon State Beavers, 6 p.m. FSN
No. 7 Oregon Ducks vs. No. 10 Arizona State Sun Devils, 8:30 p.m., FSN
No. 4 USC Trojans vs. No. 5 California Golden Bears, noon, FSN
No. 1 Arizona Wildcats vs. Stanford/Oregon State, 2:30, FSN
No. 2 UCLA Bruins vs. Oregon/Arizona State, 6 p.m., FSN
No. 3 Washington Huskies vs. No. 6 Washington State Cougs, 8:30 p.m., FSN
For more on the tournament, including the latest news and bracket updates, check out the rest of our 2011 Pac-10 tournament StoryStream.