Can the Oregon State men’s basketball team win four games in four days at the Pac-12 tournament?
“Absolutely," coach Craig Robinson said.
“We are very confident that if we are playing our game for 40 minutes, we can win four games in a row.
“The 64 thousand dollar question is can we do that for 40 minutes."
The Beavers are the 12th seed, but with the Pac-12’s parity this season, the road doesn’t seem much rougher than if they had finished higher.
OSU opens the tournament at 2:30 p.m. today against Colorado, a team the Beavers knocked off in Boulder on Saturday.
A win would match them with No. 4 seed Arizona.
“It was nice to (defeat Colorado) on the road, at altitude in a game where a team was actually playing for something. That gives us a lot of confidence," Robinson said.
“This season, with our record not showing it, being competitive in every single Pac-12 game has been a new feeling for Oregon State over the last five years. That feeling we have to keep experiencing and not let it go backwards."
A run through the tournament would be all the more possible with some strong shooting by Ahmad Starks.
Starks can swing a game with a 3-point shooting spree.
Unfortunately for the Beavers, he’s been mired in a slump for most of the conference season.
“Ahmad is a very good basketball player who understands the game as well, if not better, than most guys," Robinson said. “What he’s struggled with is trying to figure out how to get himself out of this slump.
“At some point in your career you go through what he’s going through and you at some point figure out how to get out of it and that’s what he’s really working hard on."
In the meantime, Starks has found ways to help the Beavers.
In the 64-58 win at Colorado, he hit a layup with 2:09 left to give the Beavers a 56-50 lead and then dropped in two free throws with 33 seconds to go to bump the lead back up to five.
“A lot of people show up during tourney time, so we’ll see what happens," Joe Burton said. “If we get him going, it will be scary for the opposite team."
Playing in Vegas
The teams are staying — and playing — at the MGM Grand on the Las Vegas strip.
There’s plenty of distractions in the area, but the Beavers can’t afford to lose focus.
“I would approach it and I think the rest of the team would approach it as a business trip," OSU forward Eric Moreland said. “We’re in no position to be having fun like that right now. We all feel we shouldn’t be where we’re at, so I would think that everybody would go up there with the mind-set that this is a business trip."