6. Oregon State Beavers (8-4) LW: 7
As non-conference play draws to a close, Oregon State has proved to be a pleasant surprise in the Pac-12. The Beavers were picked to finish tenth in the conference’s preseason poll.
Now, they look like they will finish much higher than that come March. In the non-conference finale, the Beavers handled business, coming away with a 80-59 victory over Central Connecticut State.
Redshirt junior forward Tres Tinkle put together another solid performance in the win against the Blue Devils. On the season he averages 19.8 points a game and he exceeded that as he posted 20 points, eight rebounds, three assists, as well as a block and a steal.
At this point, it is too early to tell if Oregon State is truly ready to make noise in the Pac-12 or if they are just a flash in the pan.
The lack of quality teams the Beavers have faced is definitely a cause for concern. Out of its eight wins, OSU has accumulated just two of those over winning teams in Old Dominion and Pennsylvania.
It will not take long to find out the answer to that question as the Beavers will get a crack at rival Oregon on the road to open up Pac-12 play on Jan. 5.
If Tinkle continues to perform at his current rate of efficiency and he gets help from guards Stephen Thompson Jr. and Ethan Thompson (averaging almost a combined 27 points per game) the Beavers could be a team to keep an eye on moving forward.