On Thursday night, the University of Washington and Oregon State basketball teams will tip off at 8:30 p.m. at Gill Coliseum, at a time when usually only the McDonald's drive-through window is open in Corvallis.
A Quarter-pounder with cheese and a root beer, please.
For the re-energized Huskies (8-7 overall, 3-2 Pac-12), they hope to come away with a third consecutive victory and do it against an Oregon State team (3-13, 1-5) that has pulled a total Cinderella reversal in a year's time — going from rags to riches and back to rags.
Last season, the Wayne Tinkle-coached Beavers enjoyed one of their most exhilarating moments in program history by winning nine consecutive games down the stretch, capturing its first Pac-12 Conference tournament title, advancing to the NCAA tournament Elite 8 and finishing 20-13 overall and ranked No. 20 in the national polls.
Yet this season, they've come crashing back to earth, even with three starters returning in 6-foot-4 junior guard Jarod Lucas, 6-foot-8 senior forward Warith Alatishe and 7-foot-1 senior center Roman Silva.
Apparently the Beavers really miss their former floor leader Ethan Thompson, who's used up his eligibility and now playing in the G-League.
They enter this game with a three-game losing streak.
These teams played just once last year when the Huskies traveled to Corvallis and were beaten 91-71.
While Mike Hopkins' program is much improved, it still doesn't have any big men who put the ball in the basket, always making it vulnerable.
The Huskies make things interesting by relying on the Pac-12's leading scorer Terrell Brown, who averages 21 points per outing, and their zone defense, which brings them a league-leading 9.4 steals per game.
The key for everyone on both sides will be adjusting to a late tipoff that happens when their games are usually coming to an end. The late start comes to satisfy Pac-12 Network needs.
"I know it's past my bedtime," Hopkins wisecracked.
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