Two of the Pac-12's two Cinderella teams from the 2021 NCAA Tournament will meet for the second time this season on Saturday, when Oregon State plays host to No. 12 UCLA at 4 p.m. ET on CBS. It was around this time last season that the struggling Beavers found a groove on the way to a Pac-12 Tournament title and surprise Elite Eight run. Such a run this season seems highly improbable considering OSU is just 3-23 (1-15 Pac-12). But a home game vs. the Bruins represents a great opportunity for the Beavers to salvage a signature win from an otherwise dreary season.
The Bruins (20-6, 12-5) are just 4-4 this month in a stretch that has left them lagging behind Arizona in the Pac-12 standings. February has been a month of injuries for the program, though. Among those dealing with health issues recently have been Tyger Campbell, Johnny Juzang, Peyton Watson, Cody Riley and Jaime Jaquez Jr. Only two Bruins — Jules Bernard and Myles Johnson — have appeared in every game this season. But third-year coach Mick Cronin has built a deep roster, which has allowed UCLA to withstand the injury onslaught reasonably well.
Oregon State lost star guard Ethan Thompson from last season's 20-13 team that reached the Elite Eight and has not been able to recapture the magic of that run. The Beavers started 1-10 with losses to the likes of Tulsa, Samford, Princeton and UC Davis before league play began. The Pac-12 slate has brought little reprieve. Oregon State has been close at times, such as in a double-overtime loss to USC on Thursday. But more often than not, the Beavers have been blown out like they were in the first meeting between these teams, which UCLA won 81-65 on Jan. 15.
How to watch UCLA vs. Oregon State live
Date: Saturday, Feb. 26 | Time: 4 p.m. ET
Location: Gill Coliseum -- Corvallis, Oregon
TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App
UCLA vs. Oregon State prediction, picks
If you are waiting for Oregon State to turn things around and find the mojo it had during last season's magical NCAA Tournament run, you might be waiting for a while. The Beavers are lagging far behind in the talent department and have shown little to suggest they've got an upset of this caliber in the tank. UCLA's bout with injuries this month makes it a little bit of a wild card. But the Bruins are deep enough to handle business here regardless of who may be unavailable. Prediction: UCLA 80, Oregon State 62.
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