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PACIFIC 10 TOURNAMENT

Pac-10 basketball tournament starts Thursday at Staples Center

First up is Oregon State vs. Stanford, then Washington State vs. Oregon.

March 11, 2009|Chris Foster; David Wharton

Oregon State (13-16) vs. Stanford (17-12), 6 p.m., FS West -- Oregon State, winless in conference play a year ago, had the type of upswing under first-year Coach Craig Robinson that his brother-in-law in the White House would like to see in the economy. The Beavers, the eighth-seeded team, have a philosophy on offense that is either patient or annoying, depending on which bench you sit. But it can be effective, especially when they shoot well. Stanford, the ninth-seeded team, has its own first-year coach, former Duke star Johnny Dawkins, and the Cardinal won two of their last three games, including a win over No. 23 Arizona State in Tempe.

Washington State (16-14) vs. Oregon (8-22), about 8:30 p.m., FS West -- Washington State, the seventh-seeded team, won consecutive late-season games against UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State, then gave Washington all it could handle in its regular-season finale. Taylor Rochestie is a clutch shooter and his backcourt mate, Klay Thompson, is developing into a consistent threat. No. 10-seeded Oregon's highlight: Winning two conference games late in the season to avoid rival Oregon State's winless fate in 2007-08. Still, the 5-foot-6 Tajuan Porter can be a handful.

-- Chris Foster

Player to watch:

Roeland Schaftenaar, Oregon State

An odd name pops up among the top assist-makers in the Pac-10 this season. And it's not just the spelling.

Nestled among the small, quick guards is Oregon State's 6-11 center Roeland Schaftenaar, who ranks 10th in conference games with an average of 3.5 assists.

The lanky junior from the Netherlands dishes so often because his team runs a Princeton-style offense with lots of passing and back cuts. The ball often starts with Schaftenaar at the foul line, looking for an open man.

That doesn't lead to many points or rebounds, but he shoots almost 37% from three-point range and was an honorable mention on the All-Pac-10 team.

"He works hard and is the same kid all the time," Beavers Coach Craig Robinson said recently. "Most of all, he is helping us win games."

-- David Wharton

--

All games at Staples Center:

TONIGHT

Oregon State vs. Stanford, 6

Washington St. vs. Oregon, 8:30

THURSDAY

Arizona State vs. Arizona, noon

Washington vs. Oregon State or Stanford, 2:30 p.m.

California vs. USC, 6 p.m.

UCLA vs. Washington State or Oregon, 8:30 p.m.

FRIDAY

Semifinals, 6 and 8:30 p.m.

SATURDAY

Championship, 3 p.m.

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