Men's Basketball Opens Season Saturday Morning

Nov. 15, 2001

Corvallis, Ore. -

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THIS WEEK: Oregon State opens the 2001-2002 season at 11:05 a.m. at Ralph Miller Court vs. the University of Northern Colorado Bears. This is the first game of the season for both teams. Northern Colorado is a Division II program and is a member of the North Central Conference with Morningside (Sioux City, IA), Augustana (Rock Island, IL), St. Cloud State (MN), Minnesota State-Mankato, Nebraska-Omaha, South Dakota, South Dakota State, North Dakota, and North Dakota State.

WHAT'S NEXT: Oregon State leaves Sunday night for Anchorage to compete in the eight-team Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. The Beavers open play Thanksgiving night against Texas, then play the next day against St. John's or Gonzaga. The opponent for the third day will be either Tennessee, Indiana, Marquette, or host Alaska-Anchorage.

IF HE STARTS: If guard Joe See starts Saturday he would be the first true-freshman to do so in the season opener at Oregon State since Ron Grady, John-Blair Bickerstaff, Carson Cunningham, and Nate Knight were introduced Nov. 26, 1996.

RICCI AND HAYWOOD INELIGIBLE: Junior forward Philip Ricci and junior guard Jimmie Haywood have been ruled ineligible for Saturday's game due to playing in an unsanctioned tournament in Seattle last May. NCAA rules prohibit current student-athletes from participating in non-NCAA sanctioned events. University of Washington sophomore forward Doug Wrenn and Eastern Washington University sophomore guard Alvin Snow are facing the same set of circumstances. Wrenn will miss Thursday's (Nov. 15) season opening game at Alaska-Fairbanks in the first round of the Top of the World Classic, and Snow will miss Thursday's game (Nov. 15) vs. St. Joseph's in the first round of the Black Coaches Association Classic in Berkeley, Cal. The infraction is considered minor by all accounts.

OSU-UNC SERIES: This is the first meeting between Oregon State and Northern Colorado in basketball.

INJURY UPDATE: Freshman-redshirt center Derek Potter has been sidelined with a stress reaction injury in his left leg, but has returned to limited practice this week and could be available for Saturday's game. Potter redshirted last season due to injuries, mainly to a broken toe.

SEASON OPENERS: Oregon State is in quest of its sixth consecutive season opening victory. The Beavers made it five in a row last season with a 68-35 rout of the Cal State-Fullerton Titans Nov. 17. Chico State, Cal State-Northridge, Portland, and Idaho State have been the other season opening victims. OSU's last loss on opening day was to Santa Clara, 50-45, in Portland's Rose Garden Nov. 25, 1995.

A FULL BENCH: Head coach Ritchie McKay has many options this year when he turns to his bench, unlike last season. Even with Philip Ricci and Jimmie Haywood being sidelined Saturday, he still has 12 active players. McKay didn't have a game where he had more than nine available players in 2000-2001, and at times during the year had only seven.

HOOPS RECRUITS ADDED: Ritchie McKay and his staff signed three athletes to national letters of intent during the early signing period. Joining the program for the 2002-2003 season are Kerbrell Brown (6-7, F) from Dodge City Community College in Kansas, Kevin Field (6-10, C) from Wilson High School in Tacoma, Wash., and Justin Holt (6-6, F) from Lincoln High School in Tacoma. The program has one remaining scholarship to offer during the late signing period April 10-May 15. A quick glance at the projected roster for next year (as of Nov. 15) includes four seniors, two juniors, seven sophomores, and two freshmen.

HEAD COACH RITCHIE McKAY: Ritchie McKay is in his second year at Oregon State, and is in his sixth overall as a head coach. McKay's record stands at 71-72, which includes an injury riddled 2001 season at OSU (10-20) and the first year of college basketball in 15 years at Portland State University (9-17). McKay spent two years at PSU and finished with a record of 24-29, then led Colorado State University for two of the program's most successful years ever, leaving with a mark of 37-23.

McKAY ON THE PRESEASON PREDICTIONS: 'I honestly don't pay much attention to the media rankings, but I actually like being the underdog. Playing in postseason would be a great year for this program, and certainly that is our goal. We have things we need to accomplish before we can think about playing in postseason, beating teams were not suppose to, winning on the road in a hostile environment, and protecting our home court.'

TOP EIGHT QUALIFY: For the first time since the 1989-90 season, the Pacific-10 Conference will hold a postseason tournament. The top eight teams from regular season play will qualify for the March 7-9 event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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