Savvy scheduling move gives Oregon State an edge over its Pac-12 peers

Oregon State will have a slight advantage over the rest of its peers entering the Pac-12's inaugural conference tournament in Las Vegas next March.

The Beavers will be the only Pac-12 team to have previously played a game at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Since MGM Grand Garden Arena had never hosted a basketball event of the magnitude of the Pac-12 tournament,  Pac-12 spokesman Dave Hirsch said conference officials wanted to do a trial run earlier in the season in preparation. MGM and Pac-12 officials opted to hold four games at the arena next season, a doubleheader on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23.

"When we settled on the dates of Dec. 22 and 23 for a nonconference event, we asked our membership if any teams were available and willing to play a neutral site, nonconference game in Las Vegas," Hirsch said. "Oregon State was in need of another game for its 2012-13 schedule."

Oregon State will play the University of San Diego on Dec. 22. The Pac-12 can't announce the remaining three matchups until the contracts have been signed, but Hirsch said no other Pac-12 team besides the Beavers will be participating.

It's understandable that other Pac-12 teams didn't want to give up the revenue of a home game to play on a neutral floor, but as a result they're letting Oregon State to have a slight edge on them in March.

In the past, national powers such as Kentucky or Michigan State have eagerly scheduled games at the site of the Final Four so their players will be familiar with everything from the shooting backdrop to the locker rooms to the rims. Now an Oregon State team that returns everyone of note besides Jared Cunningham will have that same comfort level in Las Vegas.

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