The Line: Sunday, January 19

(AP Photo)

Oregon -2.5 at Oregon State, 8 pm ET
Despite lofty preseason hype as one of the top squads in the Pac-12, the Oregon Ducks are off to a miserable start in conference play to kick off the month of January. But while Dana Altman’s team could only claim one win over its first four conference games, the Ducks are set to begin a very manageable road slate that begins tonight in Corvallis. The hometown Beavers (9-7) enter the day on the right track after an 18-loss campaign last year, but are playing the worst defense the program has seen under Craig Robinson since the veteran coach took over in 2009. The Beavers have won a number of games this season by simply outgunning opponents offensively with hot shooting, and quicker, more athletic perimeter teams are making them pay with regularity at the back end. Jitterbug Oregon point guard Johnathan Loyd is exactly the type of player who will be able to break down Oregon State’s defense off the dribble, and the 5-foot-8 senior should rack up a number of assists on kickouts alone with a deadly shooting arsenal at his disposal. The Ducks are unbelievably desperate to get back in the win column and have more than enough talent to roll over their rivals here, so don’t be surprised if we see one of the best road efforts of the season from Altman’s team. Oregon by 8.

Season record: 76-50-2

Last 5 days
Jan. 18 (0-2)
Jan. 17 (0-1)
Jan. 16 (2-0)
Jan. 15 (1-0)
Jan. 14 (0-1)

December: 28-17 (62.22%)
November: 36-22-2 (62.06%)