18.Dec.2010 Basketball: George Washington @ OSU

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The Beavs and George Washington tip off at 4:30 local time. 

The criticism thus far is all valid:

  1. Coach Robinson's lineup experimentation is holding the team back.
  2. Robinson doesn't know how to use timeouts or manage a clock.
  3. The seniors need to ride the pine.
  4. A Pac-10 team cannot lose to such inferior opponents.

Etc. All points are true and valid.

That being said, you can call me contrarian, but I see a team on the precipice of "getting it". The Beavers have only been blown out only once, and their other 4 loses were by a combined 16 points. They are losing close games, but in these loses there has been growth. We saw Angus Brandt mature this past game, Roberto Nelson's defensive ability looks impressive, Starks has shown flashes, Collier looks like an ACC player, etc. I don't know when it will be, but at some point this season these things will come together consistently, and this team will win games we expect them to lose.

To me the best lineup is becoming clear:

  • Starks
  • Nelson
  • Cunningham
  • Collier
  • Johnson

Yes, it's small with Cunningham at forward, but that gives the Beavers three legit outside shooters and would force Collier's inside game, which is great, to develop quickly. Joe Burton and Angus Brandt could sub for one of the guards when bigger bodies are needed, and they could also backup the front court when rest is required. 

My cautious optimism is based on what I believe is the most valid criticism so far: that as long as Calvin Haynes and Lathan Wallace see significant minutes this team will continue to lose. If the shift toward the lineup I mention above continues (and it has begun) then I think the light bulb turns on sooner rather than later. If Haynes and Wallace play more than 8-10 minutes each, the team will continue to lose close games.

I also would like to add one more observation before signing off: the Beavers have lost all of these close games around the 9 minute mark in the second quarter. I'm learning it's the critical time in a ballgame. If today's contest is close, keep an eye on what they do at that juncture of the game. It's usually just a couple mental lapses that let the opponent go up by two or three possessions, and then the subsequent pressure turns into a frenetic pace where the Beavers lose all composure and spiral downward.

Anyway, below is the scouting report on George Washington.

George Washington snapped a four-game losing streak with a 73-67 win over Towson on Dec. 8 to improve its record to 3-5 with its other wins against Marist and Nevada. The Colonials went 16-15 last season, 6-10 in the Atlantic 10 Conference, and advanced to the College Basketball Invitational where they lost in the first round to Virginia Commonwealth, 79-73. Junior guard Tony Taylor leads the team in scoring (12.0 ppg), assists (5.0 apg) and steals. Senior center Joseph Katuka is averaging 9.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, while freshman forward Nemanja Mikic is averaging 8.5 points per game and shooting 45 percent from three-point range (21of-47). George Washington had nine days off since the Towson game for final exams.

Today's game is available on TV (Fox Sports) and via radio.

I'm calling for a Beaver win, but it's based on the assumption that Robinson puts the right pieces in place.

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  • angry angry says:
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    Butler giving it to Stanford. It continues to amaze me how teams like Butler to not only compete but dominate “power” conferences. On a scale of 10, their athleticism is probably a 3. This is the #1 reason I never get into things like Jared Cunningham’s “hops” etc.

    • JackBeav says:
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      Butler has a lot of good athletes, and Stanford has no Landry Fields… the guy who was the best player in the Pac 10 last year.

      Butler isn’t coming out of the woodwork here. They were a pre-season #10 last year. But they do show that fundamentals trump talent when the field is only 18 yards wide and 30 yards long.

      • angry angry says:
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        Butler has been good for a while, but I’d say OSU has better “athletes” than Butler, yet Butler would cream them by 50-60 on the court. What this tells me is Robinson should maybe recruit sound players rather than ankle breaking athletes who can’t make simple passes. Give me a slow, white point guard who makes the right pass and hits every free throw (I love that Wisconsin style basketball).

        • AfghanBeav AfghanBeav says:
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          Steve Nash?

        • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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          Athletes are what take you deep in march. Can you name the last time Wisconsin was in a title game? Gordon Hayward was a tremendous athlete and he carried Butler. So you need athletes if you have designs about going deep in March but the problem is the Beavers are poorly coached. If the Beavers had Brad Stevens they would be close to undefeated. Coaching plays a huge part in the college game and when you get bad coaching (OSU) you constantly lose games you should win. Craig continually gets out-coached and always makes excuses for it. He’s just not a good coach I expect in 2 years everyone will want him fired, the media won’t defend him forever.

  • JackBeav says:
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    Time-outs are a dime a dozen. There are four media breaks in each half. If a coach needs any more than that, he’s not doing very well. Obviously, the end of the game is key for time management. But other than that, media TO’s take care of business.

  • JackBeav says:
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    And I’d put Brandt in for Johnson. I hope I’m wrong, but I think Omari will disappear into the league schedule like he did two years ago.

  • ace0099 says:
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    several tweets from Buker

    ..Fr forward Rhys Murphy, who sat out 2009-2010 ssn with foot injury (and has had knee issues, too) has a broken wrist and will have surgery on Tues., same day Frosh F Eric Moreland (shoulder) has his surgery.

    OSU hoops: expected lineup change today, F/C Angus Brandt – coming off career-high 13 pts. at Mont. – starts for Fr Devon Collier

    Brandt-Burton-Omari J. front line will need some rebs today: G. Wash. goes 6-8, 6-8, 6-11 (Nigerian C Joseph Katuka) on front line

    Add, Roberto: coach said Nelson prob. played too many mins. at Montana. He got visibly tired. Still workin him back in …

    • mckalk mckalk says:
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      I find the mindset interesting….this Selby guy makes his debut and basically wins the game for Kansas against USC,but Roberto Nelson played too many minutes??? Was he not building up his cardio in practice, certainly he was scrimmaging, right?
      Once again, please help me understand Robinson. I am really starting to think that he caught a little lighting in a bottle with his 1-3-1 and The Princeton in 2008-09. Not impressed with his coaching since then. Still, he gets the five years just like every other wash out since Ralph.

      • angry angry says:
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        I still can’t believe a Princeton grad is as dumb as Robinson appears, so I keep telling myself he’s teaching them lessons. Then again, everyone told me Obama was an intellectual genius…seems a common problem in that family. Politics!

        • mckalk mckalk says:
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          I guess I have my B.S. detector up because of his Wall Street background. You have to be a great salesman to be successful in that business! My perception is that he always has excuses for these bad losses and they sometimes do not ring true or he falls back on head scratching philosophical reasons. The media still has a coach-crush on him and he gets very little x and o level criticism as yet.

          • angry angry says:
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            Personally, Riley and his terrible recruiting make me appreciate a guy who can win those battles. Since Robinson’s recruits are so young I think he gets a pass until they’re all juniors. I think we’re all ahead of reality, expecting results from freshmen that would be more realistic for soph/juniors etc. I probably won’t criticize him too much for another year.

  • angry angry says:
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    Has the game begun?

    I have some USA Olympic crap showing, even though the channel info says the game should be on…

  • angry angry says:
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    Okay cool, now the game is on. Ah, did I hear 12-0 run by GW? Haha.

    • OS_Beaver says:
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      That and also 24-6 run by GW. Outplay them and have some guys confident in taking and making their shots!

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    Craig once again is clueless.

    • angry angry says:
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      What’s his explanation on the lineups? I haven’t read his explanation anywhere.

      • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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        Pretty sure he deflects questions about it. Roberto Nelson is the best player and the team plays the best when he’s on the floor yet he’s played 3 minutes.

        • mckalk mckalk says:
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          Media does not even ask questions about his coaching thought process. Really unless they start winning consistently the general apathy is going to continue. There is no story angle with the Beavers right now. Portland Pilots are probably the best team in the state this year anyway. They were the best last year by far.

          • angry angry says:
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            Yeah, I check out all the papers, and I never see anyone asking Robinson difficult questions or asking for explanations.

            On a side note, I like the ladies’ basketball coach. That guy seems all business and good with the x/o. In NCAA history, has a women’s coach ever shifted to the men’s?

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    Naturally Roberto comes in as soon as I post that. But player rotations continue to be just ridiculous.

    • angry angry says:
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      Notice how much better the team becomes with Nelson, Cunningham, and Collier on the floor. 2nd chance for Robinson to open his eyes.

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    Beavers close out well with Roberto Nelson on the floor coincidence? I think not

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    Do CR and staff scout OSU’s opponents ahead of time? Do they have a plan b4 the game begins? As someone during the Montana game blogged – to begin the game, the tallest OSU player on the floor was 6’9″ whilst the Grizzlies had a 6’11” post player – whose abilities were known to anyone who reads the sports page.

    So the kids fell behind 11 points (not for that reason alone, but . . . ) and, finally, a sortof solution was found – too late, however.

    I get the impression (I hope erroneously) that there is a “well let’s see what works” approach.

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    Has Joe Burton done anything positive yet? I don’t understand why he’s playing. He’s terrible.

  • angry angry says:
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    Here’s that crucial 9 minute mark I was talking about…it’s where they’ve wilted all season. Let’s see…

    • angry angry says:
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      Ah, yep, the same exact pattern as in the past. Haynes blows a layup, Burton travels, and GW goes up by 2 possessions. Now the Beavs are in panic mode.

  • angry angry says:
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    Joe Burton is a walking nightmare.

    • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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      Why does he play more than Collier? Craig cannot rationalize Burton playing more than Collier.

      • mckalk mckalk says:
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        Antedotal, but the team plays worse when Joe Burton is in the game, right? He makes the easy pass difficult, too short and unathletic to rebound with authority, poor foul shooter and does that same stupid reverse baseline move nine times out of ten.

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    Please Bobby D, Fire Craig Robinson he’s a pathetic excuse for a head coach.

  • Mud&Sticks says:
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    Here’s what I hope has been going on.

    CR didn’t want to start the new guys with out giving the upperclassmen (and Burton) a chance. Tonight in the post game show he talked about re-thinking what he’s been doing and benching some of the players.

    So now the upperclassmen can’t be bitching and complaining about gathering splinters. They’ve played themselves out of a starting role and have nobody to blame but themselves. Can’t blame the new guys, can’t blame the coach. No dissension and no jealousy on the team.

    I hope I’m right otherwise he can’t coach worth a damn.

    • angry angry says:
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      It’s a solid theory. Lamar, on the telecast, talked about how Nelson wants to fit in and is hesitant to take shots away from the upperclassmen.

      I still have faith in Robinson, even after another night of the same ol’. The team will click once Nelson, Cunningham, and Collier play the majority of minutes.

    • mckalk mckalk says:
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      I listened to some of the post game show on KPAM also and CR sounded pretty weary. He pointed out that most of the turnovers (15 out of 20) were committed by last years players and that trying to get this thing figured out is the biggest challenge of his coaching career.

      He fell back a little on the Calvin,Lathan and Omari were traumatized by the 0-18 season, but he seemed to accept responsibility for what is happening and actually said those three are not leaders.

      It is just weird though…team loses Ricky Claitt and have not be able to find another leader…lose Seth Tarver cannot find anyone with that passion or energy on defense.

      • angry angry says:
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        I disagree with your last sentence. Cunningham has played with passion on defense. Nelson has looked solid. Even Johnson gives what looks like his best effort (his best just isn’t good enough). Seniors need to ride the pine pronto. That will solve a lot of problems.

        • mckalk mckalk says:
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          I agree on Cunningham as far as skill (though he was out of position a couple of times tonight), but Tarver was off the charts he what he gave to the team not just in effort, but in basketball IQ. I believe the Beavs were one of the better teams in the nation defending the three point line last year. At the end of the game I do not see any Beav who looks like they gave it all like Tarver. I guess that is why he was P-10 defensive player of the year.

  • ean says:
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    I think the defense is bad. The 1-3-1 is not giving up enough steals with our personnel to justify running it with the amount of open looks we give up. Also the defense goes under on almost every pick leaving the shooters open. At some point you got to adjust and switch or come out on the shooter.

    It is frustrating because Rob recognizes the defense is a problem but he says he needs to slow down the offense and concentrate on defensive effort where as I think the defensive strategy needs to be examined. Don’t scrap the zone stuff but work from other man defenses as a base and throw in the zone looks if you are getting beat by penetration or inside play.

    Also on offense I think slowing it down may be a good thing. We need to continue to push tempo when we have numbers. Also I would like to see more plays being run. Shooters need to be run off of screens. We need to run some pick and rolls/pops.

    • mckalk5 mckalk5 says:
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      You are exactly right about the defense. I mean, they held GW to 57 points last year on the road. I was talking to a friend about Mimic before the game started and I said this guy will probably get 20 on the Beavs.

  • uncanny says:
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    So we are 4-6 and got blown out by the only halfway decent, BCS conference team we played. What the fuck? I am trying to rationalize this situation but I can’t anymore. The only hope we have is that the Pac-10 is toilet bowl filled with shitty teams.

    Four long months ago I had what I thought were reasonable expectations of the football team in the Rose Bowl, the basketball team in the big dance and the baseball team in Omaha at the end of their respective seasons. Maybe we’re saving all the winning for another baseball championship, that would be awesome. Or, the baseball season will just be another huge letdown.

  • angry angry says:
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    Robinson’s quotes after the game were pretty good.

    http://blog.oregonlive.com/behindbeaversbeat/2010/12/george_washington_87_oregon_st.html

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    I attended the basketball game at Gill tonight with my wife. She’s no expert, but she quickly noticed (and said) that Calvin Haynes seems to be a selfish player. Right on.

    For the entire game tonight, Calvin Haynes looked for his own shot first, second, and third. When he had the ball, his teammates knew he was going to shoot, so they stood around. The OSU “offense” disappeared and was replaced by forced shots, bad passes, and turnovers. Ugh.

    I’ve said it before on this blog, and I’ll say it again. Calvin Haynes is a playground guy and should only be on the court for OSU during warmups and garbage time. Same for Lathen Wallace. Same for Daniel Deane (who, thankfully, did not see time tonight). The only senior who should be getting serious minutes in a D1 game is Omari Johnson. And even Omari is playing more than he should be for this year’s OSU team.

    Craig, you should be starting Starks, Nelson, Cunningham, Collier, and Brandt (3 freshmen and 2 sophs). Bring Burton and Chris Brown off the bench when needed for rebounding. The rest of the guys need to stay put on the bench. Consider them practice players and garbage time subs. That’s it. Really. Just do it!

    • angry angry says:
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      +1

    • mckalk mckalk says:
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      CR has to take some responsibility for the way Haynes has been used in the past, but now it is time to work with his own recruits. I do not see a downside at this point. The evidence is in.

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    Great…are the Beavs going to go 4-7 in non-conference the year? UIC beat Illinois today at the United Center 57-54. Maybe the team will catch them with a let down?

  • JackBeav says:
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    If any of you were wondering, we had a good game… on the offensive end. We sucked eggs on defense though. They shot for ridiculous numbers tonight.

    The crowd was very into the game. When Collier came on the floor, the crowd cheered the simple act of good defense. When Roberto walked on, everyone held their breath. I love that 3000 people can make the noise our crowd makes. i want the 10k experience.

    Almost to a tee:
    Big line-up made for good D… small line-up required seniors to be in the game.

    • Max says:
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      Good offensive game? If our offense consists of Jared driving to the hoop on the baseline and getting fouled, then yes it was a good game.

      What is the end game with the offense? A lot of passing around the perimeter, no cutting without the ball, and no post ups. They refuse to give Angus the ball on the block when he has a smaller player on him so why put him on the block? Put him in the high post instead. Nelson, Jared, and Wallace (sometimes) are the only players who can make plays going to the hoop. That should be the offense at this point.

      The play where Burton got the ball near mid-court with the shot clock winding down was an absolute joke. In the second half when Haynes was inbounding the ball on the baseline with 2 seconds on the shot clock I bet my Dad they would not get a shot off because no one, including Robinson, realized it. Of course Haynes throws it to Omari near mid-court and they get a violation. I’m not being harsh when I say that the Beavers have no offense.

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    The stats from last night’s game confirm the problems that were apparent to those of us who witnessed the debacle at Gill.

    The game was close only because the Beavers had a near-perfect night from the foul line (33 of 36) while GW underperformed in that area (16 of 28). That’s a 17-point advantage from the foul line for OSU, and we still managed to lose by 8 points.

    GW’s point guard had 11 assists. The whole OSU team totalled only 9 assists. That’s because OSU’s offense consisted mostly of one-on-one freelancing, wild drives to the lane (often rewarded with fouls and free throws), and long jumpers with the clock running down.

    GW shot 55% from the field, and 48% from beyond the arc. That’s because OSU frequently played trapping zone defenses (esp. the 1-3-1) to generate steals and turnovers. But OSU only had two steals the whole game, and generated only 9 turnovers (not all of which were forced). As a result, we gave up lots of open looks and easy shots.

    Seems obvious that this is a losing formula, and that change is needed.

    Stop relying so heavily on gambling defenses, and play more tough, sound, man-to-man coverages, with pressing defenses thrown in as change-ups.

    Stop relying so heavily on one-on-one freelancing, and run a sound offense with motion, picks away from the ball, etc.

    Put athletes on the floor who have the capability and toughness and discipline to play sound defense and offense, rather than wild playground ball (yes, I’m looking at you, Calvin Haynes).

    Oh, and please stop making lame excuses for the way this team is playing, and instead make the changes required to get better play and better results (yes, I’m looking at you, Coach Robinson).

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    I could not even tell you his offensive philosophy right now and you might as well play man to man if you say you have the athletes. It has to be an improvement over the half assed zone that turns every opposition outside shooter into a superstar.

    At this point, have the cajones to play your own recruits the majority of the minutes, it will also take away all of your excuses about the seniors not being leaders and not knowing how to play with the lead and the rest of your psychobabble. And really these seniors have now been with you longer than they were with John.

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