18.Dec.2010 Basketball: George Washington @ OSU
The Beavs and George Washington tip off at 4:30 local time.
The criticism thus far is all valid:
- Coach Robinson's lineup experimentation is holding the team back.
- Robinson doesn't know how to use timeouts or manage a clock.
- The seniors need to ride the pine.
- 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:
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.