30.Dec.2010 Conference Opener: Arizona State @ Oregon State

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At this moment, 4pm, I am completely jacked about tonight's home opener. Over the past two games, Craig Robinson has found his lineup (having Roberto Nelson helps) and substitutions. The past game, Lathan Wallace and Calvin Haynes played around 10-15 minutes each, which is still too much, but a big step in the right direct.

What I also loved to see was that Robinson is learning the value of Collier. He's great at zone and man defense, has a good mid-range shot, and is the only player on the roster with an ACC or Big East body. The guy is, in my opinion, the best of the young crop. That can change as time goes on, but what I see is a player who makes all the right decisions. I have yet to see Collier botch (see Joe Burton for the antithesis) any facet of the game. Brandt is another player coming on strong. What I love about these two is the solid fundamentals that a more athletic player like Jared Cunningham seems to lack.

One more thing I'd like to mention: what I saw last game was a team playing with confidence. It makes all the difference in the world. Now, can Arizona State break that confidence with a few early baskets? Most definitely, and my hunch is that will happen. But my overall point is that I have kept saying I believe this team will have a watershed moment at some point this season; while we are not sure that happened last week, we did see what things will look like when it does.

Below is the scouting report on Arizona State:

SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: Arizona State enters the game on a four-game winning streak and a 7-4 overall record. The Sun Devils are led by 2009-10 Pac-10 Coach of the Year Herb Sendek and are the only Pac-10 team to win 20 games in each of the past three seasons. ASU returns three senior starters and five lettermen from last year's second-place Pac-10 team that finished 22-11 overall and 12-6 in Pac-10 play. Sophomore guard Trent Lockett leads the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game and is shooting 57 percent from the field. Seniors Ty Abbott and Rihards Kuksiks average double-figures in scoring at 12.8 and 11.5 points per game, respectively.

Arizona State plays a tough zone defense. Expect a ton of passing around the perimeter from the Beavers and many frustrating offensive possessions. To win this game, OSU will need to play intense defense, as they will not score more than 60 points. My key players to watch are Jared Cunningham and Devon Collier. Why? Because I think slashing to the basket is the way the Beavers win this game, and these are the two guys who can do it. If they can succeed, also watch for Nelson and Starks on kickout passes. That's how you'll see a semblance of offense tonight. If play in the paint falters, or they settle for long jump shots, expect a long night for the Beavers.

TV/Radio: FSN Northwest, KPAM (860 am)

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  • beavfan4 says:
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    My biggest concern is the beavers’ inability to guard against the 3-point shot and kuksiks’ and abbott’s 3-point shooting abilities.

    • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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      Abbott isn’t a great shooter he is either very good or can’t hit anything. I think the Beavers will do a relatively good job defending the 3 point line tonight.

      I think OSU wins tonight. Roberto, Jared, Ahmad can hit the 3 ball so the 2-3 matchup zone won’t cause as many problems for the Beavers as it has in the past.

  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    I too am hoping that CR has “seen the light” but when I saw who Bunker is projecting as probable starters I felt like a cat who was choking on a furball.

    If these are the starters here’s hoping that some of them don’t see a lot of minutes.

    OSU – G Jared Cunningham (13.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg), G Calvin Haynes (11.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg), C Angus Brandt (5.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg), F Omari Johnson (10.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg), F Joe Burton (7.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.1 apg).

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

    • angry angry says:
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      Robinson’s been saying all the right things about the seniors. I can’t see him playing them much. If he does, he is in fact an idiot. I have been going with the notion that the early season debacle was an experiment and political move to avoid mutiny.

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    Beavers chances of winning just went up. ASU’s leading scorer Trent Lockett isn’t playing.

  • Beavocalypse says:
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    Anybody know if the game is streaming?

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    Not a ton of people here in the stands yet. I haven’t been in Gill in two years and I have to say the remodeling looks really good. I wish it were a day game so the windows could be open.

  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    A starting line-up which is better than hoped for:

    Cunningham, Haynes, Brandt, Johnson, & Collier.

  • angry angry says:
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    Not enough Collier and Nelson in this game…

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    Beavers leading ASU by 4 at halftime with how well they shot from the 3 and a lot of ASU players playing nearly as well as they can? I’ll take it. Starks really has come out firing. If Cunningham didn’t have foul trouble he could have gone for 15.

    Whenever Roberto Nelson shoots the ball I think it’s going in. He has such a smooth shot.

  • DavemanDeluxe says:
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    Good first half overall. Hopefully we’ll see more Nelson and Collier in the second, as Angry said. Nelson’s plus-minus has to be plus-five tonight.

    We’d be up by eight or ten if we hadn’t quit defending the three in the middle third of the half.

    Off topic, but did you guys see that Moevao is going to play football in France? Strange but true.

    • DavemanDeluxe says:
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      Just got handed a stat sheet. I like some things. We’re up 23-13 on rebounds and 8-4 on offensive boards, and we have nine second chance points to two. That said, we’ve given up thirteen on turnovers.

      Also, our bench has outscored our starters 18-16. Nelson should be starting.

  • angry angry says:
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    I don’t know what to think of Joe Burton. The pattern is one great play followed by a bone-headed play, and he is terrible at free throws and passing. He shows just enough where you can’t write him off completely.

  • DavemanDeluxe says:
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    This crowd can’t stay in the game on defense. Good heavens.

  • angry angry says:
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    I’m curious to see the lineup and what they do at the 8 minute mark. They always seem to let up around that time. Let’s see if they’ve turned a corner.

  • DavemanDeluxe says:
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    How the hell do you explain that call?

    On the plus side, I LOVE the team’s hustle tonight. Incredible. Here comes the last eight minutes.

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    Joe Burton should be a better FT shooter. He has a nice looking shot. He just needs to work at it. I would be fine with it if he was a 70-74% shooter.

  • angry angry says:
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    Nice, they survived the 8 minute mark. Should be easy sailing from here on out (4 minutes left).

    • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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      Dare I say this team has turned the corner? The last 3 minutes of the first half and the entire 2nd half they have looked like a really good team.

  • oneoldbeav oneoldbeav says:
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    Now lets see if they can run a little clock.

  • warren says:
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    jesus, even the walk-ons are draining 3’s. let’s beat az this weekend!

  • angry angry says:
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    Burton is well-spoken. Good personality.

  • Quatre Quatre says:
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    Burton looked really good at times, I still hold out hope that he can really put it together. Collier continues his play, Nelson is starting to look like a beast and Starks did some good things tonight. I expect a competitive game with AZ.

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    Solid win, though ASU was without their best player. Looks like CR gave Lathan a chance and when he clanged another three he pulled him for good. I would think Calvin will see less minutes and Roberto more as they go through league play. Team just seems calmer when Roberto is on the floor.

    • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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      Starks, Nelson, and Cunningham should be getting practically all the minutes at guard — Calvin and Lathen should only play in garbage time, or if the starters get into foul trouble. I hope that Coach Robinson sees this — it’s been obvious to lots of other people for a while.

  • JR says:
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    “What I love about these two is the solid fundamentals that a more athletic player like Jared Cunningham seems to lack”

    You are completely off in criticizing Jared Cunningham’s fundamentals. It has nothing to do with this game, and everything to do with how he has played this past month.

    Not only is Cunningham by far the best offensive and defensive player on the team he has continually showed progress. Like I’ve said in another thread – Cunningham’s biggest problem was offensive charges – he’s almost eliminated them from his game. Then his problem was fouls in general, look at the stats from the first few games to the December games, the worries aren’t there and he’s kept up his super aggressive D (player of the year candidate on defense like Seth). Then his jump shot was iffy, now he is able to pick and choose his spots and is very effective. He is much like Rickey Claitt was in Rickey’s senior year (50% from 3). You saw it numerous times tonight, he would pass up the wide open three because it didn’t feel right. Then he would make a nice pass and eventually find a spot and hit the shot.

    This team would have lost by 20+ to the likes of Seattle without him and the team would probably 3-9 or so.

    I mean, I agree with you about Collier and Brandt but honestly Brandt has far poorer fundamentals and Collier is extremely limited offensively.

    Obviously tonight showed it, the team has a ton of young talent. Now perhaps a player like Starks shoots one or two shots he shouldn’t or Nelson isn’t the NBA player Craig told us about but the bottom line is the Beavers are one of the few teams that can lose 4 seniors in back to back years and get better.

    • angry angry says:
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      I have said in the past that Cunningham is by far the best defender. His conditioning is amazing, and he’s the one guy who can drive to the hoop (though Nelson seems to have this ability, too). The problem with Cunningham is he plays with his hair on fire. His body gets ahead of his mind, and this forces errors. When I say “bad fundamentals” that’s what I am talking about…the guy needs to learn when to slow things down and make the smart play instead of the sensational play.

      • JR says:
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        Of course you know he’s good, I just hope you realize that Jared’s been a different player this season. It started at the end of last year and started a little slow this year but his month of December has been stellar.

        I think his patience with the ball tonight was one of the reasons OSU had no trouble holding onto the ball. Joe continually getting and 1s and Starks draining deep threes helped too I suppose.

        Should we all just give Roeland and Sendek a big thank you? Jared committed a few days after Roeland’s three to beat SC and Sendek all but took Jared scholarship away at ASU.

    • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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      I agree about Jared. He is actually very fundamentally sound and can jump out of the building. He’s a really good passer and has developed a nice outside shot and is a great free throw shooter and finishes at the rim. he plays fantastic D, That is about as fundamentally sound as you can get. He’s the team’s best player and will continue to show that.

      I fully expect him to work over Arizona. Arizona doesn’t have a guy that can truly defend him one on one effectively.Him and Roberto will go off and if they can beat Arizona people will start being really excited about Beavers basketball.

      • mckalk mckalk says:
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        It is very cool to see Cunningham keep getting better(unlike any of the upperclassmen). I was concerned about his outside game last year, but he has a nice release and picks his spots intelligently (maybe he was just deferring to the bricklaying Haynes and Wallace last year?). Looks like he got pissed about his slow start at the foul line this season and now has gone ballistic with his accuracy.
        Also, the numbnut P-10 refs are starting to understand his speed and explosiveness and are giving him the call on his drives. Then what can you say about his hustle on defense? I would just say he needs to slow down or the NBA is going to come calling way too soon!!!!

        • angry angry says:
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          Again, let me reiterate, I think Cunningham is very good. I just think he plays out of control. Maybe “lack of fundamentals” wasn’t the right phrase for someone who is out of control. Either way, he needs to play more under control. That’s all. If he does that he will move from very good to great. He’s also the best hustler on the team, and I admire that.

  • JR says:
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    By the way, I love that you were “jacked” for this game. Beaver fans need this type of excitement (especially 3.5 hour before the game).

    Hopefully many more will be going into the BIG matchup with UA.

  • JR says:
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    The bench did excellent but I personally support the starting lineup. Neither Brandt or Collier are going to explode offensively while a guy like Nelson (or Wallace or Starks or apparently Burton) can. But they both provide solid play that keeps the game stable the first few minutes.

    I would like to Wallace’s minutes disappear and Nelson get close to starters minutes. We’ll see on Joe. Spectacular game tonight but ASU has a weak frontcourt, UA, UW, Wazzu, UCLA and USC don’t (next 5 opponents)

  • JR says:
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    Oops that was meant in response to

    “Also, our bench has outscored our starters 18-16. Nelson should be starting.”

    I think Robinson will know when Nelson is ready to start. He’s working him in slowly based on performance and fatigue thus far.

    • mckalk mckalk says:
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      At some point soon CR has to pull the trigger and give Roberto 30 minutes plus. I look at it this way, right now Haynes and Wallace are taking makeable threes away from Nelson. I dont buy the conditioning stuff either, he has been practicing every day for over a year!

      • JR says:
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        I wouldn’t mind seeing Nelson become the 6th/7th man spark that Haynes and Cunningham were the past 2 years. Though maybe that job is for “sparkplug” or apparently Burton

        He’s getting better each game but he’s not at the point where he is clearly above any of the starters (in potential of course, he is).

        I think we see Nelson starting against the LA schools though.

  • Max says:
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    I could only listen to the first half on the radio. How did OSU hold Ty Abbott scoreless in the second half? Did he just go cold or did Coach Rob make an adjustment to limit the open looks he was getting? They didn’t go man-to-man did they? Because that would be amazing news.

  • JR says:
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    Ya, Abbott got hurt and Sendek started to go with a youth movement with about 12 minutes to go.

    It’ll be an interesting rematch. Lockett will of course be an impact player but Abbott once again proving to be Beaver killer is a little scary. Thank god Bachinschi (sp?), Pateev and Cain are mediocre at best.

    • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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      I think the Beavers win the rematch handedly actually. The Beavers by then will be playing maybe their best basketball and the seniors will be playing a lot less and Nelson will be playing a lot more.

      Beavers now though need to protect home court against UA.

      Really the Beavers need to focus on winning all of their home games in conference play. If they win all their home games and can win 3 or 4 road games in conference play that’s 12 or 13 wins. That right there gets them into the NIT which realistically should be the goal.

      Making the NIT would be a big step and one that if they continue to improve and get better this year I believe they can accomplish.

  • jr says:
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    I guess we shouldn’t even be discussing it since it won’t happen ’til March but I can’t believe with inconsistency of this team (this year and in the past) that the rematch will go similarly. Then, two years ago Stanford didn’t have their PG and OSU led by Seth Tarver’s O dominated them at Maples. Many people though it was because Stanford was without their PG (much like ASU and Lockett) but OSU smoked them again in Gill. Of course Stanford won in the Pac 10 tourney and the two matches since.

    NIT can be the goal but honestly I expect 7,8 wins, hope for 9, 10 and dream for more.

    UA looks like the 2nd best team (especially with Wazzu predictably falling on its face) not to mention a matchup problem with Williams and the revenge factor – Cats fans probably enjoyed watching Lathen’s shot go in more than seeing the beavs win at McKale.

    I think a split with the Zona schools is fair. However, considering the inconsistency problems OSU has, this home match with Zona has extreme importance. The Beavs are focused and in rhythm, can’t afford to waste games while you are in zone (bringing the A game type of thing). OSU can’t win too many games bringing the B game or C game like UW and UA can.

    I’m very curious to see if Burton plays even half as well as he did vs. ASU. I will be very impressed if he comes out and scores say 8, 9 points with only 1, 2 turnovers and decent passing. Schaftenaar’s height really killed Williams last year and OSU’s offense was able to beat Miller’s pack line D bad.

    I’m also curious to see the continued progress of Berto Nelson, especially since its “guard U” he’ll be playing (grant it their back court is young and mediocre). Here’s to hoping both our sparkplugs play well (Starks/Nelson)

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