02.Jan.2011 Basketball: Arizona @ Oregon State
is the player to watch. He makes practically every shot he takes (~70%) from three point range, and ironically shoots a bit lower than that inside the arc. Arizona is solid all around, 50% from the field, 40% from three point range, and almost 80% from the line. Granted, Arizona was a more confident and refined team (than the Beavers) to the start of the season, and they've therefore been able put up these gaudy numbers versus poor teams. The one decent team they've played, BYU, beat the Wildcats.
I think the Beavers will try to play a 2-3 zone or match up zone, maybe even some man to man defense. Playing the 1-3-1 versus a team that shoots this well beyond the arc would be disaster.
I am trying to figure out where the Beavers have an advantage. The Beavs are bigger at every position, but they are not tougher or stronger. Perhaps their advantage lies in the intangibles: the home court advantage, the confidence from having won two straight, and the fact that the team plays with poise when the precocial, fledging Roberto Nelson is on the court. The team has definitely "gelled" and improved over the past few games. Being realistic, you have to figure it's going to be a one step forward, two back deal with the Beavers. But, being optimistic, you can definitely point to the glaring confidence they finished with in the ASU game. I'm somewhere in between. I can't ignore the fact this team is young and relatively immature (i.e. not knowing exactly what it takes to win), but I can't ignore the confidence and fire I saw building over the past two games, either.
Personally, I'm excited about what I've seen of late and can't wait for tip-off. Sure, the smart money is on 'zona, but this game has upset potential.