08.Jan.2011 Basketball: Oregon State @ Washington
Having watched Washington wear down Oregon on Thursday night, I have a good feel about how the game will play out this afternoon. It's amazing how much clearer a prediction can be if you actually get to see these teams on TV. It's 2011 now Fox, come on already, put games on TV.
Anyway, for those who didn't see the game, Oregon was able to hang with Washington for a half. They even took the lead early in the 2nd quarter. Then they made a few bad passes, failed to capitalize on Washington's spree of turnovers, and when Washington started driving to the basket (capped by an IT dunk) the crowd went wild, the momentum shifted, and the game quickly got out of hand. Washington gained more confidence; Oregon fell to 0-3 in conference (ha ha!).
From what I saw, Thomas and Ross are Washington's best players. Bryan-Amaning looked to be a force inside, too.
The Beavers will come out amped for this game. Washington is #1 in the conference, so they will receive everyone's best shot. And the Beavs know that with a win they take over that position. For this reason, expect mad effort in the first ten minutes. The problem is the Beavers commit too many turnovers, and while they get steals and force turnovers themselves, they do not capitalize on them, which in the final analysis makes the turnovers they do get a net loss (i.e. it is a lot of energy wasted to steal a pass, sprint down the court, and miss a layup 5 to 10 times per game). For this reason, I see the Beavers "fading" as this game progresses.
Washington reportedly has problems with zones, but I saw them shred Oregon's 2-3. If the Beavers play man, match-ups will be a problem. Who covers Thomas? I'd put Cunningham on him. Ross is another problem. Nelson needs to see 25 minutes in this game and hang out in Terrance's back pocket. There's no answer for Bryan-Amaning. Neither Brandt nor Burton can handle his size or moves. Collier is still a bit too green. I expect BA to be Washington's high scorer, possibly teeing of for 30. Then there's the supporting cast, who seem to do a solid job of nailing the coffin when you stop their core guys.
I think the Beavs best chance in this game is playing a 2-3 zone and switching up to man randomly to confuse Washington. Washington likes to run, so playing a deliberate half court game (on offense) could frustrate the Dawgs. The Beavers also need to capitalize on the steals and turnovers they do get, otherwise they are just helping Washington by tiring themselves, as I noted above. Finally, making free throws (sound fundamentals) will be important. We can't have Joe Shaq Burton doing his best mason impression and bricking free throws. I don't know, it's hard to make much of a case for OSU, but the aforementioned are some ways I can foresee them at least neutralize the game a bit and keeping it close into the second half. If that happens, then all bets are off.
Gametime: 3:30 PST
TV: Fox Sports
Stream: None, but check Justin.tv after tipoff to see if any rabid fans are streaming it.
Go Beavs, take the conference lead.