29.Jan.2011 Basketball: Oregon State @ Stanford
The PAC-10 is bad this year. Stanford 10-9 (3-5 in the conference) is further evidence of that. The Cardinal have lost 4 straight games, but they are another of these teams that will demolish any opponent who doesn't come ready to play. Conversely, if the Beavers decide to exert energy, they should win the game. Notice I use the word "decide"…that's what it seems like they do, correct? When they fall behind by 17 (every game!), they decide to turn on a switch and play catch up. On the same note, when the game tips off, they decide "No big deal, there's a lot of time left" or "We can play catch up and pull it out in the end."
It's almost a gambler's mentality. Think about it. A gambler will start off even. Now say he or she loses the first bet. The next play would be betting double in order to win back the lost wager. Soon they are betting the boat to win back the car and the house to win back the boat. Now think about the Beavers. They start games even, fall behind early, then exert all kinds of energy and force bad shots in a desperation to break even. Much like a gambler, they're constantly playing from behind. And much like a gambler, it's pretty sad to watch.
How to avoid it? Well, the gambler simply would stop gambling. The Beavers, equally simple, should start playing basketball when the game tips off, and then stop playing basketball when the buzzer sounds. The inability to play a complete 40 minutes is on Craig Robinson. Do you think Ralph Miller, John Wooden, or Bobby Knight's players would have the nads to even ponder such a stunt? Craig Robinson has gone from East Coast aggressive (5AM practices, hard-nosed attitude) to West Coast lazy. He's been allowed to slack because that is the culture in Corvallis, and that starts at the top with Bob D.
The Beavers need to start winning some games and fast. Robinson's seat has a slow-burning oil lamp under it, and he's just beginning to feel the warmth through his well-insulated ass. Watch out Craig, the rainy season's almost over.
Back to the game, from what I have seen of Stanford (admittedly little) they run a methodical offense and prefer the halfcourt game over running. I think the Beavers would benefit from slowing down to Stanford's pace over forcing the notion they're a running team. Players to watch for Stanford include Dwight Powell, Jeremy Green, and Anthony Brown; all can drain a three against the zone. Inside they have Josh Owens and a 6'11 freshman by the name of Nastic who should see increased playing time versus the height-challenged Beavers. What I am saying is this: Stanford might play a slow tempo, but they have guards who can shoot well, and big men who can play down low. They're also smart (duh), and will know exactly how to exploit OSU.
My advice is to load up on the gin. Tonight will be another rough game. The Beavers simply don't match up well..again. The lack of a legitimate big man is killing this team. I suppose one could make an argument that the Beavers best chance would be to force their tempo upon the Cardinal, but they turn sloppy and make too many mistakes when they do that. As I've noted before, getting a turnover is just wasted energy if the team can't parlay it into points.
Anyway, Stanford by 15 is my pick. 69-54.
I'm going to enable the chat around 6:45 Pacific Time. It's the first chat session for a live event; it should be fun.