05.Feb.2011 Basketball: Washington State @ Oregon State

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There's a lot to ponder after the Beavs defeated Washington by 12 points Thursday night. How does that happen when the same roster lost by 30 in Seattle? There are hundreds of viable theories. Below are two of them that seem like patterns to this angry beaver's eyes.

1. The home crowd's energy dictates the Beaver's focus. This is a decent observation since the bad OCC loses had small, dead crowds and in those games the Beavs lost focus. Additionally, the team has just one win on the road–a game at Howard where Obama's presence demanded their attention.

2. Beavers play with great energy (@home) versus Goliath teams, against whom they have nothing to lose. In such situations, they've beaten the two best teams in the league, Arizona and Washington, and took the third best team, UCLA, down to the wire. Conversely, they have come out flat versus inferior or equal opponents.

The Beavs goal is short-sighted and immediate versus superior teams: slay Goliath and shock the world. But against middle of the pack teams, the purpose becomes blurred and the vision long-term. Put another way, beating average teams and winning the Pac-10 requires more day to day focus than taking down one giant. I'm not sure why they lack the confidence set high goals. People will want to blame Robinson, but should he lie and set false goals? When he's confident in his roster, he will probably list winning the Pac-10 as a goal. The roster is good, but it's not yet at the point where Craig should go all Rex Ryan on the league.

Then there are the players. They must wonder, "big picture: what are we playing for when we face…Stanford or Texas Pan-Am?" People will blame Robinson for their aimlessness, but step outside yourself and imagine being one of these players. Now try to imagine what your goal as a team would or should be. Having a clear vision must be especially difficult on a team comprised of unproven players. These recruits are not McDonald's All-Americans who have been told they are the Lord incarnated since birth. They play at Oregon State, an outpost of college basketball. It's easy to understand why a freshman or sophomore would fear "stepping up" as leaders and offending a group of seniors who all lack said leadership. Starks may assume that role. His attitude, backed up by his play, show promise and carried the Beavers to a victory Thursday night.

Back to Robinson for a moment. People want to blame the man because everything starts and stops at the top, or so we're told. Well, to me it looks like Craig's plan was to be patient the first half of the year, let the seniors have their time, and only name names once absolutely necessary. For fans this was painful because we saw flashes of greatness, and it always came from the youth. I kept thinking, "Robinson is not dumb, he must have a reason." Well, we saw him call out the seniors finally, and then play the fiery Starks for an extended minutes. Do you believe the timing–the halfway point of the season–was coincidence? It seems calculated.

Tonight should be telling. Was Thursday's upset dumb luck? Did Washington just lay an egg? Is Robinson's patience with the seniors truly shot? Has coach seen the light and learned his best rotation, or did he know it all along and held back for reasons only known to him. We'll see in a few hours.

If my theory holds true that the Beavers can only attain short term goals (such as slaying Goliath's behind energetic crowds), then tonight's game versus a middle of the pack Cougar team should see the team revert to a double-digit loss. However, maybe I am just flat out wrong, and the Washington victory will have instilled so much confidence the Beavers go on a second half run. You can definitely make that argument, and I have a twinge of hope that it's true. This is one of those situations where I'd love to eat crow. The bottom line is line is that what I wrote is all just fun, thought provoking wankery, and the fact that fans are excited about a men's basketball game for maybe the third time this season (and first in months) has to mean something. That being said, I have what you'd call tempered enthusiasm, and I'm not one to believe in "change" until I see it. The trend is your friend.

Cougs 71-59

TV: FSN

Radio: KPAM

Stream: None

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  • angry angry says:
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    On an unrelated note, if you guys can think of a way to create an online Superbowl pool with all the guys from this blog then let’s have at it. Could be fun.

  • Beavocalypse says:
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    Oregon State 68- Washington 59

    If they lose, I’m going to stop caring for a while because it means they have completely succumbed to their inferiority complex and I will not support a team that does this, especially if the kids get a free education and refuse to fight.

  • MudAndSticks MudAndSticks says:
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    I’ve just noticed that the Cougs whipped the Huskies prior to the Beavs doing it. Perhaps the Huskies were getting a little too full of themselves?

    Hate to say it but I think you’re right on with respect to today’s outcome.

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    I disagree that CR “called” anybody out…if you’re referreing to the article in the Oregonian about the Seniors feeling OK to not get blown out. The headline was misleading at best and an alarmist attempt at worst. CR stated the obvious – when you’ve sucked for so long, it’s natural to be relieved to not get embarrassed by 40 points. It’s a mentality that is tough to overcome – you finally just have to graduate it out of the system.

    I equate the UW win to the USC football win…we played a team that thought we were a joke, and straight up didn’t come to play. UW’s missed layups, missed wide-open shots etc have more to do with that win that what we did. BUT…there was definitely a more fire and cohesion out there than I’ve seen most of the season. Love the brashness of some of our players…good to see the F-U attitude out there…it’s needed to a degree.

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    If the article is the source I thought it was pretty mild for a “call out”. I think it is simple with this team…play smart defense and make some damn lay-ups. I loved the win over the Huskies, but they could have easily done what the Ducks did to Wazzu and really raised some eyebrows. The Huskies played their absolute worst game of the season and were still in it with 2 minutes left.

  • sparkyd73 says:
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    I agree that the words in the article were fairly mild. But the real calling out of those seniors was the starting line-up that didn’t have any of them in it. Words are cheap, CR finally took some action. Why did it take so long?

    • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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      Yeah…there’s definitely a message finally being sent via PT. I really did think that Calvin Haynes gave us a great spark off the bench…he still misses some shots, but no more than any of the kids starting. I really like how he’s embraced the 6th man spot with poise and leadership. Say what you want, but I don’t think we win that game without his efforts. Wallace would have knocked down a couple of those available looks from beyond the arc too…I just don’t know if I can handle too many more of his slow-motion drives, and Lamar Hurd saying “he’s the most underrated driver on the team.” Really? Wallace can be an asset in spots though.

      • BeaverBeliever20 says:
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        You mean Wallace and not Hampton right?

        • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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          Yeah…sorry. Too much gin too early…I’m fixing it…

  • MudAndSticks MudAndSticks says:
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    I see the ‘ucks beat the Huskies. 81 – 76

    • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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      I hate the Ducks. Just had to get that out there today for any “first-time readers” who may not know that about me.

      Pleased to meetcha.

      • UofDuck says:
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        Are you sure GreatWhite? Cuz you have only told us that 643,127 times, so I just need to make sure you are still certain that you hate us.

        • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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          One thing I strive for in life is consistency…how am I doing? 🙂

          Upon consideration…”hate” is such a strong word.

          And that’s why I use it.

    • FatDog says:
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      With the uks winning that reduces the value of our win and puts additional pressure to beat wazzu. I

  • BeaverBeliever20 says:
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    Yeah, Beavers I think win today. Calvin Haynes has a triple-double and Lathen Wallace makes 8 three pointers lol haha

  • Warren says:
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    Is there going to be a chat?

    • angry angry says:
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      Yeah, I am in there now. Link is now on the right side under “pages”.

      • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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        can you see me post…i’m at work on IE…

        • angry angry says:
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          I see you…it doesn’t really work on IE.

          • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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            Yeah…I’m getting that…the text is so small it looks like a line across the screen…I can read if I cut/paste into word. Oh well…I’ll catch the game on DVR…

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    This team just makes it so damn hard. Now it’s free throw shooting and missing some wide open threes. Much better defense again tonight. Am I right in thinking that Collier is going to be a monster before all is said and done?

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    I wish McShane had some physical talent. He understands the game a lot better than some of his teammates.

  • G Joubert says:
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    This is painfully ugly. Let’s change the subject. I’ve got an idea, let’s talk about how great it is we didn’t grab Ken Bone when we could’ve because he “left Portland State in shambles,” and the annointed one’s brother-in-law makes the players go to class. That’s always fun.

  • angry angry says:
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    It makes me uncomfortable that such a selfish, school yard player like Haynes is moving up the all-time scoring list.

    • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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      I was watching the game on FSN. About 5 minutes left, and I was getting excited about an OSU comeback. Then Robinson took out Starks in favor of Calvin Haynes. Next play — turnover by Haynes, fast break basket by WSU. I threw down the remote and stalked out of the living room, leaving my wife to her own devices (she promptly switched the channel — I guess I have trained her well).

      I really have zero patience with Calvin Haynes any more — he’s ruining OSU basketball for me. And I blame Coach Robinson too — for giving Calvin so much playing time. Until this problem gets fixed (by CR benching CH), I don’t expect to watch much more of this season. I’ll still root for the Beavs to do well, but it’s just too frustrating to watch Calvin Haynes play while much better, younger players sit.

      • mckalk mckalk says:
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        Haynes, Wallace, Johnson and even Deane (before he went in to free fall) have all regressed as players. Even tonight Johnson had so little confidence that he passed up open threes that somebody had to take against the Coug zone. He killed the Ducks last year by taking that shot. I don’t know I am just depressed, even Cunningham is struggling to make lay-ups. I think there is some bad voodoo with the program. Maybe there is a “Curse of Coach Miller”?

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    Another wasted effort. Felt a lot like the UCLA game. It is just hard to win games when as a team you can’t shoot the basketball. Will guys like Nelson, Starks, Cunningham make teams pay on a consitent basis when they pack in zones next year?

    • angry says:
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      It’s hard for them to do this when they’re not on the court. The lineup tonight was an absolute joke…Haynes and Burton getting WAAAAY too many minutes. Those guys cannot score. I don’t care if Haynes is 18th all-time in scoring; he’s #1 on the worst/most selfish/lowest IQ list, and that’s more telling about his skill. I am so over that guy.

  • OSU4Life says:
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    Who will finish last in the Pac-10 this year, OSU or ASU? Freakin Beavers, just when you think they’re improving and are about to start turning the corner, they start declining! Where is the offense?

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