19.Nov.2011 Texas @ Oregon State (East Rutherford)
This game will be a fun one if both teams hold true to their early formulas for success. Both teams like to harass the opposition on defense, and both teams will run if given the opportunity. Texas comes into the game with the confidence of sustained success within the program over several years, and the Beavs seem to have finally found a new confidence of their own. Up and down the line-ups, it’s hard to find any real mismatches on either side, so it will be a matter of who makes their shots to determine the winner.
Texas implements a variation of Ralph Miller’s 1-4 offense. They will run at the Beavs with a three guard set for most of the game unless the Beavs size becomes a real factor. Junior G J’Covan Brown (6’1″) is the key to their offense, but they rely heavily on the frosh G quartet of Myck Kabongo (6’1″), Julien Lewis (6’3″), Sheldon McClellan (6’4″) and Sterling Gibbs (6’1″), with the first two starting. All five can score at times, but Brown is the only one who can sustain any real scoring pace. The frosh do have ball security issues as well, but Kabongo is so quick in the open court that he can find space at will and make good decisions in traffic. Brown and Kabongo make a living from the line, so moving the feet on defense will be keys against both.
Their frontcourt is smallish compared to the Beavs. They start senior Alex Wangmene (6’7″) at post and frosh Jonathan Holmes (6’7″) at the power swing. And they spell them with frosh Jaylen Bond (6’7″) and Canby native, senior Clint Chapman (6’10″). Of these four, Holmes is the player which we should be most concerned. He is very active on the boards and also works his way to the line for some free tosses. Bond is similar in style, but he seems to be lost some of the time. If he decides to participate every moment he’s on the floor, he could be just as effective as Holmes. Regardless, the Beavs need to put bodies on the Texas bigs and control the glass from start to finish.
Texas is an outside-in team who will run a lot of screens and cuts to the hoop for easy cripples. Their defense is active, but they have a tendency to slap more than shuffle. And it’s not because of youth. Kabongo is the most polished defender due to his quickness, while Brown could be susceptible to foul trouble early if he’s not immediately and continuously focused. So we will see them fall back into a 2-3 zone for probably half the game. In fact, I would think the Beavs size advantage would force them into the zone quite a bit more than head coach Rick Barnes would like.
The keys to this game will be for the Beavs to use their size to win the key first, then make their outside shots second. If Moreland and Brandt can be aggressive without getting too physical, they could aid Joe and Devon in dominating the glass. But it will take some great communication to keep an active Texas off the boards. Look also for the Beavs D to create TO’s in order to get out and run. Texas does counter their size disadvantage with good speed, so there will be less uncontested breaks than we’ve seen previously. Finishing with contact may be necessary more than once in this game.
Because of Texas’ speed, I don’t want to say that the Beavs have an advantage in the transition game. But our boys have shown thus far that they can hustle down the floor in a hurry. I think this game may be a lot faster than even we want to see. Depth and patience will be important.
In the end, it will all come down to perimeter shooting. It’s the greatest equalizer when faced with a size disadvantage, and Texas has it in spades. If the Beavs can shoot treys with consistency this might be a long night for Texas.
So I have to be conditional in my pick for this game.
If the Beavs come out with the same confidence and fire they’ve played with thus far AND they make their perimeter shots, then they will win something like 95-87.
If we have the same game from the floor we saw against Hofstra, then Texas will run it out as far as they can before the Beave make it an uncomfortable finish for them. Texas will win with about the same score the other way.
I'll leave the analysis to Jack.
Things I haven't liked thus far:
- Team doesn't seem to understand or value each possession
- Shaky defense
- Missed free throws
- Too many unforced turnovers
- Forcing threes rather than taking them within the flow of the game
Everything else has been solid.
Teams with size will give the Beavs trouble, but Texas has only average bigs. I want to go with the Longhorns since they're traditionally a good squad, but the Beavs are upstarts with growing confidence. The Beavs also have impressive depth. This is a really interesting match up. Gun to my head I'd say Texas, but definitely feel the Beavs can win this game. However, I'm stopping short of saying they should win. Beavs need to earn that respect on the court first.