29.Dec.2011 Basketball: Oregon State @ Washington
This should be a great game. Both teams like to run and have the athletes to do it. Both teams have some size, too. Washington gets healthier, with Aziz N’Diaye coming back tonight. He's a decent big, and I'm curious to see how the Beavs can (or can't) handle him. My guess is Eric Moreland will see plenty of minutes tonight and blanket N’Diaye, with Joe Burton's mass moving over for help inside when necessary.
In the past, it went without saying that Washington was more talented. This year, it's a tougher call. If the Beavers can play fast, drive the lane, and make kick-out threes, then they'll be in this game. Jared Cunningham has become a leader off the court, and we're seeing that parlay into extraordinary team chemistry on it. Washington has more obvious NBA talent. So, does talent trump chemistry or visa versa?
Washington is going to be pumped for a home conference opener. Beavs will get their best effort, which is unfortunate in the sense that we all like easy wins, but it's a great gauge as to how good this vintage truly is. And everyone's curious to find that out, right? Was the non-con a charade, or are they legit? Personal opinion: they will play with everyone in the conference and be in every game. Whether they win or not…
And that's exactly how I feel about this matchup. Should be a one or two possession game. In close games, you should take the home team, but I love the Beavs confidence and chemistry heading into this game. Robinson is saying all the right things, and the guys play for one another. So I'm going against wisdom and taking OSU by a bucket and crossing my fingers that (a) they make their free throws, and (b) the Huskies don't get too much home cookin'.
See http://orangeexpress.wordpress.com/ for JackBeav's take.