19.Jan.2012 Basketball: UCLA @ Oregon State
I’m not going to waste a bunch of time on this game.
Let’s just say it gut-check time. This is a must win for the Beavs to salvage their own morale, let alone the season.
Both teams are pretty evenly matched according to talent and experience. It will be a matter of how the Beavs come out of the gate which determines the final.
UCLA will push the ball into their bigs and hope any misses are picked up by their other bigs. Their frontcourt is their strength, and they will try to use it.
The Beavs can do a decent job of matching up in size, but our boys hold the advantage in the backcourt. If UCLA’s guards can’t get the ball to their bigs, then they create no opportunities for themselves. And UCLA’s guards will fold if the right pressure points are hit.
The tendency has been for some teams to try to counter UCLA’s frontcourt size by sitting in a zone and letting their guards try to make things happen. I agree with this plan in principle…
While UCLA’s guards aren’t great at creating for themselves, they will look all-world if our boys allow them to get warm. So we’re looking for the Beavs to start getting back to that game they played with the non-con schedule. They need to be relentless in the half-court set on defense like they were against Vandy and Texas, two teams with guards who are deadly regardless of pressure. Our Beavs can play this ball, but they’ve lost that swagger. A good mix of man and zone will disrupt their half court set. Maybe even some 1-3-1 for two or three possessions will work. But Howland has always had an answer for that zone. We just need defensive intensity in order to set up what we love to do in transition and on offense. Our boys need to tirelessly run UCLA’s offense off the court.
Bring it back tonight!
I hesitate to call this game before I even see warm-ups and our team’s attitude. But I’m going to hazard a guess that they will come out with some fire. The shots may not fall at first. But once they do look for them to continue playing Beav hoops instead of yielding to the Bruins.
Beavs 86 – Bruins 74
P.S. – I think Jared should jump for the ball to start the game. He may or may not win the tip. But it would send a message that the Beavs are here to play the game, and our best player is going to start it off by touching it first.
Yet another night I'm thankful that I don't write about the Beavs for a living. I mean, what is the story tonight? I guess it's Craig Robinson sliding onto the hot seat. Though, OSU head coaches get fired about as often as government workers.
I really don't know what to write. We all know the strengths and weaknesses of this team by now. New summary for every game: "If they rebound, make free throws, play defense, yada yada, they win. If not, then they lose."