Game Preview: Oregon State

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by John Chase

Who: #19 Washington (15-5, 7-2) vs. Oregon State (8-12, 3-6)

When: Thursday, 6 PM

Where: Gill Coliseum

TV: FSN NW

Oregon State enters the game 3-6 in conference and 8-12 overall. They are currently on a 3 game losing streak having been beaten by rival Oregon at home and swept by the Bay Area schools on the road. Their last win came against USC, 80-76.

OSU runs a 10 man rotation with some height. Their shortest starter is 6-3 and their tallest is 6-10.

Jared Cunningham leads the team in scoring with 13.7 per game and also grabs 2.9 steals per game. He does, however, average more turnovers (2.2) than assists (2.1). Its a small and likely unimportant difference. What it tell us is that we can use strong backcourt pressure to force transition plays.

Omari Johnson leads the Beavers in rebounding with 6.1 boards per game and is fourth in scoring with 8.0 points per game. He is also averaging more turnovers (1.4) than assists (1.3).

Overall the Beavers are committing 15 turnovers per game, while only managing 12 assists per game. 4 players are averaging 2 or more turnovers per game. Only 3 players are averaging 2 or more assists per game with the highest by Calvin Haynes at 2.3.

The Beavers rebound decently, averaging 34 or so per game. The do allow their opponents to grab 36 a game. UW is averaging nearly 41 per game and allows 33 per game.

Jared Cunningham is probably the most dangerous player on the Beaver team. He is a 6-4 guard who is athletic, strong, and quick. His ball handling skills are not the greatest, but he does a decent enough job. He has been a strong leader for the Beavers in conference and plays the most minutes (~30 min per game). He is the best 3 point option for the Beavers, hitting nearly 41% this season. He also shoots 80% from the free throw line.

Lat time UW played the Beavers I predicted Ross to start, but I don’t see that as a likely option any more. At this point in the season, Romar has pretty much narrowed down his line up and rotation. We will see Scott Suggs get the start once more as it prevents an extreme mismatch for Isaiah.
 
4 of the last 5 games for the Beavers have resulted in 59 or less points and all 4 of those games have been loses. While I don’t expect UW to put up 100+ again on OSU, it is not out of the question, especially when one considers we are likely to come out winging following the embarrassing performance at WSU.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning had his way inside last time, scoring 24 and picking up 15 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas had 19 points and 8 assists and 3 players off the bench had double digit scoring, led by Terrence Ross with 14 points and 7 boards.
Jared Cunningham led the Beavers with 21 points. Two players came off OSU’s bench to score 10 and 15 points. No other player scored more than 8, one was held scoreless, and 3 players had only 4 points.
UW had a +11 rebound and assist margin and a +4 advantage on turnovers.

Predicted Line Ups:

Oregon State

Calvin Haynes 6-3 188lb G
Jared Cunningham 6-4 182lb G
Devon Collier 6-7 206lb F
Omari Johnson 6-9 220lb F
Angus Brandt 6-10 237lb F/C

Washington

Isaiah Thomas 5-9 185lb G
Justin Holiday 6-6 185lb F
Scott Suggs 6-6 195lb F
Matthew Bryan-Amaning 6-9 240lb F
Aziz N’Diaye 7-0 260lb C

Keys to the Game

  • Rebounding: The fantastic rebounding by the Huskies is what kept the WSU game manageable until the final 2 minutes. After starting the season so weakly, the Huskies have really developed into a solid rebounding team. This is due to the development of MBA as a legitimate rebounding threat. He is averaging 7.9 boards per game on the season, but a much higher 9.6 in conference. Aziz N’Diaye has not been as consistent as I would like and against the OSU zone he will likely struggle, although last time he had 7 points and 5 boards in 19 minutes. UW will need to continue to produce on the boards to win games.
  • Outside Shooting: OSU runs a 1-3-1 zone that gives the Huskies some good opportunities at the long ball. The Huskies went 11-31 last game, far from their abilities. Romar said they took 7 shots that were bad selections and 14 shots were contested. The Huskies missed each of the 14 shots. I am not saying we should be hitting 50% of contested or open shots, but we need to be able to put the ball in hoop with a hand in the face with some consistency. UW cannot depend on the 3 ball as their one option. UW must be more patient with the ball and take the 3 only when it is the best or most open shot.
  • Passing: After a poor, poor ball handling and passing night by the Huskies you can bet that Romar is focusing on delivering the ball with purpose this week. UW needs to work the 1-3-1 zone, play patiently, and not let the crowd and the Beavers force a different tempo on the Huskies than they normally play at. This hurt us at WSU and it needs to change.
  • Ball Handling: Worst ball handling performance of the year on Sunday. 24 turnovers is above and beyond any reasonable number for turnovers. Romar says 14 is our max. I would argue 12 is where we should have our maximum. Good ball handling = more points for us and less for them. I.T. needs to lead by example and return to his great passing and decision making ways.
  • Free Throws: We have to make our free throws. Simple as that. UW missed 6 against WSU, including 4 by MBA. If we make all 6 we have a much better shot of winning the game against WSU. On the road free throws are in rare form. More often than not UW has attempted less free throws than their opponents during the game. Every opportunity must be capitalized on.

Final Thoughts:

UW will come out with fire in their eyes and purpose in their hearts. After the terrible performance they had against their rivals UW will need to prove they deserve top spot in the conference and national recognition. I feel a bit bad for OSU as they will have to take on the Dawgs first after the loss. It is important to keep one loss from becoming 2 like it did in Maui. Look for MBA and I.T. to put up big numbers again. Holiday may be dangerous as well.

Final Score Prediction:

UW-95 OSU-65