MBB/WBB Preview & Open Thread: Civil War Edition

Tyrone Nared's ferocious put-back jams have been one of the highlights of the season.

Men of Oregon (8-10, 1-5) at Oregon State (8-9, 3-3)
3:00 PT, Legendary Decrepit Gill Coliseum
TV:  FSN National (almost)

Oregon State Beavers (7-10, 0-6) at Women of Oregon (11-6, 2-4)
SUNDAY, 12:00 PT, Matthew Knight Arena
TV:  Fox Sports Northwest

Starting Lineups

Pos.  Oregon State Oregon
C Angus Brandt (4.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 0.5 apg) Joevan Catron (15.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.4 apg)
F Omari Johnson (5.8 ppg, 6.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg) E.J. Singler (11.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.5 apg)
F Devon Collier (5.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 0.7 apg) Teondre Williams (6.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.1 apg)
G Jared Cunningham (16.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.7 apg) Garrett Sim (7.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.6 apg)
G Roberto Nelson (9.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1..7 apg)

Johnathan Loyd (5.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.2 apg)


The Civil War is here, and Ducks and Beavers of both genders duke it out for Pac-10 mediocrity!  The Oregon State men are exciting and have more talent in that program than they've had in quite some time, led by star recruits Jared Cunningham and Roberto Nelson.  While they were woefully inconsistent at the beginning of the year, losing to the likes of Texas Southern, Utah Valley, and Seattle, they have been putting it together ever since Nelson finally gained eligibility in December and come into this game playing good ball.  Their women, on the other hand, somewhat resemble the Oregon men, having lost every semblance of talent to transfer (though this happened before they fired their coach).  However, they made a great hire in Scott Rueck (who led George Fox to a Division III national title), and are thus competitive despite their obvious lack of talent.

Mens Game:

The Beavers are led by sophomore Jared Cunningham, a rising star not just in the Pac-10, but nationally.    He is a phenomenal scorer, both on the drive and from three (where he shoots over 45%).  He is also a big defensive presence in OSU's 1-3-1 zone, leading the entire nation in steals.  He is also good for at least one thunderous dunk a game.  If the Beavers can finally put together a consistent effort for the entire year (and with an experienced Nelson next season, I think they finally do that), Cunningham will be a national name.

But Oregon State isn't tourney bound this year (unless the NIT or CBI comes calling), so what they are really playing for is getting Cunningham's supporting cast ready for next season.  Seniors Calvin Haynes (10.8 ppg), Lathen Wallace, and Omari Johnson have played major roles for several years, and continue to do so, but slowly see their time diminished (partly to give the young guys a chance, and partially because they've been woefully inconsistent this season).  The freshman Nelson finally got cleared to play after a year and a half, and finally took over the starting role against SC.    Nelson has struggled at times, as you would expect from a freshman, but has many of the same skills that Cunningham possesses.  He's getting better every game, and he and Cunningham are the kind of nucleus that take you deep into March as upperclassmen. 

According to Pomeroy, Oregon State has an adjusted offensive efficiency of 105.7.  They don't shoot the ball terribly well, ranking 276th in the country in three point percentage (not much better than Oregon's 291st).  They are bad from the line (144th to Oregon's 51st), turn the ball over a lot (156th to Oregon's 38th).  However, Oregon State plays fast (41st in adjusted tempo), and makes their living off steals.  With their 1-3-1 confusing people, the Beavers rank first in the entire country in steals.  While otherwise bad offensively, its the points that they get off these turnovers that spark the Beaver offense.

KEYS TO THE GAME

1.  Take care of the basketball vs. the 1-3-1-- One of the pleasant surprises this season has been how well this team takes care of the basketball.  They very rarely turn the ball over.  We remember the Civil War last season, as Oregon handed the Beavers the basketball in every possible way.  We know that Atlman has proven to be a good game coach.  If the players can execute the game plan for the 1-3-1 (basically, getting the ball to the corner and from there to the post) without turning the ball over, Oregon State's primary weapon is neutralized.  Without these turnovers to get easy buckets, the Beavers approach Oregon levels of offensive ineptitude. 

2.  Press, press, press -- Oregon State turns the ball over a lot.  Oregon is great at forcing turnovers.  Make sure this stays true to form.

3.  One and done -- The Beavers will not have a significant size advantage on the Ducks, and aren't a particularly great rebounding team.  When OSU shoots the ball, we have to get the ball and limit second shots.

Womens Game:

One of the cool things about the womens game today is that, by offering $2 tickets to a public that wants to see the new arena but maybe can't afford a men's game, Oregon will have a sellout for the Civil War.  That's 12,500 on hand for a women's game.  And while I'm not sure much of that crowd is pumped up for womens basketball, I do think that once they see what the Westhead style has to offer, they will get carried away and start to get loud.  Oregon will have a huge homecourt advantage today.

The biggest advantage Oregon will have though is simply the disparity in talent.  OSU doesn't have a lot of good players, and the few they do play a ton (three players at over 33 mintues a game).  That simply won't work against a Westhead team.  Alyssa Martin and Sage Indenti both average double digits for the Beavers, but take over 35 minutes a game to do so.  The body simply cannot withstand that many minutes at Oregon's pace.  OSU is very good team in the halfcourt defense, but Oregon doesn't really run a lot of halfcourt offense, mostly shooting the ball before the defense has a chance to get set.

KEY TO THE GAME:

Run, run, run--  run all day and do not stop.  The Beavers don't have the depth  or offensive prowess to keep up with Oregon at the pace they want to run.  Run that team silly.

Both the Oregon State teams have fatal flaws that Oregon is in great position to exploit.  I would expect the women to win fairly easily.  The mens' game is a bit dicier, but if Oregon can take care of the ball, it really hurts what OSU wants to do.  If the Ducks can take care of the ball in the 1-3-1, we have a great shot at sweeping little brother today.

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