Beaver basketball beat West Alabama 93-60 last night. Oregon State had 85 points with 10:45 to play and then finished slow including a stretch of over 6 minutes of not scoring. However, the majority of the first half and first half of the second half saw strong play from Oregon St. and a team with clearly better chemistry and confidence. The addition of Eric Moreland and the core of Burton, Collier, Brandt, Cunningham and Starks being very comfortable at this point has made this year look like we should be NIT or better.
Roberto Nelson also fits well with the core group even if we are waiting for him to contribute a bit more consistently on offense. Challe Barton is a new guard who some people on Angrybeavs thought was playing well. He did okay but early on had atleast two sloppy passes. It wasn’t like he was trying to be too cute, they were more just sloppy passes that were ripe for turnover. Hopefully he and the team focus on crisp clean looks and dishes in coming games so we can better avoid lulls in offensive production.
Wednesday night Hofstra comes to town and that looks to be much stiffer competition. I expect the Beavs have what it takes to come out ahead but they will have to keep focus and maintain the will to win and keep their undefeated record going for as long as possible. Our 2-0 start is the best since Ritchie McKay’s 2000-01 team started 4-0.
Starks and Cunningham will give us our main steal opportunities and we can expect to see quite a few Cunningham breakaway slam dunks this year. Last night he did a reverse two handed pump jam that brought down the house. There seems to be good excitement about the basketball team this year. Saturday we take on Texas in the Legends Classic in at the IZOD Center in the New Jersey Meadowlands. I have confidence that Craig Robinson is getting the OSU program back to a healthy state. Moreland and Cunningham and also Burton and Collier are all exciting athletes. Moreland is 6-10 and just a freshman so I can see some nice contributions from him and as long as recruiting remains strong he should be part of a solid core throughout his OSU career.
The soon to come basketball practice facility and Pac-12 MegaTv deal and exposure should only help to give OSU a nice platform for Craig Robinson to use and turn us hopefully into a team that can start making the NIT with some regularity and the occassional NCAA tourney as well if all goes well. This team has strong potential to get 18 wins or more this year and if they play their cards right will be pushing 20.
They seem to be ready to take advantage of the non-conference schedule and get things started the right way and with momentum heading into conference. Robinson looks like he is getting the quicker starts figured out where as Riley has continued to struggle in that regard. Robinson brings some swagger to the team at key moments and when grooving this team is capable of 10-12 minutes of strong play at a time. If they can get to where they are playing good for close to 15 minutes of each half in most their games they will be be in good shape.
I see OSU beating Hofstra in a much closer contest then their first two games. I will go with OSU 84, Hofstra 76. Oregon State will have to execute and make free throws down the stretch if they want to hold onto their lead and earn a respectable 3-0 heading into their weekend showdown with Texas.
OSU 84, Hofstra 76