This should be a fairly comfortable win for the Beavs tonight. Oregon State is playing like atleast a legit NIT team so far this year and probably more like a team on the cusp of an NCAA berth. Craig Robinson says Montana is “probably the best mid-major team we’ll play up until this point” but if OSU plays decent ball this is a ‘W’. Oregon St. did lose to Montana 71-66 in Missoula last year though, so OSU needs to just take care of business and get to 6-1.
The best news is that Montana and Portland St. are the two most difficult teams left on the OSU schedule until Pac-12 play starts with the Huskies in Seattle on Dec. 29th. That is why the Beavers are in a great position to get 20+ wins this year if they play their cards right. Tonight, look out for first-team all-Big Sky selection Will Cherry at point guard, shooting guard Kareem Jamar and 7-foot center/forward Derek Selvig. Cherry averages 15 points a game and Jamar 14.4 with 6.7 rebounds.
Oregon State just needs to play their game. Cunningham has to score regardless of whether they are ballhawking him. He doesn’t need 35 but Cunningham has to prepare for Pac-12 play by regularly scoring 20-25 or so in most every game until UW. I also would like to see Eric Moreland establish himself even more as a key leader for this team. The guy has a NBA type body with incredible length and needs to establish his presence every game. Collier needs to keep playing as a physical force down low and provide his usual forceful jams and rebounds. Burton has been pretty good this year and playing with leadership and charisma. Starks needs to keep shooting but I would rather have a few more Cunningham drives than Starks taking too many as a primary jump shooter.
Brandt also has been playing well. OSU has great team chemistry and a nice mixture of athletes. With one more reliable jump shooter we would have just about every component an NCAA qualifying team needs. The players seem to be responding to the change to more man to man defense and the faster action it creates. This allows OSU to push the ball more and as a fan I have found this year quite a bit more enjoyable to watch for the majority of the games. I hope OSU goes full force tonight and rewards the burgeoning support they are garnering from Beaver Nation. I say we lead 42-33 at halftime and win 82-70. 5 p.m. tip (TV on ROOT Sports).
OSU 82, Montana 70