OSU will try to bounce back from their first home loss of the season as they host the Ill..."/> OSU will try to bounce back from their first home loss of the season as they host the Ill..."/>

Illinois-Chicago @ Oregon St.


OSU will try to bounce back from their first home loss of the season as they host the Illinois-Chicago Flames in a non-conference duel at Gill Coliseum tonight. This is the third meeting between the programs. Each team has beaten the other once before.

Illinois-Chicago climbed to 3-5 with a 62-55 win over Northern Illinois Saturday. The Flames ended a three-game losing skid with the victory. They were beat by Toledo, Green Bay, and Milwaukee in their three previous contests. UIC is coached by Howard Moore. Their team is average offensively scoring 65.5 points per game on 40.3% shooting from the field and 34.2% shooting from three-point range. Defensively, the Flames are giving up 66.4 points per game on 42.8% shooting from the floor.

No UIC player is averaging scoring in double digits. Instead seven players score 6+ points per game. Marc Brown was a leader in their win over Northern Illinois. He had 15 points on 3-of-5 shooting. Daniel Barnes scored 12 points. Hayden Humes is a strong rebounder for the Flames. Humes had a team-best 10 rebounds against Northern Illinois.

I was wrong by thinking Oregon State would come out strong against Idaho in honor of the passing of Fred Thompson. It can be hard to predict emotional reaction and this team got off to a slow start and never fully was into the game. Idaho shot the ball very well and luckily UIC does not have the same shooting talent. Cunningham in particular had a very off night and Roberto Nelson actually probably had the best game for OSU. Statistically for the year, the Beavers are scoring 77.5 points a game on 46.5% shooting. Oregon State has held its opponents to 64.9 points a game on 44.7% shooting.

What we want to see from OSU tonight is a complete turnaround in coming to play from start to finish. Besides the last game they have played that way in every other game. Sometimes it is about motivation and inspiration. Teams have to find it in their own ways. To get to the NCAA tourney OSU has to keep playing at a high level and with true passion. There is a big differnce in playing with just your ability and playing with true inspiration.

I will use an example from my own life. I am overall pretty evenly matched against another tennis player and out of 10 matches he would usually beat me 5 or 6 times. We were playing in Portland in the NW Hills near my girlfriend’s house. I was just going through the motions trying but not fully engaged and was down 5 games to love in our set. I decided this is not acceptable. I should be defending the home court of a place I felt personally connected to in my own life story. I decided I would engage all the way and come back and put everything into winning the set.

Once I got started and was getting great results I knew I could keep on playing with this new motivation to perform at a high level and got myself back in the mix. It wouldn’t have been enough to go into a tiebreaker. I had to cap this off in a proper way to show my passion to defend the court and that it was far more important to me than my opponent. I ended up winning 7 straight games and taking the set. My friend was so frustrated at that point that he called it a match and I won the day.

For OSU to have a great season they have to come together as a team with a joint higher purpose and all be fully engaged on what they plan to accomplish. Every game then becomes true enjoyment as another opportunity to continue boldly after that quest. I think Craig Robinson will get the guys refocused and they can realize what an opportunity they have to do something special this year. Oregon State needs to be aggressive with defense and rebounds and show UIC that they will not allow them to win. Their stories that they have for Ralph Miller Court and the 2011-12 season are too important to them to lose. Oregon State shows much more of that heart tonight and wins 79-63. Tipoff at 7pm (ROOT Sports).

Oregon St. 79,  UIC 63