The Beavers play their final non-conference game of the season tonight at 5pm PST against Chicago State in the Windy City. Chicago State is 0-11 and play a loose, shoot when you have a decent look offense. The Cougars are led by 6-9 forward Jeremy Robinson, averaging 14 points and 6.3 rebounds, 6-5 forward Lee Fisher with 11.9 and 6.9 and guard Matt Samuels with 11.1 points a game. The game is a homecoming for Ahmad Starks. Rumors are his mom will be cooking a meal for the entire team as part of the holiday warm welcome for the OSU team. The Beavers will get to 10-2 with a win.
Frankly, there is no reason to not fully expect that 10th win tonight. Chicago St. has played some respectable to good teams in Iowa, Illinois, Creighton, Wichita State and DePaul but only average 59 points a game. In comparison, Oregon St. is averaging a Pac-12 best 84 points a game. The Cougars may not be intimidated but that does not mean they should be able to keep this game within striking distance past the first half. If my gut is any indication I am looking for a halftime score around 42-29 and a final of 84-59. Beavs by 25 with the final score very near those per game team averages.
The OSU game against Portland St. was great on so many levels. It was fantastic to see past legends like Steve Johnson, Mark Radford and Ray Blume in attendance with big smiles and chatting it up from the first row. The performance of Starks and Nelson in the past week and Starks earning POW honors just as he comes home to Chicago must feel great for himself and his family. Then you have Moreland who had 13 rebounds and 10 points in an impressive double-double and solid 18 minutes of action. Joe Burton also did very well with 7 assists. The chemistry and dynamics were great for the vast majority of the game. So tonight I guess we just want to see continuation of that as we end non-conference play.
Hopefully Moreland is again in for close to 18 minutes, Nelson and Starks continue to nail jumpers and 3’s and Brandt, Collier and Burton provide the inside factor and toughness. Brandt’s confidence is building and he is becoming a more reliable weapon for 12 or more points a game. Collier always has those nice inside jams and Moreland is a rebounding machine who is blocking more shots and becoming a larger and more dependable key contributor. He is capable of offensive production as well especially if he is found at the right moments.
The Beavs cruise in style again in this one and after resting a few days for the holidays see the Huskies next on Dec. 29th in Seattle to start Pac-12 action. That will be a huge game and will be followed by a New Year’s Eve matchup against Wazzu in Spokane. OSU opens Pac-12 home play Jan. 5th against Cal.
Oregon St. 84, Chicago St. 59