Oregon State @ Colorado

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Big game for Oregon State tonight at 6PM.  They will be trying to make it 4 straight Pac-12 wins.  The game also kicks off the second half of the Pac-12 season.  OSU needs to maximize every opportunity from here on out and another win tonight will start us off in strong fashion.  Coach Rob and Oregon State seem to be getting better at mixing in their defenses.  The 1-3-1 is helping to create turnovers but it is best used for stretches of 5-6 minutes to frustrate the opposing team.  Then laying off for a bit but having it as a possibility on any given play before waiting to use it more aggressively again seems to be the magic formula for maximizing it and most causing disruption of rythym on the opponent.  Cunningham for awhile played man to man against Joseph to make sure he did not get open jumpers and disrupt his ability to ever take successive shots that could have boosted his confidence even further.

We all know one weakness of the 1-3-1 is that it allows some open long range jumpers that are too costly if hit in much magnitude.  At its best with Eric Moreland hassling on top of the 1-3-1 and using the half court line as an extra defender OSU can get multiple turnovers in a row.  They often try to pass over it but if they go too low Eric can tip or intercept it and if too high another defender can make a play for the ball.  In general, we seem to be executing respectably on offense and the key to winning really is how tough of defense we play.  The players just have to get fully behind the defensive effort and I believe it will help lead to easier points on the other end while also frustrating the opponent and limiting their runs.

I like alot of aspects of Craig Robinson and just hope he continues to be fully engaged during the games.  I saw much more energy from him against Oregon and I think that is important so his players know it is not okay to take breaks and play poorly for 5 or more minute stretches.  Rather Robinson needs to realize the eaiest time to focus are at the beginning and end of halves and thus make sure there is no lull somewhere in between.  Use the 13 min mark and get the team focused strongly through the 7 minute mark.  Then get them ready for the final stretch and to close strong.  If things are good with just 2 minutes left then make it a game where you try to never finish those last two minutes of a half worse off than you were.

I think these are the main things OSU has to work on.  Jared is taking Payton’s advice and getting better at his jumper.  Collier has a strong field goal % and also needs to get the ball.  This should be mixed in with drives and dish offs as well.  Colorado is 5-0 at home so OSU will need to stay engaged from start to finish.  Playing at altitude may be a challenge and OSU may want to consider buying a Hypoxico Altitude Training System since Colorado is in the Pac-12 to stay.  Then both football and basketball could use it and will get quicker recovery and a higher VO2 max.  UC’s leading scorer is G Carlon Brown at 13 a game.  Andre Roberson averages 11 points and rebounds for Colorado.  Collier and Moreland will have to outrebound him.

I see OSU winning this in a nailbiter.  They could come up a little short but should be in it.  In the end, it will come down to execution and will.  4 wins in a row will get Beaver Nation truly excited and restore the expectations of NIT or better.  We can then be within reach of the teams at the top and keep making waves leading into the Pac-12 tourney as we try to get an easier opening opponent.

OSU 75, Colorado 72