Today’s 2:30 game vs. Washington (16-8, 9-3) is among the biggest games of the year so far for OSU. Interestingly UW’s total record is only one game better than ours and if we win today both teams would be 16-9 overall. After the Huskies’ Thursday shellacking by Oregon, California now sits atop at 10-3 in conference. Washington for some reason reminds me of Wart from Mario Bros 2. They wear purple/gold and think of themselves as kings of the NW.
It is hard to imagine UW being blown out 82-57 by the Ducks. Dana Altman is showing he is a coach with plans on making some serious waves in the Pac-12. Wroten’s 14 points compared to Cunningham’s 33 in their last showings set up Jared well. Today’s game is a huge opportunity for Cunningham to beat one of his main POY rivals face to face and jump into the lead. Separation can be gained today and with a big outing and win Jared would have to be the frontrunner because of his stats. Then it may be more between him and Guiterrez down the final stretch.
Most importantly, Oregon State has to win today’s game if they want much shot of the NIT. They still need a couple more high profile conference wins to likely be given the nod. If they fall short today it is too easy to imagine them coming up short. At that point the CBI would be all that is left and that would be a big shame for this team. In order to win Craig Robinson needs to coach a better game. Collier has an unbelievably high FG% at .618. He has to get the ball more regularly down in the blocks. We should use Cunningham and Starks on more drives where they are looking for the dish.
Jared also hit five 3 pointers against Wazzu and is getting to where his shot is looking as good as Ahmad’s. One of the reasons they have Starks shoot more is because we have maximum rebounding ability that way. Still, because he has been firing away a little too quick and often and can be more of a liability on defense, he is a person Craig has to watch more closely. Collier and Brandt both need a few more looks. Starks gets the 2nd most minutes of anyone on the team but his style needs to be more of a true point guard who is getting all his players involved. Roberto Nelson also needs to step up more.
Defensively, OSU has to buckle down and care just as much about their play on that end of the court. Defense wins games and OSU needs to up the ante on their attitude that they won’t allow any easy scores. Every score needs to be insulting. I haven’t seen the Beavers play this way much. The game with Gary Payton in attendance probably being when they most showed that there would be nothing easy all night for the opponent. We have to limit Wroten, Ross, N’Diaye and Wilcox. Don’t allow open threes and hassle them in front of what should be a large and loud crowd in Gill. This game has the makings of an instant classic and Oregon State needs to reward its fans with a big win.