Time to finally turn our attention to Oregon State

Boy, I sure hope the players of our favorite team have done a better job of moving past this thing than we have. Let's take a first look at Oregon State and try to get our minds heading in that direction.

First of all, did you know that Oregon State's coach is the brother in law of the president? It's true!

Also, the Beavers were supposed to be pretty good this year. That has turned out to be not true. Most confounding has been OSU's inconsistency, which isn't what you would have expected from a team that returned most everyone from a squad that was one of the bigger surprises in the conference last year.

The Beavers have a nice win at George Washington (by seven), and reasonable losses at Texas Tech (by four), at Nebraska (by six) and at Washington (also by six). But they also have losses versus Texas A&M Corpus Christi (by 24 on a neutral floor), at home to Sacramento State (by two) and at Illinois-Chicago (by two).

The inconsistent results have generally been driven by inconsistent offense, as the defense has been good enough on most nights to win. The Beavers play combinations of zones in the halfcourt, but kenpom.com's "defensive fingerprint" feature has them inaccurately pegged as a "Mostly Man" team. There's an easy explanation for that -- OSU's opponents are getting far fewer assists on as their made buckets than a zone defense would generally allow. Teams also don't shoot as many 3s against OSU as a zone would generally suggest.

The implication? Although I haven't seen much of the Beavers this year, it suggests penetration can be had against the Beavers, something supported by what I saw of them on Thursday against UW and also supported by the fact that OSU is merely average defending 2-point shots. That's great news for the Cougs, who make a living on penetration. This ought to be a great time for Reggie Moore to bounce back and show people the player he really is.

Additionally, as any zone defense will do, the Beavers give up a fair amount of offensive rebounds to good offensive rebounding teams. That's also fortunate for the Cougs, as that's one of their strengths -- they still had a 35 offensive rebounding percentage against the much bigger Ducks.

The Cougs haven't shot the ball well at times this year, but it probably won't matter today -- the Cougs will still likely be able to generate some points ... as long as they take care of the ball. OSU generates more turnovers than you would generally expect from a zone. Keep an eye on that one.

OSU's inconsistency on offense is really due to two factors: Poor shooting and not taking care of the ball. Their shooting really seems to have come around in the past month or so (with the exception of the UW game), but their turnover percentages have been all over the place.

It's those turnovers that the Cougs really ought to be focusing on. The Beavers have a -.62 correlation between their turnover percentage and their offensive efficiency, meaning when their turnover percentage is up, their offensive efficiency is down pretty significantly. It's been a while since we've really forced a team into a high turnover rate (Gonzaga was really the last one), and there is a prime opportunity here to pressure the ball and have it pay off.

Of course, you don't want to pressure too much, lest the Beaver beat you backdoor ..

At any rate, this is yet another game the Cougs should win. But we all know how that went on Thursday. Even when you win, sometimes you don't win.

Dangit. There I got caught looking back again. Like I said, hope the players are doing better with this than we are.

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