A bruised and battered Bruin basketball team will limp into its last regular season home stand tonight against Oregon State. This year we have not had a lot of reason to be confident in our basketball team even when relatively healthy. So, I cannot imaging feeling all that great about heading into tonight's game without Reeves Nelson, James Keefe, and a banged up Brendan Lane (who I doubt will be available). I think the game against Oregon State is going to be tough, yet the Bruins will have a good shot of gaining back some momentum because schematically Bruins matchup up well against the Beavers.
Let's start over at the defensive side for the Beavers. They have been playing a methodical 1-3-1 zone all season. The key to beat this scheme as usual goes back to the concept of being patient, moving well without the ball, and solid passing to set up good, open shots. I can only hope Tyler Honeycutt and Michael Roll will set the tone early in the first half with their passing abilities and setting team-mates up with great shots. From watching these two in recent victories, I get the sense that these two have a lot of respect for each other as they both have the mindset of wanting to be complete basketball players. Honeycutt's comment on Roll in today's LA Times in that regard is revealing:
Asked what part of Roll's game he would like to absorb into his own, freshman forward Tyler Honeycutt said, "His court awareness. When the ball is in his hands, everybody on the court feels safe. Nobody is worried whether he is going to take a bad shot, or turn the ball over."Asked what part of Roll's game he would like to absorb into his own, freshman forward Tyler Honeycutt said, "His court awareness. When the ball is in his hands, everybody on the court feels safe. Nobody is worried whether he is going to take a bad shot, or turn the ball over."
Again hope these two can take charge of the team early on basketball court and get rest of their team-mates to follow their examples. I am also very curious to see whether Bobo Morgan can flash a little bit of the passing skills he displayed against the Cougars in Pullman when he was actively looking for cutters and often hitting them with precision. That was happening because Bobo and the Bruins were showing - wait for it, wait for it, wait for it - PATIENCE.
Another aspect of playing against this kind of zone defense is that our guards will probably not face the kind of ball pressure that has given them trouble all season. Coach Ben Howland mentioned that he is not expecting Beavers to change up their 1-3-1 scheme this week:
"I don't think they're going to change what they do," Howland said. "They play a 1-3-1 trapping zone, and they beat Cal by 15 last Thursday and they beat Arizona at Arizona.
"That 1-3-1 zone is a tough matchup. They work on it every day, and trying to simulate that, you'll never do what they do because they work on it on a daily basis."
So unless Craig Robinson dramatically changes his defensive philosophy, he is not going to move up his perimeter defense to put pressure on Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson, and Mustafa Abdul-Hamid. So our guards should be able to operate with a little more breathing room than they got when taking on athletic backcourts from teams such as Washington, California, Southern Cal, Cal, Stanford, and Oregon. The key again will be to be careful with the rock, which we were not during the first half in our first meeting of the season in Corvallis.
Stanford's head coach Johnny Dawkins made a pretty interesting comment on how to attack Beavers following the Cardinal's victory in Corvallis. From the Building The Dam's game wrap:
Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins felt "I thought we did a great job. First defending, we hold them to 55 points. They've been scoring the ball well recently, and we had to stop that. The 1-3-1 is basically set up on made shots. So when you can defend them, it's hard for them to get back in that 1-3-1 match up. A lot of that was our defense forcing them into that situation. But, when they are in it, it's very important that we were poised and take care of the basketball. Our main ball handlers all did a good job taking care of the ball and making the right decisions."
So that brings us to defense, where Bruin's 2-3 zone should matchup well against Oregon State's methodical Princeton offense. Oregon is the worst 3 point shooting team in the conference (.301). Bruins should be mindful of Calvin Hayes as he is shooting about 40 percent (.398) from the 3 point line. They should pay attention to him the same way they kept their eyes on Klay Thompson and Reggie Moore up in Pullman.
For those of you on the East Coast, the tip off for this game is scheduled for 8 pm PST. For all the frustrations we have collectively expressed through this entire season, we know all the regular members of BN will be up (no matter where they are in this planet) watching or following our Bruins via the game thread. That thread as usual will go up half an hour before the game. See you then.