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Getting Ready for Oregon State ...

So now that we know tomorrow night's game is going to be on television we can finally start thinking about Oregon State. BBR has already done the home work for all of us and has written up the preview:

OSU is coming off a tough loss in their Pac-10 opener to cross-state rival Oregon last Saturday, 76-73, in which all five Beaver starters scored in double-figures. The Beavers count on heavy minutes from their starting five, especially their front-court, primarily due to a lack of depth on the bench.

OSU plays both man-to-man and zone defense, but it would not be surprising to see the Beavers go primarily zone to counter their depth issues and to protect their big men from foul trouble.  In addition, UCLA struggled initially against Washington's zone in the second-half which allowed the Huskies to mount a short rally, but a hot-shooting Michael Roll helped the Bruins break the zone.  No doubt the Beavers defense will test the Bruins outside shooting in this game.

Offensively, the Beavers have struggled shooting only 40% from the field and 31.3% on three-pointers, worst among all Pac-10 teams this season; and not surprisingly average only 63.6 points a game.

They also rank last in the conference in assists averaging only 11.2 assists a game and possess a low 0.81 assist/turnover ratio.

The Beavers do return a solid starting front-court in Marcel Jones, Sasa Cuic, and Kyle Jeffers who are the foundation of the team.  However, the loss of senior guards Jason Fontanet, Chris Stephens, and Lamar Hurd to graduation have left OSU with an inexperienced back-court.
As mentioned in this morning's roundup Coach Howland had the team work on busting zone defenses in practice yesterday. So it will be interesting to see (now that the game is on TV) how the team reacts to it tomorrow night.

Also, in case you missed it great write up on Ben Ball in the Chicago Sun Times. One more article mentioning how much Coach Howland loves Coach Wooden and embraces the tradition (and the resulting expectations) established by our national treasure:
There is the looming presence of the still-vital Wooden, the Bruins coach who won 10 of those national crowns, from 1964 to 1975, and whose Gandalf-like aura permeates everything that happens on the Pauley hardwood.

Now in his 97th year, Wooden appears almost otherworldly in his regal bearing and dignified observance of all things basketball.

His very existence could make life impossible for Howland.

Yet the opposite seems to be true.

''I got off the phone with him not 20 seconds ago,'' says Howland, who was himself a near-godlike coach during his four successful years at Pittsburgh. ''I love John Wooden.''

Proof might be found in the framed diagram of Wooden's pyramid of life on Howland's wall or the photo of a smiling Wooden and a smiling Howland or the Wooden books Howland reads and quotes or the fact Wooden called Howland immediately after UCLA clinched last season's Pac-10 title with a victory on the road at Cal.

''I was so overwhelmed, I kept his message on my answering machine for two months,'' Howland says. ''Yes, there are very high expectations here because there's so much pride. But that's nice. And it starts with Coach.''
Notwithstanding the botched reference to Pyramid of Success, good article. I know we are beating a dead horse here. But seriously may be Dorrell can take notes on what it is like to embrace and deliver on high expectations (not just BSing about it).

BTW about that mention of Coach Wooden's Gandalf-like aura? Hey haven't we read that Gandalf comparison somewhere else before?

Anyways going back to Oregon State, despite the fact that Bruins are a deeper and talented team, there are no gimmees in the Pac-10. Especially when the Bruins are ranked number 1 in the nation. Let's hope our guys will come out focused just like they did against the Huskies on Sunday afternoon.