Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State Hoops: Prediction Time

Hard to believe it, but basketball season is rapidly approaching, as the Beavers host Corban on November 4.

Coming off a 19-13 record and their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1990, the Beavers have been picked to finish ninth in the Pac-12 — most likely due to losing Gary Payton II, Malcolm Duvivier, and Derrick Bruce.

I thought I’d take a crack at predicting the Beavers’ win/loss record this season, game by game. Disclaimer, this is purely speculation (my own), so take my predictions with a grain of salt.

Nov. 4: Corban — W (But won’t count as it’s an exhibition)

Nov. 11: Prairie View A&M — W

Nov. 13: UTSA — W

Nov. 16: Lamar — W

Nov. 18: @ Nevada — L

Nov. 22: @ Tulsa — W

Nov. 25: Fresno State — W

Nov. 28: Southern Oregon — W

Dec. 1: @ Mississippi State — L

Dec. 2: @ Charlotte — W

Dec. 11: Savannah State — W

Dec. 16: Long Beach State — W

Dec. 18: Kent State — W

Dec. 28: USC — W

Dec. 30: UCLA — L

Jan. 4: @ Washington State — W

Jan. 7: @ Washington — W

Jan. 14: @ Oregon — L

Jan. 19: Stanford — W

Jan. 21: California —L

Jan. 26: @ Colorado — L

Jan. 28: @ Utah — W

Feb. 2: Arizona — L

Feb. 4: Arizona State — W

Feb. 9: @ USC — L

Feb. 12: @ UCLA — L

Feb. 16: Colorado — W

Feb. 19: Utah — L

Feb. 22: @ Stanford — W

Feb. 24: @ California — L

March 4: Oregon — L

Final Regular Season Record: 18-12, 8-10 Pac-12 Play

Obviously, this was very off-the-cuff and I might have my orange-colored glasses on, but an 18-12 mark isn’t that far off last season. One thing to factor in about this year is that the Beavers’ nonconference schedule isn’t as difficult as last season; there’s no Kansas or Valparaiso. So, that should help.

However, the Beavers probably need to advance farther in the Pac-12 tournament this season to strengthen their NCAA hopes. They won’t be a media darling story this time around. An NIT berth is very likely though for the Beavers, which wouldn’t be bad at all, considering their losses from last season. Overall, I can’t see the Beavers doing worse than 16-14.

Because I took a stab at the Beavers’ record this season, here’s my preseason 2016-17 award-winners as well.

Most Valuable Player: Tres Tinkle. Stephen Thompson Jr. may lead the Beavers in scoring this season, but Tinkle will be the heart and soul of the team and help set the tone at both ends of the floor for OSU. Due to improvement by Drew Eubanks and Gligorije Rakocevic, Tinkle should get easier looks at the basketball this season, and if he can finish more consistently at the rim, watch out.

Most Improved Player: Gligorije Rakocevic. The skills were evident last season, but it was also clear that Rakocevic needed to get used to the speed of the college game. Good news, he’s slimmed down and looks more cut, and could be primed for a starting role. While he’ll never be explosive as Eubanks, he should complement his post mate well, as he’s a big body with a good understanding of the game.

Top Newcomer: JaQuori McLaughlin. Due to the departure of three guards who all played major minutes last season, McLaughlin will have every opportunity to earn major minutes this season, and his talent is undeniable. It wouldn’t be surprising if he starts from Day 1 and is a top-3 scorer for the Beavers as a freshman. He also could emerge as the team’s secondary ball-handler behind Thompson Jr.

What do you think about Oregon State’s chances this season?

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