Oregon State Preview

With the good, bad and ugly all behind Stanford basketball in last week's home-and-home with Cal, the rest of the Pac-10 looms large. A road trip to the Oregons is a tough start, and Corvallis is no friend to the Card. The Beavs played well last weekend, and provide a far more formidable starting five than last season. Read on for the full preview, which concludes that Curtis Borchardt should be the key man.

A couple of tough Pac-10 road games is hardly what the Cardinal (8-3 overall, 1-1 Pac-10) need after suffering a disheartening defeat at the hands of archrival Cal. Yet that is what they face when they start off their trip north with a visit to Corvallis to play the Beavers of Oregon State (8-6 overall, 1-3 Pac-10).

The "sometimes losing is good for you" does not hold up for the recent Stanford setback. As in the Texas and BYU games, the Cardinal struggled from the charity stripe, shooting a paltry 59%. Stanford looked like a team without direction. Cal's hard-nosed defense highlighted the Cardinal's trouble at the point guard position. Neither Giovacchini, Barnes or Hernandez proved adequate Sunday. While the change of the starting rotation has been subject to heated debate among the Cardinal faithful, expect the lineup to remain the same. Whomever the starters are, Stanford must jell quickly. No road game can is a pushover in the Pac-10. Oregon State is coming off a close 93-87 loss at the McKale Center to then #15 Arizona, a contest in which Oregon State led by as many as 21 points. The Beavers, whose 48.5% field-goal percentage ranks second in the Pac-10, are capable of draining treys as three of their starters shoot 40% or better from behind the arc.

PG- J.S. Nash, 6-1, 195, Freshman, Moreno Valley, Ca (4.6 ppg) vs. Tony Giovacchini, 6-2, 180, Senior, Salt Lake City, Ut (4.3 ppg)

Nash, a true-freshman, is starting his fifth game in his young career. Giovacchini will definitely have an edge when it comes to experience and he must use this to his advantage. Giovacchini must try to regain some confidence after shooting 2 for 7 from the field (0-3 3-pt.) and giving up 3 turnovers while dishing out 0 assists. Nash does not pose a threat from the perimeter, so Tony should have an easier time concentrating on preventing penetration. Look for this matchup to be a stalemate.

SG Jimmie Haywood, 6-2, 175, Junior, Seattle, Wa (8.5 ppg) vs. Julius Barnes, 6-1, 180, Junior, Rowland Heights, Ca (11.4 ppg)

Haywood put up 19 points in the Beavers' recent loss to Arizona. He has been playing solid all year, but Barnes will use his quickness to shut him down. Unlike Haywood, Barnes is coming off a mediocre game, scoring 7 points off 3-8 shooting. If Borchardt forces Oregon State to double team him, Barnes will drain as many open looks as he gets. Note that Haywood is questionable for this game, with a groin injury from the Arizona game.

SF- Adam Masten, 6-5, 200, Senior, Salem, Or (10.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg) vs. Casey Jacobsen, 6-6, 210, Junior, Glendora, Ca (19.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg)

Masten, with a team high 47.2% from beyond the arc, is the Beavers' sharpshooter. Though at the beginning of the season he was expected to shoulder more of the scoring burden, he is still a crucial part to the Beaver offense. Jacobsen must be determined to prevent Masten from getting any open looks. Though he scored 20 points on Sunday, he was only 4-13 from the field. He'll be looking to redeem himself. If Borchardt plays a good game and draws double teams, expect Jacobsen to score in the high 20's on Thursday.

PF- Brian Jackson, 6-9, 240, Junior, Knappa, Or (12.8 ppg) vs. Justin Davis, 6-8, 230, Sophomore, Berkeley, Ca (6.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg)

Jackson is coming off a 7-9, 21 point game against Arizona. Davis will have his hands full with Jackson, who can pull out to three-point range and knock them down. Don't be surprised if Brian causes Davis major headaches. Expect Teyo to get some serious minutes to spell Justin. What kind of Justin Davis we see is entirely up in the air. Look for him to struggle due to Ricci's strength inside. Borchardt's inside presence could help contain.

C- Phillip Ricci, 6-7, 250, Junior, Galt, Ca (17.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg), vs. Curtis Borchardt, 7-0, 240, Junior, Redmond, Wa (14.7 ppg, 10.5 rpg)

Ricci, who sat out last year with a knee injury, has come back with a vengeance. He is third in the Pac-10 in scoring average and is one of the best big men in the conference. But Ricci is not a real center, and is woefully undersized to take on Borchardt. Perhaps Jackson, though a worst post player, will slide up to the 5 and allow Ricci to roam more at the 4. Borchardt should have a field day, as Derek Potter, Oregon State's only designated center, has played all of 46 minutes this season. Domination of the post should be expected.

Oregon State has much more talent this year than last. The game against Arizona, where they went 12-18 from three-point land, proved how dangerous they can be. The Beavers can shoot the rock. Their achilles heel, though, is their extreme lack of size. This game should be a gritty game, but the Cardinal should build a comfortable lead early in the second half as Borchardt wears down the Beavers. If Giovacchini prevents the opposing point guard from penetrating and Borchardt gives us a big night inside, it will make life much easier for their teammates. Stanford should win by 15 points.

If you have any comments for the author, feel free to email him at bdruzin25@hotmail.com

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