Who Are You?: Oregon State Beavers

Kevin "Kevo" Danna provides the faithful with his preview of the Oregon State Beavers, including a look at their current season, the players to watch out for this evening, and the keys to a Stanford victory as they look to get back on the winning track at home in Maples Pavilion.

After 60 minutes of disappointing basketball in the Evergreen State last weekend, the Cardinal turned it around for the 2nd half of the Washington State game, furiously cutting a 20-point halftime deficit to just one bucket.  Unfortunately for the Farm Boys, it was not enough as they dropped a 77-73 decision to the Cougs in the Palouse.  Now at 2-3 in conference, the Cardinal must find a way to sweep the Oregon schools to keep their hopes of competing for the conference title.  Up first are those bothersome Beavers from Corvallis, a team that the Card lost to three times in four games last year.  How can Coach Dawkins and company reverse their fortunes against the Beavers?  Here's a look at the 2009-2010 version of Oregon State's basketball team.

2009-2010 Season: 8-9 (2-3 Pac-10) - 5-3 Home, 2-5 Road, 1-1 Neutral

The Beavers came into this season with extremely high expectations, perhaps the highest they've had since Gary Payton was running point for them.  And after a seven-win conference season and a CBI Championship to boot, why not?  Plenty of people thought the Beavers would finish as high as third in the conference and get themselves an at-large bid in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.  Just about everyone was returning and a few nice recruits were coming in.  Plus, what could go wrong with Obama's brother-in-law at the helm?  This was sure to be their first plus-.500 campaign since 2004-2005.

And then the regular season got underway.  It started with an embarrassing 67-43 loss to Texas A&M…Corpus Christi, out of the Southland Conference.  After a 1-2 Texas three-step in Lubbock that also included a close four-point loss to the host Texas Tech Red Raiders, the Beavers returned to Gill Coliseum for their home opener against the lowly Sacramento State Hornets.  Easy win against a team that lost more than 25 games in 2008-2009 and a team that has never had a winning season at the D-1 level, right?  Wrong.  Oregon State fell behind by more than 20 points at the break, and a huge 2nd-half comeback fell two points short as the Beavers lost 65-63.  But the bad losses didn't stop there - Oregon State also lost on the road to then- 1-6 Illinois-Chicago, 63-61.  And then, of course, there was that little 51-point loss on their home court to barely-D1 Seattle University 99-48 (can we just put the Redhawks in the WCC already?).
Despite their poor non-conference résumé, the Beavers have still been very pesky in conference with wins over Oregon on the road and Arizona at home, and also gave scares to the Washington schools on the road.  Go figure.

Players to Watch

- Roeland Schaftenaar (6'11, 240-lb Senior from Utrecht, Netherlands) - In the good-ole Princeton Offense that is run by Craig Robinson, it is this man that plays the role of point-forward, and he plays it to a "T."  A great passer and good-enough ball-handler, Roeland can also stroke it from beyond the arc and has a knack for hitting off-balance shots that have no business of getting anywhere near the hoop.  However, he hasn't quite lived up to the hype in 2009-2010.  All of his numbers are down this year, from 10.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, and 3.3 apg in 2008-2009 to 8.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, and 1.4 apg in 2009-2010.  Part of his problem has been his inconsistency from long range, where he is only making 27.6% of his shots from three-point territory.  But the Cardinal can ill-afford to not take this guy seriously considering what he did against the Cardinal last year: 17.5 ppg in four contests, including a career-high 26 against the Farm Boys in Beaverland.

- Calvin Haynes (6'2, 185-lb Junior from Reseda, CA) - one of the most confident players in the Pac-10, Calvin Haynes also had a lot of success against the Cardinal last season.  The lefty from Southern California led the Beavers in scoring the first time these two teams met last season with 25 points.  He is a very solid shooter that can also get to the hoop.  His 11.7 ppg and 44.3% accuracy rate from beyond the arc both lead the team, but he's only a 61.5% shooter from the charity stripe.  He's not exactly the best defender either, so this is a guy that the Cardinal perimeters can exploit on the offensive end.

- Seth Tarver (6'5, 210-lb Senior from Portland, OR ) - Seth is the second-leading scorer on the Beavers this year at 11.6 ppg and leads the team in rebounding at 4.5 boards per contest.  Up until the rise of Schaftenaar, Seth and his brother Josh were the face of this program back in the pre-Robinson era.  Expect this guy to guard Landry a good bit in that 1-3-1.

- Lathen Wallace (6'3, 200-lb Junior from Portland, OR) - I have always been a fan of this guy ever since he came to Corvallis.  He is a very streaky shooter, but when he is on, he is deadly.  Lathen dropped in 18 against Stanford down in Los Angeles in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament last year, the lone time the Card knocked off the Beavs.  This season, he leads all bench players with 6.5 ppg (also 4th on the team) and hits almost 35% of his three-pointers.

Kevo's Keys to Cardinal Success against the Corvallis Crazies

- Beavers' Magic Number: 16 - In the two regular season games between these squads last year, Oregon State got out to 16-2 and 16-5 leads.  The Card would fight hard to get back into the game from there, but that early hole was too big for Stanford to crawl out of both times.  In the Pac-10 Tournament, Stanford had 11 by the time the Beavers got to 16, and the Farm Boys were the first to 16 in the CBI game.  Notice a trend?  Sure, the Card lost that CBI game, but I think any team would have considering the circumstances surrounding that game (not finding out our opponent until 40 hours before tip, having a three-leg flight to Corvallis, practicing at midnight, while the Beavers were at home the whole time).  The point is when Stanford got out to a good or close-to-good start against Oregon State, their chances of winning the game greatly improved.

- Offensive patience: That 1-3-1 (along with the Princeton offense) is the great talent equalizer.  For some reason, it seems to confuse Pac-10 teams more than it does non-conference opponents.  There are not going to be a lot of quick-look opportunities against this zone, so Stanford will need to pass the ball around a lot before getting some good looks.  I think Stanford will be ok in this area, since they play their best ball when it is a half court game (which Thursday night's contest certainly will be).

- Elliott Bullock: The 6'11 Center from Salt Lake City is really going to get a chance to shine against Oregon State with Zimmermann out of the line-up.  Bullock has a very nice stroke from 18 and is a very good short-corner-jumper shooter.  He is only 2-11 from the field this season, and he will need to hit a couple of buckets on Thursday, along with Matei Daian, providing solid minutes on defense and getting some offensive rebounds and put-backs.

Can the Cardinal even their overall and conference record on Thursday night against the Beavers?  Come out to Maples to cheer on the Farm Boys, and check out a post-game wrap-up from Boom Boom on TheBootleg.com afterwards!

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