Hoops Preview - Oregon State

Washington will face a familiar foe Thursday night when they host the 6-5 Oregon State Beavers at Bank of America Arena at 7 p.m. In what will be the first Pac-10 game of the season for both teams, it will also feature programs with exactly 1,600 wins each in their storied histories.

Washington accomplished this feat on Sunday when they beat the University of San Francisco, and the Beavers did it when they outplayed Fresno State four days earlier.

Unlike most teams that the Huskies will play this year, Oregon State features a Princeton-style offense and a 1-3-1 zone defense. So what does that mean for the Huskies?

The Princeton offense, which is what John Thompson III and Georgetown used in their win earlier this year over UW, was made famous by former Princeton University Head Coach Pete Carril, who coached the Tigers for 29 years (1967-1996). It's a strategy that generally has four players beyond the three-point line. The goal of the offense is to break down the defense by using a series of screens to lead to easy lay-ups on cuts to the basket or cross-court passes that will lead to three-point shots. It's an offense that tries to control tempo and keep the game at a slower pace.

Current Oregon State Head Coach Craig Robinson is a former Princeton player (1979-1983) and he also used Carril's offense he was the head coach at Brown University from 2006-2008.

On the defensive end of the court, the Beavers use a 1-3-1 zone defense. It's a strategy that employs the point guard to start at the top of the three-point arc and the two and three will be out on the wings. The center is stationed around the free-throw line and the power forward is located behind him in the paint.

For the one, two and three, their job is to shift right to left depending on where the ball is at and the power forward will roam the paint and baseline where he will cover the corners.

The key goal of the 1-3-1 is to trap the offense by shifting the defense to a spot that will double-team the ball. When used correctly, this zone will force turnovers through trapping and constant pressure. The weakness to this defense is points in the paint and drives to the basket on the baseline if the man with the ball can get through the perimeter traps. Dribble penetration can also lead to significant number of offensive boards.

Using this strategy last year, the Beavers surprised everyone when they finished 13-17 overall and 7-11 in league. A year prior in 2007-2008, they finished 6-25 and 0-18 in league play. Going into this season, expectations were high for the Beavers, with many experts predicting a finish up anywhere from second to sixth in the Pac-10.

But, as much of the Pac-10 has also experienced, OSU has gotten off to a slow start, with losses to teams such as Texas A&M-Corpus-Christi, Texas Tech, Sacramento State, Nebraska and Illinois-Chicago. They have managed to beat the likes of South Dakota, George Washington, Colorado, Cal-State Bakersfield, Mississippi Valley State and Fresno State.

Leading the way for the Beavers has been senior Seth Tarver, who is averaging 13.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and an astounding 3.2 steals per game. He is a 6-foot-5 guard/forward out of Portland. Also contributing is last year's leading scorer, Calvin Haynes, a 6-foot-2 junior guard from Reseda, Calif. Although he hasn't been scoring at the same rate as he did last year, Haynes is still averaging a sound 11.3 points on 46 percent shooting from the field and the same percentage from beyond the 3-point arc.

As a team, Oregon State is averaging 63.1 points, 33 rebounds and 16.7 turnovers per game. They are shooting .474 from the field and .322 from beyond the arc. Their opponents are averaging 58.9 points a game.

The projected starting line-up for the Beavers is Tarver, Haynes, Seth's twin brother Josh, Daniel Deane and point-center Roeland Schaftenaar, who plays the same position for OSU that Greg Monroe did for Georgetown.

After Thursday's game, the Huskies will host their arch rivals, the University of Oregon. The game is on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Bank of America Arena.

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