It’s hard to believe that the Beavers are in jeopardy of not matching last year’s surprising 17-win season. They were supposed to be a lot better this year.
Especially with GP II emerging as one of the top players in the nation. Or with key upperclassmen like Malcolm Duvivier and Jarmal Reid a year wiser. And last but not least, the infusion of talented freshmen such as Tres Tinkle and Steven Thompson Jr.
But heading down the stretch, the Beavers (14-8, 5-6 Pac-12) find themselves not only needing to win their final two home games against the Washington schools, but also a rare conference road win — they haven’t won on the road in Pac-12 play. Those previous losses to Utah and ASU (both on the road, of course) may very end up costing the Beavers an NCAA berth.
The Beavers have seven games remaining, five of which are away from Gill, which is not a comforting thought. Here are their remaining games:
Feb. 11 at Stanford
Feb. 13 at California
Feb. 20 at Oregon
Feb. 24 Washington
Feb. 28 Washington State
March 2 at USC
March 5: at UCLA
OSU’s best shot at a road win is probably Stanford, but remember how the Cardinal shellacked the Beavers on January 6 at Gill? The Beavs don’t seem to match up with them well. Cal, I think will be much tougher at home, and I think they are due for a big game down the stretch.
Oregon, unfortunately, is peaking at the right time, and should be the favorite to win the Pac-12. I can see the Ducks winning out (BOO)! As far as the rest of the PNW slate goes, UW will be tough without question, and I could see a loss there. WSU should be a win, but that’s what I thought about the previous Stanford and ASU games.
And to wrap up the season, USC is playing pretty well, and then there’s super hot and cold UCLA… But because of the Beavers’ inability to win on the road, I don’t see them winning that one either…
So realistically, I am thinking they beat Stanford and WSU to put them at 16 wins, meaning the Beavers would need to do some damage in the Pac-12 tournament to match last season’s record, and make a stronger case for the Dance.
Working in OSU’s favor, now that the team is coming off a sweep of the Mountain schools, is its RPI that sits at 33 — a testament to Beavers beating teams like Oregon, Cal, USC, Utah, and Colorado.
There’s also the compelling storyline. The Beavers last made the tournament in 1990, led by a superstar guard named Gary Payton. How cool would it be for his son to lead his alma matter back to the dance 26 years later. Pardon the cliche here, but that would be a storybook ending for GP II.
And if that happens, you know Beaver Nation, starving for a return to its glory days in hoops, would represent well at wherever the Beavers end up… I’m 99 percent sure I am going!
But all of this is a moot point if the Beavers don’t finish strong down the stretch. They need to take care of business at home, and at the least split their two road series. That would put them at 18 wins, which I think would be good enough to go dancing. Of course, more wins would be nice.
However, until the Beavers can get that damn road monkey off their shoulder, I’m not feeling great about their odds. Maybe a 40 percent chance of getting to 18 wins… How about you guys, what do you think about their chances?
Go Beavs! (RW)