In my previous post, I broke down the Beavers’ chances of making the NCAA tournament. The gist of it all, it’s going to take a superb effort to get there… Because I figured the Beavs need to win at least four of their last seven games to get a good look, here’s four things that need to happen down the stretch for them to get those wins (besides the obvious “win a Pac-12 road game).
- Box out and REBOUND. Granted the Beavers were playing against two teams last week that had dominant big men, but they’ve got to rebound better from here out. Allowing a lot second-chance opportunities can put teams in a hole quickly, especially on the road when you don’t have the energy of the home crowd to feed off. So the Beavers need to assert themselves better and snare more boards. Plus, with a guy like Gary Payton II, quick outlet passes off rebounds could turn into easy buckets.
- Shuffle the lineup. I might catch flack for this, but I think Jarmal Reid should be inserted into the starting lineup, or at least for some of the games. Yes, he’s gotten attention for all the wrong reasons lately, but he’s arguably OSU’s most physical player, which is sorely needed in the post. Olaf Schaftenaar is more polished offensively, but outside of the UO game, has struggled on the boards and defensively this season. I welcome Reid’s “Bull in a China Shop” style because he’s not afraid to try to make something happen when the offense is stagnant.
- Go time for the seniors. There’s really nothing left to say about GP II, except that he can’t do it all every game. Tres Tinkle and Stephen Thompson have done an admirable job helping carry the load, but this late in the season, you have to wonder when fatigue will kick in for OSU’s talented freshmen. One of the seniors needs to step up and take charge, not just scoring-wise, but leadership-wise, too. The good thing is that Malcolm Duvivier and Langston Morris-Walker are capable of doing it, they just need to assert themselves. Or even if Daniel Gomis could provide some help on the boards and defensively, it would be huge.
- Play a complete game. The Beavers need to play 40 minutes through. What I mean by that is, they need to start hot, never look back, and finish strong. Too often, they’ve been prone to lapses or dry spells that allow teams to comeback or pull away. Even worse, they’ve come out pretty flat at the beginning or start of the half, case in point, the Stanford and ASU losses. The key to all of this? Defense. Where is that stingy team from last year? I don’t get it, it’s the same team from last season pretty much, plus some really good athletes. Is experience really that essential to playing good defense?
What would you like to see from the Beavers during their last seven games?
Go Beavs! (RW)