Opponent's name: CSU Cougars
Record so far: 0-11
Head Coach: Tracy Dildy (2nd year)
Key player to watch: Jeremy Robinson (leading scorer and blocks person. Most efficient scorer)
Life as a DI Independent is not really easy. There's no real incentive, no end goal as the NCAA Tournament is impossible to reach (even for those in the Great West Conference). There won't be many high-end talents walking in either. But for CSU this year, things are especially rough for this season. So far they are winless a third into the season (even sad sack NJIT is doing better), and the Coogs look really bad in almost every contest. To their credit, they play a rough schedule, with good teams like Illinois, Wichita State and Creighton, but that doesn't excuse them from getting blown out in all but a handful of contests. Simply put, it's going to be a long year for Dildy's squad.
As a team, the Coogs are a trainwreck in almost every facet of the game. They
- don't score a lot (59 ppg),
-let others light up the scoreboard ( 85 points allowed),
- can't shoot (39%, 25%, 63% from the field, 3 land and FT line respectively),
- can't stop others at shooting (47%, 38% from field and 3 point land respectively)
- can't board (-7 rebounding margin)
- the turnovers.... look, I work at the House of Sparky men's basketball side, and I keep complaining about the Devs' inability to handle the rock. The Cougars are culpable for the same problem, 9 assists per game and 19 turnovers a contest... a 2:1 turnover to assist ratio.... Wow...
CSU has three double digit scorers, but only one, Jeremy Robinson, shoots over 41% from the field (he shoots around 46%) among the threesome. Another key piece for the Cougars is Lee Fisher, a 6-5 forward who leads the team in rebounding, steals and assists while pitching in 12 points per game. The final double digit scorer is Matt Samuels, a 6-0 guard who just scores but doesn't do much beyond that and is inefficient in scoring the ball anyway.
Other players worth noting? Well, there's Ardarius Simmons who has 2.2 assists a game. Other players are not worth noting other than the fact that those who played key minutes average aroud 5 points and turn the ball over at least once.
The only advantage the Cougars have here is home court advantage, respectable size (a handful of 6-9 guys) and experience(9 are either juniors or seniors). Beyond those edges however, OSU holds all the cards in this matchup. The defense can proceed in two ways: the man to man that can force turnovers and make passing difficult, or a zone defense that will force CSU to fire from long distance. Both statistically should work, because Dildy's team are not good at either handling the ball or shoot from the outside.
The offensive end might be tricky, given the respectable size. I won't be wholly surprised if CSU zones and forces the Beavs to take the perimeter. If this is the case, transition offense must be a priority. Won't be surprised if isolation plays are called too, because of the talent mismatch.
Oh, also won't be surprised if players deep in the bench will play 20-25 minutes as well. Hopefully I don't jinx the Beavs by saying that, because OSU has a good chance of turning this game into a blowout.
Anyway, that's all for the OSU- CSU preview. Good luck Beavs!