Through the first two games of the College Basketball Invitational, it seems that the best predictor of the game's winner has been the game's location. Gill Coliseum gave Oregon State the extra boost the Beavers needed to withstand a late UTEP run, and the Haskins Center was fully behind UTEP's explosive second half that propelled the Miners to a seven point lead.
Game 3 of the series will be played at the Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. But if we took away the home court advantage and let these two squads play in an empty gym, who wins?
After seeing the Beavers and Miners play in two games in the past three nights, I still don't know the answer to that question, which leaves me drooling in anticpation of Friday's winner-take-all CBI finale.
You see, I think UTEP has more talent than the Beavers, but Oregon State makes up for it with heart and discipline.
The UTEP squad is more talented. They have players who can take the ball and drive to the basket, make a reverse layup and draw the foul. They have guys who can shoot, rebound, and play at a faster tempo.
What Oregon State has going for them is their heart, and especially their discipline on offense. They don't have the athletes and the talent that UTEP does, but they make up for it by executing their sets with greater precision, accuracy, and attention to detail. They take their time, and get open shots.
If both teams come out and play perfectly, or at an equal percentage, I think UTEP wins Game 3. But that's now how it works, as other factors like home court, fatigue, and officiating play a role.
UTEP has the momentum now, but both teams know they can win Game 3.
Who comes out and does it?
I'm interested to see what you guys think about this... leave your thoughts in the comment thread.