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Fixing Beaver Basketball

After another subpar performance from the Beavs, it leaves one to ponder what can be done to fix the Oregon State basketball team. Here are some thoughts on what can be done to save the season.

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  • Play defense. The Beavs have never played great defense under Craig Robinson, but it has not improved over the years once opponents figured out the 1-3-1 formation. The Beavs have difficulties just stopping the ballhandler, which only gets worse when faced with screen and roll situations, and when someone rotates to help stop dribble penetration the Beavs generally fail to rotate to the next man giving up open outside shots. In fact, sometimes it seems that the only defense that OSU has is for opponents to miss open shots. The Beavers have plenty of athleticism and should be able to stop teams which is what makes it so frustrating, they should all be able to hold their own. Before the Beavs can contend for anything there needs to be drastic improvements.
  • Rebounding. The Beavs did a good job for the first half and some of the second half, but had several possessions where the defense actually held up and then gave up handfuls of offensive rebounds. It effectively cancels out any decent play by the defense and mostly just stems from a failure to box out. It happened a couple times to Collier and to Burton as well. Rebounding and defense are two essential fundamentals for any team to succeed and right now the Beavs are not doing either very well.
  • Stop hesitating. The Beavs passed up a number of open threes in tonight's game, sometimes Roberto Nelson, sometimes Olaf Schaftenaar, and always Eric Moreland. On the majority of these possessions it ended up in a poor shot instead of the clean open look. Schaftenaar did have a horrendous shooting night, no shots would fall for him, but Nelson had been shooting well and could have been more aggressive especially in the second half. Moreland had plenty of space and the Ducks were daring him to shoot from the outside, which brings me to my final point.
  • Utilize Eric Moreland. Collier has been getting blocked off, Starks can create his own shot, Nelson can create his own shot sometimes, but Moreland was commonly just sitting in the corner, not even looking for the ball. In my opinion Moreland has the greatest upside of any Beaver player and he needs to be more involved. He has the skills, size, and athleticism to be a great player, but he needs a killer instinct. His rebounding has been improved this year and he has always been a terrific shot blocker, but he could complete his skill set if he looks to score. It would be preferable for Robinson to call Moreland's number more often, but when Moreland is open in the corner he should at least look for the shot. He has developed his shot and it looks great in pregame, now he needs to be willing to use it.
The Beavs have plenty of talent, the Ducks are no more talented than the Oregon State, but they are far superior at execution. This team still has potential which will unfortunately keep me watching, but I fear that they will not correct these problems over conference play. That said the Beavs have a chance to compete in a Pac 12 that is not exactly currently full of juggernauts, so there may still be a chance.