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Oregon State Basketball: Opponent Preview - Southern Utah Thunderbirds (Game 1)

The Beavers officially kick-off the season on Friday night in Corvallis.

NCAA Basketball: San Jose State at UNLV Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

Southern Utah Thunderbirds (0-0)

  • Head Coach: Todd Simon (2nd Season)
  • Top Performer: N/A
  • Points For: N/A
  • Points Against: N/A
  • Last Game/Streak: N/A

The Skinny

A season ago, Oregon State and Southern Utah both limped to a combined 11-54 overall record.

For the Beavers, it was simply a case of lost morale after forward Tres Tinkle was injured six games into the campaign and the team could never rally to steadily find wins in a daunting Pac-12.

For Southern Utah, it’s a bit harder to tell where the wheels fell off the wagon.

For now-second year head coach Todd Simon, the opportunity to put last season’s abysmal mark behind them will come to fruition on Friday night, as the Thunderbirds will look to usher in a new era of Southern Utah basketball that’s littered with success. However, a less than impressive roster could hamper the program’s revival, which was dampened even more by the off-season transfer of Randy Onwuasor, a 6’ 3” guard who averaged 23.6 points per game a season ago.

Simply put, Simon definitely has his work cut out for him heading into the 2017-2018 campaign.

What Simon does still have to work with on his roster in terms of bright spots, starts with senior guard James McGee, who has all-league potential for Southern Utah, as he attempts to fills the void left behind by Onwuasor. Expect McGee to draw Oregon State’s best perimeter defender all-night long and possibly be given some different looks by Wayne Tinkle to get the ball out of his hands.

However, without getting too deep into personnel and match-ups and other things that bear a smaller level of importance on opening night, Oregon State will simply need to come out with energy, focus and passion to make sure that Southern Utah doesn’t settle into a comfort zone and struggles to get their fast-paced offense established from the get-go.

If that happens, it’s possible that the Beavers can start the 2017-2018 campaign on the right foot.

Players To Watch

James McGee (SR - Guard): A talented guard whose projected to fill the “star player” role on the Thunderbirds roster, there may be no piece that head coach Todd Simon looks towards more this season for answers than McGee. As a junior last year, McGee averaged 14.2 points per game, while shooting a stunning 42.1% from beyond the arc.

Christian Musoko (SR - Forward): A 6’ 8”, 245-pound forward originally from the Congo, Christian Musoko is the team’s potential breakthrough player candidate, after a somewhat lackluster 2016-2017 campaign. In the Thunderbirds lone exhibition game, Musoko chipped in 20 points on 7-9 shooting from the field, which included ten trips to the free throw stripe.

Brandon Better (JR - Guard): A JUCO transfer from Moberly Area Community College, Better is a plug-and-play talent for Southern Utah, who should fill a huge role from day one. Better was a NJCAA All-American a season ago at Moberly Area, where he averaged over 17 points per game for the Greyhounds.

Game Info

  • Date: Friday, November 10th
  • Time: 7:00 PM PT
  • Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
  • Coverage: Pac-12 Networks