College basketball feels like it’s a long ways off, so to pass the time until it arrives let’s take a look back at Oregon State’s men’s basketball team; who placed 6th in the PAC 12 Conference last year. Riding that wave into the post-season, they defeated ASU (11th) in the first round and then lost to CAL (4th) in the quarterfinals. The high water mark of the season was set when the Beavers competed in the NCAA Tournament; an achievement that put an end to a 26 year long drought. Although they were upset by VCU (10th), fans were grateful for the proof that Oregon State was once again a contender. Now the attention is on how they can match or exceed last year’s performance. With that in mind let’s dive into statistics that will give us an idea of where they might land in the upcoming season.
First off we have to pay homage to the dogfight that is the PAC 12. The conference standings over the last five seasons below clearly demonstrates what every team is up against.
Pac 12 Men’s Basketball Standings: *Conference record listed first / Overall record listed second.
2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2104
(1st) WA: 14-4 / 24-11 (1st) UCLA: 13-5 / 25-10 (1st) AZ: 15-3 / 33-5
(2nd) CAL: 13-5 / 24-10 (2nd) OR: 12-6 / 28-9 (2nd) UCLA: 12-6 / 28-9
(3rd) OR: 13-5 / 24-10 (3rd) AZ: 12-6 / 27-8 (3rd) OR: 12-6 / 24-10
(4th) AZ: 12-6 / 23-12 (4th) CAL: 12-6 / 21-12 (4th) CO: 10-8 / 23-12
(5th) CO: 11-7 / 24-12 (5th) CO: 10-8 / 21-12 (5th) ASU: 10-8 / 21-12
(6th) UCLA: 11-7 / 19-14 (6th) ASU: 9-9 / 22-13 (6th) STAN: 10-8 / 23-13
(8th) OSU: 7-11 / 21-15 (11th) OSU: 4-14 / 14-18 (10th) OSU: 8-10 / 16-16
(1st) AZ: 16-2 / 34-4 (1st) OR: 14-4 / 31-7
(2nd) OR: 13-5 / 26-10 (2nd) UT: 13-5 / 27-9
(3rd) UT: 13-5 / 26-9 (3rd) AZ: 12-6 / 25-9
(4th) UCLA: 11-7 / 22-14 (4th) CAL: 12-6 / 23-11
(5th) STAN: 9-9 / 24-13 (5th) CO: 10-8 / 22-12
(6th) ASU: 9-9 / 18-16 (6th) USC: 9-9 / 21-13
(7th) OSU: 8-10 / 17-15 (6th) OSU: 9-9 / 19-3
The top six rankings have been populated mostly by Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Oregon and UCLA. Oregon State on the other hand has been steadily climbing hand over hand up in the conference. The high octane level of competition will be the same this year as it has been in the past and I don’t think fans would have it any other way. To give you a bit of an idea about how the Beavers match up, check out the following numbers on their all-time win / loss record versus their Pac 12 opponents (how many times they play each of these teams this season is shown on the far right).
AZ .259 (1x)
ASU .494 (1x)
CAL .425 (2x)
CO .333 (2x)
OR .538 (2x)
STAN .518 (2x)
UCLA .292 (2x)
USC .481 (2x)
UT .407 (2x)
WA .470 (1x)
WSU .580 (1x)
While Oregon, Stanford and Washington seem to be the Beavers favorite targets to earn a win over historically, that only accounts for 5 games / 5 possible wins this season. If you round up their winning percentage on the teams with greater than .450, you get an additional 4 games / 4 possible wins. Add that all together and you get Oregon State’s conference record from last year: 9-9. That’s if they win those contests which is never a guarantee. To match their record from last year they have to defy the odds and generate some wins over teams that they’ve struggled against in the past like Arizona, Colorado and UCLA. To take it a bit further statistically on match-ups, take a look at the Beaver’s per game rankings for the 2015-16 season.
Offense Ranking: 10th (Avg 71.9)
Defensive Ranking: 5th (Avg 70.1)
Free Throw%: 11th (.671)
FG%: 8th (.440)
FG% Defense: 7th (.428)
3pt%: 4th (.371)
3pt% Defense: 3rd (.325)
Blocks: 10th (3.3 Avg)
Assists: 9th (13.5 Avg)
Steals: 2nd (7.4 Avg)
Turnovers: 3rd (11.3 Avg)
Off Rbds: 10th (10.5)
Def Rbds: 11th (23.9)
Defense was a key part of Oregon State’s success last year while their offense in contrast struggled to outscore their opponents, the exception to this being their 3 pointer consistency which kept them afloat. Rebounds, blocks, assists, and free throws are all areas that the Beavers need to improve if they hope to match or raise their ranking from last year. Gary Payton II led the Beavers in many of these categories and he has graduated. To counter that loss, they will need another player, or preferably several of them to step up and support this team.
2016-2017 Oregon State Beavers Men’s Basketball Roster
Player Grade Position Status
Keondre Drew Junior. Forward (JUCO Transfer)
Malcolm Duvivier Senior. Guard (Returning)
Drew Eubanks Soph. Forward (Returning)
Ben Kone Fresh. Forward (New)
Kendall Manuel Fresh. Guard (New)
Jaquori McLaughlin Fresh. Guard (New)
Daine Muller Junior. Guard (JUCO Transfer)
Cheikh N’Diaye Senior. Center (Returning)
Gligorije Rakocevic Soph. Center (Returning)
Christian Russell Fresh. Center (New)
Tanner Sanders Soph. Guard (Returning)
Ronnie Stacy Junior. Guard (JUCO Transfer)
Stephen Thompson Jr Soph. Guard (Returning)
Tres Tinkle Soph. Forward (Returning)
Of the 14 total players currently listed on the roster, 7 are returning (mostly sophomores) and 3 are Junior College transfers (all juniors). It’s an interesting combination of youth and experience that must gel quickly if they expect to make an impact this fall in the Pac 12. As to the question of who will lead the team this year, the most likely candidates in my mind are Tres Tinkle or Stephen Thompson Jr. since they were the leading scorers behind Gary Payton II.
The rumor mill brought to light some interesting pieces of news last week. Ethan Thompson (Stephen’s younger brother), visited Oregon State as part of his college recruiting process. Although he hasn’t declared who he will commit to (there are a handful of other colleges in the mix), it would be interesting to see what he would contribute to the Beavers if he decided to play. Oregon State has had some success in the past when siblings play on the same team (Rodgers brothers). Stephen Thompson is the father of both players and an assistant to head coach Wayne Tinkle, who is the father of Tres Tinkle. In addition, Christian Negron is planning to visit Oregon State this week as well. He most recently played on the Puerto Rican under-18 National Team with Ethan Thompson. If he chooses to, Negron would transfer as a Senior at the forward position where he is talented at scoring, rebounding, and blocking.
The next and last statistic I want to focus on here is the coaching staff; specifically the head coach. Wayne Tinkle owns that privilege and is entering his third year at Oregon State. The team has progressed steadily under his direction, and they will continue to do so. That may seem like a confident statement but it’s warranted by his record. Tinkle coached the University of Montana Grizzlies for 8 years (2006-2014) and in his 4th year there he led the Grizzlies to a Big Sky Conference Championship. During his tenure the Grizzlies made appearances in 2 NCAA Tournaments, and Tinkle’s conference record of 85-31 is the most of any coach at the University of Montana. Last year he led the Beavers to an NCAA appearance after just two seasons as head coach; impressive work to say the least.
All things considered, I think Oregon State has a good shot at a 10-8 conference record this season. If they got 11-7 or better instead I wouldn’t be disappointed in the slightest! There are several different reasons I see them earning a winning record this season. The days of the Gary Payton II show are over and I think the talent on this team is broader than a single player. If that proves to be true it will make them stronger across more categories statistically which is what they need to earn more wins. Wayne Tinkle refuses to take a step back and that will work to the benefit of a young team like this one. Finally, the Beavers have only been moving up in the PAC 12 over the last four years and I see no reason for that trend to stop if they allow that momentum to carry them through this next season.