This one has "trap game" written all over it. Cal always seems to come out flat when playing in Corvallis. For whatever reason, be it the crypt-like atmosphere, the lack of modern utilities, or the sheep-loving grins from the local fans, something puts us out of sync. The last time these teams met, it required a fierce 2nd half effort assisted by some poor OSU coaching to allow the Bears to overcome a double-digit deficit. If only solving the fiscal cliff was as easy... As painful as this was to watch, you could also point to it as a pivotal moment for this season.
Not only did the comeback feature a resurgence from a previously slumping Justin Cobbs, but the Cal bigs woke-up and started finishing. Instead of being just the Allen Crabbe show, the Bears started sharing the ball which changed the entire dynamic of their offense with 25 assists on 30 field goals.
Since then, the Beavers have continued to struggle at 3-11 in conference play. However, two of those wins did come at home. Bottom-dweller or not, there just aren't any easy road wins in the Pac-12.
F Joe Burton(Sr), 6'7, 295 lbs, 11.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.4 apg
F Devon Collier(Jr), 6'8, 215 lbs, 13 ppg, 6.4 rpg
F Eric Moreland(So), 6'10, 215 lbs, 9.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg
G Roberto Nelson(Jr), 6'3, 195 lbs, 17.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg,
G Ahmad Starks(Jr), 5'9, 165 lbs, 11.8 ppg, 2.4 apg
Our last preview can be found here:
The Beavers do have plenty of weapons on offense. Starks and Nelson are dangerous from deep, and Collier has really picked up his scoring. They like to push the tempo when possible. In the half court, they favor plenty of Princeton-style cuts. If they were smart, they'd make sure that Joe Burton initiated the offense every time. He's one of the best passing bigs in the conference and was a large reason why the Beavers built their lead against Cal last time. Coach Robinson's decision to go away from Burton and hamstring their own offense is a large reason why they lost.
Defensively, the Beavers used to be the worse team in the league. Now, they've clawed themselves all the way up to...11th.
Keys to the Game:
1) Stay focused on defense.
When Cal has struggled this year, we've been lax with our defensive assignments and soft on the glass. OSU is not a great team, but they can put points up on anyone if you make it easy on them. They share the ball too well to get sloppy with rotations and close-outs.
2) Be patient on offense.
The Bears found a simple formula during the 2nd half of the last game against OSU: make three passes and get an easy bucket. There's no need to force anything. Just run the offense and be confident that their defense will break down.
Game Time: Saturday, February 23th, 3:00 pm(PST)
TV: Pac-12 Networks