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Cal Men's Basketball at OSU Beavers Preview

Death. Taxes. Myopic refs. And "there are no easy road trips within the Pac-12 conference." Such is life.

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Your sturdy Golden Bears have to dodge pitchforks and rabies en route to a contest against a resurgent Oregon State team. Sure, we can still make sheep jokes and gloat over our indoor plumbing, but make no mistake - these Beavers have developed nasty, sharp teeth under 2nd-year coach Wayne Tinkle. You've got to respect a man who had the huevos to start five walk-ons in last year's Civil War in order to make a statement about teamwork and sacrifice.

Considering his depleted roster, Coach Tinkle might have done the best coaching job in the conference last season. Despite being undermanned and undersized, he put together a tough-minded squad that was third in defensive efficiency and best in the conference with regards to forcing turnovers.  Personnel shortcomings aside, you just couldn't plan to wipe the floor with a Tinkle team.

In addition to returning all five starters back from a squad that went 15-2 at home last year, Oregon State added a trio of highly regarded recruits and now have their eyes on an NCAA berth. Stingy defense is still their calling card and returning Pac-12 DPOY Gary Payton II is the point of the spear.  When they're at their best, they'll switch from possession to possession between man and zone while employing a variety of aggressive traps with pressure. This in no way sounds completely awful.

Unlike the decidedly below average SDSU Aztecs, the Beavers show signs that they are no longer the worst offense in the conference.  When it comes to pure shooting ability, there might as well be a vast canyon between the two teams. Although OSU still prefers to attack the rim, there are now several viable deep threats to provide balance. Overall, their tempo remains slow, but they will selectively try to push it in transition.  As their coach says, "when you've got to go, you've got to go."

If they have a persistent Achilles' heel, it's the inability to consistently clear the defensive glass. Although they brought in an influx of size, their young bigs are still adjusting to conference play. They stepped up and soundly out-rebounded the Ducks for a Civil War upset....which was promptly followed by a puzzling home loss to the Furds where they were absolutely crushed on the boards.

With two defensive-minded teams coming off of disheartening losses, this has the look of a last-man-standing brawl.  Can the Bears solve the Beaver defense and contain the new Tinkle offense?  It depends.

Projected Starters:

F Oleg Schaftenaar(Sr.), 6'10, 235 lbs, 7.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 41% 3FG
F Drew Eubanks(Fr), 6'10, 240 lbs, 9.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg
G Malcolm Duvivier(Jr), 6'2, 210 lbs, 7.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg
G Langston Morris-Walker(Sr), 6'5, 215 lbs, 7.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 41% 3FG
Gary Payton II(Sr), 6'3, 190 lbs, 16.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 5.1 apg


F Tres Tinkle(Fr), 6'8, 220 lbs, 12.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg
G Steven Thompson Jr.(Fr), 6'4, 170 lbs, 9.3 ppg, 40% 3FG
F Daniel Gomis(Sr), 6'10, 235 lbs

Key Players:

Please tell me Mama Schaftenaar doesn't have another kid somewhere. Part of me dies every time this goofy beanpole sinks another dagger three to kill our hopes and dreams. Playing the part of the savvy vets, Duvivier and Morris-Walker are tough defenders who will hurt you if you leave them open. Eubanks, Tinkle, and Thompson are the dynamic diaper dandies. Eubanks brings the muscle and Thompson has singlehandedly redeemed their 3-point shooting. Tinkle started a bit slow, but has been been flat out spraying the bucket including a 19-point outburst against the Ducks. Daniel Gomis is the answer to the age-old riddle, "When a tree falls in the forest who can't score, board, or do anything, does anyone care?" If there's a guy who could fill Jorge Gutierrez' mittens, Gary Payton II may very well be the dark-horse favorite for both conference POY and DPOY. More of a scorer than pure shooter, he's incredibly dangerous when he gets into the lane.  A lot of their offense is Tinkle putting the ball in GPII's hands and just letting him get in the flow.  But where he's truly a virtuoso of mayhem is on the defensive end. His tenacity elevates his teammates and fuels their swarming D.

When California
has the ball

Category California
Oregon St.
D-I Avg
Adj. Efficiency 108.7 59 98.8 88 102.7
Avg. Poss Length 17.1 171 17.4 227 17.1
Four Factors
Effective FG%: 52.8 63 45.9 53 49.5
Turnover %: 17.9 131 18.3 190 18.6
Off. Reb. %: 34.6 53 33.8 295 30.3
FTA/FGA: 40.3 98 34.1 125 36.5
Miscellaneous Components
3P%: 33.8 182 29.9 22 34.4
2P%: 53.9 42 46.6 115 48.4
FT%: 66.8 255 68.5 145 69.2
Block%: 6.8 36 10.7 102 9.2
Steal%: 7.8 79 9.2 136 8.8
Style Components
3PA/FGA: 32.9 229 39.3 302 35.1
A/FGM: 47.7 272 56.2 256 53.0
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3-Pointers: 25.1 262 30.6 123 29.2
2-Pointers: 54.6 77 49.1 224 50.5
Free Throws: 20.3 178 20.3 184 20.3
Bench Minutes: 31.0% 234 34.0% 156 33.0%
Experience: 1.53 yrs 237 1.65 yrs 202 1.70
Effective Height: +3.5 19 +3.2 27 0.0
Average Height: 78.8" 6 78.0" 42 76.8"

When Oregon St.
has the ball

Category Oregon St.
D-I Avg
Adj. Efficiency 109.8 48 93.7 18 102.7
Avg. Poss Length 17.3 197 18.2 326 17.1
Four Factors
Effective FG%: 51.7 89 42.2 7 49.5
Turnover %: 18.8 193 13.8 349 18.6
Off. Reb. %: 32.5 107 25.4 32 30.3
FTA/FGA: 39.7 109 33.1 101 36.5
Miscellaneous Components
3P%: 39.1 30 35.8 235 34.4
2P%: 48.5 170 37.7 2 48.4
FT%: 71.4 113 71.5 269 69.2
Block%: 8.4 141 12.8 43 9.2
Steal%: 8.9 200 5.5 346 8.8
Style Components
3PA/FGA: 31.8 254 28.3 13 35.1
A/FGM: 56.5 89 50.4 117 53.0
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3-Pointers: 28.3 188 28.2 215 29.2
2-Pointers: 50.2 185 50.0 192 50.5
Free Throws: 21.5 120 21.9 109 20.3
Bench Minutes: 34.0% 156 31.0% 234 33.0%
Experience: 1.65 yrs 202 1.53 yrs 237 1.70
Effective Height: +3.2 27 +3.5 19 0.0
Average Height: 78.0" 42 78.8" 6 76.8"

Keys to the Game:

1) Bring our own energy.

Depending on how many OSU fans are heroically delivering snacks, the atmosphere at Gill Coliseum will range from mausoleum-esque to hostile. The Beavers will come out possessed and rabid. Their players might be fired up, too. We need to be mentally prepared to answer.

2) Is there a more poetic way to say "avoid costly turnovers?"

Oh leather sphere
When carelessly discarded
Death. Death. Death. Death. Death.

3) Or "foul trouble is bad?"

A whistle's shrill chirp
Heralds the apocalypse
If Rabb sits, we cry

4) To thine own self be true.

After a loss, it's natural to press or try to change something for the sake of change. It's simplistic to say "play better," but sometimes you have to go back to your anchor. Our identity has become using defense and toughness to impose our will upon the other team. Even if our shots aren't falling, we can't lose focus on what we do well. Denying dribble penetration against a legit superstar may be too much to ask. But our help has to be sharp and we can't miss rotations to allow easy shot opportunities.

5) Make shots.
As evidenced by our last game, it seems to make it tougher to win when we forget to do this.

Go Bears!

Tip: 6:30pm
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: 560AM