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Cal basketball in Pac-12 Tournament action! Oregon State preview

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Ah, Vegas. Where money can be exchanged for goods and services.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

All souls have their price and the moral high ground is slated for real estate development. The USC Trojans should feel right at home. Apologies in advance for the lack of detail normally given to these previews.

As the saying goes, ask a fish and your preview is wet.
Ask a Bruins Nation "writer," and you'll get an unmitigated pile of flaming garbage.
Ask a Furd, and they'll pay someone to do their homework for them.
Ask a Carmen State fan, and you'll get something decidedly below average even for them.
Ask a cranky old smart*ss on short notice, and you get what you get.

The Oregon State Beaver might have had trouble getting their sheep through airport security, but they had no difficulties bringing their game. For most of the year, they could count on the brilliance of Gary Payton II getting into the lane for his signature floater or setting up star frosh Tres Tinkle to finish inside. "All we need is a floater and Tinkle" was a common rallying cry for the Beaver faithful. And then the young Tinkle was prematurely stopped by a foot injury and could no longer be depended on for his reliable scoring.

Without their precocious frosh forward, one might naturally worry if the Beavers would have trouble getting into the flow. Absent his leadership and all-around game, their spurt-ability is clearly diminished. But far from circling the drain, his backups have adopted a spray and pray approach by committee to replace his scoring.

As expected, they dispatched the shorthanded ASU Sun Devils and now confront our sturdy Golden Bears for the season's rubber match.

There are no real secrets or uber-strategems left to play within the conference. Oregon State is a slightly below average shooting team that relies heavily on GP2's brilliance and forcing turnovers with their zone to generate offense. Unfortunately for us, they're the best thieves in the league while we remain excessively generous at coughing up the leather.

We have the league's best defense and two of the top freshmen. Whether this travels well remains to be seen.

Projected Starters:

F Oleg Schaftenaar(Sr.), 6'10, 235 lbs, 6.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 36% 3FG - Goofy beanpole doesn't do much, but can hit threes.
F Drew Eubanks(Fr), 6'10, 240 lbs, 7.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg - Steady inside presence. Provides some paint scoring and shot-blocking
G Steven Thompson Jr.(Fr), 6'4, 170 lbs, 10.1 ppg, 36.5% 3FG - Moves into the starting lineup to replace Tinkle. Continues to improve as a dangerous all-around scorer.
G Malcolm Duvivier(Jr), 6'2, 210 lbs, 6.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg - More of a defender. Heady vet does a little of everything.
G Gary Payton II(Sr), 6'3, 190 lbs, 16.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 5.5 apg - Has elevated his game in conference play. Capable of single-handedly willing his team to victory.

Bench:
G Derrick Bruce(Fr), 6'3, 165 lbs - Three-point specialist has seen more time at the end of the year.
G Langston Morris-Walker(Sr), 6'5, 215 lbs, 5.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 38.5% 3FG - Has struggled a bit in conference play and was demoted to the bench.
F Jarmel Reid(Sr), 6'7, 235 lbs, 4.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg - Best known for tripping a ref. He's the hero we deserve.
F Tres Tinkle(Fr), 6'8, 220 lbs, 11.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg - *Might be out with a foot injury

58 Oregon St. vs. 22 California

Thursday, March 10, 2016 (11:30 PM ET, Fox Sports 1)
MGM Grand (Las Vegas, NV)

Team Stats

Stats include games through March 9 against D-I teams only

When Oregon St.
has the ball

Category Oregon St.
Offense
California
Defense
D-I Avg
Efficiency 103.3 8 98.8 1 103.8
Avg. Poss Length 17.7 9 17.0 4 17.3
Four Factors
Effective FG%: 49.0 7 44.3 1 49.9
Turnover %: 15.2 1 13.7 11 18.2
Off. Reb. %: 28.2 10 26.2 3 29.8
FTA/FGA: 35.2 9 40.2 8 36.7
Miscellaneous Components
3P%: 35.1 8 31.7 1 34.7
2P%: 47.3 8 43.3 1 48.7
FT%: 63.6 12 69.1 4 69.9
Block%: 9.8 7 9.8 6 9.2
Steal%: 6.6 2 5.7 10 8.6
Style Components
3PA/FGA: 31.1 8 23.8 1 35.4
A/FGM: 50.9 5 45.2 3 52.5
Defensive
Fingerprint:
Mostly
Man
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3-Pointers: 27.2 6 19.4 12 29.3
2-Pointers: 54.1 3 56.7 2 50.2
Free Throws: 18.6 10 23.9 2 20.5
Personnel
Bench Minutes: 34.7% 122 31.6% 214 33.0%
Experience: 1.61 yrs 215 1.45 yrs 257 1.70
Effective Height: +3.4 26 +4.4 12 0.0
Average Height: 78.1" 30 79.0" 2 76.8"

When California
has the ball

Category California
Offense
Oregon St.
Defense
D-I Avg
Efficiency 107.3 4 105.4 6 103.8
Avg. Poss Length 17.4 7 17.4 10 17.3
Four Factors
Effective FG%: 52.3 4 51.8 9 49.9
Turnover %: 18.0 10 20.5 1 18.2
Off. Reb. %: 30.5 5 32.2 10 29.8
FTA/FGA: 42.8 1 42.3 10 36.7
Miscellaneous Components
3P%: 38.4 2 34.4 5 34.7
2P%: 49.7 4 51.9 11 48.7
FT%: 65.3 11 70.6 8 69.9
Block%: 9.9 8 9.3 7 9.2
Steal%: 7.3 4 11.1 1 8.6
Style Components
3PA/FGA: 32.9 6 38.3 11 35.4
A/FGM: 49.7 8 59.0 11 52.5
Defensive
Fingerprint:
Some
Zone
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3-Pointers: 28.6 3 29.6 3 29.3
2-Pointers: 50.3 9 48.0 11 50.2
Free Throws: 21.1 5 22.4 4 20.5
Personnel
Bench Minutes: 31.6% 214 34.7% 122 33.0%
Experience: 1.45 yrs 257 1.61 yrs 215 1.70
Effective Height: +4.4 12 +3.4 26 0.0
Average Height: 79.0" 2 78.1" 30 76.8"

After consulting CGB Hoops Expert Reef, he shared his Keys to the Game(*Very roughly paraphrased with some artistic interpretation):

1) Focus more on free throws
It would change our ceiling from top 30s to top 20s if we would just concentrate and convert more of these.

2) Force more turnovers
We've been waiting all year to do this. Makes sense to break these out for the tournament.

3) Grab more boards
When we only grab rebounds on 25% of our defensive possessions, it's remarkable we win any games.

4) Run an offense
Enough with all the iso. Let's run some plays which give our guys a better opportunity to #MakeShots


5) Energy, Effort, Mental Toughness

X's and O's aside, our success is based on our ability to lock teams down defensively. When we're sluggish on D, we almost lose to the ASU's of the world. When we compound a lack of effort with careless turnovers, we do lose to teams like OSU. From a match-up standpoint, Gary Payton II is a tremendous player who naturally draws a lot of attention. At Haas, we stopped Payton with help defense, but that allowed Tinkle to go off for 22 and 5. With Tinkle sidelined, Thompson is the guy where we need to stay at home.

We've seen enough of our Bears to know that the offense comes and goes. Mathews and Bird hitting threes changes our entire dynamic. When they're passive or not involved, it's more than a little concerning how reliant we become on Ty/Jalen making something out of nothing.

We have favorable front court match-ups with our size. However, it's still been hit or miss with getting the ball to Rabb. We've gotten better at recognizing switches from man to zone, but it would really help if we could establish the high post.

Simply put, this is the time for it all to come together if we're going to go on a run.  Stop teasing us with potential.

Show us.

Go Bears!


Tip-off:  8:45 pm, Fox Sports 1