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The BearInsider Scout: Which Oregon State Team Shows up at Haas?

January 31, 2020

One of the best things about collegiate — and amateur athletics — is the unpredictable nature of it. In a 2019-2020 college hoops season that has been just that, the Oregon State Beavers have been a case study in head-scratchers. The Beavers (13-8, 3-6) come into Haas Pavilion for a Saturday matinee against the Cal Golden Bears with three signature conference wins and about a half-dozen duds.

Oregon State’s three conference wins have come at Colorado (No. 26 in KenPom at the time), against Arizona (No. 12 in KenPom at the time), and as of Thursday night, at Stanford (No. 41 in KenPom at the time). Meanwhile, its six conference losses have come from conference teams ranging from No. 46 to No. 126 in KenPom’s standings. It’s an odd time to be a college hoops fan, my friends.

So which Oregon State team is going to show up in Berkeley on Saturday? Will it be the one that shot 39% from the field in a 12-point loss at Utah? Or will it be the one that shot 54% from the field while keeping Arizona at around 39% en route to drilling the Wildcats by 17? 

And for that matter, which Cal team is going to show up? Will it be the one that went toe-to-toe with Oregon less than 24 hours ago or the one that clawed and scrapped its way to a win over Stanford last Sunday? Or will it be the one that went scoreless for 11 minutes at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles just a couple weeks ago?

That unpredictability is what makes college hoops fun, right?

When Cal has the Ball

Stat Cal Oregon State
Adj. Eff. 99.8 (222) 103.3 (181)
Avg. Poss. Length 19.2 (328) 17.9 (279)
Eff. FG% 47.1% (269) 49.2% (169)
TO% 19.7% (218) 19.1% (167)
Off. Reb. % 25.4% (257) 28.5% (195)
FTA/FGA 34.1 (127) 31.0 (158)
3P% 34.3% (116) 34.4% (223)
2P% 45.4% (308) 47.9% (134)
FT% 72.4% (116) 73.5% (309)
Block% 9.0% (183) 15.6% (11)
Steal% 7.0% (12) 9.5% (130)
Non-Stl TO% 12.7% (336) 9.7% (212)

Oregon State has one of the worst defenses in the league right now. According to KenPom, its overall season adjusted defensive efficiency ranks No. 181 in the country. The only Pac-12 team ranking worse? UCLA at No. 182. It’d be easy to say Cal should be able to take advantage, but, Cal also needed a garbage-time Dimitrios Klonaras corner-three to get to 40 against UCLA two weeks ago. (Again, which Cal offense shows up?)

Because this game is being played at Haas Pavilion where Cal seems ions more confident and better on offense, I’m going to say this is a game in which Cal should score in the 70s, if not more. (Of course, now it’s probably jinxed.) The only thing Oregon State does very well on defense is block shots. It’s worst quality? Keeping teams from heating up from three. This is a game in which you could see any combo of Matt Bradley, Grant Anticevich, or Kareem South going off from long-range. Bradley and Anticevich combined for 6-of-11 from behind the arc against Oregon. It’d be good to see a repeat of that performance.

When Oregon State has the Ball

Stat Oregon State Cal
Adj. Eff. 111.8 (29) 100.5 (135)
Avg. Poss. Length 17.8 (224) 17.6 (224)
Eff. FG% 52.3% (58) 49.1% (164)
TO% 16.7% (41) 18.4% (220)
Off. Reb. % 27.2% (212) 27.2% (137)
FTA/FGA 40.8 (21) 36.0 (263)
3P% 32.5% (201) 36.4% (303)
2P% 54.0% (27) 45.7% (65)
FT% 73.7% (80) 73.4% (304)
Block% 8.7% (166) 7.3% (242)
Steal% 8.3% (100) 6.2% (347)
Non-Stl TO% 8.4% (40) 12.1% (29)

Oregon State’s offense, however, is for real. KenPom places it at No. 26 in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, which is behind only Oregon and Arizona in the Pac-12. As a unit, the Beavers shoot very well for two-point shots (54%). They also don’t turn it over very much (16.7% turnover rate) and are very good at drawing fouls (40.8 FTA to FGA ratio).

Getting into individual players, senior forward Tres Tinkle is obviously the player to watch. The coach’s son is averaging 19.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and will likely be Anticevich’s assignment. Tinkle is shooting 51% from two, 38.4% from three, and a little over 81% from the free-throw line. He draws fouls and doesn’t commit many.

Junior guard Ethan Thompson has been the other consistent source of scoring for the Beavers and is averaging 15.5 points and 4.1 assists per game on the season. Seven-foot senior Kylor Kelley is the Beavers’ most consistent frontcourt threat and is the third Beaver averaging in double digits scoring per game at 11.1 points.

While those three have been the Beavers’ most consistent scorers, Jarod Lucas, a freshman guard put up 21 on Thursday against Stanford.

The other thing to note about Oregon State is its length. The Beavers often roll out a lineup of players that are 6-5 and taller, even at the guard positions. Thompson and Zach Reichle are both 6-5 and play at the one and two-positions at times. And Alfred Hollins is 6-6, who plays at the three-position is 6-6. It’s also an experienced team with many juniors and seniors.

Keys to the Game

Pack the paint. Oregon State is a below-average three-point shooting team. But where the Beavers thrive is inside the arc. The Bears should sag into the paint and focus on forcing the Beavers to shoot over them. Oregon State is 324th in the country in percentage of points generated from the three-point line, so it's used to looking elsewhere for scoring. But, still, Cal should do what it can to make it as hard as possible for the Beavers to score inside.

Control the fouls. The Beavers make a living at the foul line. Oregon State ranks 27th in the country for percentage of points coming from the free-throw line. As a team, Oregon State shoots 73.7% from the free-throw line. And it gets there a lot. The Beavers went 18-of-22 from the charity stripe against Stanford on Thursday and 18-of-23 in its win against Arizona. Keeping the Beavers to less than 20 free-throw attempts should be a goal.

Three-point shooting. The Bears should take advantage of Oregon State’s weak-ish perimeter defense. If the Bears are knocking down outside shots, this could be a game in which Cal balloons a lead.

Defend. This is obvious, but Oregon State does have one of the best offenses remaining on Cal’s schedule. If the Bears want to keep it close and pull out a win, it has to defend hard.

KenPom says … 68-66 Oregon State 58% win chance

With the way Cal has been playing at home, this feels like a conservative projection. Cal’s defense absolutely has to show up, though. If Tinkle is able to play his game, Oregon State could also come out with a sizeable win. 

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The BearInsider Scout: Which Oregon State Team Shows up at Haas?

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