Set Your TiVo: 12.29.11Posted by bmulvihill on December 29th, 2011
Brendon Mulvihill is an RTC contributor. You can find him @themulv on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.
As we head into 2012, early tests against conference foes are a true litmus test for teams looking to make the NCAA tournament. Let’s take a good look at Oregon State and BYU on the road to see if they have what it takes.
Oregon State at Washington – 9:00PM EST on Root Sports (***)
- Oregon State is one win away from equaling last season’s win total of 11. The Beavers have very good offensive numbers – 54.9% eFG, 47.7% FTR, and 54.8% two-point shooting. However, their efficiency takes a hit because of turnovers and poor offensive rebounding. Craig Robinson’s team faces a very tall Washington team that can create problems for OSU on the boards. Defensively, the Beavers do a great job at creating turnovers. They rank 5th in the nation in TO%. Keep a close eye on OSU’s Jared Cunningham and his ability to disrupt the Washington offense. If the Beavers are able to create turnovers and hit smart two-point shots, they will equal last year’s win total in just 13 games this season.
- Washington has been very disappointing this season. If they have any hope at making the NCAA Tournament, they must roll through much of the Pac-12, starting tonight. This team falls apart on defense. They create very few turnovers and do not defend the three-point shot well. Interestingly, Washington must create turnovers to win. They are 0-5 when the defense creates turnovers on less than 18% of the opponent’s possessions. To give you an idea what that means, Coastal Carolina ranks 304th in the nation with a defensive turnover percentage of 18%. So, the Huskies do not have to create a lot of turnovers, they just have to create some and they will win.
- Expect an up-tempo game with both teams averaging over 71 possessions per game. This game hinges on turnovers. If the Beavers can limit their turnovers and allow their offensive to produce the way it is capable of producing, they will win. If Washington can use its length and put more pressure on the ball to create turnovers and transition baskets, they will win.
BYU at St. Mary’s – 11:00PM EST on ESPN2 HD (****)
- BYU is an uptempo team with strong three-point shooting. The Cougars are hitting over 40% of their three-point attempts. Keep a very close eye on BYU’s three-point shooting, as they face a St. Mary’s club that has soft perimeter defense. Charles Abouo and Brock Zylstra, BYU’s best three-point shooters, should play a key role in Dave Rose’s offensive strategy tonight.
- St. Mary’s is another team that shoots the ball well, but they do their damage from inside the arc. The Gaels are hitting 54.5% of their two-point shots. However, BYU’s three losses have come at the hands of teams that shoot incredibly well from three-point land – Baylor, Wisconsin, and Utah State. Unfortunately, Randy Bennett’s team ranks 225th in three-point shooting.
- This game is looking like a one-and-done affair. Both teams rank in the top 15 nationally in defensive rebounding percentage. Neither team gives many second chances, so good looks at the basket will be extremely important for both offenses. BYU has the advantage because of its three-point shooting. If the Gaels can sure up their perimeter defense and create misses from the outside, they can beat the Cougars. Otherwise, they will be trading twos for threes and that is not a good winning formula.
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2014
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game