Oregon State Week: Breaking Down An Unreleased SchedulePosted by Connor Pelton on August 26th, 2012
Oregon State’s schedule for next season has yet to be released, but through past contracts and other team’s schedule releases, we’ve been able to piece together most of it. There are still times and television schedules that need to get cleared up, but for the most part we now know its opponents. Below, we’ll highlight a handful of games and stretches of the season that could determine the eventual fate of the 2012-13 Beavers. For the purpose of this exercise, we won’t speculate and include games that haven’t been given a date yet.
Early-Season Tournament: While we don’t know Oregon State’s exact opponents for the 2K Sports Classic Regional Round, they will face two of the following – Niagara, Bucknell, South Dakota State, and Hofstra. The Beavers should win both games no matter who they face, but all four opponents won’t be pushovers. Once they make the trek across the country to New York City, things become much more interesting. They’ll open the elimination portion of the tournament with a Alabama team that loses its top two scorers from a year ago before facing either Villanova or Purdue in the next game.
Toughest Non-conference Game: While there are plenty of solid opponents on this year’s non-conference slate, the only one that will be ranked in the preseason Top 25, let alone Top 5, is Kansas. The Beavers and Jayhawks will meet on a Friday night, November 30, at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, continuing the annual M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout Series. Despite losing playmakers Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor from last year’s national runner-up squad, Kansas figures to be just as explosive with Elijah Johnson returning and Perry Ellis coming in. They will also get help from Ben McLemore and Jamari Taylor, a pair of highly touted Class of 2011 freshman who were ruled ineligible to play last season by the NCAA. Devon Collier and the rest of the Beaver frontcourt will have all they can handle down low in this one.
Easy Stretch: There will likely be one more game added between December 19 and 31, but right now, the three straight games of Howard, Towson, and Texas Pan-American, all in Corvallis, is by far the easiest stretch on the schedule. Those three teams combined for an underwhelming 22-73 record in 2011-12.
Toughest Conference Stretch: The Beavers get lucky in that they face the conference’s top two teams, UCLA and Arizona, only once before the Pac-12 Tournament. Also in their favor is the fact they don’t play Colorado, arguably the Pac-12′s third best team, on the road until the final game of the regular season. There are a pair of challenging three-game sets mixed in there, however. First up will be the week-long stretch in mid-January where Arizona comes calling to Corvallis, followed by a trip to face perhaps the best team in the nation, UCLA, and a much-improved USC club in Los Angeles. The end of the season will bring the always tough three-game road trip, where the Beavers face Oregon in Eugene before going to Salt Lake City and Boulder.
Scout’s Special: It’s highly unlikely that Devon Collier would follow the lead of Jared Cunningham and leave Corvallis after his junior season, but he’s the top Beaver prospect at this point. If he improves massively on the defensive glass in the next two years, however, he’s got a raw game offensively and the shot-blocking ability to be picked as a late second rounder in the 2014 NBA Draft. Scouts will get to see what he’s like checking NBA-type talent when they face UCLA in Los Angeles on January 17. Collier will get the chance to go up against Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson, a pair of wings with size who will almost certainly leave Westwood after just one season.
Overall Thoughts: Over the past two seasons we have seen the Beavers grow a lot in their non-conference scheduling. After playing just three teams ranked in the Top 25 outside of Pac-12 play since 2001-02 (Nevada, LSU, and Texas), the Beavers faced Texas, Vanderbilt, and Montana last year. This year they look to be growing even more as Alabama and Kansas are firmed up, along with possible games against South Dakota State, Villanova or Purdue, and a yet to be determined Big East team. Assuming they take care of all non-power conference opponents and can steal a win in New York City, Craig Robinson and company has an excellent shot of entering Pac-12 play with double-digit wins in back-to-back seasons.