Pac-12 Team Preview: Oregon State Beavers

Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on October 26th, 2013

We continue unveiling our team-by-team breakdowns, in roughly the reverse order of where we expect these teams to finish in the conference standings.

Oregon State Beavers

Strengths. Oregon State boasts one of the finest frontcourts in the conference. Starting the group off is senior Devon Collier, a strong small forward who can score either driving to the hoop or with a nifty little jumper. Senior center Angus Brandt missed the majority of last season after tearing his ACL in the fourth game of the year, and his ability to score from both inside and behind the arc took away a big threat from that team. Finally, there’s Eric Moreland. Moreland’s career in Corvallis has been an up-and-down one, including two “violation of team rules” suspensions in the past 10 months and a declaration for the NBA Draft (which he later pulled out of and decided to return). Now he is serving that second suspension and will miss the first 14 games of the 2013-14 campaign, but will provide a monster boost on both the glass and the defensive end of the court when he returns.

Devon Collier Can Beat Defenders Playing Either As A Physical Small Forward Or Face-Up Four (credit: Andy Wooldridge)

Devon Collier Can Beat Defenders Playing Either As A Physical Small Forward Or Face-Up Four (credit: Andy Wooldridge)

Weaknesses. This team has very little experience on the bench. The backup point guard is Malcolm Duvivier, a true freshman who was originally in the Class of 2014 but reclassified to join the team immediately. Backing up Roberto Nelson at the two will be the newcomer that Beaver fans should be most excited about, Hallice Cooke out of St. Anthony High School (NY). And the best option to spell Brandt will be sophomore Olaf Schaftenaar, who shot a completely unnecessary amount of three-pointers his initial season in Corvallis, and at a 30.9% clip to boot.

Non-Conference Tests. A trip to College Park to face Maryland awaits Craig Robinson’s team just seven days after its season opener. DePaul isn’t exactly a “test,” but the Blue Demons present a challenge at home against the Beavers on December 1. The toughest stretch comes in the four games before Christmas break, beginning with a visit from Towson, a team that came from 19 down last year at Gill Coliseum to top the Beavers in overtime. After that they head to the Islands to face Akron in their Diamond Head Classic opener. Either Iowa State or George Mason will be on tap in the second game, and a solid group of choices, headlined by Saint Mary’s, are in play for the Christmas Day finale.

Toughest Conference Stretch. The start of February is not a fun one. The Beavers will host UCLA for an 11:30 Sunday morning tip-off before embarking on a three-game road trip with stops at Arizona State, Arizona, and Oregon. That’s four of the top five Pac-12 teams in 14 days.

If Everything Goes Right… The Eric Moreland-less Beavers don’t quite pull the shocker at Maryland, but they do enough to put a scare into a sleepy Sunday afternoon crowd at the Comcast Center. After that, OSU rolls against the mountain of cupcakes on its schedule, but many are surprised when the Beavers top the Gaels on Christmas Night in the Diamond Head Classic championship game. All of the sudden, it’s late January and Oregon State finds itself with a mere two losses and ranked inside the top 25. Losing eight of its next twelve games, OSU comes back down to earth, but an NCAA Tournament bid is still in play with a win against Arizona State at Gill and another in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament. The Beavers get both of them, and for the first time in 24 years, they hear their name called on Selection Sunday. The committee doesn’t exactly do Robinson’s squad a huge favor when it’s paired up with Cincinnati for a near-road game two nights later in Dayton, but despite falling in a heart-breaker, the season is a success and Robinson’s seat cools down.

Craig Robinson's Team Needs To Take Advantage Of A Soft Early Schedule If The Beavers Are To Make The NCAA Tournament This Season (credit: AP)

Craig Robinson’s Team Needs To Take Advantage Of A Soft Early Schedule If The Beavers Are To Make The NCAA Tournament This Season (credit: AP)

If Nothing Goes Right… The Beavers struggle more than anyone could have imagined without Moreland and emerge from non-conference play at a dreadful 6-6. They end the regular season on a four-game slide and Robinson is fired hours after a 20-point first round loss to California in the Pac-12 Tournament, ending the season at 10-21.

Projected Starting Lineup

  • PG Challe Barton (Jr, 6’3” 197 lbs, 2.9 PPG, 1.4 APG, 87.0 ORtg)
  • SG Roberto Nelson (Sr, 6’3″ 198 lbs,  17.8 PPG, 3,3 RPG, 51.2 eFG%)
  • SF Devon Collier (Sr, 6’8″ 216 lbs, 12.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG)*
  • PF Eric Moreland (Jr, 6’10″ 218 lbs, 9.4 PPG, 10.6 RPG)**
  • Angus Brandt (Sr, 6’10″ 246 lbs, 11.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.3 BPG)

*Suspended for one game
**Suspended for 14 games

As denoted above, this will not be the group of opening day starters. Depending on how both play in preseason practices, either Daniel Gomis or Victor Robbins will fill one of the post roles, and Schaftenaar will take the other.

Key Reserves

  • PG Malcolm Duvivier (Fr, 6’2” 205 lbs)
  • SG Hallice Cooke (Fr, 6’3” 185 lbs)
  • G/F Victor Robbins (So, 6’6″ 197 lbs, 1.2 PPG, 1.0 RPG)
  • Olaf Schaftenaar (So, 6’10” 224 lbs, 3.8 PPG, 1.2 RPG)
  • PF Daniel Gomis (So, 6’10” 223 lbs, Missed 2012-13 with a left leg injury)

Not a very strong bench, but the potential is there. Duvivier, Cooke, and Robbins have Pac-12 talent but are much too inexperienced before they can be counted on, Schaftenaar can be a legitimate threat if he can shoot the three ball with consistency, and Gomis needs to find a way to avoid injury.

Connor Pelton (300 Posts)

I'm from Portland. College basketball and football is life.

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