Over the next two weeks, we’ll be previewing each of the Pac-12 teams as we head into the season.
Oregon State Beavers
Strengths. The Beavers might just have the best three-guard rotation in the conference. They are led by junior Jared Cunningham, who is a consistent jump shot away from being considered for Pac-12 Player of the Year come March. Then there are sophomores Roberto Nelson and Ahmad Starks, who after shaky starts to their freshman campaigns, had breakout performances towards the end of last year. Both are capable of taking over a game when Cunningham needs a breather. On the bench at guard will be Challe Barton, Jullian Powers, C.J. Mitchell, and Michael Moyer. Barton and Mitchell are the definitions of a combo-guard, and both should see some minutes when the others are in foul trouble. Powers and Moyer will most likely not see any game action this year.
Weaknesses. As strong as the backcourt is, the frontcourt is that much of a weakness. Sophomore Devon Collier and junior Joe Burton will be the starters down low. But while Collier showed glimpses of greatness last year, Burton always seemed to throw the ball away or airball the point-blank layup (don’t ask). If the Beavers are to go to the NCAAs this season like Craig Robinson is calling for, these two need to perform at a high level for 40 minutes each night.