Oregon Basketball and The Season of New: Anatomy of a Rivalry

Posted by Rockne Roll on January 10th, 2013

Welcome to Oregon Basketball and The Season of New, a weekly Pac-12 microsite column from Rockne Roll (@raroll). His column will focus on the various issues facing college basketball through the prism of the Oregon Ducks, a program ostensibly on the rise with top-notch facilities and coaching but still subject to many of the same problems suffered by many of the other high-major programs around the country.

Not all conference games are created equal, particularly in a conference where there’s a wide separation between best and worst. And while the Oregon Ducks have been saying that they prepare for every game with the same degree of intensity and focus, one can’t help but think that there might have been a little something extra that went into the preparation for Sunday’s conference opener against a team the Ducks have played 337 times before this one. Because what better way for Oregon to start conference play than the longest running rivalry in college basketball; the Civil War against the Beavers of Oregon State.

Team leaders E.J. Singler (left) and Roberto Nelson tried to keep the Civil War "civil." (Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll)

Team leaders E.J. Singler (left) and Roberto Nelson tried to keep the Civil War “civil.” (Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll)

The Civil War has all the makings of a classic rivalry: two big schools with big athletic programs in the same conference separated by 40 or so miles of Interstate 5 and a million miles in terms of campus and community culture. Between Corvallis, the small, rural town with its agricultural college turned engineering and forestry nexus, and Eugene, the famed hippie and beatnick mecca with its liberal arts (emphasis on the liberal) focus that is sometimes referred to as UC Eugene, the whole state takes sides based on location, family history, and alumni status.

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Pac-12 Team Previews: Oregon State

Posted by Connor Pelton on October 27th, 2011

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.

It's tough to watch when your starting center can't put home a layup

Nonconference Tests.  Everyone, except maybe their exhibition against Pacific (Oregon). I’m just kidding (kinda), but it seems as if every nonconference game last season was an adventure for Oregon State. On paper, the Beavers should fly through all of their non-conference games except for three: Nov. 19 vs Texas ( East Rutherford, NJ), Nov. 21 vs NC State or Vanderbilt (East Rutherford, NJ), and Dec. 4 vs Montana (Corvallis). I’m predicting that Oregon State goes 2-1 in that stretch, but there is a strong possibility of an 3-0 or 0-3 finish, depending on what Beaver team shows up.

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