Date: Saturday, 1/26/19
Tip-Off Time: 1:00 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: KOMO 1000 AM/97.7 FM and TuneIn
Location: Corvallis, Oregon
Betting Line: Washington +3
Oregon State 2018-19 Statistics
Record: 12-6 (4-2)
Points For per Game: 74.6 (117th)
Points Against per Game: 67.8 (73rd)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 110 (54th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 99.8 (109th)
Strength of Schedule: +1.03 (124th)
Oregon State Key Players
C-Kylor Kelly, Jr. 7’0, 215: 7.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.9 bpg, 63.8% FG, 63.6% FT
Last season Kelly was playing for Lane Community College. Now that he’s at Oregon State his numbers have actually improved! He’s leading the country in blocks so the rim is officially off limits when he’s in the game. His ability to take over for Drew Eubanks and be even better on defense is a big reason why the Beavers are improved this season.
F- Tres Tinkle, Jr. 6’8, 225: 20.4 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 4.4 apg, 48.8% FG, 30.9% 3pt, 75.5% FT
OSU’s head coach’s son is a zone killing menace designed in a lab specifically to give UW trouble. Tinkle is the frontrunner for Pac-12 player of the year and has to be one of the only players in the country averaging 20+ points, 8+ rebounds, and 4+ assists. His passing and shooting from the high post at 6’8 is perfect for zone busting and he’ll do it all afternoon.
G- Alfred Hollins, So. 6’6, 195: 6.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.6 apg, 40.4% FG, 20.5% 3pt, 71.4% FT
Hollins is clearly the 5th banana of this starting group and his inability to shoot from outside is keeping OSU from being a truly elite offensive team. He’s also in just the 6th percentile on defense per Synergy Sports so he’s the clear weak link.
G- Ethan Thompson, So. 6’5, 190: 13.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 46.1% FG, 38.5% 3pt, 79.4% FT
The younger Thompson brother has stepped up his game in year 2 and is shooting better from every area of the court. His 38.5% 3-pt percentage is highest on the team among players attempting at least one per game. But he still only takes about 40% of his shots from deep so he prefers to drive when possible.
G- Stephen Thompson, Sr. 6’4, 190: 15.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.9 apg, 42% FG, 32.1% 3pt, 75.6% FT
Frickin’ Stevie Thompson Jr. He has been the bane of UW’s existence in previous trips to Corvallis with multiple huge 3’s to do the Huskies in. His shooting has tailed off a little this year but he’s passing the ball better than ever and has cut down on the turnovers.
Oregon State Shot Chart
The things to look out for against Washington’s zone are the ability to make shots from the free throw line and from behind the arc. The Beavers really struggle shooting 3’s everywhere but in the left corner and I’d expect that trend to continue against the zone. They’re very dangerous from the free throw line in though so Washington will need to do everything they can from allowing the ball to get to the high post.
Washington ended a major losing streak against the Ducks on Thursday night but it isn’t as if they have a bunch of great mojo in Corvallis either. During UW’s trip here last season the Huskies had a 95.9% win probability and a 13 point lead with 8 minutes remaining before the Beavers nailed five 3’s in seven minutes to tie the game and eventually win it in double OT. The game before that was the infamous Stevie Thompson buzzer beater where he both traveled and the clock didn’t start on time allowing him to get off the game winner and dash UW’s NCAA tournament hopes. In 2015 the Huskies managed just 3 points in the first 10 minutes and lost by 14 to a middling Beavers team. You have to go all the way back to 2014 when C.J Wilcox led the Dawgs with 23 points to find the last time the Huskies won a game in Corvallis. Yikes.
Even without the associated bad mojo this won’t be an easy game for Washington. It starts in the middle with Kylor Kelley who has been a revelation as a JC transfer. The 7-footer leads the nation in blocks and is the primary reason why the Beavers are 6th in the country in 2-pt defense. Opponents are shooting just 36% on post-up opportunities against OSU. That could lead to a rough day for Noah Dickerson but on the other hand it might mean that they have the confidence not to double team and Noah might be able to get Kylor in foul trouble. Although his fouls committed rate is exceptionally low for an elite shot blocker.
With the paint on lockdown the Huskies will likely attempt to attack from the outside. It’s a curious stat but Oregon State is 2nd to last in the country in defense on contested catch and shoot opportunities. In fact teams are shooting nearly 10% better against the Beavers when they’re guarded versus when they’re unguarded. That feels like a fluke that will correct itself over time but it’s clear that the best way to hurt OSU is to move the ball and make your shots from outside. Expect the Huskies to rely on David Crisp to continue his hot streak as he’s currently shooting a ridiculous 55.9% on 3’s during conference play. He has shot 31.8% across the entire rest of his career.
Oregon State runs zone a little more than half the time but you can expect it to be the primary look against Washington in this one. Luckily the Beavers rarely press like Oregon did on Thursday night so the Huskies should be able to get into their offense much more easily.
Despite the best shot blocker in the country the Beavers are still a better team when they have the ball. And they’re a much better team against zone defense than man although they likely haven’t encountered a zone as effective as Washington’s this year. Oregon State isn’t content to settle for 3-pointers but will continually get the ball inside and try to attack the basket. Washington will need big games defensively from Hameir Wright and Sam Timmins so keeping the bigs out of foul trouble is critical.
The Beavers have three players averaging 3+ assists so they have the ability to move the ball fluidly and their offense is at its best finding cutters streaking towards the basket. Expect plenty of Oregon State getting the ball in the high post and dishing the bounce pass to the cutter lurking on the weak side behind the center for a dunk or layup.
Last season the Huskies and Beavers played 3 times: once in Corvallis, once in Seattle, and once on a neutral court. The margin of victory of each game was 3 points or less and one of the games went into double OT. While OSU ended up with a pair of wins, they were about as evenly matched as two teams can be. It’s safe to say that both teams are better this season but are UW’s gains big enough relatively to give them the edge? I said on Thursday that I would hop on the optimism train if UW beat the Ducks and I’ll stick to that although in reality this feels like a coin flip.
Keep up with the game in the comments below. You can also follow me for all your UW Men’s Basketball News and Game Updates @UWDP_maxvroom