While Steve works on the game wrap from last night (and sorry we didn't post one sooner, but we're all fuming) let's take a look at our next opponent whom the Boilers will face in a few hours in New York instead of for toronto singing auditions.
Location: Corvallis, Oregon
2011-12 record: 21-15, 7-11 Pac-12
2012-13 Record: 2-1
2012 Postseason: Lost to Washington State 72-55 in CBI Tournament
Blog Representation: Building the Dam
Series With Purdue: First Meeting
Oregon State is the only member of the Pac-12 that Purdue has never faced in basketball. The Boilers have an all-time record of 34-29 against the conference, last playing a member of the conference when we beat Washington 76-74 in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Perhaps the only Oregon State-Purdue tie in basketball is Carson Cunningham, who began his career with the Beavers before transferring to Purdue.
There is a revenge factor. Purdue was the No. 1 team in the Nation in 1967 when the Beavers rudely came to Ross-Ade Stadium and won 22-14, thus costing Purdue a possible National Championship in football. VENGEANCE, I SAY!
The beavers have not made the NCAA Tournament since 1990, but they are on a slow upturn under the tutelage of Craig Robinson. No, it is not the guy from The Office, but rather the brother-in-law of Barack Obama, who is 40-49 in his fifth year in Corvallis. The season before he took over the Beavers were 6-25 and a dismal 0-18 in the Pac-10, which may be the last time a major conference team went winless in conference play.
Oregon State is 2-1 on the season after beating Niagara and New Mexico State before falling 65-62 last night to Alabama. They feature a very balanced lineup led by Ahmad Starks averaging 18 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. The Beavers share the ball extremely well, averaging 16 assists on roughly 28 made field goals per game. Roberto Nelson, Angus Brandt, Devon Collier, and Joe Burton are all averaging better than 10 points per game.
Some of the numbers are slightly skewed by the Beavers cracking 100 points in the 102-83 win over Niagara. This is still a strong rebounding team led by Brandt and Eric Moreland on the glass. Moreland only scores eight points per game but has an 11 rebound per game average. The 6'10" sophomore from Missouri City, TX will definitely challenge A.J. Hammons and Sandi Marcius in the post.
This is a team whose size matches up very well with our own. Brandt is a 6'10" senior along with the 6'10" Moreland. Those are the two tallest players that are in the regular rotation and they are solid on the boards.
Starks is a speedy 5'9" guard that also shoots the three well. In fact, he is the main threat from long rang, hitting 9 of 23 on the season. Almost half of Oregon State's made three-pointers come from Starks. Nelson is the only other player that has shot more than 10 threes on the season.
This is not a strong perimeter team, so we'll once again be tested by dribble drive and interior-focused offense. The turnover stats between the two teams are almost identical, and Oregon State is not a whole lot better at the free throw line than us. This is still a god shooting team at 49% overall and 43.5% from long range even if it doesn't shoot a lot of threes.
Obviously our woes at the free throw line and from long range are issues. Terone Johnson hit a big three last night that probably should have clinched the game if, you know, there was competent officiating that would put us on the line when we're being fouled with 45 seconds left. Outside of TJ and D.J. Byrd we're not shooting well from long range. Ronnie Johnson is trying threes, but they are not falling (1 of 13 on the year). The best shooter on the team from long-range percentage-wise is Neal Beshears (1 of 1).
This is likely going to be another very even matchup, and I feel like it is one we desperately need. Yes, we play a much stronger schedule this season, but it means very little unless we win a few of those games. Oregon State wants to compete for an NCAA bid out of the Pac-12 this year and probably has a good enough team to do so. Getting this win is one that will pay dividends in March.
Purdue plays a total of seven non-conference games (Bucknell, Villanova, Oregon State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Xavier, West Virginia) against either major-conference teams that can help build our RPI or quality mid-majors that will contend for an NCAA at large berth. So far we're already 0-2 in two very close games. I think Purdue needs to win at least four of these over the course of the season in addition to the six gimme non-conference games and probably 10 Big Ten wins in order to reach the NCAA Tournament. That would give the Boilers 20 overall wins, 10 in a very difficult conference and four against quality non-conference opponents with no really bad losses. We cannot pass this opportunity up.
I liked the vast majority of what I saw last night. Purdue played an excellent game from about the 14 minute mark when it was down 49-40 until the bullshit flagrant foul call that cost them the game. The Boilers fought hard and as long as that lesson was learned it will pay dividends in the future. I think it pays immediate dividends as Oregon State is going to get a very angry team coming at them tonight. Purdue 72, Oregon State 67