Column: Explaining OSU's 1-6 start, in numbers
Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 18:02
Why has the Oregon State men’s basketball team lost six of its first seven Pac-12 games?
I dug up 17 worrisome numbers to help tell the story.
My commentary is italicized, but everything else is factual information you cannot argue with.
Note: All statistics are from Pac-12 games only. Nonconference games are not factored in, unless noted otherwise.
7 – Games missed by Angus Brandt and Daniel Gomis (injuries).
Is this a viable excuse? Maybe, but at 1-6, the problems run much deeper than the absence of two players.
3 – Games missed by Eric Moreland (and Victor Robbins). Coaches say Moreland’s suspension affected four games, including his first game back vs. USC (he had a rusty first half).
Maybe the Beavers beat USC if Moreland’s not rusty, but I don’t think they beat ASU, Arizona or UCLA, even with Moreland.
46.4 – OSU’s field goal percentage on defense, second worst in the conference.
Hey, at least they’re not last.
73 – Average points allowed per game by OSU, worst in the conference.
Oh. I wonder what would happen if they tried playing the 1-3-1 one whole game? I’m entirely kidding. I think.
-6 – OSU’s rebounding margin per game, worst in the conference.
The statistic most affected by the loss of Brandt (they don’t keep track of charges taken, or else that would be the most-affected stat).
1 – Number of times OSU has scored more than 70 points. Last year, OSU averaged 77.1 points per conference game and topped 70 points in 15 of 18 Pac-12 regular season games.
Craig Robinson claimed the Beavers wouldn’t miss Jared Cunningham’s offense (17.9 PPG) as much as they would his defense. Hasn’t been the case.
30.3 – OSU’s percentage from 3-point territory, third worst in the conference. The Beavers shot 40.5 percent from deep in nonconference play.
Because of their gaudy nonconference numbers, the Beavers are actually still the third-best 3-point shooting team (overall) in the Pac-12. A tad misleading.
0 – Number of games Ahmad Starks or Roberto Nelson has made five or more 3-pointers. Starks did it four times during non-conference play; Nelson did it three times.
I figured Nelson and Starks would single-handedly shoot the Beavers to several wins. Hasn’t happened. To be fair, Nelson is finding other ways to score and Starks hasn’t been shooting quite as much as usual (and that’s not actually a bad thing).
2.37 – Olaf Schaftenaar is averaging one 3-point attempt per 2.37 minutes of playing time. He’s knocked down 26.3 percent of those tries.
Oakland’s Travis Bader, who leads Division I-A in 3-point field goal attempts (248), averages one 3-point attempt per 3.56 minutes of playing time. He’s shooting 39.9 percent.
This isn’t a knock on Schaftenaar as much as it is a knock on the game plan. A long-3 attempt by Schaftenaar is a good fifth option for an offense. But when he’s in the game, he’s letting it fly like he’s the first or second option.
64.3 – OSU’s free throw percentage, third worst in the conference.
It feels like OSU has been one of the conference’s worst free throw shooting teams for years, but the Beavers were actually a respectable 67.9 percent (6th in the Pac-12) last year and 67.8 percent the year before.
38.8 – Combined free throw percentage of Joe Burton (9-for-18), Eric Moreland (4-for-11) and Jarmal Reid (1-for-7).
That means only one of OSU’s top-four frontcourt players (Devon Collier: 63.6 percent) is making free throws with any consistency.
5 – Number of times either Langston Morris-Walker or Challe Barton has played 20 minutes or more (three for Barton, two for Morris-Walker).
This is noteworthy because…
4 – Number of times either Langston Morris-Walker or Challe Barton has played five minutes or less (twice each).
No consistency. It’s got to be hard for Morris-Walker and Barton to find a rhythm and develop some confidence if they’re playing 20 minutes one game, zero the next, wouldn’t you think? (And the inconsistency isn’t solely due to Moreland’s suspension.)
3 – Number of OSU players averaging double-figures in conference play.
Craig Robinson likes to point out that they have five guys averaging double-figures on the season, so I thought I’d point this out.
2 – Number of times an OSU starter (not counting Jarmal Reid) has gone scoreless. It happened to Joe Burton vs. ASU and Ahmad Starks vs. USC.
The Beavers aren’t balanced enough offensively to survive on a night when one of their top guys is that off.
1 – Numbers of times someone not named Ahmad Starks, Roberto Nelson, Eric Moreland, Devon Collier or Joe Burton has scored in double-figures (Olaf Schaftenaar: 10 points vs. UCLA).
See what I meant when I said not balanced enough offensively?
32-19 – Combined record of OSU’s opponents thus far. OSU’s next five opponents have a combined record of 13-24.
If the Beavers take advantage of this favorable stretch and win their next five games, you could talk me in to believing they might surpass last year’s conference-win total of seven.
Grady Garrett, managing editor