Column: OSU could be undefeated, if only...
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 14:02
Following Oregon State’s one-point loss to California on Saturday, head coach Craig Robinson got a bit defensive with a reporter during the postgame press conference.
After Robinson said his players are “starting to understand how much work it takes to be a really good team,” the reporter essentially asked what’s taken so long.
“Where are you from?” Robinson asked the reporter. “I don’t know who you are. What’s your name?”
The reporter told Robinson he was from The Oregonian.
“How many games have you seen of ours?” Robinson asked.
This was the first game the reporter had attended.
“Oh, OK,” a slightly irritated Robinson responded. “Well when I got here, we lost games by 20, right? Then the next year, we were down by 20 and then we’d come back and then we’d lose by 12. Each year it gets a little bit better. Now, we’re in every game.”
Translation: Back off. If you paid attention, you’d realize we’re improving.
Though he and his players continue to say otherwise, it’s fair to conclude that Robinson has the program headed in the wrong direction if you take OSU’s 13-15 record at face value.
So for those who haven’t paid close attention, I’ve broken down just how close the Beavers are to being undefeated at this moment in time.
The next time someone tells you how awful Oregon State basketball is, just say, “They’re improving! They’d be 28-0 if only...”
• Alabama 65, OSU 62 (Nov. 15): The Beavers win if: Alabama’s Rodney Cooper doesn’t hit a difficult, contested 3-pointer from the corner with 12.2 seconds left. We’ll assume the Beavers would have hit a game-winner had they gotten the ball back with the game still tied, since they hadn’t yet mastered the art of screwing up at the end of games.
• Kansas 84, OSU 78 (Nov. 30): The Beavers win if: Ahmad Starks makes 10 3-pointers instead of seven. Some would say the junior guard “couldn’t miss” on this night in Kansas City, Mo., when he made 7-of-13 attempts from beyond the arc. But what happened on those six misses? A 10-for-13 night isn’t too much to ask for, is it?
• Towson 67, OSU 66 (Dec. 29): The Beavers win if: The Oregon State football team doesn’t play in the Alamo Bowl that same day. Less than 4,000 fans showed up to Gill Coliseum for this game, and the majority of those fans probably weren’t very engaged because they were thinking about the football game that was set to kick off in a matter of hours. The crowd’s apathy probably rubbed off on Robinson’s squad.
• Oregon 79, OSU 66 (Jan. 6): The Beavers win if: Oregon coach Dana Altman keeps his composure during halftime. With his team trailing by six at intermission, Altman reportedly let loose a verbal barrage in the locker room. His players responded, beginning the second half on a 15-2 run to seize control of the game.
• ASU 72, OSU 62 (Jan. 10): The Beavers win if: Jahii Carson is a Beaver, not a Sun Devil. Did you know ASU’s Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate was once committed to Oregon State?
• UA 80, OSU 70 (Jan. 12): The Beavers win if: Arizona doesn’t suffer its first loss of the season two nights earlier in Eugene. Had the Wildcats not received that wake-up call, they probably would have taken the Oregon State game lightly.
• UCLA 74, OSU 64 (Jan. 17): The Beavers win if: the Bruins play the way they played when they blew an 18-point, second-half lead to Cal Poly in a Nov. 25 loss. Oregon State isn’t capable of beating UCLA when the Bruins are on their game.
• USC 69, OSU 68 (Jan. 19): The Beavers win if: They don’t inexplicably turn the ball over underneath their own basket with 28 seconds left and a one-point lead. An inbounds pass went through sophomore Eric Moreland’s hands and was scooped up by USC’s Eric Wise, who promptly laid it in to give the Trojans the lead.
• WSU 71, OSU 68 (Jan. 26): The Beavers win if: They get a few more calls. This was one loss that could be somewhat blamed on the officials.
• Cal 71, OSU 68 (Jan. 31): The Beavers win if: There are nine seconds remaining — not seven — when they inbound the ball on their final possession. Down by three, the Beavers failed to get a shot off in those final seven seconds. We’ll assume if they had two more seconds, they would have gotten off a successful 3-point attempt and wound up winning in overtime.
• Stanford 81, OSU 73 (Feb. 3): The Beavers win if: The Cardinal shoot their season average from 3-point land (33.9 percent) instead of a ridiculous 56 percent (14-for-25). I’m sure this was just a lucky game for Stanford and had nothing to do with OSU playing atrocious perimeter defense or anything.
• Colorado 72, OSU 68 (Feb. 10): The Beavers win if: The basketball isn’t lathered up with oil at the end of the game. I have no proof that it was, but it seems like the only logical explanation as to why OSU had four turnovers in a 90-second span late in the second half.
• Washington 72, OSU 62 (Feb. 16): The Beavers win if: They go to Cody Vaz earlier in the game. Oh wait, I’m thinking of OSU’s football game in Seattle.
• Stanford 82, OSU 72 (Feb. 21): The Beavers win if: The power went out at halftime and the rest of the game was called off. I had to put this at least once, because if all the Beavers’ games ended at halftime this season they’d be 9-6 in conference.
• Cal 60, OSU 59 (Feb. 23): The Beavers win if: They aren’t thinking, “Here we go again,” when they’re down one with 4.3 seconds left. Given all that’s gone wrong this season, do you think the Beavers had any confidence whatsoever that a last-second shot attempt would actually go in?
Yep, I think we can all agree this definitely sounds like a program that’s on the rise.
Grady Garrett, sports reporter