OSU’s Pac-12 Tournament chances
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 22:03
If you’re coming here looking for a glimmer of hope, you’re looking in the wrong place.
I’ll be surprised if 12th-seeded Oregon State beats Colorado in today’s Pac-12 Tournament and shocked if it matches last year’s run to the semifinals.
Truth be told, I’ve felt all season long that the Beavers were capable of getting hot in March and winning a few games in Las Vegas if the matchups were right.
Problem is, the matchups couldn’t be worse.
In Colorado, the Beavers face a team that’s probably the third-most talented team in the Pac-12 and a team that won the Pac-12 Tournament last year. Oh, and you bet the Buffaloes will be anxious to avenge Saturday’s 64-58 loss to OSU — the Beavers first-ever victory in Boulder, Colo.
Sure, the win gives OSU some momentum, but I would rather have seen the Buffaloes complete the regular-season sweep in hopes that they’d take the third matchup lightly.
Even if Colorado is without Andre Roberson (illness), the nation’s leading rebounder, for the third straight game, I still think it will take OSU’s best game to advance to the quarterfinals.
If the Beavers do advance to the quarters, they’ll face Arizona — another dreadful matchup, considering the Wildcats beat OSU by 10 in Corvallis in January and are coming off a 15-point trouncing of ASU in their regular-season finale.
If the Beavers shock the world and advance to the semifinals, they’ll face UCLA, Stanford or Arizona State. They’re 0-4 against those three teams, with all four losses coming by at least eight points.
For what it’s worth, you can blame Southern California for OSU’s horrific draw. Had the Trojans defeated Washington State on Saturday, OSU would have entered the Pac-12 Tournament as the 11-seed and drawn (6) USC in the first round with (3) Oregon awaiting the winner. That would have been doable.
• OK, this is a stretch, but after a lot of digging I did find one nugget that could be considered a glimmer of hope for Beaver Nation.
In 2008, the University of Georgia went 4-12 in conference and entered the SEC Tournament seeded last. The Bulldogs proceeded to shock the college basketball world, winning four straight games to nab the SEC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
It’s the only time I can recall that a non-mid-major team as bad as OSU, record-wise, pulled off such a Cinderella run in a conference tournament.
How does this relate to OSU?
Well, OSU freshman forward Jarmal Reid’s half-brother, Jeremy Price, was a freshman on that Georgia team.
Reid said he and his brother had recently talked about Georgia’s 2008 run when I asked him about it a couple of weeks ago.
“We actually talked about it like two or three days ago. He was just telling me to keep my head up because anything is possible, and he brought that up,” Reid said. “I had totally forgotten about it, and he reminded me, was like, ‘My freshman year we won the SEC championship.’ I think they played like four games in three days, two overtimes. I was like, ‘If y’all can do that, I think it’s definitely possible out here.’”
What a story that would be if Reid’s freshman season played out exactly like his brother’s; like an ESPN-worthy story.
If you believe in fate or whatever this would qualify as, then maybe it’ll happen.
• I’m excited to see what Roberto Nelson will do in Vegas. The junior guard became the first Beaver to lead the conference in scoring (in conference games) since Gary Payton. Nelson averaged 19.1 points per conference game, but his success was somewhat undermined by OSU’s dreadful record.
If Nelson shows well in Vegas, perhaps leading the Beavers to a win or two, it could serve as a springboard for his campaign for next year’s Pac-12 Player of the Year. Call me crazy, but I think Nelson very well could find himself in the discussion for POY next year if he improves on the defensive end and OSU wins a few more games. And by a few I mean at least seven. Nelson has been OSU’s lone bright spot this season, and it’d be nice to see him get some recognition. This tournament is an opportunity for him to get that recognition.
• On another player-related note, it’ll be interesting to see which Ahmad Starks shows up in Vegas. Starks, recently removed from the starting lineup, has suffered a dramatic drop-off in production recently. After averaging 12.1 points per game in the first half of Pac-12 play, Starks has scored double digits once in nine games.
He’s playing less, and when he’s on the court he’s shooting less — he’s attempted just eight 3-pointers in OSU’s last five games.
But Starks has always thrived on the conference tournament stage.
You may remember last year’s Pac-12 Tournament opener, when Starks nailed four 3-pointers in the first seven minutes of OSU’s eventual win over Washington State. In five career conference tournament games, Starks has averaged 12.6 points and shot 48.5 percent (16-for-33) from beyond the arc.
Will he get the opportunity to replicate his past tournament success?
- OSU will jump out to a double-digit lead in the first half against Colorado, only to end up losing by double digits, and I’ll be writing a column later this week about Craig Robinson’s job status.
- Eight-seed Stanford will cap off a crazy, unpredictable Pac-12 season by defeating (2) California in the Pac-12 championship game.