November 1, 2013 by Marshall Kelner
By Marshall Kelner
Galen Central’s new weekly series will preview the basketball team of USC’s football opponent. With the USC football squad traveling to Oregon State tonight, here is a preview of the Beavers’ basketball team. Read earlier previews of Washington State, Boston College, Utah State, Arizona State, Arizona, and Utah.
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Oregon State was picked to finish 10th in the Pac-12 by the media in the pre-season poll, one spot ahead of USC. Let’s break down the Beavers:
Overall: 14-18, Pac-12: 4-14 (T-11th)
Craig Robinson (the brother in-law of President Barack Obama) is in his sixth year at the helm for OSU. His overall record is 78-89 and within the conference he is 31-59. He has never had a record of .500 or above in the Pac-12 and his only postseason action has been in the CBI. His best season came two years ago, when he led the Beavers to a 21-15 mark (7-11 Pac-12).
Key Returning Players
G Roberto Nelson (SR): 17.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, .397 3P%
F Devon Collier (SR): 12.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG
C Angus Brandt (RSR): 11.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.3 BPG
F-C Joe Burton: 11.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.4 APG
G Ahmad Starks: 10.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, .395 3P%
The Beavers add four freshman to their roster for this season. One is a walk-on. Cheikh N’diaye is a two-star recruit according to ESPN and the #24 center in the class of 2014. Hallice Cooke is also a two-star and ranked as the #92 shooting guard.
Last Year vs. USC
In the one meeting, the Trojans squeaked out a 69-68 victory at the Galen Center in Bob Cantu’s second game as interim head coach. Aaron Fuller’s layup with 4.8 seconds remaining gave USC the victory. Eric Wise led the way with 18 points for the Trojans, while Roberto Nelson poured in 26 for Oregon State.
This Year vs. USC
The teams meet twice this season. On January 30, the Trojans will host the Beavers at Galen Center and on February 27 USC will travel to Gill Coliseum. Both games are on the front end of the weekend, with contests against Oregon to follow.
The Beavers return their top three scorers in Nelson, Collier, and Brandt, which should give them some solid balance. Sophomore Olaf Schaftenaar will also play a lot and is a big man who can stretch the defense with range out to the three point line. The loss of big Joe Burton, their leader in assists last year, will be huge. The Beavers ran much of their offense through him. They will also miss the explosiveness of Ahmad Starks and his shooting ability. The freshman are nothing to write home about, so unless the Beavers receive off the charts performances from their top three guys, they will struggle in the constantly improving Pac-12 conference. The 10th place prediction should be about accurate.