Record: 19-12 (9-9)
NCAA Tournament Seed: 7 (West)
How they got to the Big Dance
The Beavers will be heading to the NCAA tournament this season for the first time since 1990. Their 19-12 record was good enough for an at-large bid. They were 9-2 after non-conference play, then started Pac-12 play with a win over Oregon, who is now one of the best teams in the country and is the 1-seed in their region. Their quality wins this season, other than Oregon, were against Tulsa, Cal, USC, Utah and Colorado. Other than that, though, they were rather unimpressive, especially against some of the better Pac-12 teams. Their 9-9 conference record earned them the No. 6 seed in the Pac-12 tournament. After beating Arizona State in the first round, they lost to the No. 3 seed, California, 76-68 in the quarterfinals.
Why they’re a legitimate contender
Like mentioned above, the Beavers will be going to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1990. They will want to put their name back on the map in this year’s tournament with a win or two. They shoot the ball well enough to do so. They hit 43.9 percent from the floor, including 37.3 percent from behind the 3-point arc. If the Beavers get hot from the floor, they could be hard to beat. They hold onto the ball well enough that it won’t hurt them down the stretch. On the defensive end, they are very good at forcing their opponents to cough up the ball. They force over seven steals per game, leading to easy scores on the opposite end of the court. If the Beavers can keep hitting their shots and stealing the ball, they could win their first NCAA tournament game this century.
Why they aren’t a legitimate contender
The Beavers won’t do very well in the tournament simply because over the course of their season, they’ve given up about as many points as they score. That’s not the sign of a contender in the NCAA tournament. Another main reason they wont go far is because they absolutely cannot rebound the basketball. They rank 241st in the country in defensive rebounding. They also give up too many offensive rebounds, without getting many of their own. They also foul—a lot. When the Beavers come across a good free throw shooting team, they will likely give their opponent too many chances to win the game. Not to mention, the Beavers don’t have tournament experience; their current players were not even born the last time their school went to the NCAA tournament.
Player to watch- G Gary Payton II
The Beaver’s best player is their 6-foot-3 senior guard. This season he’s averaged 15.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. He’s a very good defender, hence the two-and-a-half steals he gets per game. The fact that he’s able to score, rebound, pass, and play tight defense makes himself the most valuable player on the court for the Beavers. If you’re looking for an indication of what this guy can do in the NCAA tournament, you just have to look at what he did in his last game. He scored 20 points while grabbing 17 rebounds against No. 24 California. Although the Beavers lost the game, it just shows what the senior can do for his team. Now his teammates need to get on board once the tournament begins.
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