A little Bedlam distraction today....
The 76 Classic in Anaheim, CA opens up today and Oklahoma State will take on Depaul at 3:30... the game will be televised on ESPN 2. The winner goes on to face the winner of Virginia Tech and Cal State Northridge at 1:30 on Friday on ESPN, while the loser will face the loser of the V-Tech - CS Northridge game at 3:00 on ESPNU.
Oklahoma State started the season with two struggling performances, then righted the ship a little with a dominating win last Saturday. Depaul is coming off of an embarrassing loss to Western Carolina after cruising to a 114-81 victory over Chicago State in their opener.
What do the Blue Demons do?
I'm glad I asked...the Demons are breaking in first year coach Oliver Purnell who is known for his uptempo offenses, pressure defense, and high scoring games. This is quite a departure from what the Demons have been recently (slow, plodding. limit possessions) so there will be (and have been) plenty of growing pains. The Demons will run a full court press the entire game, try to force turnovers, and run on the offensive end with passing being the priority (think Missouri). Due to the fast pace and high pressure, Depaul substitutes frequently (they have 11 guys that average double-digit minutes) and don't really feature a go-to scorer as they have 5 guys that average between 11 and 14 ppg.
W. Carolina lead the entire game in Depaul's only loss, and controlled the game by doing a lot of the things Oklahoma State can do to disrupt the Blue Demons on both ends of the floor... a list after the Jump...
Oklahoma State needs to:
- Keep Depaul from scoring - This sounds stupidly simple (my forte), but if Depaul doesn't score, they can't set up the press.
- Rebound - Western Carolina had 17 offensive rebounds and won the overall rebounding battle 42-30. This aspect is what I love most about this matchup... Marshall Moses, Darrell Williams, and Matty from the Natty are as good of a rebounding trio as we have ever had (not to mention Jarred Shaw and the rebounding guards Jean-Paul Olukemi, Markel Brown), and Depaul's high pressure defense often leaves defenders out of position to block out... OSU must take advantage of this.
- Don't try to run with them - I do like Oklahoma State in the transition game, but this is a matchup where the tempo only needs to be pushed if it is open.. don't force it.
- The guards have to be smart - Again, stupidly simple, but we know we have the quickness in Ray Penn and Fred Gulley (and kinda Keiton Page) to get the ball upcourt through the press, but these three have all been prone to dribbling themselves into trouble. Stay in open areas, don't get trapped, don't try to beat the press on your own (use the bigs to get out of trouble).
For those watching...let's use this as the Gamethread. Feel free to comment away as many of us watch the Pokes for the first time this season.