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Previewing OSU’s Basketball Schedule: Non-Conference Part 1

We’re breaking down every team on the Cowboys’ schedule.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It’s almost here; after months of excitement and eager anticipation, basketball season is about to begin. The debut of the fighting Underwood’s begins on November 11th (technically there’s the Exhibition game on the 1st but... meh). For the next couple weeks leading up to the first regular season game, we are breaking down all 23 teams on OSU’s schedule (yes including the exhibition game).

This year’s schedule includes some high-quality road match-ups, a terrifyingly deep tournament, and some cake-walk home games (seriously bad).

Let’s get started:

Player to Watch:
Josiah Gustafson is the only returning double digit scorer on a team that returns only 29.6 points a game from last year.

Game Outlook:
Look, it’s the exhibition game. I realize D-1 teams lose these now and then, but come on. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on what should be a nice chance for everyone on OSU’s roster to see the court.


Player to Watch:
Last year the offense primarily ran through Chris Clemons. He was the team’s leading scorer as a freshman. He’s also the only returning double digit scorer. Expect all of that to continue, and for Clemons to improve in his second year. Shut down Clemons, and OSU will likely shut down Campbell. Also keep an eye on Hamer and Whitefield. Neither shot a lot last year (Hamer: 6.2 FGA/game | Whitfield 4.1 FGA/game) but both hit over 50% of their shots.

Game Outlook:
The Camels have only two scholarship seniors, but do have 2016 Big South Conference freshman of the year Clemons returning. Clemons should be a nice early test for Evans, who will likely have to guard him.

Quote From The Enemy: (source)


Player to Watch:
The Bears return three of their top four scorers from last season, including top scorer Howard. However, it’s Derek Brooks the Cowboys should be aware of. Last season he was the No. 2 scorer, No. 2 rebounder, and led the team in blocks (.93/gm) and steals (1.2/gm).

Game Outlook:
UCA is heading into it’s third season under Pennell, who has had to rebuild the program after it was banned from conference and NCAA postseason play in the 2014-15 season due to Academic Progress Rate (APR) issues. Pennell and the staff retained only one player from the 2013-14 team. While Pennell has made progress since then, the Bears do not have the athletes to compete. (Side note: This is the first of three Southland conference teams on the schedule; Underwood’s old conference. Underwood went 4-0 against the Bears with Stephen F. Austin, with an average margin of victory of 28 points.)

Quote From The Enemy: (source)


Player to Watch:
Erik Thomas didn’t begin the season as a starter, but eventually played his way to it. He led the team in rebounds and was the second leading scorer. The senior forward gets most of his points close to the rim, which is why he hits over 55 percent of his shots.

Game Outlook:
The Privateers return all of their starters from a team that only won 10 games, three of which were against non Division-1 teams. The team likes to play a fast and loose both on the court, and with the ball. New Orleans averaged 15 turnovers a game last season. To me this should be an easy out for the Cowboys. Plus, Underwood will be familiar with the team, after facing them in the Southland conference the last three seasons. In those three meetings, Underwood was 3-0 with an average margin of victory of 33 points.

Quote From The Enemy: (source)


Recap:
These first three games of the season (and exhibition game) are a great way for Underwood to get to know his team and figure out his rotation. I don’t have a problem starting the season against weaker competition, especially with a new coach. I expect the bench to get some play and the rotations to start to get set by the end of game three. Mostly, I’m just excited to what Underwood is going to do with this team!

Record: 3-0
Overall: 3-0