Friday, December 13, 2019

Gauchos Take 5-Game Winning Streak to Southern Utah on Saturday
Robinson Idehen (Photo by Jeff Liang)

Gauchos Travel to Future Big West Opponent CSU Bakersfield Saturday Afternoon
Danae Miller (Photo by Gabrielle Penner)

UCSB vs. Southern Utah Men's Basketball Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB @ Southern Utah
Saturday, December 14, 2019, 1 PM PST
Quick Bite:  Gauchos, on a five game winning streak and coming off their best win of the year over UT Arlington in Texas,  travel to the Beehive State to take on the Southern Utah of the Big Sky Conference.

By the Numbers                                  
suu.gif (3.61KiB)
UCSB logo small.png (7.12KiB)
Preseason Conference
Pick (range)
3-5th 2nd
CBS Preseason Rank 209 162
SI Preseason Rank 218 137
Record (D1 only) 3-4 5-3
      Home/away vs D1  1-0 (H)  2-2 (A)
 National Rankings
Composite: DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey,
179 146
SOS 166 278
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)    
                     Offense 274 86
                     Defense 92 254
Scoring 77.9 73.4
FG% 46.5 45.4
3 PT Makes/Attempts 6.2/21 6.4/18.6
3Pt % 30.1 34.3
FT Makes/Attempts 13.7/19.8 15.5/21.7
FT% 69.1 71.6
Defense: PPG Allowed 64.0 66.1
FG % Defense 38.0 42.6
3Pt % Defense 27.4 30.7
Steals PG 8.9 5.0
Blocks PG 3.8 3.3
Rebounding Margin +10.9 +6.6
Assists/Turnovers PG 12.9/16.2 13.5/11.1
Best win (BPI):  @ Nebraska, in OT (160)
Worst Loss (BPI):  @ LMU (215)
Trend: Won 1

SU-UCSB History
UCSB All-time record vs. Thunderbirds:  1-0
Last game (1988):  UCSB 88 SUU 55.  They were then known as SUU State. 
The Arena:  The Thunderbirds play in the Centrum Arena which was built in 1985 and has a capacity of 5,300. Attendance this year averages 2,202.

Head Coach:   Todd Simon has done a solid job for the Thunderbirds showing improvement each year and getting them to the post season (CIT) last year.  2016 was a complete rebuilding job and the team struggled, winning only 6 games.  They more than doubled that in season 2 winning 13 and last year he got to .500 going 17-17, winning two games in the conference tournament and winning a game in the CIT.  Pior to SUU, he was the interim HC for UNLV in 2016, going 8-7.

Roster and overview: SUU is a veteran team returning all of its starters and 6 of its top 7 scorers.  They are predicted to finish in the upper third of the Big Sky.  They’ve played a moderately difficult  schedule, SOS of 166, with middling results, no horrible losses with their best win in OT @ Nebraska.   Coach Todd Simon has done a nice job slowly accumulating talent, and this could finally be the year the Thunderbirds break through and win a conference title.  To their many returning players they add a couple transfers including guard Jakolby Long from Iowa State. Sixth year senior Dwayne Morgan returns with an injury waiver as do Cameron Olutiyan and Harrison Butler allowing for tons of lineup versatility on both ends.
Defensively, SUU is giving up only ~64 ppg and ranks 92 in KP’s defensive efficiency.  They played about 15% zone last season, and Coach Simon’s goal the past few years has been to force opponents to play uncomfortably fast. The T-Birds have ranked 7th, 4th, and 31st in opponent APL in Simon’s three years at the helm. In addition to this “speed you up” philosophy, SUU is lock-down on the defensive glass, ranking 1st in the Big Sky in defensive rebounds% last year and 30th in the country. Morgan’s return improves SUU’s defensive ceiling, as does adding another athlete in Long.
On offense, the Thunderbirds are averaging ~78 ppg but that number is heavily skewed by two 100+ point games vs. lower division teams and they rank only 274 in KP’s offensive efficiency ranking.  Curiously, UCSB & SUU have polar opposite efficiency rankings so on both ends of the court it will be strength vs. strength. 
Probable Starters
Guard – Dre Marin  #4  6’0”, 170 lb, Junior 8.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 24 mpg
Led team in assists last year but averaging less than 2 per game this year.
Guard John Knight #3  6’3”, 205 lb, Junior.  12.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 23 mpg, 2 apg, 46% from the field.
Tied for team lead in scoring.  Leads team in getting to the line, 33-45 from the stripe. Second on team in assists, not a three point threat, just 1-5 on the year.  Leads team in turnovers (25).  Transfer from USU where he played last year but had immediate eligibility.  Apparently was injured earlier and his role with the team is increasing and Coach Simon is high on what he brings, "John's an aggressive, get to the rim guy," he said. "He's a super athlete, and a unique player that you can use in certain ways, but he can create his own offense off the break and really triggers us to get out and run. He's been a good weapon for us, and as he continues to get healthy we'll be able to take advantage of him more and more."
Wing -  Cameron Oluyitan  #23  6’8”, 195 lb,  RS Senior  11.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.2 apg. 
Leads team in 3pt attempts & makes (32%), apg, steals and in minutes played.  Only player to start every game.  Excellent FT shooter, 23-26 on the year.
ForwardDwayne Morgan #25  6’8”, 218 lb, RS Senior  12.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg. 25 mpg
Tied for team lead in scoring, excellent three point shooter shooter, 12-22 on the year.  5* out of HS, originally played @ UNLV.  Played just 4 games last year before being lost to injury.  Like former Gaucho Chris Devine, a 6th year senior.  SUU can play through Morgan on the block, and he’s skilled enough to step away from the hoop and shoot or drive around slower defenders. Defensively, Morgan is a solid rim protector and adds to SUU’s already-stout defensive rebounding prowess.
ForwardAndre Adams #32  6’9”, 230 lb, Senior  5.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 19 mpg, 61% from the field.
Returning starter, originally played at ASU

Probable Key Reserves
Guard – Harrison Butler  #15  6’5”, 220 lb, Sophomore.  9.3 ppg, 8 rpg, 26 mpg.
Leads the team in rebounding, playing starter minutes and has started 5 games.  Solid 3 point shooter, second on the team in getting to the line but has made just 60% of his 30 attempts. 14 assists to 20 TOs. 
Guard – Jakolby Long  #1  6’5”, 208 lb, RS Junior.  9.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 28 mpg, 55% from the field.
Transfer from Iowa State
ForwardMaizen Fausett #12  6’5”, 225 lb, Sophomore.  7.1  ppg, 4.7 rpg, 19 mpg
ForwardJarryd Hoppo #33  6’9”, 186 lb, Freshman  7.2  ppg, 4.7 rpg, 13 mpg
Stellar 3 point shooter, 12-20 for the year.
Guard – Damani Mcintire  #0  6’4”, 179 lb, Freshman.  Good playmaker
Center- Daouda (David) Ndiaye #14  7’0”, 215 lb, RS Senior.  First year for SUU, transfer from Illinois St.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·        Sow vs. Morgan.  Two very similar players in size and skills, two bigs that can stretch the defense.  Morgan has the advantage in experience but Sow boasts better numbers and is coming off one of the best games of his career.
·        Game control.  SUU likes to push the place and force 16 turnovers per game (they average the same themselves). This could be a trouble spot for Ramsey if allows him to rush things.  McLaughlin there to provide a steadying force but a strong showing by Ramsey could be a turning point for him this season.
·        Battle of the boards, in particular by the wing players.  SUU rebounds extremely well, +11 per game on the season, with their wings Cameron Oluyitan and Harrison Butler leading the way.  Critical for JRoq, Cyrus and Toure to box their guys out and limit their second chance points, especially considering that Sow will often be pulled out of the block defending Morgan.

Prediction:  Gauchos have the tools to negate the Thunderbird’s strengths of a good (but not huge) post player, pressure defense, skilled wings and rebounding abilities.  Won’t be easy but the win streak continues. 
Gauchos 69 SUU 65

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Fun facts about SUU:   Located in Cedar City, near the underrated ski resort of Brian Head.  It was founded as a Normal (Teaching) school in 1897.  At one time it was an ag school branch of Utah State.  In 1991 it became a full university and joined D1 athletics later in the decade.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Gaucho Hoops Overview, by Gaucho Freg

Team Overview
UCSB is 6-3 coming off their best win of the season, on the road at UT Arlington, 72-68, where they were 6 point underdogs. This was their fifth straight victory with all but the UTA win over teams ranked well below 200 in the composite computer rankings plus NAIA Menlo; the Gauchos are getting healthy on cupcakes. To their credit, two of the victories were on the road (Bakersfield the other).
Besides the light schedule, a ton of credit to the turnaround lies with the leadership and stellar play of Junior Jaquori McLaughlin.  His decision making, scoring, ability to get to the line and much improved defense are night & day from his first four games.  Mucho the remaining credit goes to the team defense which is vastly improved.  The first four games, which included three losses, the Gauchos gave up 74.5 ppg and in their three losses, they gave up an average of 79 ppg.  In their 5 game winning streak, Gaucho opponents are averaging just 65 ppg.
Shout outs too to Amadou Sow who had his best game of the year vs. UT Arlington.  The Sophomore is maturing and playing smarter and leads the team in scoring and rebounding.  Also to Matt Freeman who has been every bit the perimeter threat he was rumored to be, shooting over 50% from deep and has really stepped into a leadership role as well.  He’s a cocky bastard and I love it.

Outlook for the remainder of the OOC season
The upcoming game at Southern Utah represents the most difficult remaining game on the OOC schedule and the only one that UCSB may not be favored.  The Thunderbirds rank 181 in the composite rankings and are a Top 100 team in KenPom’s defensive efficiency ratings. 
Win or lose, it will probably be a very difficult game.  Two days later, the Gauchos play at Idaho State representing their biggest trap game of the OOC.  The Bengals are not good this year, #287 in the composite rankings but winning on the road, at elevation, with wintry mountainous travel inbetween on a short rest is not easy.
Moving along Candy-Cane Lane, the Gauchos return to home to take on consecutive 300+ teams in Southern and Merrimack.  These should be easy double-digit victories.  After Christmas they travel to Louisiana to take on the rebuilding Cajuns who lost by 25 earlier this year to UCI but managed to lose by just 12 at Arizona State.  That should be another victory for the Gauchos but may not come easy.  They host NAIA Westmont January 2 to close things out.
I’ll go with the Gauchos losing just one more this year to finish their OOC at 11-4 but I’d like to say they’ll go undefeated.

Player Update
Devearl Ramsey#4 PG, RS Junior.  6’0”, 185 lb   5.8 ppg on 27% shooting (17% from deep), 3.4. apg/3.3 TOpg, 3.8 rpg, 30 mpg
No other Gaucho struggled more than Ramsey to start the season. Even now, 9 games into the season, he remains in a massive shooting slump, going just 1-10 from the field vs. UTA.  While a deft ball handler that usually can handle defensive pressure well, his decision making often puts him into situations that limits his options and leads to turnovers.  I’ve called this out before but the higher turnover rate could be due in part to his teammates not doing what their supposed to, something that is not as easy for us fans on the side to make that distinction.
On the positive side, his defense seems to be better than earlier in the year and he seems to possess the speed and strength he had last year (could also be the softer competition) that seemed lacking vs. the P12 teams early in the year.
I might be guilty of wearing rose colored glasses but I am feeling very positive about Ramsey coming back to form soon.  We know his shooting is far better than it has been and when that comes back, the confidence goes up and, probably, better decision making will follow.

JaQuori McLaughlin:  #3 Guard, RS Junior  6’4, 190 lb    13.7  ppg on 49% from the field (33% from deep), 4.1 apg, 1.4 TO pg, 3.7 rpg, 1.1 spg, 33 mpg. 
Much of the blame for the poor defense by the Gauchos vs. UCLA, Rice & OSU lay on Jaquori’s shoulders as he repeatedly got burned by his opponent.  He has since turned that around and has become UCSB’s best player.  His stats speak for themselves but his A/TO ratio may be the one that stands out the most, he is just playing very smart out there.  The Gauchos are on this 5 game winning streak without Heidegger and JRoq is the biggest reason for it.

Brandon Cyrus:  #11  Guard/Wing, RS Junior, 6’5”, 190lb.     6.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg. 25 mpg Shooting 40% from the field and just 18% from deep. In the preseason practices & scrimmages, Cyrus showed to be strong in finishing at the basket and did well defensively but wilted vs. the P12 competition. For a player coming from a major conference, he has played very tight against higher level competition, not producing on offense or performing as a defensive stopper fans hoped he would be.  He missed a couple games due to lower body injuries and since his return has been pretty good again on defense and showing some decent mid-range game.  Still not finishing with as much authority as anticipated and is not shooting well at all from deep.   While I don’t think he’ll ever be an outstanding three point shooter, I do expect his moves to the hoop to improve.  He is not playing to his potential right now.

Matt Freeman:  #2  Forward, GT (Oklahoma) 6‘10”, 220 lb     11.1 ppg, 53% fg (51% from deep), 3.2 rpg
Freeman has been a steady contributor on offense and is now third in scoring with 11 ppg and shooting an outstanding 51% from deep.  While he is a liability on defense, especially vs. more athletic teams, he plays smart and with a ton of confidence.  As mentioned before, he is providing much needed leadership and experience, especially needed in the absence of Heidegger.

Amadou Sow#12  Forward/Center, Sophomore, 6’9”, 235 lb     15.9 ppg on 56% shooting (43% from deep), 8.3 rbg, 1.2 bpg, 27 mpg. Sow struggled a bit and was undersized vs. the P12 teams but has been absolutely terrific vs the rest of the schedule.  To Sow’s credit, he still pulled double digit rebounds vs. the P12 schools, was just limited offensively.   Rumors of him improving his perimeter shot were accurate, he is shooting 43% from deep and is coming off a perfect 3-3 from the field vs. UTA.  Just a sophomore, his decision making, patience and feel for the game are really improving.   Expectations were high for this preseason first team All Big West player and he is certainly meeting them. 

Main Reserves
Sekou Toure:  #0  Guard, Sophomore, 6’5”, 185 lb     4.7 ppg, 4.2 rbg  18 mpg
Forced into spot starter and 6th man roles with the injuries to Heidegger and Cyrus, Toure has played extremely well.  His athleticism is an asset and he has played solid defense.  His game acumen, while still a bit of a handicap, is improving.  He has demonstrated some good finishing skills of late, with a nice Euro-step in his tool chest. His three point shot has been terrible (0-5) and the coaches have slapped the red light on that shot.  Something for him to work on but overall the future is bright for this sophomore.

Robinson Idehen:  #35  Center, Junior, 6’10”, 230 lb    4.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg. 12 mpg  
While he is the biggest and strongest guy on the roster, he frequently gets lost on defense and makes silly fouls trying to get caught up.  He’s been efficient on offense and has a couple nice moves to the hoop in his repertoire but his numbers have dipped a bit since the start of the season.  Still has a lot of work to do on his defense to stay out of foul trouble and make stops and if he can get that fixed, he should see his minutes bump up.  I still think that he paired with Sow can be a tough matchup for Gaucho opponents, I think its on Idehen to get better defensively so the coaches want to throw that out there. 

Jay Nagle#5  Forward, Sophomore.  6’9”, 210 lb    3 ppg, 41% from three, 12 mpg. 
A similar player to Freeman but does not have the have the same confidence that Freeman has.  Despite having grown an inch since his freshman campaign Nagle is averaging just one rebound per game and is shooting a lower % inside the arc than outside it.   Needs to get stronger as he has trouble on defense too.  On the positive side, has a nice feel for the game and plays smart within the system as demonstrated by a 2.3 A/TO ratio. 

Roberto Gittens#1  Guard, JC transfer Junior, 6’5”, 220 lb  2 ppg, 1 rpg, 8 mpg 
Has played just 7 games in spot play.  Decent shooting form but a little sluggish on the floor.  Would be great to see how a super fit Gittens would look out there but doesn’t look like we’ll see that this season. 

Max Heidegger#21 Guard, Senior. 6‘3”, 180 lb    14 ppg, 50% FG, 30% from three, 81%FTs, 3 apg, 31 mpg.  Max started out on fire this season but had taken a more passive, faciliatory role his last three games before getting a concussion at the end of the Portland State game.  He’s missed three games and there is no public timetable for his return.  With this being the second season in a row dealing with a concussion, it would not surprise me if we don’t see him til the new year as the priority has to be that he's in the clear.  Get better Max, its a joy watching you play.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

UCSB vs. UTA Men's Basketball Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB @ UT Arlington
Saturday, December 7, 2019, 12 pm PST
Quick Bite:  Gauchos travel to the Dallas area to take on the UT Arlington Mavericks of the Sun Belt Conference.  The Mavericks returned 5 of their 6 top scorers from last year and are projected to finish 3rd in their conference.

By the Numbers                                  
UTA.jpg (3.77KiB)
UCSB logo small.png (7.12KiB)
Preseason Conference
Pick (range)
3rd 1st to 2nd
CBS Preseason Rank 145 162
SI Preseason Rank 187 137
Record (D1 only) 2-5 4-3
      Home/away vs D1  1-1 (H)  1-2 (A)
 National Rankings
Composite: DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey,
144 169
SOS 14 279
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)    
                     Offense 160 92
                     Defense 130 272
Scoring 69.8 74.0
FG% 41.5 47.8
3 PT Makes/Attempts 8.8/27 6.5/20.6
3Pt % 32.9 31.5
FT Makes/Attempts 11.9/16.3 14/18.5
FT% 72.8 75.7
PPG Allowed 66.4 69.5
FG % Defense 39.8 45.4
3Pt % Defense 33.0 38.0
Steals PG 7.3 4.1
Blocks PG 3.8 2.8
Rebounding Margin -0.8 +7.0
Assists/Turnovers PG 14.7/11.2 14.1/12.0
Best win (BPI): Tulsa (106) 
Worst Loss: N. Texas (139)
Trend: Lost 1

UTA-UCSB History
UCSB All-time record vs. Mavericks:  1-0
Last game (1970):  In the only game played between the two schools UCSB handily defeated the Mavericks 96-67 in Rob Gym.

The Arena:  The Mavericks play in the College Park Center, built in 2012 at a cost of $78M.  Capacity is 7,000 and they are averag 2,093 fans this season. It’s a beautiful, modern facility with all chairback seats.

Head Coach:
Second Year Coach Chris Ogden garnered the Sun Belt COY honors after leading the Mavericks to an unexpected 2nd place finish after being picked to finish near the cellar and returning just 3% of its offense.  The Mavericks ranked dead last in the country in minutes continuity.  His team played the 2nd toughest non-conference schedule in the country and finished 17-16 overall.  A native of Texas, he played for Rick Barnes at the University of Texas then went on to work as an assistant under him at Texas then at Tennessee.  Prior to taking the UTA job, coached under Texas Tech’s Chris Beard.  He is very much the hot up & coming coach.
Roster & Overview of the Mavericks
Senior Brian Warren is the player that makes the offense tick. He led the team with 15.4 points, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals last season and is a dangerous scorer from anywhere on the floor. Radshad Davis and TiAndre Jackson-Young are the other shooters on the team. UT Arlington does not win games because of their outside shooting, but it would go a long way if Warren, Davis and Jackson-Young could boost their three-point shooting percentage. Davis Azore had a very promising freshman campaign, averaging 8.4 points and 4.2 rebounds. The 6-4 forward plays bigger than he is and has emerged as a consistent double-digit scorer with a year of experience under his belt. Fellow undersized forwards Ayoub Nouhi and Patrick Mwamba also earned some quality minutes as freshmen and should be ready to take the next step. Jabari Narcis has the size to bang around in the paint. He will get some help though from the newcomers, especially from Arkansas transfer Jordan Phillips and junior college transfer Coleman Sparling.
Last year’s Arlington’s defense spearheaded its success, a stingy unit that ranked in the top 100 in the country and second in the Sun Belt. Per KenPom, the Mavericks ranked dead last in the country in Average Height, which is what happens when you start 5’9/6’0 in the backcourt and a 6’5 center. Despite that, opponents struggled mightily to score inside, largely due to Ogden’s scheme which employed a conservative, “wall off the paint” approach, mixing in some compact zone looks to help combat his team’s lack of size. Jabari Narcis was the only rotation player over 6’6, and he proved to be an excellent shot-blocker, helping to boost the Mavs’ 2-point defense.  The Mav’s benefited greatly that their opponents last year did not shoot the 3 well, Research has shown that teams have little control over their opponents’ 3FG%, so regression to the mean (or worse) could have a disastrous impact on Arlington’s outlook this year
The Maverick offense did not have a ton of nuance to it, instead allowing the two guards to break down their defenders via isolation and slash-and-kick to the rest of the roster.  45% of their field goal attempts have been from beyond the arc.
Possible Starters

Brian Warren  #0  Guard, JC transfer Senior, 5’9”, 160 lb  11.6 ppg, 4 apg, 28 mpg.
Leads team in assists, steady with the ball with a 2.1 A/TO ratio.  Second on team in getting to the line, where he is 24/28. 
Led the team in scoring, assists and minutes played last year.  Preseason 1st Team Pick. Sports a wicked Haredenesque beard

David Azore  #4  Wing, RS Sophomore, 6’4” 205 lbs  12.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.6 apg. 29 mpg
Leading scorer with the bulk of his points earned at the FT line, 9 attempts per game, making them at a 84% clip. Excellent 3 point shooter, 11-28 from deep.  Second on the team in assists, leads team in steals. Steady with the ball, 1.8 A/TO ratio.

Tiandre Jackson-Young  #22 Wing, JC transfer Sr 6’3” 195 lbs  6.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 17 mpg  10/34 from deep.  Has started 4 games

Coleman Sparling #43  Forward JC transfer Junior 6’7”, 215 lb  15 mpg
Unimpressive stats.  Starts but playing only 15 mpg.  Played with Roberto Gittens at the College of  S. Idaho last year.

Jabari Narcis #13  Center, Senior, 6’9”, 230 lb  9.6 ppg, 7 rpg, 20 mpg
Surprisingly, their top three point shooter, making nearly half of his attempts, 19/39.  From Trinidad & Tobago.

Possible Key Reserves:
Sam Griffin  #1  Guard, Freshman, 6’3”, 175, 7.2 ppg, 18 mpg, 11/33 from deep.
Jordan Phillips  #2 Wing, Sophomore transfer (Arkansas)  6’7” 215 lbs  7.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 19 mpg
Radshad Davis  #10  Guard, JC transfer Sr  6’2”, 205 lb  6.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 16 mpg,
Ayoub Nouhi  #3  Forward Sophomore, 6’5”, 196 lb   3.8 ppg, 16 mpg, 5-15 from deep
Has started 3 games.  From Belgium.
Nicolas Elame  #20  Guard, Freshman, 6’3”, 180, 11 mpg
Has started 2 games, from France

Patrick Mwamba  #23 Forward Sophomore,  6’5” 188 lbs
Match-up & prediction:
UTA does not have a great record but they are a better opponent than the last four the Gauchos have faced.  With 8 games into the season providing a reasonable amount of data, the computers have UTA ranked about 25 slots above the Gauchos which means the two are pretty evenly matched.  UCSB’s defense has been much better of late and this game will be a test if it can hold up vs a step up in competition.  If it does, then expect a very competitive game that the Gauchos can win.  If not, then UTA wins somewhat comfortably.  The Mavericks are experienced, have the size to negate Sow down low, a point guard that is quicker than Ramsey and have the home court advantage.  Despite all that, going through the lineup, outside of the PG position, the Gauchos match up well.  Two of our best defenders are Cyrus and Toure who will get tasked with their top scorer David Azore.  Their center Narcis gets a lot of his points from beyond the arc and Sow has the speed to chase him down when he drifts outside.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·        Great defense, starting with Ramsey.  Brian Warren is a high motor pg, need to limit his ability to execute and draw fouls.  The help defense the Gauchos displayed vs. Bake was terrific and with a player like Warren, that will be a need again.
·        Stay out of foul trouble, particularly at the wing where Azore is very good at getting to the line.  A job for Cyrus and Toure.
·        Leverage an advantage at the four.  Freeman is much more productive than the Maverick’s Sparling, we should be getting the ball to Matt frequently.
·        Rebounding  from others than Sow.  Amadou will frequently be pulled out of the paint to guard Narcis which means others will have to crash the boards.

Prediction:  When I started writing up this preview, I felt this would be a loss for the Gauchos, but now am on the fence.  The computer rankings and home court advantage point to a Mavericks victory and I expect them to be favored.  However, I think UCSB matches up well and with improved defense and Ramsey showing signs of returning to form I think the Gauchos can pull the road upset.
Gauchos 64 UTA 62

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Fun facts about UTA:  School has been known as UT Arlington since 1967 after joining the UT system in 1965.  It was founded in 1895, went through several private military school iterations that all failed financially before going public & eventually becoming part of the Texas A&M system. Within the A&M system, the school quickly grew, eventually changing its name to the North Texas Agricultural College.  The rapid growth led to the College Station home campus to feel threatened and they began blocking funding to their northern campus.  UTA officials shook off the shackles, joining the UT system.  UTA is now a huge school with over 42,000 students. 
Initially known as the Rebels with accompanying Confederate fanfare and even mock slave auctions;  administrators ditched the Rebs, replacing it with the Mavericks in 1971.  Their women’s volleyball team made the Final 4 in 1989 and their men’s team has made the Big Dance once.  In 2017 the men advanced to the NIT quarterfinals.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Gauchos Take 3-Game Win Streak to Bakersfield for Tuesday Night Clash
Devearl Ramsey (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

UCSB vs. CSU-Bakersfield Men's Basketball Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

Devearl Ramsey (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
UCSB @ CSU Bakersfield
Tuesday, December 3, 2019, 7pm
Quick Bite:  Gauchos travel to the Central Valley to take on future BW conference member CSU Bakersfield.
By the Numbers 
CSUB.png (9.55KiB)
UCSB logo small.png (7.12KiB)
Preseason Conference
Pick (range)
4th1st to 2nd
CBS Preseason Rank179162
SI Preseason Rank176137
Record (D1 only)1-5 3-3
      Home/away vs D11-2 (H)0-2 (A)
 National Rankings
Composite: DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey,
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)  
3Pt %31.429.9
PPG Allowed69.970.9
FG % Defense42.245.8
3Pt % Defense37.740.0
Steals PG7.34.3
Blocks PG3.83.0
Rebounding Margin+11.8+ 7.6
Assists/Turnovers PG12.4/15.415.3/12.1
Best win (BPI):  Hampton  (299)
Worst Loss (BPI): S. Dakota St (213) 
Trend: Won 2
Bake-UCSB History
UCSB All-time record vs. Roadrunners:  1-1
Last game (2016):  UCSB 62-Bake 60 (OT). 
UCSB & Bake have played each other only twice in their history, both times in 2016 in a home & home series.  This was Bob William’s last year and the home victory was one of the more improbable and impressive wins for UCSB in that dismal season. The Gauchos trailed by as many as 17 and shot only 25% for the game but Bake could not stop Heidegger from getting to the line where he hit 16 of 18 FTs to will the Gauchos to victory.  Bake would go on to win 25 games, finish first in the WAC and advance to the NIT semifinal that season while the Gauchos would win only 5 other games.
The Arena:  The Roadrunners play the majority of their games in the 3,800 seat Icardo Center which was constructed in 1989.  The Roadrunners averaged 2,661 fans last season. On occasion, they will play in the downtown Rabobank Arena.
Head Coach: Veteran coach Rod Barnes enters his 7th season at the helm of the Roadrunners and has led the team its greatest results in D1 play since moving up in 2007. In 2016 the Roadrunners upset top seed NMSU in the WAC championship to advance to the Big Dance for the first time.  The following year they won a school record (D1) 25 games and advanced all the way to the NIT semis in Madison Square Garden after being knocked out of the conference tournament.  His record with the Roadrunners is 140-127.  Prior to his time at Bakersfield he had an unsuccessful 4 year stint at Georgia State and a very successful run at his alma mater, Ole Miss which was his first HC job.  He set records by taking the Rebels to their first ever NCAA tournament and to the Sweet 16 the following year. But after one more NCAA birth, the Rebels had four consecutive .500 seasons and he was let go.  His overall record is 326-316
Roster & Overview
It looks to be a rebuilding year for the Roadrunners as they return only one of their top five scorers from last year’s 18-16 squad.  Coach Barnes has been experimenting with his starting lineup as just about every player on the roster has started at least two games so would not be surprised if the listed lineup below ends up being incorrect.  The roster is filled with transfers, both from the JC ranks and from other D1 schools, plus several Redshirts.  The projected starting lineup is all juniors and most of their key reserves are juniors as well.  This is an experienced roster, just not experienced playing with each other.  Bake rebounds the ball very well, +11 per game on the season but they turn it over a lot too.  They could be a team that shows improvement as the season progresses.
Possible Starters
Czar Perry   Guard, JC Transfer Junior, 6’2”, 190lb.   8.3 ppg, 25 mpg
Leads team in assists (2.9 apg) with a very impressive 2.6/1 A/TO ratio.  Second on team in getting to the line; 17/22
Cam Allen  #3  Guard, RS Junior, 6’0”, 180 lb.  10ppg, 25 mpg, tied for team lead in 3 point makes (11, 37%)  Second on team in assists. Only player to start all 9 games. Transfer from LMU
Taze Moore  #4  Wing, RS Junior, 6’5” 180 lbs  13.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 25 mpg, 44% from deep
Leads team in scoring and 3pt shooting accuracy but is at his best on the defensive end, extremely disruptive; leading the team with 15 steals and 12 blocks, respectively.  Has played all 9 games but started just three of them.
Greg Lee  #21 Forward RS Junior,  6’9” 210 lbs  5.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Has started 5 games
Shawn Stith  #21 Forward JC transfer Junior,  6’8” 265 lbs  8.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 18 mpg
Leads team in getting to the FT line, 29/38.  Second in rebounding.  Has started just 3 games.
Possible Key Reserves:
De’Monte Buckingham  #13  Guard, RS Junior, 6’4”, 220 lb.  9.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg,  23 mpg, tied for team lead in three point makes (11, 37%). Second on team in steals (12)
Has started 6 games but came off the bench in the last couple.  Transfer from Richmond, was the A10 FOY and is a pre-season WAC first teamer.
Justin McCall  #22  Wing Sophomore, 6’6”, 210 lb  8ppg, 4.2 rpg, 25mpg
Has started 6 games.
Justin Elder-Davis  #10  Wing, RS Junior  6’4”, 215 lb   5.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 21 mpg
Leading returning scorer and rebounder from last year and leading the team again in rebounding. Has started 2 games.  10/34 from deep
Darin Person  #25  Forward RS Sophomore, 6’7”, 225 lb  4.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 13 mpg
Ronne Readus  #0 Center JC transfer Junior,  6’9” 240 lbs  3.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 13 mpg
Has started 6 games.
Match-up & prediction:  Gauchos had some self-inflicted ugliness on offense vs. Grambling but their defense had its best showing of the season.  I am going optimist and predict that the offensive woes were just a blip but that the defense was a step in the right direction and that this trend continues.  My understanding is that Heidegger is out for a while with his concussion but Cyrus should be back.  So either he or Toure will be in the starting lineup. 
The top two scorers for the Roadrunners play the wing position so this is an opportunity for Toure, Cyrus and McLaughlin to show what they can do to keep these guys under wraps.  McLaughlin’s D was much better vs. Grambling & PSU, lets see if he has moved on from his deficient defensive efforts vs. Rice, OSU & UCLA.  Speaking of McLaughlin, he’s really turned things around and is dishing out some very impressive numbers. His stat lines over the past two games:  20.5 ppg on 63% shooting, 5.5 apg, 5.5/1  A/TO ratio, 3 rpg.  He’s fully stepped up his game.
Bakersfield has just one win vs. D1 and while their schedule has been more difficult than UCSB’s (not a hard thing to do), its still  just the 193 SOS in the country.
Keys to the game for the Gauchos:
-        DEFENSE!  Sustained over both halves. If the same effort that was given vs. Grambling is what we see, Gauchos win.
-        Rebound and second chance points. 
-        Sow gets it going in this one.  He did not have his best effort vs. Grambling, I don’t see him having a second quiet game in a row.

Prediction:   Before the season I projected this as an easy win.  Now, I think it will be closer but the Gauchos should still execute better than Bakersfield and take it, 73-67

Official Site
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How to Watch:   ESPN3
Bake Season Preview and Game Peview Links:
Fun facts about Bake:
The Roadrunners were extremely successful in hoops at the D2 level, winning the National Championship three times.