Thursday, February 18, 2021

CSUB vs. UCSB Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

CSUB vs. UCSB Preview

The next two weekends will be very impactful on UCSB's position going into the BWT taking on the 3rd and 4th place teams in the conference standings.
Coming off a huge sweep of Hawaii in the islands, against a Warrior team that had knocked off UCI and UCR, the Gauchos find themselves not only in first place but in the top 50 of the NET rankings (45 as of this post), brand new territory for a Pasternack coached Gaucho squad.  If the Gauchos can keep things rolling vs. a step up in competition,  they will put themselves into the drivers seat in March; a top seed in Vegas, a favorable 12 or 13 seed in the Big Dance should they win it all in Vegas and, possibly, an NIT bid should they fail to win the BWT.  It has been rumored that the NIT will have just 16 teams this year which may leave all mid-majors out in the cold, if the NIT does its usual feasting on low to mid-pack P5 schools to fill out the bracket.

Getting back to this weekend and taking care of business vs. a very athletic and dangerous Bakersfield team.  The Roadrunners are 8-4 and in 3rd place in the BWC, 14-7 overall.  They played a challenging OOC schedule with losses to Stanford, Arizona and Santa Clara and have a 26 point romp over Pepperdine.   They've played a more difficult BWC schedule too having already faced UCI & UCR, splitting with both.    They rank 2nd in the BWC in Kenpom offensive efficiency, behind UCSB and 4th in defensive efficiency (UCI, SB, UCR, Bake...).  Their greatest strength may be their ability to crash the offensive boards, they lead the conference in this area with three players in the top 10; Readus, Elder-Davis & McCall.

Roster & Overview
Bakersfield has an experienced roster returning nearly all key pieces from last year.  They’ve augmented that with a couple reserve JC transfers.  While they have some size in the front court, it is their depth at guard and wing that is their strength. 
Possible Starters
Czar Perry  #5  Guard, JC Transfer Senior, 6’2”, 190lb.   5.8 ppg, 3.8 apt, 2.3 ATO,  28 mpg
Leads team in assists and minutes played.  Not a 3 point threat.  He and Elder-Davis the only players to start every game.
Justin Elder-Davis  #10  Guard, RS Senior  6’4”, 215 lb   9.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 27 mpg
Leading three point threat, making 1.5 per game at a 39% clip.  About 2 FT attempts per game, making 83%.
Taze Moore  #4  Wing, RS Senior, 6’5” 180 lbs  11.4 ppg, 4.2  rpg, 22 mpg.
Leads team in scoring and 3pt shooting accuracy with an astounding 50% from deep.  Is second in assists and FT attempts (82%)  Is at his best on the defensive end, extremely disruptive; leading the team with 25 steals, also has 10 blocks. 
Justin McCall  #22  Wing, Junior, 6’6”, 210 lb   9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 23 mpg
Not a 3 point threat though he has made 2 of 3 on the year, shooting an impressive 58% from the field so imagine he gets most of his points in the paint.
Ronne Readus  #0 Center JC transfer Junior,  6’9” 240 lbs  3.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 16 mpg
Has started 6 games, usually comes off the bench but started in the last game which Shawn Stith sat out.  Team’s leading rebounder and ranks 3rd in the conference for offensive rebounds.  Shoots only 36% from the charity stripe.
Possible Key Reserves:
Shawn Stith  #21 Forward JC transfer Junior,  6’8” 265 lbs  7.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 19 mpg
Leads team in getting to the FT line, 44/63  A poor man's Al Williams, he uses his bulk effectively.  Usually starts but sat out the last game, not clear on his status.
De’Monte Buckingham  #13  Guard, RS Senior, 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.
Shawn Williams  #1  Guard, RS Senior  6’3”, 175 lb   8.8 ppg, 2.8 apg, 4.1 rpg, 19 mpg
About half of his fg attempts are from beyond the arc where he makes 38% of them.  Sat out last year after transferring in from Kansas St.
Cameron Smith  #3  Forward JC Transfer Junior, 6’7”, 205 lb  2.9 rpg, 12 mpg 
Picks up a high number of fouls in limited minutes.
Travis Henson  #2  Forward JC Transfer Junior, 6’6”, 195 lb  10 mpg 
55 3 point attempts on the year, making 31%

I expect two hard fought games, similar to the battle these teams had last year.  I think we'll see a lot of JPL and of Toure in these games, at least more than we typically see.  We'll need their defense vs. their athletic guards & wings.  I believe UCSB is fully capable of sweeping the Roadrunners but, and I say this with reluctance, a split is probably more likely.

Winners of 10 Straight, First-Place Gauchos Host Bakersfield for Two

Thursday, February 11, 2021

First-Place Gauchos Take 8-Game Winning Streak to Hawai'i

Gauchos Look to Get Back on Track At Home Against Rainbow Wahine

UCSB vs. Hawaii Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB @ Hawaii
Friday February 12, Saturday, February 12, 2021, 9 PM PST
Gauchos ride an 8 game winning streak out to the islands to take on Hawaii, in the first of three weekends vs. teams in the top half of the conference.  Hawaii is coming off an easy sweep of lowly Cal Poly and the week prior they had a most improbable comeback victory over 1st place UCI.  UCSB now sits tied atop the standings at 6-2 with Irvine but their 6 wins have come against the bottom third of the conference.  Hawaii is 5-5 having split their series with UCI & UCR and being swept by Bake.
This will be the 26th meeting between the two teams with the series with the Gauchos holding a 13-12 advantage.  Last year the team’s split the series, each holding serve at home.
Hawaii experienced significant roster turnover from last season with nearly all players new to the program.  They have four players averaging in double digits and Coach Ganot has not settled on a set  starting lineup.  Last weekend their second and third leading scorers for the season came off the bench. They are led by sophomore guard Justin Webster, one of the few holdovers from last season and emerging star Junior Madot, a JC transfer from Australia. 

Probable Starters
Guard Jovon McClanahan  #3  5’11”, 170 lb, Sophomore 2.6 ppg, 2.6 apg, 20 mpg.
Recent addition to the starting line-up.  Leads team in assists,  JC transfer.  UCSB offered him. 
Guard Justin Webster  #2  6’3”, 180 lb, Sophomore 13.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 31 mpg.
Leads team in scoring, minutes played, three point makes, steals and getting to the line.  Despite high usage, is shooting 52% from the field including 45% from deep
Wing Junior Madut  #0 6’6”, 180lb, Junior JC transfer.   11.3 ppg, 29 mpg.  Came off the bench vs. Poly.  He is skilled
Forward Casdon Jardine  #22  6’7”, 215 lb. Senior  11 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 28 mpg. 
Transfer from Utah Valley
Center Mate Colina  #11  7’0”, 240 lb  Junior.  6.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 20 mpg
From Australia, has started the last two games but just five for the season.  Team’s leading rebounder.
Key Reserves
Forward/Center James Jean-Marie  #1  6’8”, 230 lb. Senior  12.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 19 mpg. 
Team’s second leading scorer, has started 7 games but did not start last weekend. Second on the team in getting to the line, 79%.   Transfer from USD, just like teammate Noel Coleman.
Guard Noel Coleman  #4  6’1”, 175 lb, Sophomore  5.5 ppg, 17 mpg
Started last weekend vs. Poly and may be in the starting lineup this weekend.  Transfer from USD. 
Guard Biwali Bayless  #14  6’1”, 185 lb, Freshman 4.9  ppg, 2.4 apg 20 mpg
Has started 5 games.  Second on team in assists. From Australia 
Forward Justin Hemsley  #42  6’6”, 195 lb. Junior  3.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 13 mpg. 
With the 8 game win streak and Sow’s history of dominating Hawaii’s bigs, its tempting to predict a sweep for the Gauchos.  But UH has splits vs. UCR & UCI which also have strong front courts.
Hopeful for a sweep but a split more likely.