Wednesday, February 28, 2018

LBSU vs. UCSB Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB @ Long Beach Preview

Thursday, March 1, 2018, 8:00pm PST

After a few games atop the Big West, UCSB hosts Long Beach tied for second with Davis after losing successive games to the top two defensive teams in the Big West in Davis and Irvine.  The Gauchos got their mojo back in putting up undersized Northridge to stop the losing streak at two.  The 49ers, losers of 5 of their last 6, are struggling against the top end of the conference.  The Guchos have played Long Beach State 125 times, more than they have played any opponent. The 49ers hold a 66-59 all-time advantage but UCSB easily defeated Long Beach in the Pyramid a month ago.

By the Numbers                                                              
  Beach UCSB
OOC Record, all games 13-17 21-7
BWC Record 7-7 10-4
Home/away vs D1 5-10 (away) 9-1 (home)
National Team Rankings

Composite (DC2, RPI, Pomeroy,
Massey, Sagarin)
211 112
DC2 233 104
RPI 206 100
Pomeroy 200 116
Massey 202 93
Sagarin 216 149
RPI SOS 148 296
Preseason Poll Pick 4th 6th
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)

Offense 145 56
Defense 266 235
Scoring (conference only) 75.6 (77.1) 76.3 (73.8)
PPG Allowed (conference only) 79.4 (76.3) 70.2 (69.1)
Best win: Stanford (home,116 DC2)
Worst Loss: S. Utah (away, 301 DC2)
Trend:  In Big West play Long Beach has taken care of business against the bottom half of the conference but has only win (Fullerton) against the top four teams (Davis, Fullerton, Irvine, UCSB) that they have faced. They are the second worst defensive team in the conference, ahead of only Cal Poly. 

Head Coach:
With Bob Williams no longer at UCSB, Dan Monson is the dean of the Big West,  in his 11th season at Long Beach.  After great success early in his time at Long Beach, the 49ers won the conference regular season his third through 5th seasons, his teams have leveled off to 3rd and 4th place finishes.  He has taken the 49ers to one NCAA tournament, in 2012 where as a 12 seed they lost a competitive first round game to New Mexico.  He has lost in the BWT final three times. His record stands at 183-173 overall and 112-61 in BW play. 
Dan is the son of long time college coach Don Monson who took Idaho to the Sweet 16 in 1982 and later coached Oregon.  Dan is most famous for putting Gonzaga on the map in 1999 taking the Zags to the Elite 8 before bolting to Minnesota. 

Unlike some of the other teams that have given UCSB problems, Long Beach does not possess a super speedy back court.  Instead, the strength of 49er roster lies in Senior forward Gabe Levin and a highly efficient offense, shooting at a 45% clip and leading the conference in scoring at 77 ppg. Monson has been tweaking the line up with a couple of freshmen, Edon Maxhuni and Jordan Roberts, taking on bigger roles.   Both Mason Riggins and former starting guard Barry Ogalue are both active again after extended absences, giving Long Beach a full roster.  

Guard Deishuan Booker 6’’3” 170lbs, Junior, JC Transfer, #15  Booker has been solid for the 49ers, leading the conference in steals (1.9 per game) and leading the team in assists.  He is shooting an impressive 49.5% from the field, 35% from three in 30 minutes per game, scoring 10 ppg. He pulls down 3.5 boards per game but does turn the ball over three times per game.   

Guard Edon Maxhuni  6’2”, 185 lb, Freshman. #23  True freshman from Finland has moved into a starting role of late and has seen his minutes increase and his scoring rise to about  7ppg.  A good three point shooter, making 32-82 (.390)  He scored 20 on the Gauchos in the first game.
Wing Jordan Roberts  6’8”, 195lb, Freshman. #3 Another true freshman that has seen his role increase, including now starting.  Averaging 4 ppg, and has 20 steals.  Not a 3 point threat. 

Forward Gabe Levin  6’7”, 230lb, Senior #0  The centerpiece of the 49ers, he leads the team with 18 ppg and 7 rebounds per game and minutes played (30) while adding 1.7 assists and has 30 steals.  He has great moves near the basket, range to outside the arc (18-50) and gets to the line frequently, 7 attempts per game making nearly 80%.  

Forward/Center Temi Yussuf  6’7”, 265 lb, RS Junior. #4   One of the few players in the league that will match Ami in size & strength, Yussuf is averaging 9 ppg and 5.5 rpg in only 18 minutes of play. Effective at drawing fouls, getting to the line 4 times per game, making 63% of them.  Has started only 14 games this season. 

Key Reserves:
Wing Bryan Alberts  6’5”, 200lb, RS Junior. #10 A transfer from Gonzaga, Alberts has dealt with an injury and has been inconsistent for LB.  Has started 15 games.  Second leading scorer at 12.1 ppg and is their biggest three point threat attempting 7 per game while making 38% of them.

Guard Jordan Griffin  6’3”, 165 Sophomore,  #11 Three point specialist, second on the team with 40 makes (.396) in only 16 minutes of play.  Averages 6 ppg

Forward KJ Byers  6’7”, 195 Junior, JC Transfer,  #14 Averages 5.6 ppg and 4.3 rpg in 21 minutes of play.

Wing Barry Ogalue  6’5”, 195lb, Senior. #13 A JC transfer last year, Ogalue is averaging 7ppg and has started 13 games.  He did not play against UCSB in the first game but scored 11 points on 3-4 shooting in just 16 minutes in his first game back against Hawaii on Saturday.

Forward Mason Riggins  6’8”, 230lb Junior,  #5 Was not present for last game and PT had been diminishing before then.  Averages 4.8 ppg and 4.2 rpg in 20 minutes of play.

View from a 49er Fan:  With credit and thanks to ccman.  This is an update to the preview he provided before the first game.

Long Beach is such a disjointed team.   Monson's lost control of a team once again.  The guy just can't build teamwork over the course of a year - he was lucky the fab four stuck together.  I think it'll end badly, I don't even think they beat Riverside.  They were playing great defense without Levin 1st half vs. Fullerton, and then they all started just standing around when Levin was back in there.  They can't deal with any sort of adversity.  They have to be way ahead or be in a game with a lost cause to play decent.  Players are basically just standing around watching Levin do his thing, & Levin is great, but he's not Faust.  What a waste of a great motor. 
The only other thing I'll add is at least they have Ogalue & Riggins back - and 3 games to get ready for the BWCT with those two.  While for any one game that may not be a big deal, should LB somehow win their first round game, Riggins is huge because he can alter some shots and gives Yussuf/Levin some margin with fouls. Ogalue is the type of guy that can go off for points in a hurry, which for that 2nd and 3rd game in 3 days against some legs that are getting a little tired, he could do some damage.  LB has started to slow things down last couple games, their advantage is pushing the pace (meaning via Booker, not Levin if CDM could get that thru his skull)  and they have to get back to that, they need to win by scoring points, and having those two make that more likely.

Game One Recap
In a game of two completely different halves the Gauchos jumped to a large lead and held on to a 10 point road victory.  The Gauchos had their best half of defense of the season in holding the high powered 49ers to only 17 points in the first half.  In the second half, the 49ers offense roared back, putting up 53 points on 70% shooting from the field, 57% from three.  But King and Vincent kept UCSB’s offense cooking and the Gauchos still won by double digits.

Match-up & prediction:
Game two between the 49ers and the Gauchos will have a different look as UCSB will have Canty back (according to Reynaud) and LB will have Riggins and Ogalue.  I don’t expect UCSB will be able to dominate as they did at the start last game nor do I expect their defense to be as porous as it was in the second half.

Keys for the Gauchos:
1)    Two halves of defense.
2)    Limit the rest of the 49er offense outside of Levin.  Will be interesting to see if Canty gets matched with Levin at times. Levin can get 25 and if our guards and Ami can limit the rest of the team, UCSB should be fine. 
3)    Good perimeter rotations.  Long Beach is the highest scoring offense in the BW (conference games only).  They shoot the three fairly well and the Gauchos need to rotate.  They didn’t do this well in the second half and Maxhuni went for a career high of 20 on 4-7 from three.   
4)    Attack Levin and Temi/Riggins. King did a fantastic job in the first game.  Levin avoids foul trouble and does not play as aggressive D.  Canty is superior to Temi.  UCSB needs to attack in the paint.   Conversely, Levin leads the conference in drawing fouls and King & Blackmon will need to be careful.
5)    Exploit Long Beach’s weakness of perimeter defense.  With Gabe, Max and Marcus, we have three terrific shooters that should be able to take advantage.They did in the first game, with 19, 16 & 12 respectively.
6)    Gabe’s Dad says, “DEFENSE!   Defense Gauchos, DEFENSE!!!”

UCSB is still about 100 points better in the composite computer ranking and at this stage of the season that is significant. With Canty back, UCSB should be highly favored.  That being said, we could not stop LB in the second half and I’m sure JP has been reminding them of this all week long. 
UCSB 86  LB 72

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