Saturday, February 24, 2018

UCSB vs. CSUN Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB @ CSUN Preview
Saturday, February 24, 2018, 5:00pm PST*
*ESPN3 Game (Note that the WatchESPN schedule lists this for 7pm)

After being dominated by the two best defenses in the league in UCI and Davis, the slumping and worn out Gauchos will attempt to bounce back against one of the worst defensive teams (#297 Pomeroy) in last place CSUN.  The Matadors are coming off a double OT loss vs. Poly just as UC Davis had a double OT game against the Mustangs before facing us which did not seem to hurt them in the least.  The Gauchos are still missing Jalen Canty.  Without him in the first game, Leland King had a career game and helped lead the Gauchos to a dominant 75-51 victory.  UCSB and CSUN have played 55 times since 1959 with the Gauchos holding a 36-19 all-time edge.

By the Numbers                                                              
OOC Record, all games 6-22 20-7
BWC Record 3-11 9-4
Home/away vs D1 2-7 (home) 8-6 (away)
National Team Rankings

Composite (DC2, RPI, Pomeroy,
Massey, Sagarin)
330 114
DC2 328 110
RPI 342 96
Pomeroy 326 116
Massey 329 97
Sagarin 325 151
RPI SOS 320 279
Preseason Poll Pick 7th 6th
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)

Offense 318 64
Defense 297 220
Scoring (conference only) 65.5 (63.4) 76.1 (73.2)
Defense (conference only) 70.0 (72.2) 70.5 (70.1)
Best win: Morgan State (home, 294 DC2)
Worst Loss: Cal Poly (away, 322 DC2)
Trend:  Since their loss to the Gauchos on February 3, the Matadors have gone 1-4, their win a surprising 77-71 victory on the road against Hawaii. On Thursday, after rallying from 15 down, the Matadors gave up late leads in regulation and in the first overtime to succumb to Cal Poly in double OT.
Head Coach:
Reggie Theus is in his 5th season at the helm of the Matadors and has yet to have a winning season.  His record stands at 53-154 overall and 26-51 in BW play with a best finish of 5th place.   Compared to his predecessor Bobby Brasswell, his hire has been a total disaster.  He did coach New Mexico State for two seasons and had some success there, going 25-9 in his second season and a trip to the NCAA tournament and parlayed that to a short gig as the head coach of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

One of the smallest arenas in the nation at any sports level, let alone D1, the Matadome seats only 1600 according the CSUN official site.  Wikipedia says it seats 2400 after the 2015 renovation.  Good work state school. 
In an editorial for the Los Angeles Daily News, Jill Painter described the Matadome as "...the Kinesiology building with a basketball court inside...".[4]

Relatively older roster with three seniors starting. Like Santa Barbara, lack scoring punch off the bench.  Neither starter Michael Warren nor key reserve Anthony Swan made the trip to Poly and their status for Saturday is unknown.  Warren was injured in their previous game against Fullerton.

Guard Terrell Gomez 5’8” 160lbs, Freshman. #2 Go ahead and break out with the Webster chants but Gomez is the competing with Hawaii’s Buggs for the BW FOY award.  Leads the team in assists (fourth in the conference), minutes played, third in scoring and is the best three point shooter on the team, .452 from beyond the arc.
Guard Lyrik Shreiner  6’3”, 190lb, RS Sophomore #3 Transfer from TCU. Scoring 8.6 ppg and pulling about 4 boards per game.  Turns the ball over a lot.
G Jonathan Guevara 6’1”, 165 lb.  Junior #14 Plays 14mpg.  Forced into starting role due to injury to Warren.
Forward Tavrion Dawson  6’8”, 202lb, Senior #4 Leads team in scoring (16.8 ppg), rebounding (6.6 rpg) and FT attempts (4 per game) while averaging ~32mpg. Attempts 3.5 threes per game while making ~ 31% of them.  Turns the ball over 2.5 per game.  His stats put him in contention for All BW 2nd team.
F Reggie Theus Jr.  6’6”, 217 lb, RS Senior #24  Scoring about 6ppg.  Has made an impressive .714 of his three point attempts but much to the dismay of the Welcher, has only 7 attempts.

Key Reserves:

C Mahamadou Kaba-Camara  7’0”, 273 lb.  Sophomore  #5 Provides size of the bench and pulls down a couple boards per game in about 11 minutes of play.
G Carl Brown  6’4”, 180lb Junior #22  JC transfer stepped in Thursday to score 10pts and pull 5 boards in 25 minutes of play.  Normally averages 10m of play. Good 3 point shooter, has made 10 of 23 on the season.
G Jalon Pipkins 6’4”, 180lb Freshman, #10 Normally averages 11m of play. Good 3 point shooter, has made 7 of 16 on the season. Turns the ball over 2 to 1 over assists.
F Anthony Swan  6’7”, 196 lb RS Junior #30 Transfer from George Washington averages about 10 mpg. DNP vs Poly and status is unknown.
Wing Michael Warren  6’5”, 180 lb, Senior #1 Second on team in scoring with 13.6 ppg, shoots the three well, .386 %.  Is second to Dawson in rebounding as well with 6.1 boards per game and plays 31 mpg.  Gets to the line frequently, 3.5 attempts per game.  DNP vs Poly and status is unknown.

View from a Matador Fan: With thanks and credit to parkj19.  This is from before the first game.
CSUN comes into this game with UCSB having their worst season in many, many years, ranked last in RPI among all 351 Division 1 teams in the NCAA only a few weeks ago, now barely higher at 347 (before Thursday’s Davis game), having beaten struggling teams such as Riverside (by 9 at UCR) and Cal Poly (by 18 at home) in two of their last five games, while playing Davis tough on the road and at home (losing by 7 in a game they were only down by 3 with under two minutes to go on the road; and losing again by 7 but down by only a point or two with a few minutes to go in their recent game at home), and losing to Long Beach at home (by 4 points, and down by only 2 points with less than 10 seconds left in the game, before a desperation foul, and 2 FTs converted by Gabe Levin). The Matadors have not been a good road team during Reggie Theus’ term, having gone 4-12 and 4-8 the last two years, and are currently 1-9 on the road this year (that lone road victory being their recent win against UCR).

CSUN has played UCSB even the last four years (4-4, two of those wins against unquestionably the worst, most snake-bitten, UCSB team in a long time) The Matadors have surprisingly won 3 of the last four games the teams have played in Santa Barbara (even winning there, in overtime, against the 2013-14 UCSB team that featured Alan Williams, Michael Bryson and Eric Childress, a team that went 12-4 in the BW that year…yes, they all played, Williams scoring 22 points). I know these are sore points for UCSB  basketball, and will not be forgotten in the game Saturday.
The Matadors’ strengths are their two veteran players, Tavrion Dawson and Micheal Warren, who can both drive well to the basket or hit the three point shot, and freshman Terrell Gomez. CSUN three point shooting has been developing into a strength this year (something they have not been good at for awhile, with the exception of Josh Greene as well as Stephan Hicks in his senior year). Three Matadors are currently shooting near or better than 40% of their 3s (PG Gomez, runner up in the BW at 47%, freshman Jalon Pipkins at 42% and Warren at 38%, while Dawson and Jonathan Guevara are shooting 33%), and the Matadors 37% shooting is second in the BW to UCSB’s 38%. 
The Matadors have been a poor defender of the 3 point shot under Theus, but this year they are holding opponents to 33.8%, the best year under Theus, down from nearly 39% the last two years. Matador defense in general has been poor under Theus, the last few years especially, but seems to be improving a bit this year….despite the Matadors really not having a true post player and few big men on the team who play regularly. 
Sophomore Mamadou Kaba-Camara, at 7 feet, has potential to be a good player someday (he is from Guinea, and has not played organized basketball for as long as most American college players, but is tall, quick, and smart… a Dean’s list student who speaks several languages). PG Gomez is probably the leading candidate for BW FOY; he is extremely fast, a very good shooter, and controls the ball well. Dawson can do it all offensively, as can Warren…they are also the team’s leading rebounders. Guard Lyrik Shreiner can explode for double digit points, as he has done numerous times this season; he’s capable of a 20 point game. Reggie Theus, Jr. has developed his game this season (driving to the basket and short jumpers) and can also hit double digits (he’s averaging 5.5); Zeno Lake is a good rebounder and a threat around the basket offensively.
The Matadors will have a tough time with the Gauchos, who seem to be, from my limited viewing of them this season, a very balanced team offensively, who can beat you from inside or outside. One thing you can count on, the Matadors will fight hard to the end….I would characterize this team as “scrappy.” 

Game One Recap (February 3, 2018 in Santa Barbara)
 Leland King had his best game as a Gaucho scoring 25 points and pulling 17 boards and led the team to a decisive 75-51 victory.  Paced by King, UCSB outrebounded CSUN 49-32.  With Ami coming close to a double-double with 10 points and 8 boards.  Max added 14 points on 4-7 from three. The Gauchos shot 46% and CSUN only 32%.  UCSB had 18 assists to just 10 turnovers.

Match-up & prediction:
Both teams are struggling at this time with losses both on the court and of key players.  King and Max in particular have dropped off significantly.   Which Gaucho team will show up Saturday?  Are their struggles from wearing down or did they just get outmatched by two very good defenses?  CSUN’s defense has not been effective for most of the year so the Gauchos get a break there and hopefully King & Max get going again.      
Keys for the Gauchos:
1)    Stop Gomez, perhaps double him up on the perimeter.  A speedy guard type that has been the bane of the Gaucho defense all season.
2)    Dominate the paint again.   Ami and King both had career games last time.  If they have anything close to a repeat performance, Gauchos win.  
3)   Inside-Outside.  UCSB completely got away from this vs. UCI.  Gabe had a poor game against CSUN the first time around and we need one of he, Max and Marcus to get hot this game. 
4)  Get the lead, get the starters some rest.  Plenty of minutes for Ami, CT and JB, but would be nice to go deeper into the bench and keep the team rested.  Can I get me some JD please and not just in the last 1 minute garbage time?
5)  Gabe’s Dad says, “DEFENSE!   Defense Gauchos, DEFENSE!!!”

The way the Gauchos are playing right now, they could lose to anyone, including last place CSUN.  Lucky for the Gauchos, they seem to be catching the Matadors at an opportune time with them missing two key players and coming off a double OT loss on the road.  The team should be feeling a sense of urgency now, win out and they can still nab first place.  I think King gets healthy, Ami gets it going against the smaller ‘Dors and one of our guards will be hot.  Gauchos 73  CSUN  64

Official Site:
Home of the Welcher: ... etball-f9/
How to Watch:  ESPN3.

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