Friday, November 16, 2018

Montana State vs. UCSB Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

Game 4 (Season D1 Home Opener)
UCSB vs. Montana State Preview 
Saturday, November 17, 2018, 2 pm PST
The Gauchos first home game against a D1 opponent in the 2018/19 season comes against the  Montana State Bobcats of the Big Sky Conference, the first of four consecutive games against Big Sky teams.  The Bobcats visit to Santa Barbara is a return game of a home & home series in which the Gauchos won the first game in convincing fashion last year in Bozeman, 91-69.  Regarding the Big Sky, its membership went down by one from 12 to 11 with North Dakota moving to the Summit.  The Bobcats are coming off a close loss at Colorado State, a big improvement after losing their first two D1 games by a combined 75 points.

By the Numbers                                                              
  Montana St. UCSB
Record (D1 only) 0-3 1-1
Home/away vs D1 0-2 0-0 (home)
 National Rankings
Composite 251 205
DCI (2) 253 225
RPI 77 235
Pomeroy 292 192
Massey 300 155
Sagarin 291 220
SOS 185 217
CBS Preseason Rank 213 203
SI Preseason Rank 176 289
Preseason Poll Pick 5th, 6th 1st – 6th
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)    
Offense 235 179
Defense 322 226
Scoring 67.0 76.0
PPG Allowed 82.5 60.0
Montana State:
Best win: Presentation College          
Worst Loss: Colorado State

Montana State -UCSB History
UCSB All-time record vs. Bobcats:  10-1
Last game (2017):  UCSB 91-69, in Bozeman

Head Coach:
Coach Brian Fish enters his fifth season with a 50-75 record and yet to record a winning season. After showing progress his first three years and with star guard Tyler Hall getting some NBA hype, last year was a step backwards and a repeat performance this year will warm the seat below him.
The Bobcats are a mature team with most of the team leaders and four of five starters returning from last season. That may or may not be a good thing given their disappointing performance but a roster full of seniors and juniors is usually dangerous. They did lose depth with the graduation of four players that played more than 15 mpg. Tyler Hall, after a spectacular sophomore campaign but disappointing junior campaign, returns, looking for a reboot. 
Possible Starters
Guard Harald Frey  #5   6’1”, 180 lb, Junior, 9.8 ppg, 4 apg.  From Norway, Frey leads the team in assists.  Shooting just .273 from three.  He earned All Big Sky HM last season.  Had 10 points in the loss to the Gauchos last year
Guard Tyler Hall #3  6’5”, 210 lb, Senior, 16.8 ppg, 3.8 rbg. 2/3 of his fg attempts are from three, shooting .325  Pre-season Big Sky MVP a year ago, he ended up on the second team and is a pre-season first teamer this year.  Put up 19 points in the loss to the Gauchos last year
Forward Ladan Ricketts #11  6’5”, 185lb JC Transfer Junior   9.8 ppg, .404 from three.  Best 3pt shooter on team, has been coming off the bench.
Forward Keljin Blevins  #2   6’6”, 200 lb, Senior 13.5 ppg, 7 rpg. Leads team in rebounding & free throw attempts.  Put up 8 against UCSB last year. 
Center/Forward Devin Kirby #31  6’10” 215lb, Sophomore 6.8 ppg, 5.3 rbg  Sat out last year. 

Possible Key Reserves:
Guard Russell Daniels  #5   5’11”, 165 lb, Junior.  Has started all four games but is not generating much statistics wise.  May still start. Plays 18 minutes per game.
Center/Forward Sam Neuman #4 6’7” 220lb, Senior 4.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg  Started every game last season
Center Usman Haruna #1 6’10” 235lb, Senior

Match-up & prediction:
After a horrific first two games in which the Bobcats lost by a combined 75 points, including by 30 at home to Utah State, they rebounded to play Colorado State extremely tough, only to lose by 4.  The Bobcats have given up 80 or more to all three D1 opponents including 101 to Utah State.  The biggest question for the Gauchos is when will Max Heidegger return?  He is still being listed as day-to-day.  Despite some impressive performances by the individual newcomers, in the opinion of this fan, Max is still the best player on the team when he is healthy. UCSB has been a mixed bag and after a poor defensive effort against North Dakota State, the Gauchos took it out on poor D3 Cal Lutheran and held them to 32 points.  They won’t be able to match that against the D1 Bobcats of course but the same level of effort should be enough to allow for the Gauchos to prevail, even without Max and if they struggle on the offensive side.  UCSB depth is such a key advantage, JP just needs to make sure he plays the hot hands. 

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
Defense. It’s all about defense.    
Prediction:  UCSB 80 Montana State 64

Official Site
Hey Guys!
 How to Watch:
Montana State Pre-Season Preview Links: ... eview-2019 ... y-preview/

Fun facts about Montana State:
Their 1928-29 men’s team won the mythical National Championship as awarded by both the Helms Foundation and the Premo-Porretta Power Poll. These two groups bestowed national titles retrospectively to whom they deemed to be the best teams in the years before the NCAA tournament got started. So for all of the gripes we have about the soft OOC schedule, it does include 2 former NCs in the first three D1 games alone ;-)

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