Thursday, November 29, 2018

Sac St. vs. UCSB Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

Game 7
UCSB vs. Sacramento State Preview
Thursday, November 29, 2018, 7pm PST
The Gauchos take on their fourth consecutive Big Sky opponent in Sacramento State, in a return game of UCSB’s  82-72 victory over the Hornets in Sacramento last season. As in the first three Big Sky opponents, the Hornets are pegged to finish in the bottom half of the conference (7th -10th), coming off a 11th place finish with a 7-25 overall record.  Note that UCSB will play yet another Big Sky member, Idaho State, making it five opponents from a single conference, which may be a record.  The Hornets have only played BW opponents thus far this season (D1 only) and bring an unblemished 2-0 record with wins over Davis & Fullerton.  Their third D1 & BW game, against Poly, was postponed due to the fires.  Best news is that Max has been cleared to practice this week and we will likely see him on the court in this game, if only for limited pt.

By the Numbers                                                             
  Sac. State UCSB
Record (D1 only) 2-0 4-1
Home/Away vs D1 0-0 (A) 1-0 (H)
 National Rankings
Composite 292 173
DCI (2) 255 168
RPI 156 204
Pomeroy 228 170
Massey 203 123
Sagarin 227 168
ESPN BPI 257 148
SOS 333 264
CBS Preseason Rank 197 203
SI Preseason Rank 302 185
Preseason Poll Pick 7th -10th 1st – 6th
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)    
Offense 282 158
Defense 169 192
Scoring 73.7 79.0
PPG Allowed 63.0 62.2

Sac St:
Best win:  CS Fullerton
Worst Loss:  None

Sac St-UCSB History
UCSB All-time record vs. Hornets:  4-1
Last game (2017):  UCSB 82-72, in Sacramento

Head Coach:
Longtime Coach Brain Katz enters his 11th season as the winningest coach in Hornet history but is saddled with an overall record of 107-193 (.357) that would have most coaches fired.  He has had one winning season.

The Hornets suffered a lot of injuries last season, especially in their backcourt, and return most of their production from last season.  They did lose their best player, Justin Strings, to graduation.  Senior PG Marcus Graves provides the Hornets buzz and is averaging nearly a triple double.  The Hornets have five guys scoring 8ppg or more so, with two of those players coming off the bench so they have good balance but only 8 players are playing regular minutes so are a bit limited in depth.
Possible Starters
Guard- Marcus Graves  #0 6’0”, 188 lb, Senior 15 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 9 apg, 3.3 spg.  Some pretty eye-popping stats with averaging 9 assists & 9 rebounds, especially for a player just 6 feet tall.  Is shooting a lowly fg % and is turning the ball over 5 times per game though.  Missed last season due to injury but averaged ~14ppg and 5.3 apg the year before. 
Guard- Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa  #2  6’2”, 200lb, Junior- 8ppg  Second leading returning scorer and tops in assists from last year.
Wing Osi Nwachukwu  #21  6’5”, 195 lb, JC Transfer Junior 8.3 ppg, second on the team in assists.

Forward Joshua Patton  #30  6’8”, 225 lb, 12 ppg, 6.3 rbg  Junior  Leading returning scorer & rebounder from last year.  15 against UCSB last year.

F/C Calvin Martin  #25  6’6”, 235 lb, 5 rbg  Senior

Posssible Key Reserves
Forward  Ethan Esposito   #22  6’7”, 220 lb, JC Transfer Sophomore 15 ppg,  7.3 rpg.   Transfer from San Diego has had a remarkable start to his D1 career, tied for the team lead in scoring and second in rebounding.  Has been coming off the bench but his stats scream starter.
Wing Bryce Fowler  #23  6’6”, 195 lb, Sophomore  8.7 ppg, 4 rpg.  Shot 40% from three last season

Match-up overview:  With victories over two of the BW teams expected to contend for the conference title, the Hornets present a much tougher challenge than thought before the season had started and will be the toughest opponent, at least on paper, the Gauchos will have faced thus far.  There is the caveat that both games were extremely close, by 3 over a struggling Davis program and in OT vs. Fullerton.  Hornet point guard Marcus Graves is averaging nearly a triple double (points, rebounds, assists) and it will be interesting to see if the Gauchos improved defense can disrupt his playmaking talents.   Statistically speaking, UCSB has advantages in FG%, FG% defense, rebounding margin and offensive efficiency.  Will be nice to see Max on the floor, should JP choose to play, him but I would not expect major minutes yet in any case.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos:  Depth and pressure defense.  Sac St is averaging 17 turnovers per game (vs 12 for UCSB).  When Fullerton stormed back from an 18 point deficit they did so largely off of creating 20 turnovers.  While creating turnovers is not a strength for the Gauchos (only 10 per game) utilizing their athleticism and disrupting Graves and his ability to create for his team is key.  Continued contributions going down the bench for the Gauchos to leverage the team’s advantage in depth.

Prediction:  First road game for the Hornets results in their first loss of the season.  Gauchos continue their dominance at home and win, 77-69

Official Site
Hey Guys!: (dead board), I did not post there. ... 1b4012ba27,
How to Watch:

Sacramento State Pre-Season Preview Links: ... eview-2019 ... y-preview/
Fun facts about Sac State:
Their football team earned wins over Pac 12 teams in 2011 & 2012, Oregon St & Colorado, respectively.

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