Thursday, January 31, 2019

Gauchos Host UC Irvine Thursday in First-Place Showdown on ESPNU

Devearl Ramsey (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

UCI vs. UCSB Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB vs. UC Irvine, Game 1
Thursday, January 31, 2019, 8 PM PST
It is second place vs. first place, the anticipated match-up between the two conference favorites coming out of pre-season as UCSB hosts UC Irvine. And it will all be seen on national television.

By the Numbers                                                             
Quadrant 3 Game
  uci hello kitty.jpg UCSB logo small.png
Home/Away (D1)
8-2 (A)
7-0 (H)
Big West Conference
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin
CBS Preseason Rank
SI Preseason Rank
Preseason Poll Pick
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Team Statistics (Overall/BWC)
71.0  /  72.5
75.6  /  69.6
42.9  /  43.3
46.7  /  42.8
3Pt %
35.8  /  36.0
35.0  /  35.8
70.1  / 64.8
70.8  /  65.2
PPG Allowed (All/Conf)
65.1  /  66.8
64.7  /  66.0
FG % Defense
44.1  /  40.8
39.0  /  45.2
3Pt % Defense
31.4  /  33.9
28.1  /  32.6
Rebounding Margin
 +6.1  /  +8.8
+8.1  /   +3.2
Best win (NET): St. Mary’s; away, 55
Worst Loss (NET): Long Beach; home, 218
Trend:  Irvine is 5-1 in conference play that has them in first place as they were expected to be.  But two of those wins came in OT and they were down by as much as 18 vs. CSUN before coming back.   Perhaps experience is a major factor in winning the close ones but they could be a bit lucky too not to have a couple more losses on their scorecard.

UCI-UCSB History
UCSB holds a 52-39 advantage in the series with the teams splitting the games last year, each winning at home. They first played in 1968 with the Gauchos winning at home, 83-78 when the Anteaters were still D2.  They would not play again until 1978 when UCI had moved up to D1 and both were members of the then PCAA.  The Gauchos won that game too and would not lose until 1981, 6 straight in that streak.   UCI soon returned the favor with their longest streak of 6 games from 1982-1985.  UCSB’s longest win streak in the series is 8 games, 1991-1994.
Head Coach:
Russell Turner is in his 9th season at the helm of the Anteaters and has an overall record of 174-127 (.578) an outstanding 88-48 (.647) record in the Big West.  After two initial rebuilding seasons, he ran off five consecutive 20+ win seasons before slipping to 18 wins last year, albeit against a very difficult OOC schedule.  In 2015 he led the Anteaters to their first NCAA tournament where they narrowly lost to Louisville in the first round.  In 2016 he led the Anteaters to 28 wins, best in school history.  He’s known for a fiery demeanor on the sideline and  his teams are known for strong defense and for often having multiple 7 footers on the roster.

UCI returns most of their roster from last season, including all five starters, all of whom are upperclassmen.  They are experienced on the bench as well with three upperclassmen and one RS freshman in the primary group of four reserves.

Probable Starters
Guard Eyassu Worku #24  6’2” 175 lbs, Junior. 7.3 ppg, 25 mpg.  Leads the team with assists, 2.5 per game, has 12 three pointers on 36 attempts.  “Worku has been erratic, though better recently and good early in the season.”
Guard Max Hazzard #2 6’0”, 170 lb, RS Junior, 11.8 ppg, 26 mpg.  Leads team in scoring, minutes played and three point makes with 53 at a .396 clip. 
Guard Evan Leonard #14 6’1”, 185 lb, Junior, 10.8 ppg, 24 mpg. Preseason All-Big West, dealt with a leg injury earlier but is healthy now.  Second on team in scoring, shoots a solid .446 from the field including .404 from deep. 
Forward Tommy Rutherford  #42   6’8”, 240 lb, Junior  6.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 17 mpg.  Returning first team all BW player is having a disappointing season but seems to be improving.
Forward/Center Jonathan Galloway  #5  6’10”, 235 lb, GS, 5.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg. 24 mpg.  Is respected for his defense and rebounding, shoots .547 from the field.  Leads team in FT attempts (2.8 pg), shooting .645

Key Reserves
Forward Elston Jones  #50   6’9”, 260 lb  RS Senior 6.2 ppg, 6.8 rpb.  20 mpg  A big body off the bench, he is a big factor in why UCI is able to outrebound its opponents
Wing John Edgar Jr. #11  6’5”, 215 lb,  7.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg  21 mpg  Junior  Has started 11 games, filling in while Leonard was out. 
Forward Colin Welp  #40  6’9”, 215 lb  RS Freshman 8 ppg, 4.3 rpb. 17 mpg  The son of Christian Welp, Washington’s all-time scoring leader, he has had an excellent freshman campaign coming off the bench.
Guard Robert Cartwright  #3  6’2”, 180 lb, GS, 6.4 ppg, 21 mpg, .353 from deep.  Grad transfer from Stanford, is 2nd on the team in assists.

View from an Irvine fan:  Thanks and credit to Beefeater:
UCI entered this season with high expectations based on the overall maturity, experience, and depth of the squad. Veteran teams tend to play with consistency and can win close games. That has proven out with this team, so far, as evidenced by the very high Luck ranking (per Pomeroy). UCI has also been fortunate to not have had injury problems. Leonard missed about a month with a minor leg issue and Worku broke his nose, but that has been the extent of it.

Things have gone mostly according to script, so far. Turner places primary importance on defense. So, defense and rebounding are usually performed at a high level. Offense is mediocre, playing much of the time with two low post scores rather than the modern court spacing fours (and sometimes fives). The biggest surprises have come at the power forward with Rutherford struggling (more so in November than currently) and the freshman Welp making an impact as a more versatile forward.

Turner has settled with nine main players and uses his bench, not just liberally, but also doesn't ride any of his starters. He also plays several other wings in spot minutes and hasn't yet made decisions on chopping down the rotation though conference is almost half over. In terms of performance and improvement, Hazzard, Jones, Edgar, and Galloway appear the most improved. As mentioned, Rutherford didn't show the improvement most observers were expecting. The grad transfer Cartwright started hot early and then slumped badly for about 6 weeks. Leonard is roughly at the same level as last year, though he started slowly due to injury, as noted.

In terms of match ups, what tends to separate UCI is the big man rotation and depth. Those match ups can be difficult for other mid majors and it will likely be more evident in BWC than it was in the preseason. That should be something to watch in the UCSB match, because UCSB does have better than average size and athleticism in the low post as well. This first meeting could be one of three meetings, since the arrows have been pointing to a UCI-UCSB conference showdown. Both teams have dropped one game in poor performances and otherwise have appeared superior. The outcome of this first meeting probably won't determine anything. I suspect this is going to be more like a three round fight.

Match-up overview:
Well, this is it, the matchup we’ve been looking forward to most since hosting San Francisco.  An interesting match-up in that the teams are flipped in the KenPom efficiency ratings, UCSB ranked 87th in offense and UCI 65th on defense.  On the other end of the court, UCSB is ranked just 239th on defense while UCI is just 195th.  The Anteaters are incredibly deep in their frontcourt with Rutherford, Galloway, Jones and Welp.  Against most other BW schools, the frontcourt has been an advantage for the Gauchos, not on Thursday night.   

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·       Jariesse Blackmon.  He started strong vs. Long Beach but ended up playing just 12 minutes.  Gauchos will need him strong defensively on Rutherford & Welp. Nagle will be needed to be strong in reserve as well.
·       Keeping the bigs out of foul trouble and productive.  We struggled with fouls vs. Long Beach who just had Riggins.  Will need to maintain the intensity while staying smart.  I looked at the box scores for every game we lost and Sow had poor games offensively every one; 5, 7, 6, and 4.  When teams shut him down, we usually don’t do well.
·       Davis and the other guards crash the boards.  Davis was a monster vs. Long Beach, it was amazing how high he can jump.  UCI is so tough on the boards but so are the Gauchos, will be interesting to see how this battle plays out.
·       Max integration project, continued. After a rough outing vs. Fullerton, Max was fantastic against Long Beach. An amazing ball handler, he really helped steady the team, 6 assists and zero turnovers.  His shot started to come back too, with a couple three pointers.  He is helping the team in different ways than last year, and with the greater number of weapons on this team, that may be better.
·       Ramsey’s speed.  As good as TJ Shorts is, Ramsey just may be the quickest pg in the league.  He can help break down Irvine’s difficult defense.  In Big West play, he is fourth in the league in getting to the line.

Prediction:  I think these teams are going to split the season series and, unlike last year, will be playing for the championship in Anaheim.  If Sow can make a decent contribution and not foul out, Gauchos take round one at home.  UCSB 72 UCI 70.

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Saturday, January 26, 2019

UCSB vs. LBSU Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB @ Long Beach City College, Game 1
Saturday, January 26, 2019, 7 PM PST
The 2nd place Gauchos are coming off a 21 point loss at Fullerton, their worst defeat of the season.  The 49ers have lost two straight in conference play and sit tied for 5th with Hawaii at 2-2.

By the Numbers                                                             
 Quadrant 3 Game   LB City.jpg UCSB logo small.png
Record 8-12 14-4
Home/Away (D1) 4-2 (H) 3-4 (A)
Big West Conference 2-2 3-1
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 318 135
NET 217 140
SOS (ESPN BPI) 266 326
CBS Preseason Rank 281 288
SI Preseason Rank 271 185
Preseason Poll Pick 7th 4th
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 218 96
Defense 216 238
Scoring 75.9 76.9
FG% 42.9 47.6
3Pt % 35.8 34.5
FT% 70.1 70.8
PPG Allowed 77.4 63.7
FG % Defense 44.1 39.
3Pt % Defense 31.4
Rebounding Margin  -2.1 +9.8
Best win (NET):  @ UCI (134)
Worst Loss (NET):  @ CSUN (266)

LB-UCSB History
The Gauchos take on their most often played opponent in what will be the 127th meeting between the schools with the 49ers holding a 67-59 advantage. The teams first faced off in 1952 with the Gauchos winning the first 8 meetings, Long Beach finally breaking through with a victory in 1959.  Long Beach’s longest win streak in the series is 10, stretching from 1995 through 1999. The teams split the series last season with Long Beach winning by 1 in the last game in Santa Barbara.
Walter Pyramid 
The unique Pyramid opened in 1994 and seats 5,000.  The 49ers are averaging 2,304 fans per game

Head Coach:  Dan Monson, the dean of the Big West, is in his 12th season at Long Beach.  After great success early in his LB career, 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 at LB stands at 193-189 overall and 114-63 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.

City College returns a lot from last year’s team, minus the terrific Gabe Levin. They have a nice mix of veteran leadership and young talent; three Seniors and two sophomores are starting right now while  their main reserves are two upperclassmen and a sophomore.  Their depth has taken a bit of a kit with the loss of Guard Ron Freeman and  Senior Forward Temi Yussuf who, if is healthy and plays, will be a huge challenge for Sow.

Probable Starters
Guard Deshuan Booker #15  6’’3” 170lbs, Senior, JC Transfer  17.2 ppg, 4.5 apg, 7.25 FT attempts, per game at 89.7%  Booker has been terrific for the 49ers and is an all BW candidate.  He’s increased his scoring output by over 5ppg over last year and is great on defense with 1.5 steals per game.  He is shooting 40% from three in 29 minutes per game.
Guard Bryan Alberts #10  6’5” 200 lbs, RS Senior. 10.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 28 mpg  Leads the team in three point makes at a .386 clip
Guard Drew Cobb #3  6’4” 205 lbs, Sophomore 12 mpg.  New to the starting line-up, over .500 from the field, 0-4 from deep.
Wing Jordan Roberts #2   6’8”, 195 lb, Sophomore, 5.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 19 mpg
Forward/Center Mason Riggins #5  6’7”, 265 lb, RS Senior.  5.3 ppg and 5.5 rpg, 25 mpg.  Leads the team in offensive rebounds, an abysmal FT shooter, .352 from the line 

Key Reserves
Forward KJ Byers #14  6’7”, 195 Senior, JC Transfer,  8 ppg and 5.8 rpg in 21 minutes of play.  Team’s 2nd leading rebounder.  Playing starter minutes and has started 8 games.
Guard Edon Maxhuni  #23  6’2”, 185 lb, Sophomore  17mpg. Excellent three point shooter, second in makes and tops in %, 46.4 Has started 7 games.
Guard Jordan Griffin #11 6’3”, 165 Junior,  4.5 ppg, shoots mostly from deep, .303  10mpg.
Forward/Center Temi Yussuf  #4  6’7”, 265 lb, RS Senior.  12.9 ppg and 7.2 rpg, 23 mpg.  Second on team in FT attempts, making 66% Has not been playing recently, recovering from a bone bruise.  Was starting before.
Guard Ron Freeman  #1  6’6”, 180 lb. RS Junior.  Had been starting and averaging 6.7 ppg

View from a 49er fan.
ccman flaked so grabbed this from the LB board; credit to their fan LBHoops:
"The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos and Long Beach State 49ers meet Saturday in college basketball action at the Walter Pyramid.

The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos look for another win after winning eight of their last 10 games. The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos are averaging 75.3 points on 46.6 percent shooting and allowing 64.4 points on 40.7 percent shooting. Ar'Mond Davis is averaging 14.4 points and 5.5 rebounds while Devearl Ramsey is averaging 12.1 points and 3.5 assists. JaQuori McLaughlin is the third double-digit scorer and Amadou Sow is grabbing 6.3 rebounds. The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos are shooting 34.7 percent from beyond the arc and 70.2 percent from the free throw line. The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos are allowing 28.9 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 39.3 rebounds per game. The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos have lost four of their last six road games. 

The Long Beach State 49ers could use a win after splitting their last six games. The Long Beach State 49ers are averaging 75.8 points on 42.9 percent shooting and allowing 77.4 points on 44.1 percent shooting. Deishuan Booker is averaging 17.2 points and 4.6 assists while Temidayo Yussuf is averaging 12.9 points and 7.2 rebounds. Bryan Alberts is the third double-digit scorer and KJ Byers is grabbing 5.8 rebounds. The Long Beach State 49ers are shooting 35.8 percent from beyond the arc and 70.1 percent from the free throw line. The Long Beach State 49ers are allowing 31.4 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 38 rebounds per game. The Long Beach State 49ers have won five of their last six home games. 

The Gauchos are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 Saturday games, 15-6 ATS in their last 21 road games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. Big West. The 49ers are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS loss. The Gauchos are 8-19 ATS in the last 27 meetings. The over is 4-1 in 49ers last 5 overall. The under is 9-4 in Gauchos last 13 overall. 

The Long Beach State 49ers have won six of the last eight meetings against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. Long Beach State is also winning its home games by an average of 2.5 points this season, while UC Santa Barbara is losing on the road by an average of 3.4 points. The Gauchos have been extremely impressive when it comes to covering numbers on the road dating back to last season, but this is a true pick em game and Long Beach State has the ability to control the pace of games like this at home. I'll give the slight edge to the 49ers at home, even though the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos are the better team overall.

Match-up overview:
A difficult to predict match-up in that we have two teams that have been inconsistent of late.  Will the Gauchos bounce back or continue their road woes?

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·       Jariesse Blackmon.  Not really discussed but he hasn’t been quite the same since injuring his ankle.  We need the early-season Blackmon, especially when Byers is in.
·       Defending the drive and dish better.  We were destroyed by Fullerton’s ability to penetrate our perimeter defense and get shots in the paint.  Booker is as good as any of Fullerton’s elite guards but at least there’s just one of him. 
·       Control the paint.   For the first game in a while, we did not come out ahead in rebounding and, Sow struggled.  UCSB is successful when they can get scoring out of the post to open up things outside.  Riggins has done a terrific job filling in for Temi.  Get him in foul trouble and UCSB should control the paint, assuming Temi is still out.
·       Max integration project, continued. Took a step back vs. Fullerton, keep trying Max. It will come.

Prediction:  I really think this could go either way and just about any result is possible.  I’ll cop-out and go with the odds makers on this one, Gauchos by 2, 76-74.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

UCSB Outplays LBSU Down the Stretch, Hands 49ers First Big West Loss
Tal Sahar (Photo by Jeilo Gauna)

UCSB vs. CSUF Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB @ Cal State Fullerton, Game 1
Thursday, January 24, 2019, 7 PM PST
Overview:  The first place Gauchos, at 3-0 the only undefeated team in the Big West, travel south to Fullerton to take on the 2-2 Titans who are tied with CSUN  for 5th. Both teams are coming off of road victories, UCSB handling UC Davis by 11 and Fullerton knocking off Long Beach by 2.

By the Numbers                                                     
CSF Logo.png
UCSB logo small.png
Record 6-12 14-3
Home/Away (D1) 2-2 (H) 3-3 (A)
Big West Conference 2-2 3-0
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 201 129
NET 202 137
SOS (ESPN BPI) 48 348
CBS Preseason Rank 220 288
SI Preseason Rank 118 185
Preseason Poll Pick 2nd 4th
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 277 93
Defense 124 212
Scoring 72.8 76.2
FG% 45.3 47.5
3Pt % 31.4 35.2
FT% 69.1 70.8
PPG Allowed 67.4 63.4
FG % Defense 42.7 39.8
3Pt % Defense 32.5 28.9
Rebounding Margin  +.1 +9
Best win (NET):  vs. Long Beach (196)
Worst Loss (NET):  vs. Sacramento State (282)

CSF-UCSB History
This will be the 87th meeting between the schools with the Gauchos holding a 47-39 advantage.  The series started in 1976 after Fullerton moved up to D1 and the Titans won the first 6 meetings, the Gauchos notching their first victory in 1979.  The Titans equaled this streak from 1982-1985.  The Gauchos longest win streak in the series is 8 games, from 1999 to 2003.  UCSB swept the series last season and has won two straight vs. the Titans.
Head Coach:  Dedrique Taylor is in his 6th season at the helm of the Titans coming off his most successful season by far in winning the BW tournament and taking Fullerton to the NCAAs. This was his second consecutive year with a winning record after an initial three losing seasons. He has an overall record of 73-101 and a 32-52 record in the Big West.  Current players Khalil Ahmad and Jackson Rowe have both earned freshman of the year awards under his watch.

The Titans return nearly everyone from their BWT champion team a year ago and start four upperclassman and one sophomore. Their primary reserves are two juniors and a freshman.  Four starters average 8.8 ppg or more and the rest of the team average under 4pts each.

Probable Starters
Guard Austen Awoskia  #10   6’3”, 193 lb.  Junior  8.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.8 apg, 31 mpg, 1.4 spg.  The well-built guard leads the team in assists and is second in rebounding. He is fourth in scoring and is a terrible three point shooter.
Guard Kyle Allman #0  6’4” 182 lbs, Senior. 18.5 ppg on 40% from 3, 2.9 rpg, 1.9 apg, 6 FT attempts per game.  35 mpg.  2018 All Big West First Teamer and BWT MVP Allman is again having a productive season, leading the Titans in scoring, minutes played, and getting to the FT line.    Guard Khalil Ahmad #14   6’3”, 209 lb, Senior, 17.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 31 mpg  2018 All BW 2nd Teamer, former BW Freshman of the Year is 2nd in scoring and three pointers made, 32% clip. He is good in getting to the line with 3.6 attempts per game.  He is second in minutes played, 30.1 mpg, pulls down 3.9 boards per game. Leads the team with steals, 1.8 pg but coughs it up a lot, 2.5 TOs per game, 0.5 ATO ratio.
Forward Jackson Rowe  #34   6’7”, 210lb, Junior  16.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 32 mpg  Preseason All Big West.  Leads team in rebounding and adds nearly a block a game.  Easily the best three point shooting threat on the team, making an impressive 56% of them, 17/30.  He is third in scoring with 12.7 ppg.
Forward Johnny Wang  #33   6’9”, 245lb, Sophomore  3.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg.   Has been starting but playing just 16 mpg
Key Reserves
Forward Davon Clare  #5  6’5”, 220 lb Junior.  Averages 16 mpg and pulls down 3.5 boards while scoring 3.2 ppg.
Guard Jamal Smith  #1  6’3”, 165lb RS Junior 3.7 ppg, starter minutes at 21 mpg.
Guard Wayne Arnold  #2  6’4”, 170 lb. Freshman 3.3 ppg, 12 mpg  Terrible 3pt shooting %
View from a Titan Fan:
Titan Central normally provides excellent pre-game write-ups but it looks like they stopped doing them after preseason for some reason.  Oh well, a link to their site just in case they add one before the game: ... 373/Feeds/
Match-up overview:
The Titans played a challenging preseason schedule, toughest in the conference and will have faced off against three of the top 4 teams coming into conference play after their game with the Gauchos. They had been up by 14 on the road against Washington and are certainly better than their record might suggest.  Dedrique Taylor had the program on a nice trajectory up until this season but the Titans have taken a step back and the team seems to have lost chemistry and energy.  They were awful against UCI, scoring only 12 points in the first half but seemed to have righted the ship and earned a hard fought win on the road over Long Beach their last time out.  Despite the uneven season so far, Fullerton has three elite players in Rowe, Allman and Ahmad plus an emerging talent in Awoshika. Like CSUN, Fullerton has the talent to beat any team in the Big West but are held back by a lack of a front court and depth. 

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·       Gaucho inside game:  Sow’s speed and athleticism plus depth with Idehen & Ami vs. Wang & Rowe in the post. Rowe is a terrific player but Fullerton does not have good front-court talent beyond him.  Pound it inside and make Fullerton collapse their defense.  Should open things up for our guards.
·       Good rotations on defense.  Fullerton’s guards are terrific and Gaucho help defense must be on point.  Ramsey is key to disrupting their flow. 
·       Blackmon vs. Rowe.  Blackmon has been one of SB's best defenders, this will be one of his biggest challenges in conference play. 
·       Max integration project, continued. I think his defense showed some improvement vs. Davis, he was working hard on that end.  This fan has complete faith that he and the coaches are moving this in the right direction and we will be seeing the Max of last season before too long. 

Prediction:  Fullerton may lead this early and into the second half but Gaucho depth & balance should prevail over 40 minutes.  Gauchos 74 Titans 67

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

UCSB Puts 5-Game Winning Streak on the Line Thursday at UC Davis
Ar'Mond Davis (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

UCSB vs. UCD Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB @ UC Davis, Game 1
Thursday, January 17, 2019, 7 PM PST
Overview:  The Gauchos, coming off a very successful 5-0 home stand hit the road for their first away game of conference play.  UC Davis, after a miserable pre-season against a difficult schedule, showed improvement in opening conference play in their two losses on the road to UCI & Long Beach. This will be the first five games representing the most difficult stretch of the conference schedule for the Gauchos, with road games at Fullerton & LB, home vs. UCI then @ Hawaii on tap.

By the Numbers                                                             
uc davis logo.png
UCSB logo small.png
Record 4-12 13-3
Big West 0-2 2-0
Home/Away vs D1 1-2 (H) 2-3 (A)
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 296 134
NET 291 141
SOS (ESPN BPI) 67 345
CBS Preseason Rank 179 288
SI Preseason Rank 164 185
Preseason Poll Pick 3rd 4th
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 297 103
Defense 158 219
Scoring 64.1 76.6
FG% 42.7 47.7
3Pt % 30.8 34.4
FT% 67.8 70.9
PPG Allowed 69.1 65.2
FG % Defense 45.4 39.3
3Pt % Defense 32.7
Rebounding Margin -3.7 +8.6
UC Davis:
Best win (NET):  vs. Texas A&M, Corpus Christi (239)
Worst Loss (NET):  vs. Sac State (294, neutral site)

UCD-UCSB History
This will be the 68th meeting between the schools with the Gauchos holding a 38-29 advantage.  The schools split the series last season, each winning on the other team’s court.  Davis won the second meeting in February.
Head Coach:  Jim Les is in his 8th season at the helm of the Aggies and has won both a regular season crown (2014) and the BWT (2017).  His record @ Davis stands at 113-127 overall and 59-57 in BW play.  As a player in the NBA he led the league in three point % n the 1990-91 season while playing for Sacramento.  Prior to coaching Davis, he had an excellent run at Bradley, taking the Braves to the Sweet 16 in 2006, the NIT 2nd round the following season then consecutive championship games in the lesser CBI & CIT, respectively.

The Aggies start three seniors, a junior and a freshman.  Their primary reserves are two juniors and two freshmen.  Both junior guard Stefan Gonzales and senior forward AJ John have dealt with injuries.  Davis fan BlueGoldAg’s comments in italics.

Probable Starters
Guard TJ Shorts  #0  5’9”, 160 lb. Senior 14.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.8 apg, 33 mpg 
What more can be said about the Aggies' diminutive PG. He is, quite simply, the best PG ever to wear an Aggie uniform and he is a pure joy to watch for any college basketball fan
Davis’s unquestioned team leader and the biggest thorn in UCSB’s side last season, Shorts is doing his best to hold up the disappointing Aggies.  He is shooting a very respectable .492 from the field and .321 from deep.  Leads the team in just about all categories including, very surprisingly given he is just 5’9”, rebounding.  Heroic effort against UCI nearly led to an unlikely upset.
Guard Damion Squire  #1  6’0”, 175 lb. Freshman 3.6 ppg, shooting 41% from deep.  
Damion has seen a lot of action as a true freshman. He's a solid ball handler, can shoot from distance and plays with poise for a true freshman.  Recent addition to the starting lineup, averaging 12 mpg for the season.
Guard Siler Schneider  #5  6’3”, 183 lb. Senior 10.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2 apg, 28 mpg 
Siler has had his struggles this year especially shooting from distance. He brings toughness, hustle and energy to the floor every game for the Aggies and tends to be a streaky shooter. He can score in clusters when he gets it going. Unfortunately, he also has a tendency to drive the ball into trouble and make TO's as well.   His shooting has slipped from last season, .404 overall and .318 from deep.  44 TOs to 30 assists.
Forward Garrison Goode  #44  6’7”, 225 lb, Senior 5.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg  29 mpg. Garrison is primarily a
strong defender and rebounder but he has had his best offensive production of his career this season as the Ags have had to focus on going inside more. Shooting .567 from the field, zero three point attempts. 
Center Matt Neufield  #13  6’11”, 225 lb, Junior 6.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg  15 mpg. 
Matt sat out last year after transferring from St Louis. He is smooth and fairly agile for a big man but has have trouble staying out of early foul trouble. His offensive game is getting better with each outing and he can be a significant contributor for the Aggies if he can just stay on the floor longer.  Recent addition to the starting lineup in place of the injured AJ Johns. 
Key Reserves
Forward AJ John  #25  6’8”, 225 lb, Senior 4.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg  26 mpg.
AJ has struggled with injuries this year and has missed most of the preseason. He was a key in the Aggies' offense last year after Chima Moneke was lost and he has the ability to light it up from distance when he's feeling it. He was brilliant against Indiana but, other than that, he has not been himself. He's still working to shake off the rust and get back into playing shape The Ags desperately need him to get healthy   
Guard Joe Mooney  #22  6’3”, 187 lb. Junior 8.3 ppg
Joe has been frustrated most of the season. His usually reliable shooting was off and he was seeing less and less playing time. That changed in a big way last weekend at Irvine and Long Beach. He scored 14 and 29 points respectively in those two games primarily on a combined 10 of 16 from 3. Welcome back Joe!  Third leading scorer and leads team in 3pt makes, shooting at a 36% clip from deep. 20 mpg.  8 assists vs 14 TOs.
Guard Caleb Fuller  #11  6’5”, 210 lb. Freshman 4.4 ppg, 3 rpg, 17 mpg. 
Caleb hails from Ipswich, England, and came to the Aggies this year with lots on international experience. He's very strong and athletic and a bit raw. He's still adjusting to the physicality and speed of the American D1 game. He has the potential to become a significant player for the Aggies Efficient shooter, hitting .500 from the field, .421 from deep, seeing his role increase.
Guard Rogers Printup  #23  6’4”, 205 lb. Junior 12 mpg
Rogers is a uniquely special player for the Aggies. He is deaf but can read lips and is able to communicate with the coaches and his teammates. He can be a deadly 3 point shooter with a quick catch and shoot release
Forward Colin Russell  #21  6'10 221 Senior  
Colin is seeing more playing time this season in relief of Goode and Neufeld. He's primarily a defender assigned to be a physical presence in the paint for the Ags.

Guard Stefan Gonzalez  #2  6’2”, 195 lb. Junior 6.1 ppg, 4 rpg,  .295 from deep. 22 mpg.  8 assists vs
15 TOs. Stefan was expected to be a great 3 point shooter for the Aggies this year after transferring from St Mary's and sitting out last year. Unfortunately, he has been out with injuries and has not seen that much playing time. The Ags hope to see him back soon and healthy as they need all they help they can get to score from the perimeter.

View from an Aggie Fan:  Thanks and credit to BlueGoldAg who also provided the previews last year.

To say it's been a tough season for the Aggies this year would be an huge understatement. I don't think many people who follow Big West basketball, and certainly not any Aggie fans, would have predicted that the Ags would find themselves with only 4 wins against 12 loses at this point in the season. The Ags have played their most ambitious preseason schedule ever after the team reportedly told Coach Les that they wanted to challenge themselves against more major programs in the preseason. Les complied and, in doing so, he openly stated that there would be a real possibility that the team could get exposed if they were unable to step up to the level of their competition and, for the most part, that's what has happened.

So what has accounted for such big drop off in the win column for the Aggies this year? Well, certainly, the tougher preseason schedule has had a lot to do with it but another big factor has been injuries to two key players. AJ John and Stefan Gonzalez have both been sidelined for much of the preseason. John has is just now slowly getting back on the floor after battling a persistent knee problem and a concussion while Gonzalez has been out with an undisclosed injury. Both of these players were being counted on for their ability to score from the perimeter and John adds length and rebounding as well.

The other big factor in the Aggies' struggles this season has been a precipitous drop off in offense. Les preaches defense but you can't win on defense alone and the Aggie offensive production has been miserable most of the year. Last year the Aggies averaged 72.3 ppg and this year they are averaging only 64.1 ppg. The biggest area of offensive demise has been in 3 point shooting. Last year the Ags shot 37.2% from 3 but that has dropped off to a paltry 23.3% this year. The inability to shoot the 3 and stretch the floor on offense is the Achilles heel of the team and our opponents have been focusing on making the Ags beat them from the outside by clogging up the middle on defense.

All is not doom and gloom though. The Ags have played very well in a few games. Against Indiana, they led by as much as 14 in the second half before the Hoosiers caught fire in the final 7 minutes of the game and they played outstanding ball in a 2 point loss at Arizona. They also just lost two close games on the road to Irvine and Long Beach to open BW play and, while they didn't finish with a win in either game, they showed that they can be a tough out against any team in the league.

So how do the Ags match up against Santa Barbara? In a nutshell, not very well. On paper, UCSB is significantly better in every major statistical category than the Aggies The only advantage I can realistically see for the Aggies is that the game is being played in Davis and the Ags just might be one of the most frustrated hungry teams in the nation. Consequently, the Aggies will play their hearts out; that's guaranteed. If they can get some shots to fall and play solid defense, they could make this a close game or even edge out a win. After all, it is the wild, wild Big West...
In conclusion:
Aggie fans are looking forward to the Gauchos coming to the Pavilion on Thursday night. In many ways this is a pivotal game for the Aggies. The Ags have played very well at times this year against good teams but have nothing to show for it. They're hungry, extremely hungry. Starting off Big West play with games at Irvine and Long Beach on the road and UCSB at home is a tough way to begin chasing another conference championship but so it goes. The Ags need a win in a bad way and, if they are able to pull the upset against the Gauchos, it could be the turning point of their season.
This could be a good one!
Side note: It's not uncommon to see the former head coach of the Aggies and the Gauchos, Bob Williams, seated court side at the Aggie basketball games. I'd bet we'll see him sitting there court side on the baseline near the Aggie bench for this one too.

Match-up overview:  Despite its terrible record, UC Davis is still the defending regular season champions with nearly everyone back, including MVP TJ Shorts.  They have played a very difficult schedule and although it has not translated to victories, they have come within single shots of defeating Arizona and UC Irvine, both on the road. Part of their early struggles was forward AJ Johns attempting to play through injury.  They finally sat him a few games and he has returned but in a reserve role.  All-Big West player Siler Schneider and sharpshooter Joe Mooney both started the season shooting terribly but have improved since.  The Aggies are a very experienced team with a point guard that plays like a hero.  He destroyed UCSB in the second game last year but now the Gauchos have a speedster point guard of their own in Ramsey. Needless to say, this is one of the match-ups I’ve been looking forward to all year.  UCSB had absolute battles in two home games against teams expected to be at the bottom of the conference.  It gets significantly tougher up in Davis.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·       Don’t allow Shorts to carve up the defense. Ramsey, here’s your toughest match-up of conference play.
·       Gauchos have the advantage in the post.  Sow’s speed and athleticism vs. Matt Neufield and AJ John.  Sow has been a beast two of the past three games and I believe Pasternack will go to him early and often.  Ami has been very good the past two games in limited minutes and he & Idehen should get ample PT relieving Sow.  Inside-outside game, punch the clock down low first then let our shooters cash in when Davis is forced to collapse their defense.
·       Garrison Goode is a, well, good forward and hopefully Blackmon’s ankle is healed as we will need his defense on him.
·       Jaquori vs. Siler; two of the better off-guards in the league.
·       Max integration project, continued.  I respect the patience he has shown, he is letting the game come to him, he is using his quicks & superior court vision to create opportunities and his ATO ratio stands at 5.7!  He is also taking his defense seriously even if his legs are still catching up.  His shot is not there yet but other pieces of his game are. He will find his range, its just a matter of when. If it happens on Thursday, it is going to be really tough for the Aggies.

Prediction:  This game worries me as UCSB struggled to defeat the bottom teams in the conference and aside from the Washington & Wyoming games, has not played that well on the road.  For the Gauchos to win, they will have to establish their inside game and, at least somewhat, limit the hero ball by Shorts.  I think it will be an absolute battle but after two tough games already, I think the Gauchos bring their A game this time and do just enough to pull out a victory.  UCSB 67 UCD 65

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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Amadou Sow Alley Oop Dunk

UCSB Breaks Open Close Game Late, Defeats Riverside, 72-64
Amadou Sow (Photo by Tony Mastres)

Miller Scores Career-High 33 in Loss at Cal Poly

Coco Miller set a career-high in points with 33 in the Gauchos' 75-67 loss at Cal Poly. (Photo by Jeilo Gauna)

UCR vs. UCSB Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB vs. UC Riverside Preview, Game 1 of Season Series
Saturday, January 12, 2019, 7 PM PST
The Gauchos are coming off a tougher-than-expected conference opening victory over Cal Poly while the Highlanders suffered a one point loss at home to rising CSUN.  UCR is the second consecutive 300 range opponent the Gauchos will face to open the conference season, representing the softest home stand of the season for UCSB.

By the Numbers                                                             
UCR logo.png
UCSB logo small.png
Record 6-11 12-3
Home/Away 0-8 (A) 7-0 (H)
Big West Conference 0-1 1-0
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 310 130
NET 306 142
SOS (ESPN BPI) 333 343
CBS Preseason Rank 281 288
SI Preseason Rank 271 185
Preseason Poll Pick 7th 4th
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 295 105
Defense 297 204
Scoring 68.0 76.9
FG% 44.3 47.6
3Pt % 36.9 34.5
FT% 72.0 70.8
PPG Allowed 67.4 63.7
FG % Defense 44.5 39.
3Pt % Defense 36.8
Rebounding Margin  -2.2 +9.8
Best win (NET):  vs. LMU (114)
Worst Loss (NET):  vs. CSUN (275)

UCR-UCSB History
This will be the 44th meeting between the schools with the Gauchos holding a commanding 34-9 advantage.  UCSB swept the series last season and has won three straight vs. the Highlanders.
Head Coach:  David Patrick is in his first season as head coach and in his first season leading a program anywhere.  He is most famous for recruiting Ben Simmons while at LSU.  He is doing a good job of bringing in some better talent to Riverside so we could see their program improve.

The Highlanders start two upperclassman and three underclassmen. Their primary reserves are all underclassmen.   I’ve added comments from Highlander’s fan, Blocked Freethrow, in italics.

Probable Starters
Guard Dikembye Martin  #15  6’1”, 170 lb. Junior 16.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 32 mpg
Riverside’s best player and an All-Big West candidate.
Already a good shooter, Martin has become a deadly outside shooter in year 3.  He is averaging career-highs in shooting percentages across the board (48.2%, 46.3%, 86%) and has carried the offensive load for this team.  Due to his offensive responsibilities this season, his defensive has slipped slightly, but he is still a sneaky off-ball defender that looks to get in passing lanes.
Guard Dominic Pickett  #22  6’3”, 210 lb. RS Sophomore 3.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 20 mpg  
Pickett has been the biggest beneficiary of the transfers of DJ Sylvester & Eric Rwahwire.  From walk-on, to spot minutes last year due to numerous injuries, to starting at point guard mid-way through this season, it would be hard to find a harder working player in the Big West.  Since becoming a starter 6 games ago, he is averaging a team-high 4.3 assists.  Not a great athlete, but a smart player that can run offense and hit the occasional outside shot.

Wing Dragan Elkaz   #0  6’5”, 205lb Freshman  7.9 ppg, 28 mpg.
The Aussie Frosh may be the best pure shooter to ever wear a Highlanders uniform (Jaylen Bland has a great argument), and he has nailed 40% of his outside shots so far this season.  He’s an eager defender and has good size, but at this point, he is fairly one-dimensional. 

Forward Zac Watson  #11  6’7”, 210 lb, Freshman 7.3 ppg,3.9 rpg  22 mpg.
Watson is a fairly athletic face-up forward and has looked a lot more confident as of late.  He probably needs to add a bit more weight to compete at the 4 spot, but he’s got a soft touch around the rim (59% FG).  The former Dartmouth pledge has Gabe Levin-esque potential.

Center Menno Dijkstra  #32  7’0”, 235 lb, Senior 8.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg  22 mpg. Shoots .455 from the field.
He has attempted 39 threes, making 10 of them.  Leads team with 9 blocks.
Big Red is a senior now, and he has been the biggest disappointment to this point.  He’s put on some weight and learned a few post moves, but he’s still a 6’0” guard trapped in a 7’0” body.  He has been utilized in a ton of pick-and-pop plays this season, but he hasn’t hit nearly enough outside shots to be deemed a threat, leading to Martin getting doubled mercilessly.  His shooting numbers have dipped across the board, and he hasn’t protected the rim at all.  He played better against CSUN, so there may be hope yet.

Key Reserves
Forward Ajani Kennedy #10  6’8”, 200 lb Sophomore 8.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 21 mpg  Plays starter minutes
and leads team in rebounding & three point %, 18/32.
Kennedy is the team’s best athlete and is another player that has been playing far better in his past few outings.  He’s more of a jump shooter than I’d like him to be, but he can do a lot of damage from the perimeter (54.3% from outside on 2.5 attempts per game).  He could probably get to the line a ton by using his quickness and athleticism to get to the rim, but perhaps that is the next stage in his development.

Guard Jordan Gilliam  #2  6’5”, 160 lb. Sophomore 7.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.1 apg, 23 mpg Was a starter
most of the season, recently coming off the bench.  Leads team in assists and turnovers.
Shooting .349 from the field, .320 from deep.
The JUCO transfer struggled mightily early in the season but has played far better as of late.  Gilliam is a gifted passer with good vision, and has been the only guard on the roster other than Martin that had demonstrated any ability to get to the rim.  Unfortunately though, because of his lack of strength, he can’t seem to finish when he gets there.  He is very long and is the Highlanders’ best on-ball defender.  Hopefully he can pack on some pounds this offseason to become a more effective player.

Center Callum McRae  #25  7’0”, 270 lb, Freshman 4.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg  15 mpg. 28 turnovers on the
The Kiwi frosh is a bigger, more skilled version of Alex Larsson, who graduated after last season.  He’s got surprisingly good footwork for a guy his size, and can finish over either shoulder.  With that said, he needs to get in better shape to keep up with more mobile bigs at this level.

Guard DJ McDonald  #3  5’11”, 175 lb. Freshman 12 mpg
McDonald is another beneficiary of the Rwahwire transfer, and has been getting spot minutes since entering the second half of OCC play.  He’s a solid outside shooter and a pesky on-ball defender that likes to pick up full court.  In some ways, he reminds me of Martin his freshman season, so it’ll be interesting to see how he develops.
View from a Highlander FanWith big thanks and credit to Blocked Freethrow who knows his stuff and provides great detail & insight:
As expected, the David Patrick era has been a bumpy ride to start; not quite off-roading, but more like driving on a street with numerous, unavoidable potholes (much like driving in Riverside itself).  UCR returned just one starter (Martin) and two other players (Dijkstra, Kennedy) that played over ten minutes per game last season.  Fortunately, Patrick was able to put together a decent recruiting class despite getting a late start, and he has done a solid job implementing a playing style that suits the roster.  As a fan, Patrick is very refreshing because he is so unlike his predecessors.  He is energetic, constantly moving and talking on the sideline, high-fiving and encouraging his players when they leave or enter a game.  Perhaps more importantly, he has implemented a more modern offense predicated on spreading the floor and moving the ball, something not seen from Riverside teams as long as I’ve followed along.  If teams do indeed take on the personality of their coaches, I think UCR is in good hands.
UCR’s strength this season is its outside shooting.  The Highlanders have never had more competent outside shooters on one roster in the Division I era.  Everyone other than the Kiwi behemoth McRae has hit a three-pointer this season, and the outside attack is led by Martin and Elkaz, who have hit a combined 72 threes at a 43.1% clip.  What has limited the offense, however, is the fact that only Martin, and to a much lesser extent Gilliam, can create their own shot off the bounce.  Because everyone else is mostly limited to catch-and-shoot type plays, the offense tends to become a stand-around-and-watch-Dikymbe-dance show if shooters aren’t open once a play is run.  Until other guys can create their own shot or at least attack the paint, this offense won’t reach its full potential.
This team’s glaring weakness is its inability to rebound and protect the paint.  It gets pretty hard to watch at times as opponents score at will in the paint, but it feels inevitable with such a young team lacking in size and strength.  Coach Patrick clearly recognized this weakness, as nobody in the 2019 recruiting class is shorter than 6’9”.  That doesn’t help the team this year though, and I don’t see it getting any better in conference play.  UCR is going to have to try and outscore teams, and I don’t know if that is going to be a successful game plan, especially considering how the opener against CSUN turned out.  One thing I haven’t seen from the team yet that may help is to press and try to force more turnovers.  This team isn’t the deepest with only nine scholarship players available, so that may prevent such a high-energy style of play.
The Highlanders also lack a natural leader.  Dikymbe’s play speaks for itself, but he isn’t a vocal leader that takes command of the team.  Dijkstra is a senior and the only other elder statesman, but he lacks that characteristic as well.  This is particularly noticeable when the team flounders late in the second half.  UCR had a lead or were tied in the second half of road matchups against Oregon State, Valpo, and UTEP before falling apart.  When CSUN blitzed UCR to open the second half in the conference opener, erasing a 7-point lead, none of the players were leading an effort to regroup.  Past UCR squads have had a definite leader, like Chance Murray, Jaylen Bland, Taylor Johns, Phil Martin, etc.  I suppose the good news is that it is an opportunity for one of the young guys to step in to that role as the season progresses.
Despite its flaws, this team plays hard and competes.  It’s been easy to see the improvement of the team as the season has progressed.  Team chemistry is getting noticeably better after some rough 20+ point losses to UNLV and UoP early on, when the team appeared absolutely clueless.  Turnovers have decreased considerably too.  Most importantly, the young guys are getting valuable minutes, and that should bode well for next season and beyond.
The Highlanders have never won in the Thunderdome, and I don’t expect that to change on Saturday.  I anticipate the Gauchos to have their way in the paint and get plenty of second chances off of missed shots.  It’s a tall task for a young team to win on the road, which is why the home loss to CSUN to open conference play hurts that much more.  My guess is a final score of around 79-65.
Fun fact:  Mateen Hirbod, a walk-on at UCR, is the brother of Gaucho walk-on Mobeen Hirbod.
Match-up overview:
As mentioned, UCR is ranked low by the computers but unlike Poly, Riverside has at least one game that indicates they could be dangerous with their easy victory over then 11-1 LMU. Dikembye Martin is one of the best players in the league and is the type of player that can carry a team.  They shoot the ball well and have the potential to light it up from outside but are weak defensively in the post. By KenPom, curiously, they are equally bad on offense & defense with nearly identical ratings for both, 296 & 298.  Like the Gauchos, this is a young team and improving so the computer rankings may underestimate them.  

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·       Gaucho inside-out game:  Sows speed and athleticism plus Gaucho front court depth vs. Highlander size in the post. I expect Sow will come back strong from his stinker vs. Poly and feast down low. As GauchoDan observed, he needs to do a better job of recognizing the double teams and kick it out when they come.  Ami and Idehen did a great job vs. Poly and should get ample opportunity in this game as well.
·       Containing Martin. I expect Ramsey will have this task but perhaps McLaughlin will. 
·       Davis and Blackmon on the wing/forward position vs. Elkaz & Kennedy.  After Martin, these two are key players for Riverside. 
·       Max integration project, continued. He played more passive than his usual self vs Poly.  Still working on getting his legs back, especially on defense.  I would be perfectly happy seeing the Max that played against Idaho State where he was dicing through their defense and dishing the ball, 8 assists.

Prediction:  UCSB’s offense was not executing as efficiently as it has been vs. Poly, credit to Callero still having some good defensive schemes.  I think they will improve in this regard vs UCR.  Should be a double-digit victory.
Gauchos 79 Highlanders 64

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UCSB Puts 4-Game Streak on the Line, Tangles With UC Riverside Saturday
JaQuori McLaughlin (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

New Giant Video Board Unveiled at SLO vs. UCSB Game

Jay Nagle on KCSB Sports Radio

Monday, January 7, 2019

Devearl Ramsey on KCSB Sports Radio

Video Board in the Thunderdome

Cal Poly vs. UCSB Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB vs. Cal Poly Preview
Wednesday, January 9, 2019, 7 PM PST
UCSB is on a three game winning streak which includes a hard fought victory over their toughest opponent on their schedule in the USF Dons and a 62 point laugher over one of the worst basketball programs in the country in the NCCAA Bethesda Flames.  Cal Poly is the lowest ranked team in the Big West but is also coming off an easy victory over a lower division opponent in Holy Names.  Prior to that they had lost four straight to D1 opponents.

By the Numbers                                                              
Cal_Poly_Mustangs, small.jpg
UCSB logo small.png
Record (D1 only) 2-9 9-3
Home/Away vs D1 0-7 (A) 5-0 (H)
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 322 128
NET 321 139
SOS (ESPN BPI) 291 335
CBS Preseason Rank 302 288
SI Preseason Rank 299 185
Preseason Poll Pick 8th 4th
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 316 91
Defense 283 210
Scoring 66.4 77.8
FG% 42.3 48.1
3Pt % 34.2 34.6
FT% 67.0 71.2
PPG Allowed 71.8 65.2
FG % Defense 43.4 39.1
3Pt % Defense 36.5 28.1
Rebounding Margin -2.3 +9.8
Mustangs overview:
The Mustangs are the bottom of the barrel Big West squad coming out of pre-league play.  Their two D1 victories both came in OT against +300 squads, one in a neutral site, the other at home with a combined margin of 3 points.  Statistically, they rank very low in offense and defense efficiencies and their combined computer rankings put them at 322. They have a good playmaker in Fields but his shooting has suffered as the opposing teams are keying in on him.  Wing Mark Crowe is an outstanding shooter and the Gaucho guards will have to play him tight.  Mustang frontcourt players have not put up much in terms of numbers and they are being out rebounded by 2.3 per game.
Best win (NET):  vs. Bethune Cookman (311)
Worst Loss (NET):  @ Portland (285)

View from a Poly FanPending (ccman)

CP-UCSB History
This will be the 114th meeting between the schools, making the Mustangs the second most played school for UCSB, Long Beach the first with 126 contests.  UCSB holds a 79-35 advantage over its central coast rival.  The Gauchos have won two in a row including a 75-53 victory in the first round of the BWT in March.
Head Coach:  Joe Callero is in his 10th and, probably, his last season at the helm of the Mustangs, sporting a record of 123-170.  His earlier teams had a reputation for a stingy defense and a slow-down style of play but the last couple seasons have not been the case.  He has had only two winning seasons with the Mustangs, the last coming in 2012-13.  This season is shaping up to be the worst in his tenure with even a 7th place BWT seed, where the Mustangs have finished about 5 years in a row, looking to be out of reach.

The Mustangs start three upperclassman and two underclassmen. Their bench has only one player with significant D1 experience.
Probable Starters
PG Donovan Fields   #3  5’10”, 160 lb, Senior  15.8 ppg, 4 apg, 27-33 FT, 33 mpg.  Poly’s unquestionable team leader.  Tops in scoring, FT attempts & assists.  His fg% has suffered from his junior year, hitting only .268 from three and .398 overall.  He absolutely destroyed UCSB in the first game last year, penetrating the Gaucho defense at will, leading Poly to a surprising upset.
Guard Marcellus Garrick  #11  6’4”, 190 lb. 10.2 ppg, 27 mpg  Senior  Second on team in assists and getting to the line.  Shooting just .328 from the field.
Wing Mark Crowe   #5  6’5”, 205lb RS Sophomore  11.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg.  Outstanding shooter, hitting .550 overall and an impressive .516 from deep on 60 attempts.  Leads team in minutes played with 35 pg.
Forward Daxton Carr  #13  6’7”, 200 lb, Freshman 4.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg  21 mpg. Shooting .395 from the field and .353 from deep on 34 attempts.  This would be his 8th start after coming off the bench at the start of the season. 
Forward Hank Hollingsworth  #30  6’10”, 235 lb, Junior 5.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg  22 mpg.  Makes .660 of his fg attempts but only .438 of his FT attempts. 

Key Reserves
Forward Kuba Niziol  #35  6’7”, 210 lb.  Senior  6 ppg, 3.8 rpg.  Former starter, still playing 17 mpg. Fourth leading scorer, shooting just 11-50 from deep.
Guard Junior Ballard  #24  6’3”, 200 lb. Freshman  5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 14 mpg    Shooting .339 from the field and .294 from deep.
Forward Tuuka Jaakola  #14  6’10”, 240 lb, Freshman 3.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 17 mpg, shooting an outstanding .696 from the field.  Has played in just 10 games.  From Finland
Guard Job Alexander  #1  6’4”, 200 lb. JC Transfer Junior 13 mpg.
Forward Karlis Garoza  #23  6’9”, 230 lb, Sophomore  12 mpg. 3 rpg. From Latvia 

Match-Up:  There could be some rustiness and an ugly start since it has been two weeks since UCSB has played a D1 team but that will also be the case for the Mustangs.  By half-time, only Poly should be playing ugly.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·       Expect Ramsey to put the clamps on Fields.  This defensive matchup and the one with Davis’s Shorts are the two I’ve been waiting to see.
·       Contain Crowe.  The Mustang’s biggest three-point threat. 
·       Pound it into Sow again.  We have a star in the making and this is a good opportunity for him to continue to excel.  Poly does not rebound well and the Gaucho front court should take advantage.
·       Max integration project.  Max led with penetrating the defense and facilitating the offense (8 assists) in his last game played (Idaho State) and that is the way back for him.  His shot will come, with the weapons this team has, no need to force it.

Prediction:  Aside from rustiness, nothing should slow down UCSB.  Gauchos 83 Mustangs 60

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