Wednesday, February 27, 2019

UCSB Plays Rival Long Beach State in Final Home Game of Season Thursday

Jarriesse Blackmon (Photo by Jeff Liang)

Long Beach State vs. UCSB Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB vs Long Belch City, Game 2
Thursday, February 28, 2019, 7 PM PST
***Senior Night***
The 3rd place Gauchos, with consecutive blowout victories over Hawaii and Fullerton, host 7th place Long Belch City who are coming off an OT victory over Riverside and a 2pt win over CSUN.  This game closes out a three game home stand and is the last home game of the season for UCSB.  Special thanks and appreciation to Seniors Jariesse Blackmon, Ami Lakoju, Max Kupchak and Grad Student Armond Davis.

By the Numbers                                                             

 Quad 4 Game
simpsons burp.jpg
UCSB logo small.png
Record 11-18 19-8
Home/Away (D1) 3-12 (A) 10-2 (H)
Big West Conference 5-8 8-5
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 241 148
NET 245 150
SOS (NET) 140 300
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 245 130
Defense 223 206
Scoring 75.1  /  75.6 73.7  /  69.2
FG% 42.8  /  44.2 45.7  /  43.0
3Pt % 34.8  /  33.6 33.7  /  32.8
FT% 68.5  /  68.9 71.4  /  71.7
PPG Allowed 77.1  /  78.1 65.1  /  65.9
FG % Defense 44.5  /  45.9 42.2  /  45.6
3Pt % Defense 33.4  /  37.3
29.5  /  31.5
Rebounding Margin  -1.4  /  -0.8 +7.0  /  +3.9
Best win (NET):  @ UCI (92)
Worst Loss (NET):  @ CSUN (285)
Trend: LBCC has won two in a row and 3-5 but all three wins have come against the bottom of the BW, and two of those were in OT.  They lost at UC Davis who lost TJ Shorts to injury after 15 minutes and at Fullerton by just 3.

LBCC-UCSB History/Game 1 Recap
This will be the 128th meeting between the schools with the 49ers holding a 67-60 advantage. UCSB won the first game this year, at the Pyramid, 82-71 and own a one game winning streak in the series.  Armond Davis was a force with double-double of 24 points on 2-3 from deep and 11 boards. Mclaughlin added 15 points and Sow 14 on 6-7 shooting.  Both Ramsey and Heidegger dished 6 assists.  Deishaun Booker led the way for Long Belch with 25 points, 12 coming from the FT line.  Maxhuni and Byers added 13 & 12 respectively.  UCSB led most of the first half but LB closed strong and continued the start of the 2nd half to come back from being down as much as a dozen to take the lead.  After some back & forth, a McLaughlin jumper put the Gauchos ahead for good with 9:43 remaining.
Head Coach:  Dan Monson, the dean of the Big West, is in his 12th season at Long Beach.  After great success earlier 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 196-195 overall and 117-69 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.

Belch City has a 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.  Senior Forward Temi Yussuf who did not play in the first game, is back but not producing like he was before his injury.  Monson has been juggling things a bit with a different starting lineup each of the past three games.

Possible Starters
Guard Deshuan Booker #15  6’’3” 170lbs, Senior, JC Transfer  18.1 ppg, 4.5 apg, 3.1 rpg  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 1.4 steals per game.  He is shooting 37% from three in 32 minutes per game.  Does turn it over a lot, 115 on the season (4.1 pg)
Guard Bryan Alberts #10  6’5” 200 lbs, RS Senior. 10.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 28 mpg  Third leading scorer, leads the team in three point makes at a .380 clip
Guard Drew Cobb #3  6’4” 205 lbs, Sophomore 16 mpg. Sometime starter, not a major scoring threat but does shoot .500 from the field.  Tied for 2nd in assists.
Wing Jordan Roberts #2   6’8”, 195 lb, Sophomore, 6.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 20 mpg
Forward/Center Mason Riggins #5  6’7”, 265 lb, RS Senior.  6.7 ppg (62% from the field) and 5.4 rpg, 26 mpg.  Leads the team in offensive rebounds, an abysmal FT shooter, 36% from the line 

Key Reserves
Forward/Center Temi Yussuf  #4  6’7”, 265 lb, RS Senior.  11.6 ppg and 6.8 rpg, 22 mpg.  Leading rebounder, second on team in FT attempts, making 66%.  Missed 5 games with a bone bruise and is not producing like he was before the injury.  When healthy, one of the top bigs in the conference
Forward KJ Byers #14  6’7”, 195 Senior, JC Transfer,  7.9 ppg and 6.2 rpg in 23 minutes of play.  Sometime starter.  Team’s 2nd leading rebounder.  Will shoot from deep, .294
Guard Edon Maxhuni  #23  6’2”, 185 lb, Sophomore  7.2 ppg 18 mpg. Excellent three point shooter, second in makes and tops in %, 42.2 Has started 10 games, tied for second in assists.
Guard Jordan Griffin #11 6’3”, 165 Junior,  3.4 ppg, shoots mostly from deep, .326  8 mpg.
Wing Demetrius Mims #13  6’6”, 180 Freshman, minimal stats & plays little but their fans are excited about him.
Guard Ron Freeman  #1  6’6”, 180 lb. RS Junior.  Played only 8 games.

Match-up overview:
By the numbers and by trends, this game is UCSB’s for the taking.  Belch City does not play good defense and the Gaucho offense has put up 79 and 82 in their first two games of this homestand, their offense is clicking and should continue to do so Thursday.  It should be a high-scoring affair as LB also leads the league in offense.  The Gauchos did hold them to 7pts below their average in game one.  LB does not rebound well while the Gauchos are 2nd in the conference in rebounding margin.  The Gauchos should also win the turnover battle, Belch leads the league in turnovers while UCSB has the fewest.  One thing they do well is get to the line; they are first in the league in FT attempts, led by Booker who leads the country in FT makes and sports an outstanding 90% from the line. 

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·       Control the paint.  Temi is back but not quite with the same mobility as before but still gives LB more depth in the post.  UCSB has successful when they can get scoring out of the post to open up things outside.  Riggins has done a solid job filling in for Temi but I’ll take Gaucho depth of Sow, Ami & Idehen over Riggins & Temi. 
·       Defending the drive and dish. I look at Fullerton games one and two and how different our defense was between the two.  If we defend LB like we did Fullerton, we win. Booker is as good as any of Fullerton’s elite guards but at least there’s just one of him.
·       Guard penetration.  Ramsey, Max, JRoq and Davis can all drive and penetrate.  LB defense should allow this to continue.  So many weapons, try and stop them all.  Love the way Max has been playing of late.  He is keeping the ball moving, he is doing a terrific job of penetrating defenses and dishing or getting a lay-up.  And taking the deep shot when its available.  I think he and the team are finding their groove in working together.

Prediction:  Funny things can happen in rivalry games but I think only UCSB will be laughing this time, Gauchos 84 Belchers 69.

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McLaughlin Named Big West Player of the Week After Helping UCSB to Pair of Wins
McLaughlin Named Big West Player of the Week After Helping UCSB to Pair of Wins

Sunday, February 24, 2019

JaQuori McLaughlin Dunk on SC Top 10

Gauchos Blow Past Cal State Fullerton 82-67
Gauchos Blow Past Cal State Fullerton 82-67

Friday, February 22, 2019

CSUF vs. UCSB Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB vs Cal State Fullerton, Game 2
Saturday, February 23, 2019, 7 PM PST
Overview:  Gauchos, tied for 3rd in the Big West two games behind second place Cal State Fullerton host the streaking Titans Saturday night. When the teams played back in January, UCSB was all alone in first place and the Titans were 6-12 overall.  Since, the Gauchos dropped all the way down to 5th place and CSF has only lost once, a close one to first place UCI.

 By the Numbers                                                             
 Quadrant 4 Game
CSF Logo.png
UCSB logo small.png
Record 13-13 18-8
Home/Away (D1) 4-9 (A) 9-2 (H)
Big West Conference 9-3 7-5
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 165 155
NET 164 154
SOS (NET) 141 287
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 271 138
Defense 93 207
Scoring 73.3  /  72.4 73.3  /  68.2
FG% 46.1  /  47.1 45.5  /  42.4
3 Pt Makes pg 5.7  /  4.9 6.3  /  6.2
3Pt % 32.1  /  33.0 33.3  /  31.2
FT Makes pg 14.8  /  16.5 15.4  /  14.2
FT% 70.3  /  70.7 71.3   /  71.4
PPG Allowed 70.5  /  67.7 65.0  /  65.8
FG % Defense 42  /  42 42.1  /  45.6
3Pt % Defense 31  /  30.3  29.2  /  30.6
Rebounding Margin  +1.5  /  +1.7 +6.7  /  +3.0
Turnovers 13.5  /  13.1 11  /  10.7
Best win (NET):  vs. UCSB (154)
Worst Loss (NET):  vs. Sacramento State (270)
Trend:  The Titans have won 4 straight and 8 of 9, their only loss in the stretch on the road by 7 to frontrunner UCI.

CSF-UCSB History
This will be the 88th meeting between the schools with the Gauchos holding a 47-40 advantage.  Game One in Fullerton was a laugher with the Titans prevailing by 21.  The Titans negated Amadou Sow, holing him to 4 points. Heidegger, coming off the bench was scoreless on 6 fg attempts, 5 from deep, with no FT attempts.  All BW guards Kyle Allman and Khalil Ahmad torched the Gauchos for 21 & 19 respectively.  Jackson Rowe pulled down 12 boards, scored 12 and dished 4 assists. The Titans shot 55% and made 13-14 FT attempts.  The Gauchos made just 12-22 FTs.  Fullerton is not a good three point shooting team, their guards were able to penetrate the Gaucho defense at will and scored most of their points in the paint. 

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 80-102 and a 39-53 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, 5.2 rpg, 4.2 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 has caught fire from deep, now shooting 40%.
Guard Kyle Allman #0  6’4” 182 lbs, Senior. 18.0 ppg on 39% from 3, 3.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.5 TOs per game, 6 FT attempts per game.  34 mpg.  2018 All Big West First Teamer and BWT MVP Allman is again having a productive season, leading the Titans in scoring, three pointers, minutes played, and getting to the FT line. 
Guard Khalil Ahmad #14   6’3”, 209 lb, Senior, 17.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 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 over four attempts per game.  Leads the team with steals, 1.8 pg but coughs it up a lot, 2.2 TOs per game, 0.5 ATO ratio.
Forward Jackson Rowe  #34   6’7”, 210lb, Junior  11.2 ppg, 32% from deep, 8.0 rpg, 30 mpg  Preseason All Big West.  Leads team in rebounding and averages a block a game
Forward Johnny Wang  #33   6’9”, 245lb, Sophomore  3.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg.   Has been starting but playing just 15 mpg.  6 pts on 3-5 vs. UCSB in 23 minutes in the first game.  More importantly, his defense was very good.
Key Reserves
Guard Jamal Smith  #1  6’3”, 165lb RS Junior 3.1 ppg, 19 mpg.
Forward Davon Clare  #5  6’5”, 220 lb Junior.  Averages 16 mpg and pulls down 3.3 boards while scoring 3.0 ppg.
Forward Dominik Heinzl  #21  6’7”, 239  Senior  2.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 10 mpg, 6 pts & 4 boards in 16m vs UCSB, first game
Guard Wayne Arnold  #2  6’4”, 170 lb. Freshman 3.5 ppg, 12 mpg  Terrible 3pt shooting %
View from a Titan Fan:
Match-up overview:
The Titans are on quite the streak winning 8 of 9 including their 21 point blow out win over UCSB.   The Gauchos had no answers on defense and could not stop their speedy guards & wings.  When UCSB had the ball, Fullerton was able to effectively defend Sow despite having an unheralded post in Johnny Wang.  This was the worst match-up for UCSB so far in conference.  Max is healthier now and should be better on defense than he was in the first game.  Pasternack was able to scheme an effective defense to slow down the Titans last year, we’ll see what he has in store this time around.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·       Gaucho inside game:  Sow was shut down but Idehen had a good game.  Sow has been improving and I doubt he puts up only 4 this time around. 
·       Massive improvement in the defense.  Was probably the worst defense the Gauchos had in conference play.  If similar, UCSB loses.  Sekou may be a good asset on defense for UCSB in this game.
·       Offensive spacing & movement without turnovers.  UCSB ball movement & passing was terrific vs. Hawaii and it was getting the team open lanes and looks from the perimeter.  Fullerton’s defense is excellent, rating 93 in Pomeroy so this may not come as easy but if they can wear out the Titan starters, CSF has a big production drop-off from them.

Prediction:  Gauchos improve but, like we are for Hawaii, this matchup is a tough one for UCSB.  CSF 75  UCSB 70

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UCSB Hosts Red Hot Cal State Fullerton in Penultimate Home Game Saturday
Robinson Idehen (Photo by Tony Mastres)

Sow Leads Balanced Gauchos Past Hawai'i, 79-61
Amadou Sow dunks in the first half of UCSB's 79-61 win over Hawai'i on Thursday night. (Photo by Daniel Messinger)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

UCSB VS. UCR Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB @ UC Riverside Preview, Game 2
Thursday, February 14, 2019, 7 PM PST
***edited to add view from a Highlander fan***
Both teams are looking for a rebound on Valentines Day.  The Gauchos are coming off an unexpected loss to UC Davis as last year’s MVP TJ Shorts broke Gaucho hearts in the Thunderdome for the second year in a row.  Riverside, after consecutive wins over Hawaii & Poly, has been rejected four times in a row, including a 26 point home loss to Poly.

By the Numbers                                                             
 Quad 4 Game
UCR logo.png
UCSB logo small.png
Record 8-17 17-6
Home/Away 3-5 (H) 5-4 (A)
Big West Conference 2-7 6-3
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 319 143
NET 316 149
SOS (NET) 314 331
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 261 126
Defense 343 198
Scoring 66.0  /  65.7 74.0  / 68.0
FG% 44.2  /  44.3 45.7  /  42.0
3Pt % 36.9  /  38.6 34.5  /  34.3
FT% 70.5  /  70.4 70.5  /  69.1
PPG Allowed 68.9  /  73.4   64.1  /  63.9
FG % Defense 46.8  /  49.8 41.0  /  44.1.
3Pt % Defense 36.1  /  44.4  27.9  /  27.5
Rebounding Margin  +1.2 /  +3.4 +7.8  /  +4.8
Best win (NET):  vs. LMU (144)
Worst Loss (NET):  vs. Cal Poly (332)

UCR-UCSB History, Game One Recap
This will be the 45th meeting between the schools with the Gauchos holding a commanding 35-9 advantage.  With their win in January, UCSB has won four straight in the series.  In that game, the Highlanders held a surprising 34-32 lead at half time, with Dikembye Martin torching the Gauchos for 12 on 2-4 from three and the Highlanders outrebounding the Gauchos by 4.  UCSB put the clamps on Martin in the second half, limiting him to 4 points.  In the second half it was the Devearl Ramsey show who scored 16 in the half on 5-6 shooting leading the Gauchos to a 72-64 victory.  Sow also had a great game with 20 points and 9 boards.  The Highlanders dominated the boards though, 37 to 27 and Ajani Kennedy had 19 points.
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 are now starting just one upperclassman and four underclassmen as Patrick seems to be looking to build this team for the future. Their primary reserves are underclassmen plus former starter, Center Menno Djikstra. Comments from Highlander’s fan, Blocked Freethrow, in italics.

Probable Starters
Guard Dikembye Martin  #15  6’1”, 170 lb. Junior 15.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.8 apg, 32 mpg 
Riverside’s best player and an All-Big West candidate.  Leads team in getting to the line, 84%
on 2.7 attempts per game.  Second in 3pt makes on 43%, 1 behind Elkaz. 
Martin has carried the team offensively, but because he garners so much attention from opposing defenses, he has become less efficient as the season has progressed.  Without a reliable second option, he is going to have to continue carrying this team.  Good news is, he is well on pace to become UCR’s career leader in scoring and assists
Guard Dominic Pickett  #22  6’3”, 210 lb. RS Sophomore 4.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.4 apg, 23 mpg   Third in
assists on the team.
The team’s recent slide isn’t his fault, but he also isn’t playing outstanding ball that can help the team win.  But what more can you realistically expect from the former team manager?
Wing Dragan Elkaz   #0  6’5”, 205lb Freshman  8.0 ppg, 28 mpg.   Leads team in 3 point shooting, 44%
from deep.
Elkaz carried the team to a victory over Hawaii with an incredible shooting performance, but he has all but disappeared in the team’s recent 4-game slide.  He needs to get more shots.
Forward Zac Watson  #11  6’7”, 210 lb, Freshman 6.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg  21 mpg.   Had a great game last
time out (vs CSF), 13 point on 6-7 shooting and 7 boards.
Watson had been replaced in the starting lineup by Ajani Kennedy, but he has earned back his spot after some subpar performances from AK.  Watson is the better defender of the two, and is a bit more consistent.
Center Callum McRae  #25  7’0”, 270 lb, Freshman 6.3 ppg (54% from the field), 4.0 rpg  16 mpg. 49
turnovers on the season.
McRae replaced Dijkstra in the starting lineup, and promptly rewarded Coach Patrick for the decision.  Following the last game against UCSB, he strung together 5 straight double-digit scoring efforts.  He’s given UCR a back-to-the-basket scoring option when the outside shots aren’t falling.  He needs more touches for this offense to put points on the board, but he has struggled mightily on defense.

Key Reserves
Center Menno Dijkstra  #32  7’0”, 235 lb, Senior 7.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg  21 mpg. He has attempted 54 threes,
making 14 of them.  Leads team with 14 blocks.  Former starter, moved to the bench as Patrick goes youth movement
Dijkstra is still providing mediocre offense and defense… at least he is consistent.
Forward Ajani Kennedy #10  6’8”, 200 lb Sophomore 7.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 21 mpg  Plays starter minutes
and leads team in rebounding & three point %, 26/56.
Outside of a 15 point, 9 rebound performance in a win against Cal Poly, Kennedy’s play has been abysmal.  He seems uninterested on offense without the ball in his hands, and his defense has been laughable at times.  The coaches need to figure out how to get him engaged and ready to play..
Guard Jordan Gilliam  #2  6’5”, 160 lb. Sophomore 7.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, 21 mpg Was a starter
early in the season. Second assists. Shooting .342 from the field, .310 from deep.  Scored 15
with 6 boards vs Davis two games ago.
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.
Guard DJ McDonald  #3  5’11”, 175 lb. Freshman 13 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 FanThanks and credit to Blocked Freethrow for his second Highlander overview:
UCR looked to be putting things together with a win against Hawaii and a blow out of Cal Poly on the road but has followed that up with an absolutely putrid string of 4 consecutive losses, 3 of them at home.  The Highlanders aren’t getting it done on either side of the ball: they are only scoring 58.5 points on 39% shooting while allowing 78.5 points on 52% shooting during this losing streak.  UCR’s stellar outside shooting has taken a slight dip, but alarmingly, opponents are having a field day from outside, as they are allowing a Big West worst 44% from beyond the arc. 

The coaching staff has made a few changes to the starting lineup and rotation, but I think they have their hands full with this young team.  This 4 game home stand was a chance to separate from Cal Poly and perhaps even climb the standings, but this team has regressed to the point that it can only put together 10 consistent, productive minutes per game.  The race for 8th is a tight one, and it’s hard to envision this team having any success in the Honda Center, even if they do make the cut.
Prediction:  The Highlanders were able to stay close for most of the game in the Thunderdome before a late Gaucho run sealed it, but I anticipate a blowout this time around.  This team isn’t mentally or physically prepared for the rigors of conference play.  Should be an easy double-digit victory for UCSB.  81-62
Match-up overview:  Much has been said about the Gaucho defense and how it needs to be more consistent but in the Davis game, it was their offense that let them down, scoring only 57 points against a team giving up 70 a game in conference play.  Riverside presents a perfect opportunity to get healthy, they rate 343 in the country in defense (KenPom) and BW teams are shooting 50% (!) from the field against them.  Most importantly, the Highlanders don’t have TJ Shorts. 

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·       Gaucho inside game:  Sow had one of his best games vs the Highlanders the first time around.  Teams are starting to double-team him and he’s still struggling with that. UCR won’t be as good as Davis doing this so he should do better and maybe even get an assist or two. 
·       Finding offensive rhythm with the new lineup.  The team’s efficiency ratings and scoring output have dropped slightly since he’s come back.  Not blaming Max, I just think the team is still sorting it out. Production from Davis, JRoq, Ramsey, Nagle and Toure have all dipped since Max returned to the starting lineup.  Now much, if not all of that is more shots going through him but the net production is down. This despite Max’s insane numbers of 40 assists vs. just 8 TOs. 
·       Containing Martin. I don’t recall what the Gauchos did differently in the second half last time but I imagine they will have that approach from the start.
·       Davis and Blackmon on the wing/forward position vs. Elkaz, Watson & Kennedy.  After Martin, this position generates most offense for the Highlanders.

Prediction:  The Gauchos have done well on the road in conference play, 3-1.  Their offense gets healthy against the Highlander porous defense Gauchos 77 Highlanders 63.

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Monday, February 4, 2019

CSUN vs. UCSB Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB vs. CSUN, Game 1
Wednesday, February 6, 2019, 7 PM PST
Overview:  It can be said that the Gauchos played at full strength for the first time this season as Max Heidegger played like the All Big West Player he was a year ago in the Gauchos 21 point romp over the Warriors in Hawaii.  They return home to take on the young and improving Matadors who are led by Freshman Phenom and POY candidate Lamine Diane. 

By the Numbers                                                             
Quadrant 4 Game
csun xxx logo.jpg
UCSB logo small.png
Record 10-13 16-5
Home/Away (D1) 3-6 (A) 7-1 (H)
Big West Conference 4-3 5-2
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 266 129
NET 273 140
SOS (ESPN BPI) 338 337
CBS Preseason Rank 343 288
SI Preseason Rank 312 185
Preseason Poll Pick 9th 4th
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 120 99
Defense 338 190
Team Statistics (Overall/BWC)
Scoring 78.0  /  72.5 75.0  /  69.3
FG% 47.0  /  43.3 46.0  /  41.9
3Pt % 37.0  /  36.0 34.9  /  35.5
FT% 70.1  / 64.8 69.8  /  66.4
PPG Allowed  80.7  /  75.6 64.7  /  64.3
FG % Defense 44.9  /  42.0 40.8  /  44.3
3Pt % Defense
38.8  /  38.7
28.8  /  30.5
Rebounding Margin  -2.3  /  -4.3 +7.5  /   +3.0
Best win (NET): Pepperdine (away, 161)
Worst Loss (NET): Portland (home, 315)
Trend:  The Matadors are 4-3 in Big West play but two of those wins are against Poly and the other two vs. UCR & LB.  Against the top half of the conference they are 0-3 though they did have an 18 point lead on Irvine. 

UCSB- CSUN History
This will be the 57th meeting between the two teams with the Gauchos holding a 37-19 advantage.  The Gauchos swept the series last year and own a 2 game winning streak.  The Gauchos defeated the Matadors in the first game between the schools in 1959 and the Matadors returned the favor the following season.  UCSB’s longest win streak is 8, from 1969-1976 and the Matador’s longest is 4 from 2009-2010.
Head Coach
Mark Gottfried took over the troubled Northridge program from Reggie Theus this year.  He has the deepest pedigree of all Big West coaches and this is true even if you don’t consider his lead assistant is former UCLA & Pepperdine coach Jim Harrick.  He won a National Championship as an assistant under Harrick at UCLA and has numerous NCAA tournament appearances and victories in lengthy stints at NC State, Alabama and Murray State. 
CSUN has one of the youngest rosters in the country and one of the thinnest.  Gottfried has only gone 7 deep in the past few games.  Youth and a lack of depth goes far to explain why the Matadors have given up several big leads this season.  So with the negatives out of the way, the Matadors have two excellent players in Freshman Darius Brown and JC transfer Rocket Henderson and two All-Big West Level players in Terrell Gomez and Lamine Diane. To expand upon Chiefstinkyfinger's favorite theme, the talent in Northridge this year is not limited to the porn industry.

Probable Starters
Guard Darius Brown  #10 6’1”, 180lb, Freshman  8.0 ppg, 5.6 apg, 3.3 ATO ratio. 3.1 rpg, 31 mpg.  Leads the team with 36 steals, is shooting .458 from the field.  Would be a FOY candidate if not for his attention-grabbing teammate. 
Guard Terrell Gomez  #3 5’8” 160 lbs, Sophomore  19.5 ppg, 2.8 apg, 38 mpg.  Gets to the line about 4x a game and makes 86% of his freebies.  A workhorse who is shooting an impressive 48% from the field including .438 from deep.   Leads the league in made three pointers with 81.  Second in the Big West in scoring.  Reigning FOY.
Wing Rodney Henderson  #1 6’5”, 185lb, JC Transfer Junior  12.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 27 mpg.  A good three point shooter, is second on the team in makes, .349  Nicknamed Rocket.
Forward Lamine Diane  #35  6’7”, 205 lb. RS Freshman  24.1 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 36 mpg.  Leads the league in scoring and rebounding, also ranking in the top ten in these categories nationwide.  Does just about everything well except hit his free-throws, just 51% on 165 attempts.  His moves, touch and length are all elite level.  Is the POY favorite and if any other player wins it will be a travesty.
Forward Jared Pearre  #25  6’9”, 190 lb. RS Freshman 3.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 16 mpg.  Has been filling in for the injured Michael Ou. 
Key Reserves
Guard Cameron Gottfried #15  6’3”, 190 lb.  GT  5.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.4 apg, 26 mpg.   Coach’s son, the Grad Transfer provides some rare senior leadership on this young roster.  Was at NC State for two years previously but did not play.  Got little PT prior at Siena College.
Forward Ron Artest Jr  #14  6’7”, 215 lb  Freshman.  16 mpg.  Has only played 5 games, may not have been eligible earlier.  I’ve seen him play a bit and he is physical & a hard worker, but not that skilled
Center Michael Ou  #30  6’9”, 230 lb  Freshman  4.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg. Was starting but is out with an injury right now.  From China

View from a Matador fan:  pending

Match-up overview:  As mentioned, the Matadors have top level talent but little depth, especially in the five position. They boast the best offense in the conference but their defense is horrible and the Gauchos should score a ton.  JP could go a couple directions with this.  Go with a big line-up where CSUN does not have the front-court to stop Sow/Idehen/Lakoju or go with a fast-paced game with frequent substitutions.  Regardless, CSUN does not rebound well and UCSB crashing the boards as they have all year should translate more scoring opportunities for the Gauchos.  CSUN usually hangs for ¾ of the game before wearing out and UCSB’s depth should lead them to a victory

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·       Sow takes advantage.  Can we get a repeat of his game vs. Hawaii please?
·       Diane is way too much for any one player.  Will be interesting to see who JP sticks the defensive assignment to. Sow may be the best but could get some quick fouls this way.
·       Pressure the Matadors early.  Their guards are terrific but JP has been extending the defense to good effect the past couple games and constant pressure should work to wear CSUN out.
·       Max integration project, complete? How great was it to see his perimeter shot finally fall with regularity.  When he is on and the rest of the starters are playing to their capabilities, UCSB should not lose in BW play.

Prediction:  CSUN’s talent will likely keep this close for a while but the Gauchos have so much more depth and are finally firing on all cylinders.  UCSB 88 CSUN 72

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Sunday, February 3, 2019

Max Heidegger Returns to Form Vs. Hawaii

Friday, February 1, 2019

UCSB VS. HAWAII Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB @ Hawaii, Game 1
Saturday, February 2, 2019, 10 PM PST
Overview:  UCSB & Hawaii face off tied for third place, ready to battle to see which team moves into a second place tie with idle 5-2 Fullerton. The Gauchos suffered a difficult loss in OT to the physical Anteaters and immediately got on a plane to the islands.  Hawaii is coming off an easy 17 point victory at home over Long Beach.

By the Numbers                                                             
Quadrant 3 Game

UCSB logo small.png
Record 13-7 15-4
Home/Away (D1) 8-3 (H) 4-4 (A)
Big West Conference 4-2 4-2
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 178 135
NET 166 149
SOS (NET) 231 349
CBS Preseason Rank 255 288
SI Preseason Rank 225 185
Preseason Poll Pick 6th 4th
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 184 103
Defense 175 230
Team Statistics (Overall/BWC)
73.3  /  77.0
75.0  /  68.3
45.2  /  47.6
45.9  /  41.0
3Pt %
34.3  /  36.3
34.5  /  34.4
68.7  / 69.4
69.6  /  64.8
Defense:  PPG Allowed
67.7  /  71.4
64.8  /  66.0
FG % Defense
44.1  /  46.2
41.5  /  45.3
3Pt % Defense
32.9  /  39.1
29.1  /  32.1
Rebounding Margin  +2.2  /  +3.0 +7.5 /   +2.0
Best win (NET): Utah (neutral, 87)
Worst Loss (NET): UCR (away, 284)
Trend:  Hawaii has won two straight at home in blow out fashion over Davis and Long Beach. Prior, they lost by just one at home to Irvine and before that, an inexplicable loss at Riverside.

The Arena: The Warriors play in the 10,300 seat Stan Sheriff Center, constructed in 1994.  It is the largest arena in the Big West.  The Warriors are averaging 5,360 in attendance. 

UCSB- Hawaii History
This will be the 22nd meeting between the two teams with the Bows holding a slim 11-10 advantage.  Technically, UCSB holds a 10-9 advantage as Hawaii’s two wins in 2013 were later vacated. The first game was played on Boxing Day, 1958 with the Warriors edging the Gauchos 69-67 in Rob Gym.  In 1960, UCSB traveled to the island and the teams split 2 games.  The longest win streak for both teams in the series is four games, UCSB taking it in 2014-15 and Hawaii returning the favor right after 2016-17.  They split the series last year with a total margin of three points in the two games and the Gauchos winning the most recent meeting which was in the Thunderdome.
Head Coach
Evan Ganot is in his 4th season at the helm of the Warriors and boasts an overall record of 71-42, .628 and a conference record of 29-19, .608.  In his first season, 2015-16, the Warriors won both the Big West regular season and tournament titles and went to the NCAAs and registered an upset first round win over Cal.  This was the first tournament win in program history. He was named BW Coach of the year that season. Since, he has consecutive 8-8 finishes.  
Hawaii was challenged with the loss of their terrific front court from last season, having to replace Mike Thomas and Gibson Johnson.  Senior Forward Jack Purchase has done a good job of taking on a bigger role as has Junior Zigmars Raimo who is now starting. Sophomore guard Drew Buggs runs the ship and is possibly the most underrated player in the Big West.  He is the lone underclassman starting.   The Warriors spread the scoring about with the top 6 scorers ranging from 7.9 to 12.7 ppg.  Ganot is running a rotation of 8 players getting significant minutes and with four of those 8 from other countries, they are the most international roster in the conference.

Probable Starters
Guard Drew Buggs  #1 6’3” 195lbs, RS Sophomore  8.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.5 apg, 30 mpg.  Buggs has followed up an outstanding freshman campaign with an even better sophomore season and is an All Big West candidate.  Mostly a slash & dish player, he is hitting .478 from the field.  His 5.7 assists per game leads the conference and he has a solid 2.2 ATO ratio. Second on the team in getting to the line where he is shooting 67% on about 2 attempts per game.
Guard Sherrif Drameh  #23 6’3”, 160lb, Senior  7.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 23 mpg.  Shoots .340 from deep on 53 attempts.  From Sweden, Drameh is most known for his defense and his mouth, frequently getting into verbal jousts with his opponents--I look forward to Charlie Hill’s translation after the game 😉. Missed 6 games due to suspension earlier. 
Guard Eddie Stansbury  #3  6’3”, 190lb, JC Transfer Junior  12.7 ppg, 28 mpg. Leads the team in scoring and three point makes (59 on .362).  Worked his way into the starting role after starting the season as a reserve.  Attended SF City College and played for the Oakland Soldiers so I wonder if UCSB recruited him. 
F Jack Purchase  #12  6’9”, 210 lb. Senior  11.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, 31 mpg from Australia is second on the team in scoring, rebounding and made three pointers (.364).  He is an excellent passer for a big, averaging two assists per game.   Making an outstanding 86% of his free throws, attempting about 2 per game.  Leads team in minutes played.
F Zigmars Raimo  #12  6’8”, 230 lb. Junior  11.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 28 mpg.  From Latvia, he leads the team in rebounding and in FT attempts but is making only a little over 50% of them.  He also leads the team in steals. Has fouled out twice this season.

Key Reserves
Guard Brock Stepteau #2  5’9”, 170 lb.  Senior  9.4 ppg, 3 apg, 26 mpg.   Was a starter earlier, now coming off the bench but still playing starter minutes.  He is second on the team in assists and free-throw attempts where he makes an outstanding 84%.  He is fourth in scoring, hitting .358 from deep.  A quick jitterbug guard that gave UCSB fits last season; Brock, meet Devearl. 
Wing Samuta Avea  #32  6’6”, 195 lb  Sophomore  4.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 16 mpg.   Local boy from Hawaii
Center Mate Colina  #11  7’0”, 240 lb  RS Freshman  3.3 ppg. 9 mpg  From Australia

View from a Hawaii fan:  Hawaii Insider is a professional fan site and does a terrific job of previewing Warrior games.

Match-up overview:  By the computer rankings the Bows and the Gauchos present a fairly even match-up with an edge to Hawaii with homecourt advantage.  As ranked within the BW, Hawaii is generating the most assists, is scoring the second most points and is ranked 3rd in three pointers made and in getting to the line.  The Gauchos lead the conference in scoring defense and is second in rebounding.  They’re mid-pack in most offensive metrics.  Hawaii moves the ball well and is going to make the Gaucho defense work harder than what Irvine’s did.  But on the other end, points and rebounds should come easier.  

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·       Disrupt Buggs & Stepteau.  Hawaii moves the ball well.  UCSB pressed Irvine a bit to shorten the shot clock, that might work well in this game too.
·       Cover Purchase out on the perimeter  Unlike Irvine, Hawaii’s main big likes to shoot from outside.  Sow and/or Blackmon has the athleticism to go with him, will just need to be careful not to foul. 
·       Maintain advantage on offensive rebounding.  UCSB is the better rebounding team but not nearly as good in BW play as they were pre-season.   The OT game and the long flight may make it harder to generate the energy this requires.
·       Max integration project, continued. Oh where or where has his three point shot gone? Oh where oh where has it gone?  Its been a tough road back for Max’s shot though other parts of his game are solid.
·       Rediscover the bench.  Our guys were gassed in OT and probably won’t be as fresh vs. Hawaii.  We need the bench to step up to win. 

Prediction:  The longest trip of the year comes at the most inopportune time; coming off the tough OT loss to Irvine.  Gauchos lose this last one in their toughest stretch of the year.  UH 73 UCSB 68

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UCSB Runs Out of Gas Late, UC Irvine Pulls Away 66-62 in OT Win
UCSB Runs Out of Gas Late, UC Irvine Pulls Away 66-62 in OT Win