Friday, November 29, 2019

Gauchos Set For Thanksgiving Weekend Tournament in Reno
Lauren Lee (Photo by Tony Mastres)

Grambling vs. UCSB Men's Basketball Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB vs. Grambling State
Friday, November 29, 2019, 7pm
Quick Bite:
Grambling represents the best team out of the SWAC that will come to SB this year based on last year’s results.  Still not all that great considering they were rated 293 in NET.  But they return all their key players and even made the Top 144 countdown so they should be much improved. Five of their top six scorers are back and this is an extremely experienced group full of upperclassmen.

By the Numbers 
Grambling.png (4.93KiB)
UCSB logo small.png (7.12KiB)
Preseason Conference
Pick (range)
3rd 1st to 2nd
CBS Preseason Rank 262 162
SI Preseason Rank 268 137
Record vs D1 1-3  2-3
      Home/away vs D1 1-2(A) 2-1 (H)
 National Rankings
Composite: DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey,
289 183
SOS 293 252
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)    
                     Offense 303 81
                     Defense 290 257
Scoring 89.7 76.8
FG% 50.2 50.6
3Pt % 37.5 32.5
FT% 69.2 78.4
PPG Allowed 73.2 73.0
FG % Defense 41.6 46.6
3Pt % Defense 27.6 39.4
Steals PG 10.7 3.7
Blocks PG 3.8 3.2
Rebounding Margin + 6.6 + 7.3
Assists/Turnovers PG 17.2/13.7 16.2/12.3
Best win (BPI):  SE Louisiana (340)
Worst Loss (BPI): SJSU (346)
Trend:  Lost 3

UCSB-Grambling History
UCSB leads the all-time series 2-0.  Both games were played in Rob Gym in the early 80s.  On December 27, 1980 the Gauchos squeaked by 63-61 and on December 11, 1981 they won 89-73.

Head Coach:   Donte’ Jackson enters his third season at the helm of the Tigers with high expectations.  In the 2017-18 season, his first year with the Tigers, Jackson guided Grambling to its first SWAC regular season title since 1989. However, due to low APR scores, Grambling was ineligible for conference tournament and postseason play.  For his efforts, Jackson was named 2018 SWAC Coach of the Year, and was the recipient of the 2018 Ben Jobe Award, as well. Last year the Tigers slipped to 3rd place and played in the CIT.  He has an overall record of 37-34.  Prior to Grambling, Jackson had successful stints at the D2 and NAIA levels with Central State and Stillman.
Roster and overview: So much of mid-major basketball is point guard play, and Grambling has a good one in Ivy Smith. Turnovers were a problem at times a season ago, but Smith is perhaps the best floor general in the conference– a guy confident both scoring and distributing who can act as an extension of head coach Donte Jackson while on the floor. JUCO import Kelton Edwards can light it up on the wing, and Johnson is an excellent defensive coach despite his teams playing fast
Smith is a superb playmaker but can obviously take over a game offensively as well. Named to the pre-season all conference team. Grambling was one of the most efficient three-point shooting teams in the country last year. Some of those shooters are gone, but there are plenty remaining. Most notable are Prince Moss and Anthony Gaston. The frontcourt will revolve around forward DeVante Jackson. The 6-9 senior is a decent interior scorer, but he will need to do more work on the glass this season. That is true of Trayon Bunch as well. Bunch is a big 7-1 senior who can make a big impact on both ends of the floor, but he will need to play more minutes in 2019-2020 or the frontcourt depth could be a concern.

The Gauchos and Tigers have a shared opponent in Oregon State where both lost away games by 11 and 22 respectively.

Probable Starters
Guard Ivy Smith  #1 6’0” 165 lbs, Senior 11.5 ppg, 4.8 apg, 2.5 rpg, 30 mpg, 3.2 spg., 3.2 TO pg
Team’s leading returning player.  5-15 from deep.  An amazing 3.2 steals per game, leads team in getting to the line, 22/31
Guard Anthony Gaston  #4 6’4”, 205 lb, RS Senior 11.7 ppg, 3rpg. 23 mpg
Shooting 47% from deep, second on team in getting to the line, 18/23
Wing Prince Moss   #22   6’7”, 180 lb. Junior  12.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg,  25 mpg
Top three point shooter, 9/18
Forward Devante Jackson  #25  6’9”, 200 lb, Senior   16.7 ppg, 6 rpg, 23 mpg
Forward Tarreon Randolph  #21  6’8”, 220 lb, Junior   5.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2 apg, 24 mpg

Probable Key Reserves:
Guard Travell Cunningham #0 6’0”, 180 lb.  JC Transfer Junior   8.7 ppg, 4.7 apg,
Second on team in minutes played and assists.
Wing Kelton Edwards #32   6’6” 195lb.  JC Transfer Junior   8.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 18 mpg
Good shooter, 7-7 from the line, 4-8 from deep.
Center Travon Bunch 7'1" 230 lb Senior  7.7 ppg, 4 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 14 mpg
Guard Tramichael Morton #5 6’1”, 170 lb.  Freshman   10 ppg, 2.3 rpb, 2 apg, 3 spg, 16 mpg
Has played just three games, good productivity in time on the court.

Match-up & prediction:
Grambling has size and athleticism and get good productivity as measured by assists from their guards.  Like Portland St, they are aggressive in pursuing steals and average more than 10 a game.  The Gauchos were outstanding in handling the pressure from the Vikings as Ramsey, McLaughlin and Heidegger were very steady, turning the ball over only once each and a similar effort will be needed tonight.

The Tigers have three forward/centers to run at Sow in Randolph, Jackson and Bunch so help from Idehen, Freeman and Nagle are key to keep him fresh.  It will be a good battle in particular between Sow & Jackson. 

On the Gauchos side of things, I thought both Ramsey and McLaughlin had terrific games vs. Portland St and hopefully this is a trend we see moving forward.  It was odd to see Heidegger take such an extreme facilitation role after being such a dominant scorer the first 4 games of the season.  Not sure what was going on there but with our depth at the guard position, the team seems to be able to succeed with whichever role he seems to take on.   Toure was terrific in filling in for the injured Cyrus.  I have no word on Cyrus's status but either way UCSB is well set at that wing position.  Idehen is still a work in progress in regards to his footwork, especially on defense.  This could be a good game for him to be very productive as the Tiger’s forwards, while athletic, similarly lack some of the fundamental technique of teams like Oregon St & UCLA.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
-        Sow stay fresh & out of foul trouble.
-        The Wednesday versions of Ramsey & McLaughlin
-        DEFENSE!  A solid effort vs. Portland, keeping them about 8 points under their average.  I’d like to see UCSB hold GSU 10 pts under their average (they’ve had two games vs. lower division opponents so their scoring average is inflated)

Prediction:  I believe UCSB can continue to build on what they did well vs. Portland St and if we see that sustained defensive effort, UCSB wins this going away.  If they slip up again in the second half, Grambling has the horses to make it competitive.
UCSB 82  Grambling 68

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Grambling Fun Fact
On most all time greatest football coach’s lists you’ll find only one African American and that is the late-great Eddie Robinson.  From his wiki page: “In 1941 the 22-year old Robinson assumed his duties as head football coach at Louisiana Negro Normal and Industrial Institute (now called Grambling State). The days of assistant coaches, offensive and defensive coordinators, and specialty coaches were long in the future, so Robinson did everything: he taught offense and defense, mowed the football field, fixed sandwiches for road trips through towns that would not serve blacks in restaurants, taped his players' sore joints, and even wrote game stories for the newspapers. He had strict standards of personal conduct and educational achievement for his players. In his first year the team went 3–5–1, but the following season—during which he recruited new players and dismissed those who did not live up to his expectations—the Tigers had a perfect 9–0 season, going unbeaten, untied, and unscored upon.”

Robinson would go on to send over 200 players to the pro football ranks and in 1985 he surpassed Bear Bryant to become the all-time winningest coach (since surpassed by Joe Paterno and John Galiardi (non D1).

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Portland State vs. UCSB Men's Basketball Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB vs. Portland State
Wednesday, November 27, 2019, 7PM
Quick Bite:  The Gauchos are coming off a 19 point victory over NAIA Menlo in a game that was competitive through about halfway through the second half.  Amadou Sow had a career high 25 points on 9-10 free throws and added 10 boards for the double-double.  Devearl Ramsey sat the game out nursing a minor (hopefully) injury and is expected to play.  The Vikings defeated Grambling in the Thunderdome yesterday 84-74.   Neither the Gauchos or the Vikings are very good at defense so expect the scoreboard to be busy.

By the Numbers                                                              
psu.jpg (4.51KiB)
UCSB logo small.png (7.12KiB)
Record 3-3 1-3
Away/Home (D1 only) 2-2 (A) 1-1 (H)
 National Rankings
Composite (DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey,
213 206
SOS 232 220
CBS Preseason Rank 216 162
SI Preseason Rank 302 137
Preseason Poll Pick 6th 1st – 2nd
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)    
Offense 168 94
Defense 327 280
Scoring 82.2 76.0
FG% 42.7% 50.2%
3Pt % 29.8% 32.0%
FT% 71.0% 80.7%
PPG Allowed 78.2 73.6
FG % Defense 47.2 % 47.7
3Pt % Defense 36.9% 41.9
Steals PG 11.7 3.6
Blocks PG 3.8 2.6
Rebounding Margin 0.0 +7.6
Assists/Turnovers PG 12.4/13.0 15.8/13.0

Portland State:
Best win (NET):   SJSU (A)
Worst Loss (NET):  Portland (H)
Trend:    Won 2

Portland St.-UCSB History
UCSB All-time record vs. Vikings:  6-2
Last game (2018):  UCSB 76-69, in Boise

Last year’s game recap:  Four Gauchos scored in double figures, led by Armond Davis with 20, as UCSB took the lead at the end of the first half on a Davis 3 and did not relinquish it.  Jarriese Blackmon had a near double-double with 11 points and 9 boards.  Amadou Sow had his worst game of his season last year with just a single point and 2 boards.

Head Coach:
Third year Coach Barrett Peery did a great job in his first season, taking the Vikings to their first 20 win season in 10 years while not playing a single home game on campus as their new arena was being built.  With a lot of roster turnover, the Vikings stepped back a bit last year going 16-16, showing improvement during Big Sky play.  His overall record is now 36-30.  Before joining the Vikings, he was Assc. HC at Santa Clara and was an extremely successful HC of two JCs, including College of Southern Idaho (Armond Davis, Roberto Gittens)

For the second consecutive year, Coach Peery has a roster with a lot of new faces.  Looks like he shook up the roster as only a few players return from last year’s team with only a couple lost to graduation.  He does return top scorer and assist maker in Junior Holland Woods and his top rebounder, third leading scorer in Sal Nuhu.  Grad transfers Markus Golder (Valpo) and Alonzo Walker (Idaho State) were rated two of the best by CBB Central, each adding athleticism, defensive ability, and the ability to play a role to the mix. Meanwhile, the presence of Santa Clara import Matt Hauser has freed up Woods to score more while adding scoring punch himself..
PSU has led the country in full-court press frequency in each of Peery’s two seasons at the helm. Last year, the Vikings pressed 44% of the time, a significantly higher mark than 2nd-place UNC Greensboro’s 36% clip and earn a lot of steals in the process.Peery extends his athletic guards and wings across the entire floor and relies on anchor Sal Nuhu to protect the paint. Unfortunately, while this style is unique and “sexy”, it has yet to produce any real results, as PSU’s defense ranked 8th in the Big Sky in 2017-18 and 9th (and bottom 50 in the country) last year per KenPom. Issues have come from allowing too much near the rim despite Nuhu’s presence and sending opponents to the free throw line at a much-too-high-rate. The Vikings have done well forcing turnovers and limiting outside chances, but they must improve their hacking and back-line help to challenge for a conference title.
Offensively, the Vikings have relied heavily on the offensive glass to score points. PSU ranked #1 in the country in OR% last year (17th in 2018-19), a result of hard glass crashing, skilled rebounders all over the floor, and brutal outside shooting.
Possible Starters
Guard Matt Hauser   #3  6’0”, 170 lb, Senior (transfer from Santa Clara) 17.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 33 mpg
Leading 3pt shooter (38.2%), also leads team in minutes played (34) Sat out last season.  Was a starter most of his junior hear @ Santa Clara.
Guard Holland Woods   #3  6’0”, 170 lb, Junior, 18.5 ppg, 5.6 apg, 2.5 rbp, 2.8 spg.  34 mpg
Leeds the team in getting to the line, shooting 85%, and in assists.  Second in 3pt makes.
Guard Chris Whitaker   #3  6’3”, 200 lb, JC Transfer Sophomore, 7.0 ppg, 3.2 rbp, 19 mpg
Points come off drives to the paint, not a 3 pt shoter.
Forward Alonzo Walker  #22  6’6” 210lb  GT (Idaho St)  11.3 ppg, 6.8 rbg, 26 mpg
F/C Sal Nuhu  #10   6’8”, 215 lb, Senior  6.8 ppg, 4 rpg, 21 mpg.
Not an accurate shooter for a big, only 38% and 50% FTs

Possible Key Reserves:
Forward Rashad Goolsby  #23  6’7”, 200 lb, Senior 7.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg
Playing starter minutes, 27 pg and leads the team in rebounding.
Wing Marcus Golder   #2  6’6”, 195 lb, Senior (Valpo)   5.8 ppg, 14 mpg
Started about half the games in his last year @ Valpo, averging 9 ppg and 4 rpg. Last season went to a JC.
Guard Ian Burke #5  6’5”, 185 lb, Sophomore (Seattle), 2.5 ppg, 13 mpg
Solid 3 pt shooter, 5-15 for the year.
Guard Kyle Greely #5  6’5”, 185 lb, RS Freshman, 6.0 ppg, 9 mpg
Has played just 4 games
Forward Trey Wood  #23  6’9”, 210 lb, RS Freshman 2.5 ppg, 11 mpg

Match-up overview:
The story for this game is defense, or the lack thereof.  Both teams rank near the bottom in this category so expect an entertaining, high scoring game.  Like last year, the matchup between Ramsey and Woods will be one to watch. Woods was just 2-6 from the field but had 9 ft attempts, making 7. He had 2 assists vs 2 TOs and 4 fouls.   Ramsey was just 1-9 from the field while dishing 3 assists vs 2 TOs and had 3 fouls.  Given that Ramsey has not been himself and it may be that the groin injury suffered in the BWT has had a lingering impact, this matchup is worrisome.  If Ramsey is not up to task, then McLaughlin will likely fill in and he’s not been great defensively this year either.  Portland St has two forwards that rebound the ball well in Walker and Goolsby so Sow will need to work hard to keep them off the glass. Neither of those players are big and it could be interesting to see if Idehen can earn Pasternak’s trust and spend less time on the bench than he has and see if SB can exploit a size advantage.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
-        Improvement  in perimeter defense.  UCSB has been getting torched by guard penetration and this is a strength for the Vikings.  Ramsey sat out last game and his defense & play in general has not been where it was last year.  It could be he did not fully recover from the injury suffered in the BWT.  McLaughlin has not been all that great either on defense and he may have to have to have a greater role if Ramsey is not able.  Cyrus could be key in slowing down Woods and/or Hauser.
-        Improvement in help defense in the paint.  While Freeman has been everything as billed on offense, shooting an outstanding 45% from deep and scoring 10ppg, he has been a liability on defense.  Not sure if he has the footspeed to change that overnight so help defense from the guards and from Sow needs to happen.  Help defense on guard penetration too, lets see an increase in charging fouls against the opponents.
-        Heidegger to get through his mini two game slump. 

Prediction:  Should be a fun up-tempo game with a lot of offense and little defense.  With advantages in the front court, JP should choose to slow it down once to get Sow, Idehen and Freeman more touches.  Gaucho depth & frontcourt prevail, UCSB 85 Portland State 79

Official Site
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Portland State Pre-Season Preview Links: ... y-preview/ ... 20-preview
Fun fact about Portland State:
Portland State became a full-fledged university in 1969 but existed in various forms prior, starting as a school of higher learning for WWII vets in 1946 on a junior high school campus.   Large, about 29k students, it has a lot of transfer & commuter students.  Of hoops interest, Freeman Williams, ’78, is the second all-time NCAA scoring leader, trailing only Pistol Pete Maravich.  He accomplished this in only 106 games and without the benefit of the three point line.

UCSB, Portland State Player Pre-Thanksgiving Game Wednesday Night
Matt Freeman (Photo by Gary Breedlove)

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Lane’s Double-Double Helps Gauchos Defeat USC for First Time Since 2007
(Photo by Tony Mastres)

Gauchos Look to Rebound, Head North to Oregon State Wednesday

Sekou Toure (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

UCSB vs. Oregon State Men's Basketball Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

Sekou Toure (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
UCSB @ Oregon State
Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 7pm
Quick Bite:  Coach Wayne Tinkle has an experienced core of players to build around.  Optimism is high at Oregon State for the 2019-20 men’s basketball season, as the Beavers return three of five starters, including Pac-12 player of the year candidate Tres Tinkle, plus a promising freshman class.  He will need to find some depth if this group is going to take a big step forward in 2019-2020.

By the Numbers                                    
OSU logo.jpg (4.88KiB)
UCSB logo small.png (7.12KiB)
2019-20 Record 3-1 1-2
Home/away vs D1 2-0 (H) 0-1 (A)
 National Rankings
Composite (DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey, RPI, Sagarin) 74 189
SOS 170 262
CBS Preseason Rank 78 162
SI Preseason Rank 74 137
Preseason Poll Pick 6th-9th 2nd
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)    
Offense 39 92
Defense 95 274
Scoring 79.8 75.0
FG% 46% 54%
3Pt % 42% 38%
FT% 71% 79%
PPG Allowed 70.2  
FG % Defense 42%  
3Pt % Defense 33%  
Steals PG 5.3 4.3
Blocks PG 5.8 3.3
Rebounding Margin + 4.3 + 0.3

Best win:  Iowa St.
Worst Loss:  Oklahoma

OSU-UCSB History
UCSB All-time record vs. Beavers:  2-3
Last game (2015):  OSU defeated UCSB in Santa Barbara 71-59, following their 2014 victory over the Gauchos in Corvallis the year before.  UCSB last defeated the Beavers in 1988, in Santa Barbara by a score of 71-70.  It was Gary Payton’s freshman year.

The Arena:  Gill Coliseum opened in 1949 and seats 9,604.  Last year home attendance averaged 5,161.  It has hosted the NCAA tournament 11 times, the last in 1983 which included the famous NC State comeback victory over Pepperdine in the 1st round, on their way to their improbable national championship.  They are averaging 4,798 this season. 

Head Coach: Wayne Tinkle enters his 6th season at the helm of the Beavers, with a record of 78-84.  Previously he had a successful 8 year run at Montana and has an overall record of 233-174.  He led the Beavers to their most successful conference season in over 25 years last year, a 4th place finish in the P12 and first winning conference record since 1990.  At Montana, he won two Big Sky COY honors and led the Grizzlies to the NCAAs three times.
Roster & Overview: Return 3 of their top 5 scorers including preseason All Pac 12 Tress Tinkle who is averaging a double-double so far this season.  Oregon State ranked 151st nationally in scoring offense last year, averaging 73.4 points per contest. Much of the Beavers’ offensive inconsistency could be attributed to a poor 32.1 three-point percentage: 293rd among all Division One teams. “We have to shoot it better. We didn’t shoot it well from three last year as a team,” said Tinkle. “The fact that we have more threats in the paint will help us, because we’ll make the defense collapse more than we were able to a year ago.”
The Beavers’ rebounding numbers weren’t much better, as they clocked in at 104th nationally in rebounding margin. Despite having size in the post with Kelley and Rakocevic, allowing opponents to crash the offensive glass was a critical weakness of last year’s squad.  Improvement on the boards has been a major point of emphasis in practice throughout the offseason.
“If our bigs are rebounding it, then our guys like Tres and Ethan can be running the wings where they’re very dangerous,” Tinkle explained. “We haven’t been able to take advantage of that, because those two have been our leading rebounders. We continue to focus on it. It’s something that we work on every day in practice, but then they’ve got to carry it out come game time.”

Tres Tinkle will again be the top player for the Beavers. As a junior last season the 6’8” forward averaged 20.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals. Tinkle does it all for this team and he can carry them a long way. Oregon State runs a lot of screening and cutting action away from the ball, designed to create open looks by exploiting overextended and undisciplined off-ball defense. Tinkle has the lateral mobility, handle, shooting touch and passing vision most guards envy and will often run this offense as a point-forward. His height allows him to see passing lanes over the defender, while his quickness enables him to attack a less athletic forward off-the-dribble.
Ethan Thompson will help too and be the #2 scorer on the team.  The 6-5 junior averaged 13.7 points, 3.9 assists and 5.0 rebounds. Big man Kylor Kelley is excellent off the pick & roll though he doesn’t do much scoring on his own.  The seven-footer ranked second in the nation with 104 blocks and added 5.0 rebounds per game. Forward Alfred Hollins only averaged 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds, but he is a solid glue guy who does a lot of the dirty work. Payton Dastrup, a transfer from BYU, highlights the group of newcomers. He did not play much during his two seasons with the Cougars, yet he does have the size and experience to make a big impact. Freshmen Jarod Lucas, Gianni Hunt and Julien Franklin are talented guards that will need to provide some quality depth right away. Tinkle and Thompson can carry Oregon State to the postseason, but in order to make the NCAA Tournament, a couple others will have to emerge as consistent scoring threats.
Possible Starters

Ethan Thompson  #5  Guard, Junior, 6’5” 195 lbs  13.3 ppg, 32% from deep, 5.5 rpg, 4.5 apg, 35 mpg
Zach Reichle #11 Guard, Junior, 6’5” 205  11 ppg, 47% from deep 5 rpb, 26 mpg
Tress Tinkle  #3 Forward, Senior 6’7” 215 lbs  21.5 ppg, 45% from deep, 10.5 rpg, 4.8 apg, 36 mpg
Alfred Hollins  #3 Forward, Junior 6’6” 205 lbs, 6 ppg, 24 mpg
Kylor Kelly  #23 Forward/Center Senior,  7’0” 215 lbs  12.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 26 mpg

Possible Key Reserves:
Jarod Lucas #2  Guard, Freshman, 6’3, 195lb, 5.3 ppg, 18 mpg big time scorer, 5-10 from deep
Gianni Hunt, #0  Guard, Freshman, 6’3, 180lb, 3-6 from deep, 10 mpg
Payton Dastrup  #15 Forward, Junior, 6’10”, 240 lb.  Transfer from BYU

Match-up & prediction:
Oregon State is one of the best offensive teams in the country and UCSB is one of the worst defensive teams.  We don’t have a player that can stop Tinkle.  OSU is big too, their smallest starting player is 6’5”  Prior to the season, I thought the Gauchos had a shot at this but unless something radical has happened to the team’s defense since Saturday afternoon, the Gauchos will again get run out the door in the second half.  We are good enough on the offensive side of the court0 to compete for a while before the legs wear out and the shots stop falling.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·         Can we please have the 2018-19 versions of Devearl Ramsey and Jaquori McLaughlin back please?
·         Cyrus shows us the defense Pasternack praised him for prior to the season. 
·         Sow & Idehen stay out of foul trouble. 
·         Miracle Max.

Prediction:  OSU 82  UCSB 71

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Fun facts about OSU:
In basketball, OSU made the Final Four in 1963, losing to two-time defending champion Cincinnati.  They made the Elite 8 in 1982 but those wins were later vacated.  This was in the middle of one of the best runs in school history in the 70s & 80s under coach Ralph Miller, who’s name graces the court in Gill Coliseum.  OSU was ranked #1 in the country for around half of the 1980-81 season but were upset in the first round of the tournament as  one seed. They’ve made it to the tournament just one time in the last 29 years, losing in the first round in 2016 as a 7 seed.
Current UCSB junior Jaquori McLaughlin played his freshman year in Corvallis and owns the OSU freshman 3 pointers record.  He’s their 7th on their all-time freshmen scoring list.

The school was founded in 1868.  Dick Fosbury, one the greatest innovators in all of sports as the inventor of the Fosbury Flop (High Jump), competed at OSU winning both the NCAA championship and the gold medal at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Women’s Basketball Announces Pair of NLI Signings
Women’s Basketball Announces Pair of NLI Signings

Gauchos Sign Former Oregon Forward Miles Norris to National Letter of Intent

Miles Norris (Photo courtesy of University of Oregon Athletics)

Rice vs. UCSB Men's Basketball Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

Max Heidegger takes the ball to the basket at UCLA on Sunday night. (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
UCSB vs. Rice
Saturday, November 16, 2019, 2pm
Quick Bite: The Rice Owls of Conference USA make their first trip to Santa Barbara in 46 years in the return game of a home & home series.  The Owls were absolutely trounced in their opener at Arkansas 91-43 but have won three straight since, including an extremely impressive 19 pt win at home over Penn which was picked to finish 2nd in the Ivy.

By the Numbers                                                             
rice owls logo.jpg (2.43KiB)
UCSB logo small.png (7.12KiB)
Record (D1 only) 2-1 1-1
Home/Away vs D1 1-1 (A) 1-0 (H)
Composite National Ranking
DCI 1&2, BPI, KP, Massey, RPI, Sagarin 180 168
SOS 183 206
CBS Preseason Rank 295 162
SI Preseason Rank 233 137
Preseason Poll Pick 12th-13th 1st – 2nd
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 143 104
Defense 213 244
Scoring 67 72
FG% 39.1 52.6
3Pt % 29.5 37.2
FT% 73.8 69.7
Assists Per Game 13.3 14.5
ATO 0.8 1.0
PPG Allowed 66.5 60.3
FG % Defense 41.4 36.5
3Pt % Defense 28.9
Steals Per Game 7.8 3.5
Blocks Per Game 5.3 4.5
Rebounding Margin +4.2 +3
Best win (NET):  Penn
Worst Loss (NET):  Arkansas

Head Coach:  Scott Pera enters his third season at the helm of the Owls, which is his first head coaching gig. His first two years were rebuilding seasons and he has an overall record of 20-43.  The first year was with a roster decimated by graduation and transfers (including one Marcus Jackson to UCSB) and the Owls went just 7-24.  Last year they improved to 13-19.
Prior to Rice, Para was an assistant at Penn University and before that at ASU under Herb Sendek.  Earlier, he was a successful prep school coach at Artesia in Southern California.

Roster  The Owls gave three freshmen major minutes last year and this season all three are starting.  They are complemented by two seniors in the starting lineup. Two of their Sophomores are leading the way in wings Trey Murphy and Drew Peterson. Overall, the Owls return their top three scorers from last season.  They did take a significant hit to their front court with the transfer of promising center Quentin Millora Brown who left for Vanderbilt after a successful first year and with the graduation of graduation of GT Jack Williams (Long Beach/UOP).    
Probable Starters
Guard – Chris Mullins.  #24  6’3”, 170 lb, Sophomore  5 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Had an excellent freshman year, struggling so far this season
Guard – Ako Adams  #3  6’3”, 175 lb, Senior 11 ppg, 3.0 apg. 2 TO pg, 22 mpg, 35% from three, 10-10  free throws.
Leads team in 3 point attempts, assists.
Wing– Trey Murphy.  #2  6’8”, 200 lb, Sophomore   14.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 2 TO pg 29 mpg.
Murphy is a force on both sides of the court, leading the team in scoring, steals and blocks. 
Forward - Drew Peterson  #23  6’8”, 180 lb,  Sophomore  8 ppg, 7.2 rbg, 2.7 apg and 2.7 TO pg.  29 mpg  
Forward - Robert Martin  #10  6’5”, 185 lb,  Senior  6.5 ppg, 5.3 rbg  25 mpg.
Led the Owls in both scoring and rebounding last year. An excellent three point shooter, hit 49 of them at a 43% clip, last year, just 4-12 this season. 

Probable Key Reserves
Guard – Quincy Olivari #4  6’2”, 190 lb, Freshman 8.7ppg in 13 minutes played.
Forward - Max Fielder#15  6’10”, 235 lb.  Freshman.  6.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg in 16 mpg.  Leads team in blocks.  3* recruit from Florida
Guard – Payton Moore  #0  6’4”, 175 lb, Sophomore 4.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg in 14 mpg
Guard Josh Parrish #35  6’4”, 215 lb, RS Junior, 11 mpg
Forward- Zach Crisler #15  6’9”, 215 lb, Freshman  
Forward- Tim Harrison #35  6’8”, 220 lb, Senior  

Rice-UCSB History
UCSB leads the series, 3-0.  The Gauchos & the Owls had a home & home (Houston then Santa Barbara) series back in the 1972-73 & the 1973-74 seasons with UCSB winning both games by 3 & 4 points respectively.  Last year in Houston, the teams went to OT in a high scoring affair with the Gauchos prevailing 99-89

Last year’s game recap: It was the first game back from his concussion for Heidegger and he made quite the splash with 22 points on 8-9 from the charity stripe.  The even bigger star for the Gauchos was McLaughlin who also had 22 points but much more efficiently including 6-8 from three.  UCSB was ahead by as much as 12 and trailed by the same amount including by 7 at HT.  The Gauchos dominated in OT however to pull away.  Rice outrebounded UCSB 40-28, with Forward Robert Martin doing most of the damage with 24 points and 11 boards.  Guard Chris Mullins added 21 points including 7-9 from the FT stripe.

Match-up overview:
After being one of the youngest teams in the country Rice now has experience and skill in their backcourt.  In addition, Pera made some adjustments in his defense and they were better on that end of the court after the UCSB game last year.  One thing they do pretty well is steal the ball and force turnovers while UCSB has turned the ball over far more this year than they did last year so the turnover battle is something to keep an eye on.  Rice has two good wings Murphy & Peterson, I expect we’ll see a lot of Cyrus in this game to keep Murphy in check.  The Owl’s  achilies heel will be their frontcourt where they lack size and are going to rely heavily on newcomers.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·        Ramsey cleans up his game and cuts down on his turnovers, with McLaughlin & Toure following suit.
·        Better defensive effort than the last time around in Houston.
·        Exploit the inexperience in the Owl front court and, should Pera have the defense pack it in, let the guards bomb away from outside.  I think Sow gets 20 in this one and if he does, Gauchos should win.

Prediction:  UCSB 73  Rice 64
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Fun facts about Rice:  UCSB had (has?) Floatopia and Halloween, Rice has and still has Beer-Bikes, going strong since 1957.  Here’s a clip from 1981:

Sunday, November 10, 2019

UCSB vs. UCLA Men's Basketball Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

Brandon Cyrus (Photo by Jeff Liang)

UCSB @ UCLA Preview
Sunday, November 10, 2019, 6pm PST
Quick Bite:
The Gauchos travel down the 101 to Pauley Pavillion to take on the UCLA Bruins in Game 2 of the Mick Cronin era.  While they will have a lot of new players and a new system, the Bruins are oozing with talent with 5* players Tiger and Oneal. The Gauchos counter with experience, talent of their own and continuity as they enter year 3 of the Pasternack era.  Should provide for a competitive and intriguing game.

By the Numbers                                                              
ucla.jpg (8.27KiB)
UCSB logo small.png (7.12KiB)
Preseason Conference
Pick (range)
6th -8th 1st to 2nd
CBS Preseason Rank 80 162
SI Preseason Rank 67 137
2018-19 Record 17-16 22-10
      Home/away vs D1 13-5 (home) 8-5 (away)
 National Rankings (2018-19)
Composite: DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey,
NET, RPI, Sagarin
107 162
NET 125 164
SOS 72 339
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)    
                     Offense 88 160
                     Defense 92 208
Scoring 78.2 73.4
FG% 45.7 45.4
3Pt % 35.5 34.3
FT% 63.3 71.6
PPG Allowed 77.5 66.1
FG % Defense 42.4 42.6
3Pt % Defense 34.7
Rebounding Margin +4.2 +6.6
UCSB All-time record vs. Bruins:  1-20
Last game (2016):  UCLA 102 UCSB 62
The teams first played in 1946 with the Bruins setting the tone for the series, winning 32-18.  The last time the Bruins played in Santa Barbara was in 1964 as the defending national champions and they walloped the Gauchos by 31.  Of note, UCSB never faced the Bruins in their glory years under Pimm.  Under Bob Williams, the games were usually competitive, including the Gauchos lone victory 61-60 in 2003, Ben Howland’s first year coaching the Bruins.  The one exception was 2016, in Bob’s last season which was beset by suspensions & injuries. The Bruins have won 2 straight in the series.  It will be Pasternak’s first time facing UCLA as a HC though he is familiar with the Bruins from his time at Arizona.

The Arena: Pauley Pavillion opened in 1965 and underwent a $136M renovation in 2012.  Capacity is 13,800, attendance last year was 8,269 per game.
During Wooden’s run of 8 championships while playing at Pauley (he hung two banners before it opened) he posted a home record of 149-2. The longest home winning streak was 98 games.

Head Coach:  Mick Cronin will be coaching his second game for UCLA after winning his debut vs. Long Beach on Wednesday. The 48 year old coach has been a HC since 2003 and has more wins (365) than any other active coach under 50.  His first three seasons were at Murray State where he took the Racers to the Big Dance twice.  He moved to Cincinnati in 2006 and took the Bearcats to the NCAAs 9 consecutive years before taking the UCLA job.  Biggest knock on Cronin has been his inability to get out of the second round in the tournament, making it only as far as the Sweet 16 just once.  His teams are known for their discipline & defense and concerns in Westwood around his hire is that his extremely slow pace won’t provide the entertainment value Bruin fans want.
Roster & Game 1 Summary
The Bruins lost three players who left early to go pro although only Kris Wilkes was drafted.  They do still return three players who started a fair of games plus have two highly rated recruits in Tyger Campbell and Shareef O’Neal who both sat out last year due to injuries. Tyger is starting while O’Neal has a small role off the bench. Nearly every player on the roster was a top 100 recruit coming out of HS, and this year, they are all healthy.

UCLA trailed the majority of their opening game vs. Long Beach before getting their first lead of the 2nd half with just a little over 2 minutes to play and going on to win 69-65.  A surprise that it was so close given that LB lost 85% of its production from last year.  Campbell led the way with 15 pts and 5 assists in 37m of play.  Three other players hit double figures in points, Cody Riley with 14, Chris Smith with 13 and Prince Ali with 10. 

Possible Starters.
Point Guard Tyger Campbell #5  5’11” 185 lbs, RS Freshman Missed last season due to a torn ACL.  4* recruit.  Shot 42% from deep in HS and boasted an outstanding 3:1 A/TO ratio.  Alford pointed to his injury being the biggest hit to the Bruins last year.  Will likely be the starting PG but Cronin wants to bring him along slowly.
Guard Prince Ali  #23 6’4”, 195 lb, RS Senior, Leading player in minutes played. There is a chance that he gets moved to a sixth man role once the season enters conference play if his production doesn’t improve, but for now, he’s the most experienced player on this UCLA roster. Ali is a defensive-minded guard, averaging 1.3 steals per game last year, but has struggled at times offensively. Averaged 9.8 ppg, shot 34% from deep.   Had a sprained ankle from practice and started slow vs LB but hit some key shots down the stretch.
Wing Chris Smith  #5  6’9”, 210 lb, Junior Started 12 games last year, averaging 6.3 ppg and 3.7 rpg.  Leading returner for assists.  Smith stands 6-foot-9 but plays as more of a guard which makes him a tough matchup for opponents.  Is excellent on defense.
Forward Cody Riley  #2   6’9”, 250 lb RS Sophomore 5.5 ppg, 4.1 rpb. Top 50 recruit
Forward Alex Olisinski  #0  6’10”, 225 lb, RS Senior Missed half the season with a stress fracture in his foot.  Should have a bigger role this year

Possible Key Reserves:
Guard David Singleton #34  6’4”, 205 lb Sophomore Outstanding three point shooter, made 35-75 in his freshman campaign.  Top 100 recruit. Dealt with injury earlier in the summer and may not be full speed for the UCSB game. Could end up starting later in the season.  Can play pg or wing.
Wing Jules Bernard #3  6’6”, 205 lb.  Sophomore Averaged 7.6 ppg and 3.1 rpg as a freshman in 17 mpg, starting 2 games.  Former HS teammate of Shareef O’Neal. Bernard could be the most intriguing returner for the Bruins. As a freshman, he only played 17.2 minutes but was fifth on the team in scoring with 7.6 points per game on 46.9% shooting. Bernard dropped 20 points against Oregon in February, showing his potential to be a top scorer.  More of a wing than a pg but Cronin wants to bring along Tiger slowly so Bernard may play the point as well, especially until Singleton is 100%.
Forward Shareef O’Neal  #22  6’9”, 205 lb, RS Freshman Sat out last year when a heart defect was discovered.  Was the #1 recruit in the state, originally committed to Arizona but switched to UCLA when the bribery scandal broke.  Son of Shaquile O’Neal.  Would not be surprised to see him as a starter soon, but maybe not for the SB game.
Wing Jaime Jaquez #4   6’6”, 205 lb.  Freshman  top 100 recruit, UCSB had offered him.
Center Jalen Hill  #24  6’10”, 240 lb, RS Sophomore Started 15 games scoring 4.3 ppg on 55% from the field. Team’s leading returning rebounder, 6 per game. 

Match-up & prediction:
One of the reasons Dan Guerro fired Ben Howland back in 2013 was the deliberate, slow pace of play.  So in 2019 he hired Cronin who has always had one of the slowest paced teams in the country.  Snark aside, I feel this is a good hire for UCLA.
With a roster full of players geared for Alford’s high octane offense, it could be a bumpy start for UCLA as they make adjustments a very different style of play.  Of important note, UCLA under Alford and Cincinnati under Cronin, played a similar match-up zone defense.  The Bruins just sucked at it last year under Alford giving up 78 ppg.  They’ll definitely get better on D under Cronin, it’s just a matter of when.  My guess, is that the Bruin practices have 2/3 of the time spent on defense.  The Bruins possess a level of talent unlike any other team UCSB will face all year and Cronin is a tremendous coach, I’ve no doubt that the Bruins are going to be a good team this season, but maybe not in November. The Gauchos have had three years in the Pasternak system and really have only one big question mark and that is at the four, where All Big West Armond Davis has to be replaced.   Otherwise, there’s a lot of continuity for the Gauchos and this year they are healthy from day one.

Both teams had sloppy first halves in their openers before settling down for victories.  UCLA should be executing better in game two but so should the Gauchos who have the talent to compete with a P12 team.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos:
-        Defense execution while keeping Sow out of foul trouble
-        Leverage the penetration skills of Max & Jaquori.  LB’s Hunter was very effective as UCLA’s defense is not yet @ Cronin’s standards yet.  UCSB has more weapons than LB and needs to take advantage.
-        One of the toughest assignments of the year for Ramsey in defending Campbell.  Need to keep him in check

Prediction:  UCLA will play better than they did vs. LB and it should be a very competitive game.  UCLA is favored by 6 and I am going with the upset call as the Gauchos get their second victory ever over the Bruins, 72-69

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UCLA Fun Fact:  The original name of the school was the University of California, Southern Branch.  Think about that for a moment.

UCSB Travels to UCLA for Sunday Afternoon Battle at Pauley

Brandon Cyrus (Photo by Jeff Liang)

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Patton: UCSB looking to make a statement, like Gonzaga

Before Gonzaga became the Cinderella of college basketball, UCSB lived its own fairy tale.
For one brief, shining moment — from 1987 to 1993 — the Gauchos turned Santa Barbara into Camelot.
Joe Pasternack, their newest King Arthur, is trying to extricate another Excalibur from UCSB.
“Gonzaga might be one of the best stories in college basketball history,” he said of a Zags program which has qualified for every NCAA Tournament since 1999. “One of my coaches, John Rillie, played there, and I know what they’ve built.
“It’s all about the players — you have to recruit the highest-level player — and Gonzaga has done it with their model of going after international players, transfers, and the elite high school recruit. We’re trying to recruit at that level now.”
He’s put his money where his mouth is, adding Larry Lewis, a former NBA assistant with international ties, to his staff for this season.
A high-level recruit from Sweden was in town just last week to see the school and watch the Gauchos play their annual Blue-Gold game.
Pasternack, who has won 45 games in his first two seasons at UCSB, will unveil his most talented, experienced and deepest team tonight when the Gauchos play host to Jackson State.
He sees the opportunity to zig-zag into the higher echelon of college basketball, but he needs the rest of Santa Barbara to join in. He’s hoping to attract more fans to the Thunderdome with such new features as chair-back seating, a state-of-the-art sound system, and the enormous video board that was hooked up last season.
“We just have to keep plugging away,” said Pasternack, who plans to convert all of the Thunderdome’s seating into chair-backs. “Gonzaga has a dominant home court because the people of Spokane don’t have an NBA team, or a Major League Baseball or NFL team.
“What Spokane has done is adopt Gonzaga basketball as their team. It’s been incredibly amazing, and it’s what we’re trying to build.”
UCSB took a stab at it when it lured Jerry Pimm away from the University of Utah to become its coach in 1983. One of Pimm’s first moves was to retain his predecessor’s youngest assistant coach.
Ben Howland, who would later coach UCLA to the Final Four, helped recruit enough talent for the Gauchos to make two appearances in the NCAA Tournament and three more in the NIT during a six-year span.
“The NCAA didn’t restrict you so much in how many days you could be out there,” Howland recalled a few years ago. “I used to drive to L.A. every weekend for this league at Dominguez High called the Slam ’N’ Jam.
“During the summer, I’d be gone for six straight weeks.”
He convinced Santa Monica guard Carrick DeHart to come to UCSB instead of Kansas, which was where his best friend, Keith Harris, was headed.
“We had a government class together, and he’d tease me, saying Kansas is in the top 10, and Santa Barbara is 310 out of 311 in the nation,” DeHart would later recall. “My coach said it would be the death of me. He told me that we’d finish last and that I wouldn’t be heard of again.”
But DeHart wound up scoring what was then a school-record 1,687 points while leading UCSB to two NCAA berths and another in the NIT.
Christmas in Santa Barbara came two days early in 1987 when DeHart and future NBA star Brian Shaw led the Gauchos to a 96-78 rout over a North Carolina State team that started five future NBA players.
The Gauchos did most of the marketing themselves. Shaw, who recorded a triple-double against the Wolfpack (22 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists), blasted Dick Vitale in a national magazine when the TV commentator declared that UNLV was the only good team in their league.
Vitale confronted him about it later at a game in the Long Beach Arena.
“I told him, Well, let’s see what you think after the game,’” the Gaucho Hall of Fame said.
Shaw, whose double-double of 26 points and 13 rebounds led the Gauchos to an 81-73 win, pointed at Vitale with 11 seconds to go and said, “This one is for you!”
By this time, the Gauchos had captured the imagination of Santa Barbara. The entire town seemed to make the trek to Las Vegas to witness the Gauchos’ first win ever over the Runnin’ Rebvels, 62-60.
“All the boosters were at the Dunes that night, and when the players came into the hotel, still wearing their sweats, the whole place erupted and started clapping and yelling,” Pimm said.
It was UNLV’s only loss until the Gauchos stunned the Rebels again at the Thunderdome, 71-66, to keep them from ascending to a No. 1 ranking. Their coach, Jerry Tarkanian, visited their locker room after the game to sing their praises.
“He came in and saluted us as a bonafide competitor,” DeHart said. “Most people thought that first win had been a fluke that we couldn’t play at that level of basketball. But Talk told us that he had great admiration for us as a team.”
UCSB earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, barely losing to Maryland, and then won its first 11 games of the 1988-89 season. The Gauchos were 15-1 by late January after road wins at Colorado, Oregon and Arizona State, earning rankings in three national polls. The UPI Coaches Poll ranked them the highest at No. 18.
The 6,000-seat Thunderdome was soon selling out on a regular basis.
“The community was really popping off about it, getting really excited,” said star center Eric McArthur.
The hoopla got so crazy one night that McArthur’s father, Mel, had to pull him away from it.
“The whole city was partying that night,” Mel said. “We were at the Holiday Inn — it was the first time we had actually driven up to spend the night in Santa Barbara — and we personally went over and picked up Eric and made him spend the night with us.
“We got a rollaway bed and everything. We could see what was happening.”
The Gauchos’ biggest and perhaps loudest victory came in 1990 when they upset UNLV, the eventual national champion.
“This is as good an atmosphere as you’ll find for college basketball,” Tarkanian told reporters afterward. “I don’t believe there’s any place in the country better than this.”
The Rebels won their next 45 games, which included a 103-73 rout over Duke in the NCAA championship game.
The Gauchos would also win an NCAA Tournament game that year, knocking off Houston 70-66. They fell just short of making the Sweet 16, losing in the next round 62-58 to Big Ten champion Michigan State.
By 1992, UCSB students were camping out in the rain to secure their UNLV game tickets. Tarkanian took note and said, “Their crowd is what college basketball is all about … You don’t see it out West anywhere else.”
The whole basketball world was taking notice in 1993 when ESPN opened its Sports Center segment with a video clip from the Thunderdome. It showed UCSB’s Idris Jones sitting on one of the basket’s rims while leading a crowd of 6,427 in a “Gau-cho” chant after an 86-83 victory over then-No. 13 UNLV.
The iron was hot for even greater things — except nothing was done to stoke the fire.
The university made little investment in increasing the basketball budget or improving the Thunderdome.
The brass ring was there for the taking and UCSB didn’t reach for it.
The Gauchos would soon suffer through five straight losing seasons, from 1993-94 to 1997-98, before getting back on track under new coach Bob Williams.
Pasternack now has them on the fast track. The question is, how far will they go?

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Balanced Attack, Defense, Lead Gauchos to 83-62 Opening Win Over Jackson State

Amadou Sow (Photo by Jeff Liang)

Gauchos Treat Crowd to 59-51 Win in Season Opener

Max Heidegger

Sow Named to Lou Henson Player of the Year Watch List

Sow Named to Lou Henson Player of the Year Watch List

Gauchos Host Jackson State in Season Opener Wednesday Night

Max Heidegger (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

Gauchos Debut With Blue-Gold Game Saturday, Host Jackson State Wednesday

Amadou Sow (Photo by Matt Brown)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

UCSB Basketball Season Opener

Monday, November 4, 2019

Jackson State vs. UCSB Men's Basketball Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB vs. Jackson State
Wednesday, November 6, 2019, 7pm

Quick Bite:
UCSB opens their 2019-20 campaign with the Jackson State Tigers of the SWAC.  The Tigers finished last year mid-pack in conference play and had just one victory out of conference, vs. Chicago State, which finished the year as the #353 the NET ratings.  Fun note, there were 353 teams in D1 last year.
The Tigers lost in the first round of the SWAC tournament, did not play in the post season, finishing the season as the 328th team in the nation.
They do return possibly the best player in the SWAC, Jayveous McKnight, the preseason DPOY,  plus three other starters and add an impact transfer so could be much improved.  The Tigers play at Cal Baptist Tuesday night so will have the advantage of getting their first game under their belts but may also be a bit tired.   The Tigers are the first of three SWAC teams that will visit Santa Barbara this season (Grambling & Southern).  No truth to the rumor that the HBCU Foundation recently put up a picture of Pasternack on their lobby wall in gratitude for all the buy $$ he’s sending their way…

By the Numbers  (2018-19 season)                                                           
jsu logo.jpg (2.96KiB)
UCSB logo small.png (7.12KiB)
Preseason Conference
Pick (range)
5th  2nd
CBS Preseason Rank 183 162
SI Preseason Rank 332 137
2018-19 Record 13-19 22-10
      Home/away vs D1 3-14 (away) 12-3 (home)
 National Rankings (Final, 2018/19)
Composite: DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey,
NET, RPI, Sagarin
322 162
NET 328 164
SOS 308 339
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)
                     Offense 351 160
                     Defense 167 208
Scoring 61.7 73.4
FG% 40.4 45.4
3Pt % 28 34.3
FT% 63.4 71.6
PPG Allowed 65.8 66.1
FG % Defense 42.1 42.6
3Pt % Defense 35.1 30.7
Rebounding Margin +0.8 +6.6

UCSB-Jackson State History
This will be the first meeting between the two schools.

Head Coach:  Wayne Brent enters his 7th season at the helm of the Tigers, has a record of 81-114.  Last year was the third time he’s led the Tigers to a 3rd place finish in conference which is the highest he’s finished.  His best season was 2015-16, the Tigers went 20-16, 12-6 in the SWAC losing by a point to Southern in the conference championship and advancing to the second round of the CIT.

Roster: Return 2 of their top five in terms of minutes played, 3 of their top five scorers but graduated a lot of depth.  Kevin Sweeney of CBB Central tweeted this: “Seeing well-traveled forward Roland Griffin has landed at Jackson State. Most recently at Iona, where he was tracking to be a first-team all-MAAC guy before punching an assistant coach preseason. A Griffin/Jayveous McKinnis frontcourt could wreck the SWAC”.  Add talented scoring guard Venjie Wallis to form a high-powered trio that should allow the Tigers to contend for a conference title. McKinnis was voted preseason DPOY and the all conference team by the conference coaches.  The Tigers have a slew of new JC transfers and freshmen filling out the roster and some of them will be playing important roles, just not clear who yet. 

Possible Starters
Point Guard Dontelius Ross, #5  5’9” 175 lbs, Senior  Led team in assists, 3.1 pg.  5.3 ppg on only .259 from the field  30 mpg
Guard Venjie Wallis  #0  6’6”, 185 lb, Senior Led team in scoring, ft attempts and minutes played last season.   12.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 31 mpg ~2 apg.
Wing Roland Griffin  #1  6’6”, 215 lb, Senior Transfer from Iona where he was kicked off the team for punching an assistant coach.  One of the best players in the MAAC last year.
Forward Jayveous McKinnis  #11  6’7”, 215 lb, Sophomore Team’s leading rebounder last year with 7.8 per game.  Added 8.4ppg in 26 minutes per game.  Strictly an in the paint scorer, makes less than 50% of his FTs. Impressive shot blocker, had 59 swats.
Forward Lemmie Howard  6’7”, 205 lb, Junior #21  Started 13 games scoring 6.3 ppg and pulling 2.9 boards per game.  Top returning 3 point shooter, 34%.

Possible Key Reserves:
Forward Justin Johnson  #23   6’7”, 208 lb Senior Started 13 games, averaged 13 mpg
Forward Khahil Spencer #30 6’4”, 230 lb.  Senior.  Played in 29 games, averaging 2 boards and 2 pts on .583 shooting

Match-up & prediction:  JSU struggled to score last year, averaging less than 62 ppg and ranked 351 in KenPom on offense.  Coach Brant worked on that end of their game over the summer.  Unfortunately for Brant, Coach Pasternack has emphasized defense since his arrival at UCSB and with so many returning players having a full year in his system, I think we see a vastly improved defense.   UCSB should be able to defend JSU well.  Wing Roland Griffin is a concern and I do look forward to seeing him matched up against Cyrus who was considered one of the best defenders in the Big East.  JSU does not have a ton of size and the Gauchos should be able to get Sow and Freeman going.
Keys to the game for the Gauchos:
·       Contain Griffin
·       Get Sow his touches.
·       Sow able to pass out of double teams.
Prediction:  Probably a bit rusty early but Gauchos take this going away  74-55

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Jackson State Fun Fact:  Jackson State is a HBCU and is the fourth largest university in Mississippi.  It has been a school in various forms since 1877.  Its most famous alum is Sweetness, former Chicago Bear Walter Payton, one of the greatest running backs that’s ever played.