UCSB vs. Grambling State
Friday, November 29, 2019, 7pm
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
|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)|
|Composite: DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey,
|Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)|
|FG % Defense||41.6||46.6|
|3Pt % Defense||27.6||39.4|
|Rebounding Margin||+ 6.6||+ 7.3|
Best win (BPI): SE Louisiana (340)
Worst Loss (BPI): SJSU (346)
Trend: Lost 3
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.
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
Official Site: https://gsutigers.com/index.aspx?path=mbball
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How to Watch: https://bigwest.org/watch/default.aspx? ... &path=ucsb
Grambling Pre-Season Preview Links:
https://cbbcentral.com/2019/10/30/32x32 ... c-preview/
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).