Thursday, November 14, 2019

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
Official Site:
Hey Guys!:
How to Watch: ... &path=ucsb

Rice Pre-Season Preview Link: ... eview-2020
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:

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