Sunday, December 22, 2019

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

UCSB vs. Merrimack
Sunday, December 22, 2019, 2pm
Quick Bite:
To top off UCSB’s creampuff home schedule, in come the Merrimack Warriors of the Northeastern Conference in their first season of D1 play. The Warriors are ineligible for the post season but have had a respectable inaugural year including a road victory over Northwestern of the B10.

By the Numbers

Quadrant:  4
Merrimack_Warriors.svg.png (14.86KiB)
UCSB logo small.png (7.12KiB)
Record (D1 only) 5-5 7-4
Home/Away vs D1 3-4 (A) 4-1 (H)
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 263 151
NET 254 179
SOS 249 278
CBS Preseason Rank 323 162
SI Preseason Rank 294 137
Preseason Poll Pick 8th 2nd
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 305 74
Defense 222 268
Scoring 63.1  73.0
FG% 40.4  46.2
3 PT Makes/Attempts 8/27 6.8/20
3Pt % 30.7 33.8
FT Makes/Attempts 8.9/12.6 15.1/20
FT% 71.0 75.4
Defense:           PPG Allowed 61.4 68.5
FG % Defense 43% 45.2
3Pt % Defense 30% 35.7
Steals PG 10.5 4.3
Blocks PG 2.9 2.8
Rebounding Margin- -9.4 +5.9
Assists/Turnovers PG 12.5/11.1 13.0/11.9
Best win (NET) Jacksonville (166) UT Arlington (160)
Worst loss (NET) Maine (319) Rice (179)
Won 1 Won 1

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

Head Coach: Joe Gallo enters his fourth season at the helm of Merrimac, its first at the D1 level.  At D2 the Warriors won 19, 20, and 22 games in Gallo’s first three seasons at the helm, reaching the NCAA Tournament each season and claiming the program’s first NE10 title in 19 years in the 2018-19 season.

Had they remained in D2, Merrimack likely would have entered the season as a legitimate national title contender, returning five of its top six scorers including one of the best D2 players in the nation in point guard Juvaris Hayes. Have a lack of height in the front court, with a forward & wing both @ 6’5”.
Another thing to watch out for: Merrimack plays a unique extended 2-3 zone that could catch teams off-balance in their first go-round facing it.

Probable Starters
Point Guard Juvaris Hayes  #0  6’0”, 185 lb, Senior, 10.5 ppg on 49% from the field, 5.5 rpg, 5.7 apg, 3.3 spg, 34 mpg
Leads team in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and free throws--making an impressive 31/37 from the line.  The Warriors begin and end with Hayes. Hayes is simply appointment television. He’s tasmanian devil of sorts on defense, where he routinely instills fear in opposing ball handlers.
Guard Mikey Watkins #34  5’11”, 175 lb Sophomore 6.6 ppg, 25 mpg
Solid three point shooter (35%), second on team in assists and steals
Guard Jaleel Lord #13  6’4”, 170 lb, Senior  10.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 26 mpg
Leads team in three point attempts, 20/70. 
Wing Devin Jensen #14   6’5”, 195 lb.  Junior   8.2 ppg, 21 mpg.
Team’s best three point shooter, leads team in makes, 23/57, 40%
Forward Idris Joyner  #15   6’5”, 215 lb, Senior 6.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 22 mpg

Probable Key Reserves:
Forward Jordan Minor  #22  6’7”, 225 lb, Freshman 7.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 19 mpg
Shooting 54% from the field, second on the team in FTs but not too accurate, 22/27.  Only 4 three point attempts but has made 2 of them. 
Wing Ziggy Reid #23   6’6”, 235 lb.  Freshman   6.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 19 mpg.
Adds much needed size.  Shooting just 36% from the field.
Guard Mykel Derring #3  6’2”, 180 lb, Freshman  3.8 ppg, 16 mpg

Match-up & prediction
Gallo’s teams run a heavily extended 2-3 zone zone that attempts to do two main things: force turnovers and limit three-point attempts. “We are trying to create chaotic possessions, get people out of rhythm,” Gallo said. “It may look a little wacky on film and like we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off, but that’s what we are trying to do.”  The Warriors won the turnover battle by an average of five turnovers per game last season.
Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·        Leverage significant height advantage and pass well out of the double teams
·        Remain composed under defensive pressure. 
·        Emphasizing the previous point, Hayes may be the best point guard UCSB goes up against this season and Ramsey needs to play within himself and not get rattled
·        Gabe’s dad says “Defense!  Defense Gauchos, Defense!”


Official Site:
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How to Watch: ... &path=ucsb

Merrimack Pre-Season Preview Links: ... ransition/ ... ay-preview

Merrrimack Fun Fact:  See Dave’s post!
Also, Merrimack College is a private Augustinian college founded in 1947 located outside of Boston.  Hall of famer Red Sox Carl Yastrzemski finished his degree at Merrimack (after starting at Notre Dame on a basketball scholarship) while playing for the Sox.

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