Thursday, December 5, 2019

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

UCSB @ UT Arlington
Saturday, December 7, 2019, 12 pm PST
Quick Bite:  Gauchos travel to the Dallas area to take on the UT Arlington Mavericks of the Sun Belt Conference.  The Mavericks returned 5 of their 6 top scorers from last year and are projected to finish 3rd in their conference.

By the Numbers                                  
UTA.jpg (3.77KiB)
UCSB logo small.png (7.12KiB)
Preseason Conference
Pick (range)
3rd 1st to 2nd
CBS Preseason Rank 145 162
SI Preseason Rank 187 137
Record (D1 only) 2-5 4-3
      Home/away vs D1  1-1 (H)  1-2 (A)
 National Rankings
Composite: DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey,
144 169
SOS 14 279
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy)    
                     Offense 160 92
                     Defense 130 272
Scoring 69.8 74.0
FG% 41.5 47.8
3 PT Makes/Attempts 8.8/27 6.5/20.6
3Pt % 32.9 31.5
FT Makes/Attempts 11.9/16.3 14/18.5
FT% 72.8 75.7
PPG Allowed 66.4 69.5
FG % Defense 39.8 45.4
3Pt % Defense 33.0 38.0
Steals PG 7.3 4.1
Blocks PG 3.8 2.8
Rebounding Margin -0.8 +7.0
Assists/Turnovers PG 14.7/11.2 14.1/12.0
Best win (BPI): Tulsa (106) 
Worst Loss: N. Texas (139)
Trend: Lost 1

UTA-UCSB History
UCSB All-time record vs. Mavericks:  1-0
Last game (1970):  In the only game played between the two schools UCSB handily defeated the Mavericks 96-67 in Rob Gym.

The Arena:  The Mavericks play in the College Park Center, built in 2012 at a cost of $78M.  Capacity is 7,000 and they are averag 2,093 fans this season. It’s a beautiful, modern facility with all chairback seats.

Head Coach:
Second Year Coach Chris Ogden garnered the Sun Belt COY honors after leading the Mavericks to an unexpected 2nd place finish after being picked to finish near the cellar and returning just 3% of its offense.  The Mavericks ranked dead last in the country in minutes continuity.  His team played the 2nd toughest non-conference schedule in the country and finished 17-16 overall.  A native of Texas, he played for Rick Barnes at the University of Texas then went on to work as an assistant under him at Texas then at Tennessee.  Prior to taking the UTA job, coached under Texas Tech’s Chris Beard.  He is very much the hot up & coming coach.
Roster & Overview of the Mavericks
Senior Brian Warren is the player that makes the offense tick. He led the team with 15.4 points, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals last season and is a dangerous scorer from anywhere on the floor. Radshad Davis and TiAndre Jackson-Young are the other shooters on the team. UT Arlington does not win games because of their outside shooting, but it would go a long way if Warren, Davis and Jackson-Young could boost their three-point shooting percentage. Davis Azore had a very promising freshman campaign, averaging 8.4 points and 4.2 rebounds. The 6-4 forward plays bigger than he is and has emerged as a consistent double-digit scorer with a year of experience under his belt. Fellow undersized forwards Ayoub Nouhi and Patrick Mwamba also earned some quality minutes as freshmen and should be ready to take the next step. Jabari Narcis has the size to bang around in the paint. He will get some help though from the newcomers, especially from Arkansas transfer Jordan Phillips and junior college transfer Coleman Sparling.
Last year’s Arlington’s defense spearheaded its success, a stingy unit that ranked in the top 100 in the country and second in the Sun Belt. Per KenPom, the Mavericks ranked dead last in the country in Average Height, which is what happens when you start 5’9/6’0 in the backcourt and a 6’5 center. Despite that, opponents struggled mightily to score inside, largely due to Ogden’s scheme which employed a conservative, “wall off the paint” approach, mixing in some compact zone looks to help combat his team’s lack of size. Jabari Narcis was the only rotation player over 6’6, and he proved to be an excellent shot-blocker, helping to boost the Mavs’ 2-point defense.  The Mav’s benefited greatly that their opponents last year did not shoot the 3 well, Research has shown that teams have little control over their opponents’ 3FG%, so regression to the mean (or worse) could have a disastrous impact on Arlington’s outlook this year
The Maverick offense did not have a ton of nuance to it, instead allowing the two guards to break down their defenders via isolation and slash-and-kick to the rest of the roster.  45% of their field goal attempts have been from beyond the arc.
Possible Starters

Brian Warren  #0  Guard, JC transfer Senior, 5’9”, 160 lb  11.6 ppg, 4 apg, 28 mpg.
Leads team in assists, steady with the ball with a 2.1 A/TO ratio.  Second on team in getting to the line, where he is 24/28. 
Led the team in scoring, assists and minutes played last year.  Preseason 1st Team Pick. Sports a wicked Haredenesque beard

David Azore  #4  Wing, RS Sophomore, 6’4” 205 lbs  12.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.6 apg. 29 mpg
Leading scorer with the bulk of his points earned at the FT line, 9 attempts per game, making them at a 84% clip. Excellent 3 point shooter, 11-28 from deep.  Second on the team in assists, leads team in steals. Steady with the ball, 1.8 A/TO ratio.

Tiandre Jackson-Young  #22 Wing, JC transfer Sr 6’3” 195 lbs  6.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 17 mpg  10/34 from deep.  Has started 4 games

Coleman Sparling #43  Forward JC transfer Junior 6’7”, 215 lb  15 mpg
Unimpressive stats.  Starts but playing only 15 mpg.  Played with Roberto Gittens at the College of  S. Idaho last year.

Jabari Narcis #13  Center, Senior, 6’9”, 230 lb  9.6 ppg, 7 rpg, 20 mpg
Surprisingly, their top three point shooter, making nearly half of his attempts, 19/39.  From Trinidad & Tobago.

Possible Key Reserves:
Sam Griffin  #1  Guard, Freshman, 6’3”, 175, 7.2 ppg, 18 mpg, 11/33 from deep.
Jordan Phillips  #2 Wing, Sophomore transfer (Arkansas)  6’7” 215 lbs  7.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 19 mpg
Radshad Davis  #10  Guard, JC transfer Sr  6’2”, 205 lb  6.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 16 mpg,
Ayoub Nouhi  #3  Forward Sophomore, 6’5”, 196 lb   3.8 ppg, 16 mpg, 5-15 from deep
Has started 3 games.  From Belgium.
Nicolas Elame  #20  Guard, Freshman, 6’3”, 180, 11 mpg
Has started 2 games, from France

Patrick Mwamba  #23 Forward Sophomore,  6’5” 188 lbs
Match-up & prediction:
UTA does not have a great record but they are a better opponent than the last four the Gauchos have faced.  With 8 games into the season providing a reasonable amount of data, the computers have UTA ranked about 25 slots above the Gauchos which means the two are pretty evenly matched.  UCSB’s defense has been much better of late and this game will be a test if it can hold up vs a step up in competition.  If it does, then expect a very competitive game that the Gauchos can win.  If not, then UTA wins somewhat comfortably.  The Mavericks are experienced, have the size to negate Sow down low, a point guard that is quicker than Ramsey and have the home court advantage.  Despite all that, going through the lineup, outside of the PG position, the Gauchos match up well.  Two of our best defenders are Cyrus and Toure who will get tasked with their top scorer David Azore.  Their center Narcis gets a lot of his points from beyond the arc and Sow has the speed to chase him down when he drifts outside.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·        Great defense, starting with Ramsey.  Brian Warren is a high motor pg, need to limit his ability to execute and draw fouls.  The help defense the Gauchos displayed vs. Bake was terrific and with a player like Warren, that will be a need again.
·        Stay out of foul trouble, particularly at the wing where Azore is very good at getting to the line.  A job for Cyrus and Toure.
·        Leverage an advantage at the four.  Freeman is much more productive than the Maverick’s Sparling, we should be getting the ball to Matt frequently.
·        Rebounding  from others than Sow.  Amadou will frequently be pulled out of the paint to guard Narcis which means others will have to crash the boards.

Prediction:  When I started writing up this preview, I felt this would be a loss for the Gauchos, but now am on the fence.  The computer rankings and home court advantage point to a Mavericks victory and I expect them to be favored.  However, I think UCSB matches up well and with improved defense and Ramsey showing signs of returning to form I think the Gauchos can pull the road upset.
Gauchos 64 UTA 62

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Fun facts about UTA:  School has been known as UT Arlington since 1967 after joining the UT system in 1965.  It was founded in 1895, went through several private military school iterations that all failed financially before going public & eventually becoming part of the Texas A&M system. Within the A&M system, the school quickly grew, eventually changing its name to the North Texas Agricultural College.  The rapid growth led to the College Station home campus to feel threatened and they began blocking funding to their northern campus.  UTA officials shook off the shackles, joining the UT system.  UTA is now a huge school with over 42,000 students. 
Initially known as the Rebels with accompanying Confederate fanfare and even mock slave auctions;  administrators ditched the Rebs, replacing it with the Mavericks in 1971.  Their women’s volleyball team made the Final 4 in 1989 and their men’s team has made the Big Dance once.  In 2017 the men advanced to the NIT quarterfinals.

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