Monday, January 27, 2020

UCSB vs CSUN Men's Basketball Game Preview, by Gaucho Dan

Thursday, January 30, 2020, 8 PM PST, ESPNU
Quick Bite
This preview is being filed under protest with the Association of Basketball (College) Die-Hards Evaluating Field Goalers (the A-B-C-D-E-F-G). Let's see Pimm mangle that one. It's easier if you sing it. UCSB escaped Saturday night with a win thanks to the Mad Max Three, but now must confront a CSUN team that had its number just one week ago.

By the Numbers                                                              
 Quadrant 4 Game
ucsb-logo smallest.jpg (3.33KiB)
nerd small.jpg (2.93KiB)
Record (D1) 13-7 8-14
Away/Home (D1) 5-4 (A) 5-3 (H)
Big West Conference 2-3 3-3
Composite National Rankings
NET, kpi, sor, bpi, pom, sag 183 252
DCI 199 258
DC2 176 287
RPI 219 250
NET 181 251
SOS (NET) 340 178
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 89 152
Defense 267 329
Tempo 339 74
Team Statistics (Overall/BWC)
Scoring 71.7 (166)  /  63.6 (8) 74.9 (94)  /  75.2 (1)
2Pt % 54.3 (34)  /  52.2 (1) 49.3 (203)  /  49.4 (4)
3Pt % 33.3 (178)  /  33.3 (7) 36.1 (61)  /  39.0 (1)
FT% 75.4 (45)  /  75.3 (1) 71.1 (152)  /  73.3 (2)
Scoring Defense 66.6 (111)  /  63.2 (2) 79.3 (339)  /  73.7 (9)
2Pt % Defense 50.4 (243)  /  53.7 (9) 52.5 (307)  /  50.2 (7)
3Pt % Defense 35.8 (302)  /  35.5 (6) 37.4 (339)  /  32.1 (3)
Off. Rebounds 10.5 (146)  /  8.4 (8) 9.2 (175)  /  8.2 (5)
Def. Rebounds allowed 21.0 (17)  /  20.8 (1) 26.5 (327)  /  37.3 (8)
Def. Rebounds 24.4 (263)  /  21.6 (9) 24.1 (149)  /  26.0 (2)
Off. Rebounds allowed 7.8 (21)  /  7.4 (2) 11.3 (329)  /  11.3 (8)
Total Rebounds 34.9 (228)  /  30.0 (9) 33.3 (157)  /  34.2 (4)
Total Rebounds allowed 28.8 (11)  /  28.2 (1) 37.9 (339)  /  37.3 (8)
Assists 13.5 (175)  /  13.5 (6) 14.1 (46)  /  13.8 (1)
Steals 4.6 (340)  /  5.4 (6) 6.3 (143)  /  6.0 (1)
Blocks 2.6 (255)  /  1.8 (8) 2.8 (190)  /  2.8 (5)
Best win (NET) @ UT Arlington (114) @ UCSB (181)
Worst loss (NET) CSUN (251) @ Cal Poly (327)
Trend (D1 only)  Won 1, Lost 3 of 4 Lost 1, Lost 3 of 5

UCSB - CSUN History

UCSB and CSUN have played 60 times in a series that dates to 1959. Santa Barbara has an all-time edge of 40-20 over the Matadors, but had a five-game winning streak in the series snapped last Wednesday in an 83-75 loss to visiting Northridge. Last season, the Gauchos won 70-64 at the Thunderdome, 76-74 at the Matadome and 71-68 in the first round of the Big West Tournament.

Head Coach
An 11-time NCAA Tournament coach, Mark Gottfried enters his second season leading the Matador men's basketball program in 2019-20. Gottfried is the sixth head coach in the history of the program. Gottfried orchestrated a seven-game turnaround and guided CSUN to its most overall wins (13) and conference wins (7) in five seasons. The Matadors also played in a national postseason tournament for the first time since 2009 with an appearance in the College Basketball Invitational. Gottfried started at Murray State, moving on to Alabama and NC State. The Wolfpack are under NCAA investigation over the recruitment of Dennis Smith Jr., which grew out of an FBI investigation into apparel company Adidas.  Gottfried was charged under the NCAA provision of head-coach responsibility for violations within his program.

Probable Starters
  • G (2) Elijah Harkless, 6'4", 195 lbs, Sophomore, 9.9 ppg, 6.3 reb, 3.2 apg, 28.3 min. Had 4 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in only 18 minutes at UCSB (foul trouble), but turned around and had 14 points and 6 rebounds in 38 minutes in their loss at Fullerton. One of only two players on the team with a positive box plus/minus due to his better-than-average defense.
  • G (3) Terrell Gomez, 5'8", 160 lbs, Junior, 20.6 ppg, 2.5 reb, 2.4 apg, 36.9 min. Was 3-for-5 from three for 15 points at UCSB. Doesn't need much room to get his shot off. Takes 54% of his shots from three, where he is hitting at a team-high 42%. He took 12 threes at Fullerton, making 6 of them. Defensively he can be exploited (-5.7 defensive box plus/minus).
  • G (10) Darius Brown II, 6'1", 180 lbs, Sophomore, 9.6 ppg, 3.4 reb, 4.4 apg, 31.5 min. Absolutely killed us, going 4-of-5 from three for 21 points along with 8 assists. He's their 2nd-best 3-point shooter by percentage (39%), and has the second-best win shares per 40 minutes on the squad at .117. Brown leads the team in assists, and will take it inside if necessary.
  • F (25) Jared Pearre, 6'9", 190 lbs, Sophomore, 3.9 ppg, 3.6 reb, 0.9 apg, 18.8 min. Offensively challenged, but not against us! He exploded for a 5-for-7 performance...probably all via alley-oop slam dunks. He was scoreless in 14 minutes at Fullerton due to foul trouble.
  • F (35) Lamine Diane, 6'7", 205 lbs, Sophomore, 27.9 ppg, 10.6 reb, 2.4 apg, 34.8 min. The best opposing player I have seen in a long time. He's long-armed, has a variety of moves, gets calls, etc. Has added a 3-point shot, although he is only hitting at 29% (3.6 attempts per game). He has a very high usage rate (41%) and will usually play all 40 minutes. However, he has fouled out twice this season (just 9 games). CSUN lost both games. He has a deceptive fadeaway in that he brings his arms way behind his head to shoot...impossible to block from in front of him (hint, hint). Had 27 vs. us (just 9 at halftime) and 32 at Fullerton before fouling out with a minute left.
Key Reserves
  • F (0) Lance Coleman, 6'6", 205 lbs, Junior, 8.1 ppg, 3.2 reb, 0.9 apg, 24.2 min. Has taken the 2nd-most threes on the team (almost 5 per game), but makes just 31% of them. 2nd-worst on team defensively (-4.5 DBPM). Has averaged just 3 minutes the last two games, so he's apparently in the doghouse.
  • G/F (32) Brendan Harrick, 6'5", 190 lbs, Freshman, 4.6 ppg, 1.6 reb, 0.7 apg, 17.6 min. Hits just 29% of this threes (made one against us and had 6 points). Missed all 5 threes at Fullerton. Another defensive liability.
  • F (15) Ron Artest III, 6'7", 215 lbs, Sophomore, 2.1 ppg, 3.3 reb, 0.5 apg, 13.7 min. Just 11-of-30 from the field. Has not played in at least a couple of games.
  • F (11) Festus Ndumanya, 6'7", 220 lbs, Freshman, 2.6 ppg, 2.3 reb, 0.4 apg, 12.8 min. Picks up 8.2 fouls per 40 minutes. 
  • C (30) Michael Ou, 6'9", 230 lbs, Sophomore, 3.9 ppg, 3.6 reb, 0.9 apg, 10.6 min. Also hasn't played recently. Actually semi-decent offensively, but bad on defense.
Match-up overview:
The Matadors had to without star Lamine Diane for the fall quarter due to academics, and they were woeful without him...going 3-10. They are 5-4 since, with wins at UC Riverside and UCSB. However, Cal Poly destroyed them, and UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton have also picked up wins against them.  CSUN plays at a much-faster pace than deliberate UCSB. Offense consists of Diane, Brown and Gomez. After that, it drops off pretty fast. Gauchos did a great job on Diane in the 1st half, but he got rolling in the 2nd half. Gomez and Brown have to be blanketed, bot exactly a Gaucho specialty.

UCSB got a much-needed victory over UCRV, although it wasn't pretty. JaQuori McLaughlin returned, but didn't look 100% until late in the game. The defense still gave up over 50% shooting, but got a key stop that set up the Mad Max 3.  Matt Freeman got his starting job back, and looked more instinctual on his two made 3's...and he added 4 assists. Sow had 16 points and 6 rebounds, but his 5th turnover almost cost the team the game. Brandon Cyrus got 22 minutes off the bench and scored 6 points along with 4 rebounds. Robinson Idehen was 3-for-3 but only played 11 minutes. Sekou Toure played just 4!

Keys to the game for the Gauchos 
  • Diane will get his points, but make him work for them. Maybe throw some double teams at him, as long as they're not coming from Brown or Gomez. Go at him on defense.
  • Play 40 minutes. In all 3 recent losses, the team led at halftime. Finally, vs. Riverside, they trailed at the half and rallied for the win.
  • Get more from the bench. Sekou needs to play more. When's the last time Nagle hit a basket?
  • Stop Brown and/or Gomez from going off. These guys need to be forced to put the ball on the floor.
  • Attack on offense. This is a bad defensive team, especially coming off the bench. McLaughlin, Ramsey and Max need to take it to the hole.

DC2 trends: UCSB is a paltry 38.35 in its last five, while CSUN is 43.28 in its last 5 (overall 37.81). It's funny how our mood changes just because we scored a couple of points more than the other team. We really didn't play any better on defense. There was more grit, and that's a good thing. But my gut doesn't like this matchup, and we pick the Gauchos too much around here (18 out of 19 times). CSUN is win-lose-win-lose lately, and they're coming off a loss. Should be a good crowd, as CSUN wants everyone to wear black. CSUN wins 76-69.

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Friday, January 24, 2020

Gauchos Host UC Riverside in Saturday Night Big West Showdown
JaQuori McLaughlin (Photo by Jeff Liang)

UCR vs. UCSB Men's Basketball Game Preview, by GauchoDan

UCSB vs. UC Riverside
Saturday, January 25, 2020, 7 PM PST
Quick Bite
A three-game losing streak has knocked out Freg, and I had some time to put this together on a Friday morning. It doesn't get any easier. A confident UC Riverside arrives in the Thunderdome on Saturday.

By the Numbers                                                              
 Quadrant 4 Game
RVsmall.jpg (2.66KiB)
Record (D1) 13-8 12-7
Home/Away (D1) 4-6 (A) 7-3 (H)
Big West Conference 3-2 1-3
Composite National Rankings
NET, kpi, sor, bpi, pom, sag 210 183
DCI 248 199
DC2 202 173
RPI 254 236
NET 217 174
SOS (NET) 343 339
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 266 81
Defense 158 267
Tempo 327 339
Team Statistics (Overall/BWC)
Scoring 66.6 (300)  /  69.6 (3) 72.1 (161)  /  63.3 (8)
FG% 43.6 (186)  /  43.0 (4) 46.6 (43)  /  43.3 (3)
3Pt % 35.4 (89)  /  37.0 (3) 33.2 (184)  /  32.5 (7)
FT% 68.5 (227)  /  70.5 (4) 75.9 (39)  /  77.9 (1)
Scoring Defense 61.0 (21)  /  66.2 (3) 66.7 (115)  /  63.3 (2)
FG % Defense 40.6 (88)  /  44.9 (7) 44.6 (269)  /  45.7 (8)
3Pt % Defense 33.2 (209)  /  40.2 (7) 36.0 (310)  /  36.8 (6)
Off. Rebounds 9.6 (147)  /  9.8 (2) 10.8 (135)  /  9.3 (6)
Def. Rebounds allowed 23.1 (184)  /  24.0 (6) 20.9 (19)  /  20.3 (1)
Def. Rebounds 27.9 (10)  /  27.2 (1) 24.6 (251)  /  22.0 (9)
Off. Rebounds allowed 7.1 (27)  /  6.6 (3) 8.1 (36)  /  8.5 (5)
Total Rebounds 37.5 (26)  /  37.0 (1) 35.4 (212)  /  31.3 (9)
Total Rebounds allowed 30.2 (106)  /  30.6 (6) 28.9 (17)  /  28.8 (1)
Assists 13.2 (98)  /  12.2 (2) 13.4 (174)  /  10.5 (8)
Steals 5.0 (278)  /  4.6 (7) 4.7 (333)  /  6.0 (6)
Blocks 2.4 (246)  /  2.6 (5) 2.7 (239)  /  2.0 (7)
Best win (NET) Fresno State (162) UT Arlington (118)
Worst loss (NET) CSUN (245) LBC The Beach (282)
Trend (D1 only)  Won 1, 4 of last 6 Lost 3

UCSB - UC Riverside History
UCSB and UC Riverside have played 45 times in a series that began in 1955. The Gauchos hold an all-time edge of 35-10, and the teams split a pair of games last season with the Highlanders winning 71-57 in Riverside and UCSB winning 72-64 at the Thunderdome, where UCR has never won.

Head Coach
David Patrick became the Head Men's Basketball Coach at UC Riverside in March of 2018 following successful assistant coaching stints at TCU and LSU. He enters his second season following an inaugural campaign (2018-19) which saw the Highlanders break several program records including 279 three-point shots culminating in a .379 three-point shooting percentage which was the best in the Big West Conference and top 30 (28th) in the nation.

The Highlanders announced themselves on opening night of the 2019-20 season with a "buy game" win at Big Ten doormat Nebraska. Riverside later picked up a win at Fresno State, but turned around and got blown out by Air Force (57-106). Last time out, Riverside ran roughshod over an improving Cal Poly squad...making 16-of-30 three-pointers in a 97-64 runaway.

Probable Starters
  • G (13) Khyber Kabellis, 6'4", 185 lbs, Senior, 5.4 ppg, 3.4 reb, 3.2 apg, 21.7 min. Played two years at North Dakota State and one year at Pacific before graduate-transferring to UCR. Kabellis went off vs. Cal Poly, hitting four three-pointers to break out of a horrible shooting slump (just 5-of-41 from three prior to Thursday night).
  • G (15) Dikymbe Martin, 6'1", 170 lbs, Senior, 7.6 ppg, 1.4 reb, 1.4 apg, 17.8 min. An enigma...has a history of suspensions and missed four games at the start of this season and has just now cracked the starting lineup. Averages 4.5 three-point attempts per game, making 42%...make him drive, as he hits just 35% of his two-pointers. 81% free-thrower.
  • G (22) Dominick Pickett, 6'3", 210 lbs, Junior, 6.9 ppg, 2.4 reb, 1.5 apg, 24.6 min. The only other player to have started each game this season. One of four players who attempt at least 2.9 three-pointers per game, hitting at a 43% rate. Two-point % very low at just 41%...make him drive as well. 90% free-throw best on team.
  • F (1) Arinze Chidom, 6'9", 240 lbs, Junior, 11.3 ppg, 7.3 reb, 1.5 apg, 22.3 min. Became eligible in December after leaving the Washington State team a year prior. Has started 9 of 10 games since. Scored 18 points vs. Cal Poly. Probablt the best three-point shooter on the team, hitting at a blazing 48.3% on 2.9 attempts per game.
  • C (23) Angus McWilliam, 6'10", 240 lbs, Sophomore, 7.4 ppg, 4.7 reb, 17.3 min. Hits 61% of his shots from inside the three-point line. He will take the three, but he only hits 21% of them. Originally from New Zealand, transferred in from TCU)
Key Reserves
  • (35) George Willborn III, 6'3", 195 lbs, Junior, 7.7 ppg, 5.2 reb, 1.0 apg, 23.1 min. Redshirt transfer from UTSA. Didn't play vs. Cal Poly.
  • (25) Callum McRae, 7'1", 275 lbs, Sophomore, 9.0 ppg, 6.2 reb, 1.1 apg, 22.4 min. One of only six 7-footers in the conference, he has started 16 of 21 games this season. 
  • (5) Zyon Pullin, 6'4", 195 lbs, Freshman, 5.1 ppg, 2.5 reb, 2.4 apg, 20.7 min.
  • (3) DJ McDonald, 5'11", 175 lbs, Sophomore, 5.4 ppg, 16.9 min. Hits 37.3% of his threes (3.6 attempts per game)
  • (10) Dragan Elkaz, 6'5", 205 lbs, Sophomore, 6.1 ppg, 1.4 reb, 16.8 min. Started two games. Hits 40.2% of his threes (4.6 attempts per game)
  • (11) Zac Watson, 6'7", 210 lbs, Sophomore, 3.2 ppg, 3.4 reb, 13.4 min. Hits 61.7% of his two-point attempts.
  • (4) Daniel Mading, 6'9", 200 lbs, Sophomore, 3.3 ppg, 2.4 reb, 12.3 min. Started 7 games, has missed nine games.
Match-up overview:
UC RV played a similar non-conference schedule to the Gauchos...putrid. However, that allowed the team to post its best non-conference record (10-6) since it joined the Big West in 2001. Riverside leads the conference in three-point attempts (23.6 per game), which translates to one of the higher effective field-goal percentages in the conference (51.2%). Combine 3-point-shooting with a beefy interior with excellent rebounding and a plodding temp, and you have an Irvine-like team in style, if not talent.  UCSB is in a sudden funk, having lost three in a row since cruising through the latter 75% of its non-conference schedule. The skid coincides with the return of Max Heidegger, although that may have nothing to do with the startling turnaround. Second-half collapses continue to plague the team, as it has now lost five games in which it led at halftime. UCSB is especially vulnerable to penetrating guards. Hopefully, JaQuori McLaughlin can play after missing the CSUN game.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos 
  • Prevent three-point attempts. Not just by extending the defense...prevent the inside-out game.
  • Play 40 minutes. The team has run out of gas in the 2nd half in three straight games. Riverside spreads its minutes around to a greater number of players. Could they be more rested in crunch time.
  • Offense continues to stagnate. Ball reversals are important, and recognition of double teams (looking at you, Amadou) is as well. If JaQuori plays, there needs to be better integration between him and Max. We have two dynamic, penetrating guards and yet the offense is standing around.
  • Starting lineup: who sits when JaQuori starts? Freeman already took a seat for Idehen. Is Cyrus sitting?
  • Boards: both teams are very good rebounding squads. Who will win the battle for second-chance buckets. I'd like to see Toure flying in for rebounds.

The trend has been very bad for UCSB. The Gauchos' overall raw DC2 is 49.76, but the last five is just 41.61. UCR is flying high after its rout of Cal Poly. With no chance really for Joe Pasternack to reset the Gauchos, I'm going with a gut-wrenching 72-70 victory to stop, temporarily, the bleeding.

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Cold Shooting Night Costs Gauchos Against UC Davis, 56-46
Danae Miller (Photo by Jeff Liang)

CSUN's Red-Hot Second Half Leads to UCSB's Third-Straight Loss, 83-75
Amadou Sow (Photo by Jeff Liang)

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Gauchos Hosts CSUN Wednesday Night at Thunderdome
Robinson Idehen (Photo by Jeff Liang)

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 7 PM PST
Quick Bite:  A Matador and a Gaucho walk into a bar.  Before taking their seats they look at each other and declare, “You suck!”  At different tables, they sit down and begin to drink.

By the Numbers                                                             
 Quadrant 4 Game  
csun xxx logo.jpg (4.68KiB)
UCSB logo small.png (7.12KiB)
Record (D1) 5-13 10-6
Home/Away (D1) 2-9 (A)  5-2 (H)
Big West Conference 2-2 1-2
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 269 157
NET 261 160
SOS (NET) 131 334
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 184 92
Defense 323 218
Team Statistics (Overall/BWC)
Scoring 75  /  75.4 72  /  59
FG% 44%  /  46% 47%  /  42%
3Pt % 34%  /  38% 33%  /  32%
FT% 71%  / 71% 75%  /  75%
PPG Allowed (All/Conf) 79  /  75.0 66  /  57
FG % Defense 47%  /  44% 44%  /  43%
3Pt % Defense 38% /  33% 35%  /  31%
Steals PG 6  /  7 5   /   8
Blocks PG 3  /  3 3   /   3  
Rebounding Margin  -4  /  -1 +6   /   -1
Assists/Turnovers PG 14/13 13/12  /    9/12
Best win (NET) San Francisco (99) UT Arlington (114)
Worst loss (NET) Cal Poly (313) Beach Beach (292)
Trend (D1 only)
Lost 1 Lost 2
UCSB- CSUN History
This will be the 60th meeting between the two teams with the Gauchos holding a 40-19 advantage.  The Gauchos own a 5 game win streak in the series, having swept the season series last year and defeating the ‘Dors in the opening round of the BWT.  All three games were close, intense battles with the Matadors playing much better defense than typical for them.
Head Coach
Mark Gottfried took over the troubled Northridge program from Reggie Theus last year.  He has the deepest pedigree of all Big West coaches and this is true even if you don’t consider his lead assistant is former UCLA & Pepperdine coach Jim Harrick.  He won a National Championship as an assistant under Harrick at UCLA and has numerous NCAA tournament appearances and victories in lengthy stints at NC State, Alabama and Murray State.   He coaches with the cloud of an NCAA investigation hovering over his actions at his previous stop at NC State.
CSUN returns 85% of minutes played last year, the most in the conference.   The most important part of the returning team, Lamine Diane, sat all but two games of the preseason and Rocket Henderson has been injured. Terrell Gomez carried the load in their absence but the Matadors struggled as no other front court player stepped up.  Keep an eye on guard Elijah Harkless who has been terrific in his sophomore year.

Probable Starters
Guard Darius Brown  #10 6’1”, 180lb, Sophomore  9 ppg, 4 apg, 3.0 ATO ratio. 3 rpg, 31 mpg.  Leads the team in assists and second in steals. Is shooting 47% from the field, 33% from deep
Guard Terrell Gomez  #3 5’8” 160 lbs, Junior 21 ppg, 2.5 apg, 2.7 rpg, 37 mpg. 
Gets to the line about 4x a game and makes an astounding 93% of his freebies.  A workhorse who had to carry the load while Diane was out.  Leading three point shooter, with 3.6 makes per game at a 41% rate.  Leads the league in made three pointers with 72.  All BW 1st Team last year and, barring injury, a lock to repeat this year.
Guard Elijah Harkless  #2 6’1”, 189lb, Sophomore  10 ppg, 6 rpg, 3 apg, 27 mpg,
Has made a huge jump from his freshman year, including garnering a BW POW award earlier this year.
An outstanding rebounder for his size, averaging over 6 per game.  Leads the team in steals and is second in assists.
Forward Lamine Diane  #35  6’7”, 205 lb. RS Sophomore  28 ppg, 11 rpg, 34 mpg.  Missed all but two games in the pre-season due to academic ineligibility.  Does just about everything well on offense, has even improved his FT shooting, at 64% after only hitting 50% last season.  His moves, touch and length are all elite level.  Known to take rests on defense.  Reigning POY, FOY and Newcomer of the year, a first in the BW.
Forward Festus Ndumanya #11  6’7”, 220 lb  Freshman 13 mpg
Limited production but has started 9 games.
Key Reserves
Forward Lance Coleman  #00  6’6”, 205 lb  RS Junior  9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 27 mpg
From Fullerton JC, about half his shots are from deep (31%) and he is second in 3pt makes.  Has started 6 games .
Forward Jared Pearre  #25  6’9”, 190 lb. RS Sophomore 4 ppg, 4 rpg, 18 mpg.
Has started 9 games.
Guard Brendan Harrick  #32 6’5”, 190lb, RS Freshman  5  ppg, 17 mpg,
Has started 8 games.  Shoots 31% from deep. Great Nephew of Matador Asst Coach Jim Harrick
Center Michael Ou  #30  6’9”, 230 lb  Sophomore  4 ppg, 2 rpg. 11 mpg. 
Has started 3 games.  From China
Wing Rodney Henderson  #1 6’5”, 185lb, JC Transfer Junior   Team’s 3rd leading scorer last year and a good three point shooter, nicknamed Rocket.  Has played only 3 games this year.
Forward Ron Artest Jr  #14  6’7”, 215 lb  Sophomore.  12 mpg. 2.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Has only played 12 games, starting 5 of them.

Match-up overview:  It’s not the matchup it looked like it might be when these two teams were picked to finish in the top three and expected to contend for the title.  Neither team is playing well and both possess losses to the either of the two worst rated teams in the conference in Poly and Long Beach.  The CSUN backcourt and Diane have continued to be very productive on offense but the Matadors never found a player to help out Diane in the frontcourt and they usually lose the rebound battle.  The Matador defense has been atrocious but it was last year as well and they played strong defense vs. the Gauchos in their three games so we’ll see.
On the Gauchos side, Pasternack has promised a shake up in the lineup after their flat showings the last two games  What this means in the frontcourt with the incredibly tough-to-guard Diane will be interesting to see.  FWIW, I predict a line-up of Max, JRoq, Cyrus, Toure and Sow to start.
 Of note, in a BW scheduling quirk, UCSB plays CSUN in two of their next three games with Saturday’s home tilt vs. UCR in between.  So they’ll close their year series with the ‘Dors before having played Davis, Fullerton or Irvine.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·        Drew Buggs destroyed the Gauchos in the last game and Darius Brown is an equally capable PG.  Will a different line-up make a difference here?
·        Sow & Idehen stay out of foul trouble while trying to contain Diane.  Lots of help defense from Toure and Cyrus here. On the other side, attack Diane.  Poly got him in foul trouble early which was key to the Mustang victory.
·        Limit easy drives to the basket while rotating to the corner 3 (easier to type than to execute)
·        The offense has stagnated and is no longer creating lanes in defenses.  JP needs to fix this.  Two of the better guards in the conference in Max and JRoq, need these two to work off of each other better than they have.
·        Dominate the boards.  CSUN will score and 70 points will probably not be enough this time, Gauchos will need the 2nd chance points.

Prediction:  I have no idea what to expect from the Gauchos right now.  CSUN is also erratic.   Lets go with UCSB 76  CSUN 72.  You can flip the scores, multiply by 3 & divide by 2, etc. and I won’t argue.

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Friday, January 17, 2020

UCSB Offers JoVon McClanahan

Gauchos Travel to Hawai'i Saturday for Big West Showdown
Max Heidegger (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

Gauchos Snap Losing Streak at the Bren, Take Down UC Irvine 65-61
Ila Lane (Photo by Jeff Liang)

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

UCSB @ Hawaii
Saturday, January 18, 2020, 10 PM PST
Quick Bite:  Gauchos will travel ~ 2700 miles to search for their missing offense when they take on the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

By the Numbers                                                             
Quadrant  3 Game
Hawaii_Warriors_logo.png (5.68KiB)
UCSB logo small.png (7.12KiB)
Record (D1) 9-610-5
Big West Conference 2-1  1-1
Home/Away (D1) 8-3 (H) 5-3 (A)
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, SOR, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 176 149
NET 175 160
SOS (NET) 229 341
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 190 93
Defense 163 213
Team Statistics (Overall/BWC)
Scoring 70.6  /  66.7 72.4/  57.5
FG% 44%  /  38% 47% /  41%
3Pt % 34%  /  33% 34% /  40%
FT% 71%  / 66% 75%  /  68%
Defense:  PPG Allowed 71.0  /  68.0  65.6 /  50.0 
FG % Defense 43%  /  43% 44%  /  40%
3Pt % Defense 33%  /  36% 35%  /  28% 
Steals PG 5.2  /  3.3 4.9/8.5
Blocks PG 2.5  /  1.7 2.9/3.5
Rebounding Margin  +1.0  /  +1.0 +7.0  /   +4.0
Assists/Turnovers PG 14.1/13.7 / 12.3/10.7 13.9/12.3 /  11.5 /14.0
Best win (NET) San Francisco (97) UT Arlington (130)
Worst loss (NET) S. Dakota (198) Beach Beach (287)
Trend (D1 only)  Won 1 Lost 1
UCSB- Hawaii History/Last Season Recap
This will be the 24th meeting between the two teams with the series with the Gauchos holding a 12-11 advantage and having won three straight. Technically, UCSB holds a 12-9 advantage as Hawaii’s two wins in 2013 were later vacated. Last year the Gauchos cruised in both games, winning by 21 on the rock and by 18 in Santa Barbara.  The SB front court was too much for the Warriors with Sow the leading scorer in both games and Armond Davis also being very productive in both games.  Heidegger tied Sow for the scoring lead in the first game with 20 points.
Head Coach
Evan Ganot is in his 5th season at the helm of the Warriors and boasts an overall record of 74-44 and a conference record of 32-21. He missed the majority of the OOC season due to an undisclosed health issue but is now back at the helm.  In his first season, 2015-16, the Warriors won both the Big West regular season and tournament titles and went to the NCAAs and registered an upset first round win over Cal.  This was the first tournament win in program history. He was named BW Coach of the year that season. Since, he has consecutive 8-8 finishes.  
The Arena
The Warriors play in the 10,300 seat Stan Sheriff Center, constructed in 1994.  It is the largest arena in the Big West.  The Warriors are averaging 5,432 in attendance. 

Roster  Hawaii fields an experienced starting roster with just one underclassman in the lineup.  They aren’t the deepest team with four starters averaging 32 minutes or more and the reserves are mostly underclassmen.

Probable Starters
Guard Drew Buggs  #1 6’3” 195lbs, RS Junior  9.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 5.4 apg, 34 mpg.  Mostly a slash & dish player but he is attempting more threes this year which has lowered his FG%, just 36% overall and 28% from deep.  His 5.4 assists per game leads the conference and he has a solid 1.8 ATO ratio.
Guard Eddie Stansbury  #3  6’3”, 190lb, JC Transfer Senior  17.0 ppg,  3.3 rpg, 88% FT shooter on 3.5 attempts per game, 37 mpg. Leads the team in scoring and three point makes (52, 35%) 40% of his shots are from deep.
Wing Samuta Avea  #32  6’6”, 195 lb  Junior  11.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 32 mpg.  Shooting 39% from deep, second on team in 3 point makes (32).  Local boy, has doubled his production and minutes played from last year.
Forward Zigmars Raimo  #14  6’8”, 230 lb. Senior  8.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 33 mpg.  From Latvia, he leads the team in rebounding and in FT attempts and is making those at a 75% clip after shooting just a little over 50% last year.  He also leads the team in steals
Forward Bernardo Da Silva  #14  6’9”, 200 lb. Freshman  5.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 14 mpg. 
Recently replaced Dawson Carper in the starting line-up.  From Brazil. 

Key Reserves
Guard Justin Webster  #3  6’3”, 175 lb, Freshman 7.4 ppg, 17 mpg.
Outside threat, 75% of his shots are from deep (35%) 
Center Dawson Carper  #44  7’0”, 250 lb Sophomore  6.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg 16 mpg  Recently bumped after starting 14 games.
Wing Justin Hemsley  #42 6’6”, 195lb, Senior  3.1 ppg, 12 mpg
Center Mate Colina  #11  7’0”, 240 lb  Sophomore
From Australia, not playing too much this year, limited production.

View from a Hawaii fan:  Hawaii Insider is a professional fan site and does a terrific job of previewing Warrior games.

Match-up overview:   Neither team is coming into this game on a high note; UCSB was held to 52 points by one of the worst defenses in the country in their loss to Long Beach which proceeded to give up 85 points to Davis which ranks in the 200s KenPom offensive efficiency.  Meanwhile, UH struggled to defeat Poly and were easily defeated on the road by Irvine. 
The Warriors have an excellent back court with the talented shooting guard Eddie Stansbury and PG Drew Buggs who leads the league in assists.  Wing Samuta  Avea may be the most improved in the league as he has doubled his production from last year.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·        Sow and Idehen can win the battle in the post.  Production out of the 4 & 5 spots were huge in the comfortable Gaucho wins last year.  Not including Freeman in this as he is most effective on the perimeter.  Raimo is similarly sized to Sow and is much more productive this season compared to last They have size off the bench in Carper too so this is a key match up to watch. 
·        Leverage their depth advantage in the SG/wing positions.  Between Cyrus, Toure, Max and McLaughlin they have the tools to limit the very effective Stansbury and emerging Avea. They were successful in this task last year and need a repeat.
·        Drew Buggs has a significant size advantage at the point over Ramsey.  Mixed results vs. him last year, shut him down in the first game but in the second he went for 13 on 60% from the field along with 8 boards and 4 assists.  Tough match up for Ramsey or McLaughlin.
·        Max integration project, reboot. Will take time but a healthy confident Max integrating smoothly in the offense will make the Gauchos very tough to beat in the BW.  I don’t expect it to happen just yet but the Gauchos have shown they can win without him so may not be critical yet.
Prediction:  Both teams are in need of a win. For the Gauchos, it feels more desperate after the head scratching loss to lowly LB.  Honestly, I’ve no idea, depends upon which Gaucho offense shows up.  UCSB’s defense has been fairly consistent but their offense is sputtering of late.  UCSB is 2-2 in Quad 3 games and this is close to a pickem.  I’ll go homer and bet on the Gaucho depth for a 1 point victory,
UCSB 64  UH 63

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Friday, January 10, 2020

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

UCSB vs. Long Beach Preview
Saturday, January 11, 2019, 7 PM PST
Quick Bite:  After opening their season on the road against the softest team in the conference, UCSB returns home to face the second softest team in Beach City Beach, or whatever they’re calling themselves this hour.  The 49ers are more dangerous as they have some talent and they defeated Providence & played UCLA tougher than UCSB did, but they have trended downward since and were shellacked by CSUN in their opener.

By the Numbers:                                                  
Quadrant 4
baby shark 3.jpg (5.25KiB)
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Record (D1 only) 3-11 10-4
BWC 0-1 1-0
Home/Away vs D1 0-8 (A)  5-1 (H)
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 299 124
NET 275 141
SOS (ESPN BPI) 16 331
Preseason Poll Pick 7th 2nd
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 292 62
Defense 306 226
Offense:                 Scoring 68.6 73.7
FG% 43% 48%
3 PT Makes/Attempts 6.2/17.7 6.4/18.9
3Pt % 35% 34%
FT Makes/Attempts 12.2/17.9 15/20
FT% 68% 75%
Defense:           PPG Allowed 79.4 66.3
FG % Defense 46% 45%
3Pt % Defense 35% 36%
Steals PG 6.7 4.7
Blocks PG 3.4 3.0
Rebounding Margin -4.4 +7.1
Assists/Turnovers PG 11.5/17.1 14.1/12
Best win (NET) Providence (81) UT Arlington (144)
Worst loss (NET) Seattle (254) Rice (235)
Trend (D1 only)
Lost 3 Won 5

LB-UCSB History/Last season summary
This will be the 129th meeting between the schools with the 49ers holding a 68-60 advantage. UCSB has played LB more than any other school. LB upset the Gauchos in Santa Barbara last season and have a one game winning streak.
Head Coach:  Dan Monson, the dean of the Big West, is in his 12th season at Long Beach.  After great success earlier in his LB career, the 49ers won the conference regular season his third through 5th seasons, his teams have leveled off to 3rd thru 5th place finishes.  He has taken the 49ers to one NCAA tournament, in 2012, when as a 12 seed they lost a competitive first round game to New Mexico.  He has lost in the BWT final three times. His record at LB stands at 196-195 overall and 117-69 in BW play.  Dan is the son of long-time college coach Don Monson who took Idaho to the Sweet 16 in 1982 and later coached Oregon.  Dan is most famous for putting Gonzaga on the map in 1999 taking the Zags to the Elite 8 before bolting to Minnesota. With a young roster this year and bad record, no seat is hotter in the Big West than Monson’s with LB fans on a mission to see him fired.

Roster:  Youth is being served in Long Beach as Monson was mandated by AD Andy Fee to stop relying on transfers which had imbued the program with too much instability.  LB actually got off to a decent start with a competitive game against UCLA and victories over Providence and USD before the wheels fell off.

Possible Starters
Guard Colin Slater #14  6’1”, 190 Junior.  11.2 ppg, 1.8 apg, 30 mpg. 
Solid 3 point shooter (40%) and shoots over 80% from the line. Transfer from Tulane
Guard Michael Carter  #1  6’5”, 175 lb, Sophomore. 12.9 ppg, 3 apg, 27 mpg.
Transfer from Washington. Excellent in getting to the line where he makes 86% of his attempts Leads team in assists, steals and FT attempts.  Also leads in 3 point attempts but is shooting just 29% from deep. Turns the ball over a lot, 3.7 per game.
Wing Chance Hunter #31   6’6”, 200 lb, Sophomore, 13.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 41% from deep and 45% overall, 26 mpg.  Transfer from Cerritos JC.  Team’s leading scorer and top three point shooter.  Second on team in getting to the line but shooting just 58% from the stripe.
Forward Romelle Mansel #13  6’9”, 230 lb, Freshman   4.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 17 mpg
Center Joshua Morgan  #24  611”, 195lb, Freshman  8.3 ppg, 63% from the field, 5.8 rpg, 25 mpg
Is a candidate for BW FOY award, leads team in rebounding and is an excellent shot blocker with 33 on the season.  Has good hands.
Key Reserves
Guard Drew Cobb #3  6’4” 205 lbs, Junior 5.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 21 mpg
Excellent defender. Missed several games due to injury.
Wing Jordan Roberts  #2   6’9”, 200 lb, Junior  3.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 19 mpg
Guard Max De Geest  #10 6’3”, 185 Freshman, 4.7 ppg, 18 mpg, 33% from deep
From New Zealand.  Has started 5 games
Guard Jordan Griffin #11 6’3”, 165 Senior  4.6 ppg, 44% from deep, 11 mpg
Center Trever Irish  #32  7’0”, 230 lb, Sophomore (JC Transfer)   9 mpg
Has dealt with injuries last couple years

Injured:  None

Match-up & Prediction:  I was able to watch parts of a couple of Long Beach’s games early in the season and at that time thought they might contend for the BW title this year. Lots of talented newcomers playing well together.  But they have regressed mightily and lack fundamentals.  The talent is still there of course but their defense is porous and the offense unstructured.  As with Poly, if UCSB plays to their standard potential, it is an easy victory for the Gauchos.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·        Take advantage of LB’s defensive breakdowns; good perimeter passing & screens will open up the defense more readily than with other opponents.  Lots of mid-range and next to the bucket looks should be available.
·        LB has two solid wings in Michael Carter and Chance Hunter.  Cyrus, JRoq and Toure have been excellent with their defense for the past 10+ games and they will need to keep that going.  As with Poly, LB can be dangerous from deep so protecting the perimeter is key.
·        Attack Morgan in the post. He is skilled and a great shot blocker but Sow & Idehen are much stronger.  They should be able to body their way down on the block but need to avoid offensive fouls.  How much they can take advantage here will depend how the refs call the game.

Prediction:  UCSB 81  LB 63

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Winners of 6 Straight, 11 of 12, Gauchos Host Long Beach State Saturday Night
Photo by Eric Isaacs

Titans Defeat Gauchos in Big West Conference Opener, 70-68 in Overtime
Danae Miller (Photo by Jeff Liang)

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

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

UCSB @ Cal Poly Preview
Wednesday, January 8, 2020, 7 PM PST
Quick Bite:  Gauchos ease into conference play by taking on the two worst rated teams in Cal Poly and Long Beach in the opening week.  The Mustangs, under first year coach John Smith, struggled to beat NAIA Vanguard in their last game and have just one D1 victory on their resume.

By the Numbers                                                              
                                  Quadrant 4
Cal_Poly_Mustangs, small.jpg (4.06KiB)
UCSB logo small.png (7.12KiB)
Record (D1 only) 1-11 9-4
Home/Away vs D1 1-2 (H)  4-3 (A)
Composite National Rankings
DCI 1&2, BPI, KP, Massey, NET, RPI, Sagarin 323 132
NET 322 150
SOS 33 322
Preseason Poll Pick 9th 2nd
Efficiency Rankings (Pomeroy) 
Offense 326 59
Defense 303 249
Scoring 63.7 74.4
FG% 42% 47%
3 PT Makes/Attempts 6.2/21.7 6.4/19.2
3Pt % 35% 33%
FT Makes/Attempts 10.2/23.6 15.3/20.3
FT% 69% 75%
Defense:           PPG Allowed 73.0 67.7
FG % Defense 45% 44.3
3Pt % Defense 37% 35.5
Steals PG 6.0 4.4
Blocks PG 1.6 2.9
Rebounding Margin -4.3 +7.4
Assists/Turnovers PG 10/14.1 14.3/12.1
Best win (NET) Siena (173) UT Arlington (115)
Worst loss (NET) Long Island (271) Rice (237)
Trend (D1 only)
Lost 4 Won 4

CP-UCSB History/Last season summary
This will be the 116th meeting between the schools; UCSB holds an 81-35 advantage over its central coast rival.  The Gauchos have won four in a row, winning last season’s two games by 9 & 10 points, respectively.

Mott Gym:  Built in 1960, renovated in 1998, has a capacity of 3,032.  The aging facility is considered a detriment to recruiting but is a fun & loud place when the fans show up. Averaging 1,633 in attendance this year, will be more for the rivalry game.

Head Coach:   John Smith.  The long-time assistant and associate head coach at Fullerton took over for the fired Joe Callero at the helm of the Mustangs and, with the cupboard left bare, is off to predictably slow start.

Poly experienced a lot of turnover from last year’s team and, as expected with a new coach in a transition year, the roster is a hodgepodge of inexperienced new players and transfers.  Coach Smith seems to be trying different things with a variety of starting lineups the past few games.

Possible Starters
Guard Junior Ballard  #24  6’3”, 200 lb. Sophomore  11.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 33% from deep, 25 mpg.
Leads team in scoring, made FTs (32/43) and is second in made three pointers
Guard Colby Rogers #3  6’5”, 190 lb. Freshman  8.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 23 mpg
Guard Job Alexander  #1  6’4”, 200 lb. JC Transfer Senior  3.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 13 mpg
Seems to be a starter in name only, limited minutes & production.
Forward Alimany Koroma  #15  6’8”, 220 lb, Freshman 6.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 17 mpg.
Forward Tuuka Jaakola  #14  6’10”, 240 lb, Sophomore  7.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg,  24 mpg
Leads team in FT attempts, making 61%.   55% FG shooting leads team. From Finland

Possible Key Reserves
Point Guard Keith Smith #0  6’0”, 170 lb. RS Junior (Fullerton) 3.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.7 apg, 22 mpg
Has started 7 games.  Leads team in assists.
Forward Kyle Colvin   #33  6’6”, 200lb RS Freshman  8.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 32% from deep.
Leads team in minutes played, 27 mpg
Guard Jamal Smith #3  6’3”, 170 lb. GT (Fullerton) 5.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 23 mpg
Has started 8 games.  1.4 apg is second on team.  8/25 from deep.  Leads team in turnovers.
Wing Malek Harwell   #5  6’5”, 188lb GT (Boise St) 8.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 13/30 (43%) from deep, 22 mpg
Second on team in scoring, has started 5 games.
Wing Mark Crowe   #5  6’5”, 205lb RS Junior
Top 3 point shooter from last season has been quiet this year.

Injured/Not Available:
Forward Hank Hollingsworth  #30  6’10”, 235 lb, Senior 

Overview & Match-Up:  Poly, simply put, is not a good team and the Gauchos, if they play to their normal level, should win easily.  The Mustangs are a decent three point shooting team so the perimeter defense needs to be on point.

Keys to the game for the Gauchos:
·        Remember January 4, 2018
·        Don’t let Poly get good perimeter looks
·        Own the boards

Prediction:  UCSB 80 CP 65

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