Thursday, January 28, 2021

UCSB vs. UCD Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB @ UC Davis
Both games @ 4pm on Big West TV

Gauchos are on fire, having won 6 straight against teams in the bottom half of the BWC and playing the best defense of the Pasternack era. They have edged up to #60 in the NCAA NET rankings, easily their highest ever (this RPI replacement is just a couple years old).  They take on UC Davis who are playing their BWC home opener.  Last week the Aggies threw off the shackles of Yolo County then got promptly routed by UCSD.  With three weeks of rust to shake off, this was understandable.  They rebounded the next night to win by 7 but shot a blistering 9-20 from deep to turn it around.  They shot just 25% from 3 in the loss. 
Roster wise, the Aggies have run a smaller, four guard line up for the most part.  Junior forward Christian Anigwe just played his first two games vs. UCSD, coming off the bench in both games; I would not be surprised to see him inserted into the starting lineup to counter the Gaucho size.
Possible Starters
Guard Ezra Manjon  #5  5’11”, 170 lb. Sophomore 17.8 ppg, 3.5 apg, 33 mpg
The BWC FOY last year, Manjon is taking on a bigger scoring role this season, and is getting to the FT line for nearly 6 attempts per game, making 86%.  Struggling from deep, shooting just 26%.
Guard Damion Squire  #1  6’0”, 185 lb. Junior 11.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 30 mpg.  Leads team in assists, 3.7 apg, second in getting to the line, 79% on  33 attempts.  Shooting 33% from deep.
Guard Elijah Pepper  #40  6’4”, 200 lb. Sophomore  12.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg.  26 mpg  7-18 from deep.  Leads team with 11 steals.  Second leading scorer on 49% from the field.  6 assists vs. 13 TOs.
Guard Caleb Fuller  #11  6’5”, 210 lb. Junior 9.7 ppg, 20 mpg.    36% from deep.  Has been a starter most of the season but I am guessing Les may have him come in off the bench to get more size in the starting line up.  
Forward Kennedy Koehler  #10  6’7”, 220 lb, Senior 9.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg  25 mpg.
Can hit the 3, is 7/19 for the season.  Leads the team in blocks (6)
Possible Key Reserves
Forward Christian Anigwe  #4  6’9”, 220 lb, Junior 6.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg  20 mpg. 
Played his first two games of the season vs. UCSD
Guard Cameron Ba  #2  6’3”, 180 lb. Sophomore 6.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg,  Leads team in three point makes  (33%).  Playing starter minutes, 24 mpg. 
Forward Caleb McGill #4  6’7”, 215 lb, Freshman 11 mpg.   
Played his first two games of the season vs. UCSD, wouldn’t be surprised to see him starting vs. SB. 
Guard BJ Shaw  #20  6’6”, 195 lb. Sophomore 11 mpg 
Our favorite Gaucho’s son is playing some for the Aggies without too much to show statistically. 
Of interest is the Gauchos and Aggies have split the series every year in the Pasternack era with Davis winning the second game each time.  Different circumstances this year with the back-to-backs.  Pasternack has been going to the bench earlier and deeper with Toure in the regular rotation now and this depth is a key advantage for UCSB.  Predicting another sweep this weekend with the second game being closer.
In a perfect scenario, Gauchos win by 20 each game but BJ Shaw goes off over the weekend.

Monday, January 25, 2021

UC Santa Barbara's McLaughlin Captures Third Men's Hoops Weekly Award

McLaughlin Named College Sports Madness Mid-Major National Player of the Week

Sam’s Mid-Major Crush of the Week: The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos

Josh Pierre-Louis Windmill Dunk

Josh Pierre-Louis Dunk


McLaughlin's Career Night, Sow's Double-Double Lead UCSB to Sixth Straight Win, 80-66 at CSUN

UCSB Crushes CSUN in Near Record-Breaking Fashion, 105-58

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Gauchos Take Four-Game Winning Streak to CSUN for Games on Friday, Saturday

UCSB vs. CSUN Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB @ CSUN    Friday, Jan 22 and Saturday, Jan 23.  Both games are at 4pm

The Gauchos and Matadors meet for the 62nd time with the Gauchos holding a 40-21 advantage and the Matadors holding a two game winning streak having swept the Gauchos last season. 
The Matadors are off to a surprisingly decent start to the season given the massive roster turnover they experienced losing 2x All BW forward Lamine Diane and All BW guard Terrell Gomez among several others.   They went 3-2 in non conference with wins over Pepperdine, NMSU and Seattle.  They are 1-1 in Big West play after splitting their opening series with Fullerton this weekend which was their first games since Dec 28.  Of note, they played this series without their two leading scorers, TJ Starks and Lance Coleman.  
Their surpising start can be credited to newcomer Starks, stellar PG Darius Brown and their coaching staff for what they’ve been able to do given the circumstances.
The Matadors have 4 players averaging double figures in scoring, nearly 5 with forward Alex Merkvildaze at 9.7.  Have had to deal with injuries/player absences on top of the massive roster turnover from last year.  As mentioned, their two leading scorers missed the series vs. Fullerton along with several others.  It is not clear if  they’ll be playing this game. 

Possible Starters
Guard Darius Brown  #10 6’1”, 180lb, Junior  10.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 5.9 apg, 8.9 ATO ratio. 33 mpg.  Rock solid play with an unheard of ATO ratio of nearly 9!  Definitely an All BW 1st team candidate.
Guard TJ Starks  #2 6’2” 196 lbs, RS Junior 18 ppg, 2.5 apg, 2.7 rpg, 31 mpg. 
Leads team in scoring and in getting to the line, shoots 40% from deep, tied for team lead in 3pt makes.  Second on team in assists.  Transfer from Texas A&M.  DNP vs. Fullerton. 
Forward Lance Coleman  #00  6’6”, 205 lb  RS Senior  15.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 28 mpg
Second leading scorer.  DNP vs. Fullerton.  Not sure of his status for this game. Tied for team lead in 3pt makes, 33%.
Forward Festus Ndumanya #11  6’7”, 220 lb  Sophomore, 6.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 21 mpg
Forward Alex Merkvildaze #23 6’9”, 225 lb, Freshman 9.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 28 mpg, 10/30 from deep.
Has started every game, putting up great numbers as a freshman.  From Georgia (Eastern Europe)
Possible Key Reserves
Guard Vante Hendrix  #14 6’5”, 195lb, RS Junior 12.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 33 mpg
Shoots 31% from deep. Transfer from New Mexico.  Missed the first 6 games of the season, averaging 33 mpg since eligible.  Teams 3rd leading scorer by average, not an accurate shooter but is solid at the line (82%) and is getting there over 5x per game.
Guard Brendan Harrick  #32 6’5”, 190lb, RS Sophomore  6 ppg, 17 mpg,
Started this last weekend, filling in for Starks.  Was key to the win over the Titans in the first game, hitting 7 three pointers.  Shoots 36% from deep. Great Nephew of Matador Asst Coach Jim Harrick
Guard Atin Wright #4 6’1”, 160lb, Freshman  5 ppg, 10 mpg,
Was the team’s leading scorer in the second Fullerton game.  Successful in getting to the line, made 9 of 10 FT attempts in that game.
Forward Miles Brookins #5  6’9”, 220 lb. RS Junior 6.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 17 mpg.
Another DNP vs. Fullerton, not sure of status
Guard Amound Anderson #11 6’3”, 185 lb, Freshman  3.8 ppg, 14 mpg 5 assists vs. 14 TOs.
Forward Fidelis Okureke #24  6’6”, 240 lb. Freshman 3.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 11 mpg.
Another DNP vs. Fullerton, not sure of status

These are games that UCSB should win, regardless of the Matador's roster status but if they're missing four players again, the Gauchos should win fairly easily.  If the Dor's sport a full roster, I see two tough games, especially the first one.