CSUB vs. UCSB Preview
The next two weekends will be very impactful on UCSB's position going into the BWT taking on the 3rd and 4th place teams in the conference standings.
Coming off a huge sweep of Hawaii in the islands, against a Warrior team that had knocked off UCI and UCR, the Gauchos find themselves not only in first place but in the top 50 of the NET rankings (45 as of this post), brand new territory for a Pasternack coached Gaucho squad. If the Gauchos can keep things rolling vs. a step up in competition, they will put themselves into the drivers seat in March; a top seed in Vegas, a favorable 12 or 13 seed in the Big Dance should they win it all in Vegas and, possibly, an NIT bid should they fail to win the BWT. It has been rumored that the NIT will have just 16 teams this year which may leave all mid-majors out in the cold, if the NIT does its usual feasting on low to mid-pack P5 schools to fill out the bracket.
Getting back to this weekend and taking care of business vs. a very athletic and dangerous Bakersfield team. The Roadrunners are 8-4 and in 3rd place in the BWC, 14-7 overall. They played a challenging OOC schedule with losses to Stanford, Arizona and Santa Clara and have a 26 point romp over Pepperdine. They've played a more difficult BWC schedule too having already faced UCI & UCR, splitting with both. They rank 2nd in the BWC in Kenpom offensive efficiency, behind UCSB and 4th in defensive efficiency (UCI, SB, UCR, Bake...). Their greatest strength may be their ability to crash the offensive boards, they lead the conference in this area with three players in the top 10; Readus, Elder-Davis & McCall.
Roster & Overview
Bakersfield has an experienced roster returning nearly all key pieces from last year. They’ve augmented that with a couple reserve JC transfers. While they have some size in the front court, it is their depth at guard and wing that is their strength.
Czar Perry #5 Guard, JC Transfer Senior, 6’2”, 190lb. 5.8 ppg, 3.8 apt, 2.3 ATO, 28 mpg
Leads team in assists and minutes played. Not a 3 point threat. He and Elder-Davis the only players to start every game.
Justin Elder-Davis #10 Guard, RS Senior 6’4”, 215 lb 9.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 27 mpg
Leading three point threat, making 1.5 per game at a 39% clip. About 2 FT attempts per game, making 83%.
Taze Moore #4 Wing, RS Senior, 6’5” 180 lbs 11.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 22 mpg.
Leads team in scoring and 3pt shooting accuracy with an astounding 50% from deep. Is second in assists and FT attempts (82%) Is at his best on the defensive end, extremely disruptive; leading the team with 25 steals, also has 10 blocks.
Justin McCall #22 Wing, Junior, 6’6”, 210 lb 9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 23 mpg
Not a 3 point threat though he has made 2 of 3 on the year, shooting an impressive 58% from the field so imagine he gets most of his points in the paint.
Ronne Readus #0 Center JC transfer Junior, 6’9” 240 lbs 3.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 16 mpg
Has started 6 games, usually comes off the bench but started in the last game which Shawn Stith sat out. Team’s leading rebounder and ranks 3rd in the conference for offensive rebounds. Shoots only 36% from the charity stripe.
Possible Key Reserves:
Shawn Stith #21 Forward JC transfer Junior, 6’8” 265 lbs 7.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 19 mpg
Leads team in getting to the FT line, 44/63 A poor man's Al Williams, he uses his bulk effectively. Usually starts but sat out the last game, not clear on his status.
De’Monte Buckingham #13 Guard, RS Senior, 6’4”, 220 lb. 9.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 23 mpg, tied for team lead in three point makes (11, 37%). Second on team in steals (12). Has started 6 games but came off the bench in the last couple. Transfer from Richmond, was the A10 FOY.
Shawn Williams #1 Guard, RS Senior 6’3”, 175 lb 8.8 ppg, 2.8 apg, 4.1 rpg, 19 mpg
About half of his fg attempts are from beyond the arc where he makes 38% of them. Sat out last year after transferring in from Kansas St.
Cameron Smith #3 Forward JC Transfer Junior, 6’7”, 205 lb 2.9 rpg, 12 mpg
Picks up a high number of fouls in limited minutes.
Travis Henson #2 Forward JC Transfer Junior, 6’6”, 195 lb 10 mpg
55 3 point attempts on the year, making 31%
I expect two hard fought games, similar to the battle these teams had last year. I think we'll see a lot of JPL and of Toure in these games, at least more than we typically see. We'll need their defense vs. their athletic guards & wings. I believe UCSB is fully capable of sweeping the Roadrunners but, and I say this with reluctance, a split is probably more likely.