Friday, March 5, 2021

Cal Poly SLO vs. UCSB Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB vs. Cal Poly, Friday March 5 and Saturday March 6, games @ 5pm.

The Gauchos close out the regular season against the worst team in the conference in their central coast rival Mustangs.  Cal Poly has just a single conference victory (CSUN) and just one other D1 win in the season (SJSU).  They did manage to take Davis to overtime the last time out and should the Gauchos  again be without Sanni and JPL (all hail the abundance of caution) perhaps the games may be a bit more competitive than at first glance.
The Mustangs are led by Sophomore forward Alimany Koroma who, like Sow and Toure, came out of Prolific Prep and is originally from Africa.  Their starting lineup is fairly experienced; two sophs who played a lot last season and three seniors/GT but their bench is primarily freshmen.  Coach John Smith, in his second year at the helm plays nearly everyone with 10 players averaging 10m or more per game. 
Possible Starters
Point Guard Keith Smith #0  6’0”, 170 lb. RS Senior 5.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.6 apg, 24 mpg
Coach’s nephew, followed him from Fullerton.  Leads team in assists and steals.
Guard Colby Rogers #3  6’5”, 190 lb. Sophomore  11.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 31 mpg
Second on team in three point makes, 30%
Wing Mark Crowe   #5  6’5”, 205lb RS Senior 7.5 ppg, 28 mpg
Team’s leading 3 point shooter, is hitting two per game, (38%)
Forward Riley Till   #21  6’7”, 200lb GT  4.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 22 mpg
Transfer from Iowa where he earned a scholarship after originally a non-scholarship athlete.
Forward Alimany Koroma  #15  6’8”, 220 lb, Sophomore 12.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 22 mpg.
Leads team in scoring, rebounding and getting to the line.  A threat from deep too, 37%

Possible Key Reserves
Wing Brantly Stevenson  #23  6’4”, 185lb Freshman 6.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 31% from deep, 21 mpg
Forward Tuuka Jaakola  #14  6’10”, 240 lb, Senior  4.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg,  15 mpg
Performance & minutes have dropped from his junior campaign.  From Finland
Point Guard Camren Pierce #1  5’10”, 175 lb. Freshman 4.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 17 mpg
Guard Kobe Sanders #2  6’6”, 175 lb. Freshman  4.1 ppg,  33% from deep, 16 mpg
Forward Dyson Koehler   #4 6’7”, 220lb Freshman  3.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 15 mpg

With or without Sanni & JPL, UCSB should win the first game easily and claim their first Big West title since 2010.  The second game may be more interesting as I can't see any of the starters playing more than 30m.    As a fan that saw the Gauchos lose to Poly in SLO after jumping out to an early 20 point lead (2018), I don't take anything for granted. 

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