Monday, November 29, 2021

UTA vs UCSB Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB (2-1) vs University of Texas, Arlington (0-5)
Monday, November 29, 2021, 6 pm PST
Quick Bite:  The Gauchos continue with the third game of their season-long five game home stand, hosting the Mavericks of UT Arlington.  This is the return game of the 2019 matchup in Arlington that the Gauchos won 72-68.  The Mavericks have played a very tough, road heavy schedule and have yet to win a D1 game.  Their game with the Gauchos will be their 5th straight against a team that played in the NCAAs last year.
UTA-UCSB History
In the 2019 victory for the Gauchos, Amadou Sow led the way with 23 points on 8-10 from the field, including a perfect 6-6 from the FT line.  Jaquori added 22 points and Ramsey dished out 6 assists.  In the only other game between the schools, back in 1970 the Gauchos handily defeated the Mavericks 96-67 in Rob Gym.

Head Coach:
Long-time assistant, including 12 years with UTA, Greg Long finally gets his first D1 head coaching gig in taking over the Mavericks this season.  He replaces Chris Ogden who departed to become the Associate HC at the University of Texas   

Roster & Overview of the Mavericks
With the departure of their head coach, the Mavs also lost some of their fire power from last year due to transfer/graduation, including three of their top four scorers.  They do return some major contributors who both missed much of last year in David Azore and Lazaro Rojas.  They also bring in a solid GT point guard in Javon Levi.  Azore, who is the only Maverick that will be on the court that played against UCSB in 2019, is their team leader in scoring FT attempts.
Their challenging schedule has had road games at Oklahoma St, North Texas whichupset Purdue in the 1st round last year), San Diego St and  Utah State.  Their lone home game which they lost in OT was vs. Abilene Christian which upset Texas in the first round last year.  In their two most recent games they lost to USU by 19 and to SDSU by just 6.

Probable Starters
Guard Javon Levi  #1  GT, 5’11”, 175lb 6.2 ppg, 4.2 apg, 3.7 rpg, 27 mpg
Four year starter at UT Rio Grand Valley. Ranks in the top 10 in that school’s history in multiple categories. One of the best passers in the sport, he led the country in assist rate in 2019-20, and is a terrific defender.
Guard David Azore  #4  RS Senior, 6’4” 205 lbs  13.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 29 mpg
A strong threat on offense, excellent at getting to the FT line, ~4 attempts per game, making them at 83% clip. Normally an excellent 3 point shooter, he is just 2-17 so far this year.  Turning it over this year a lot too, a .27 ATO ratio
Wing Pedro Castro  #21 RS Senior, 6’6”, 180 lb  7.3 ppg,  5 rpg, 29 mpg, 29% from deep
Has gone a circuitous route through college, his first two years at UTA (one a RS), transferred to a JC, had a terrific year last year at Houston Baptist averaging 15 ppg and 7 rpg and has now made his way back to UTA.
Wing Montez Young  #24  Freshman, 6’5”, 192 lb   4.8 ppg,  4.5 rpg, 17 mpg, just 2-8 from the FT line.  Was scoreless vs. USU
Forward Kaodirichi Akobundu-Ehiogu #0  RS Junior 6’9”, 190 lb   4.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.8 bpg
Former walkon, “Ako” is from Nigeria and is a one man block party.  Led the team in rebounds last year and had an impressive 60 blocked shots in the shortened season.           
Possible Key Reserves
Guard Carson Bischoff #3  RS Junior, 6’4”, 210 lb,  9 ppg, 17 mpg
Made his season debut vs. USU and went 3-5 from deep and snagged two steals.  Had been out recovering from back surgery.
 Forward Shemar Wilson #22  Sophomore 6’9”, 225 lb  6.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg
JC transfer Sophomore has had an immediate impact and has started one game.
 Guard Jack Hoiberg  #10  Graduate, 5’11”, 172lb  4.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.8 apg, 20 mpg
Transfer from Michigan St.  Son of former NBA player, Bull’s coach and current Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg.
 Guard Brandyn Talbot #5  Freshman, 6’5”, 176 lb,  4.3 ppg, 17 mpg
 F/C Lazaro Rojas #12 RS Senior, 6’11”, 235 lb  9.6 ppg, 7 rpg, 20 mpg
Played at Fresno St for 3 years before transferring to UTA last season.  Missed about half the year due to injury.  From Brazil.
 Forward Patrick Mwamba  #23  RS Junior,  6’7” 201 lbs 
Has played just 3 games this year but had a meaningful role last season; 7ppg and 4 rpg and the leading returner in 3pt makes (38%).  From the Congo. 
Guard Nicolas Elame  #20  Junior, 6’3”, 185lb  7.6 ppg, 18 mpg
Has started just one game, DNP in the USU game due to a hamstring injury and won’t play vs. UCSB.  Leading returning player in minutes played.  Born in France, grew up in Cameroon, came to the USA at age 16.
Match-up & prediction:
 Despite having to replace some critical pieces and their rough beginning, the Mavericks should eventually improve this year and contend in the Sun Belt.  They are  better than what their record would have you believe. They are the type of team that will create challenges for the Gauchos in that they have two guards that are extremely adept at penetrating defenses, an area of weakness for the Gauchos this young season.   Forward Akobundi is one of the leaders in the country in blocked shots so Sow will have his work cut out for him. 
Keys to the game for the Gauchos
·        Improvement by the Gaucho guards in perimeter defense. 
·        Get Ako in foul trouble.  He is an impact defender, fully capable doing to the Gauchos what Efe Agobidi of Washington State did in Pullman (6 blocks)

Prediction:  This is going to be a struggle, especially early, as the Gauchos aren’t yet defending at a high level.  They’ll (probably) pull it out in the end but there will be some tense moments.  In Sow we trust and look for Norris to bust (out).  
 UCSB 82  UTSA 74
Official Site
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How to Watch: ESPN+
UTA Season Preview and Game Peview Links: ... 22-preview
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 by 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.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

APB vs. UCSB Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB (1-1) vs Arkansas Pine-Bluff (0-5)
Wednesday, November 24, 2021, 7 pm PST
Quick Bite:  UCSB continues with the soft underbelly of their schedule by welcoming Arkansas Pine Bluff out of the SWAC. The Golden Lions are 0-5 with their most recent loss coming at the hands of Seattle up in Washington.  They have lost their five games, all on the road, by an average of 21. They are coming off a 4-21 season last year where they were the 4th worst team in the country, have a new coach, a very different roster from last year and have been picked to finish at the bottom of the SWAC.
APB-UCSB History
This will be the second game between the two schools in the past three years with the Gauchos defeating the Lions 55-45 in 2018 in Santa Barbara.

Head Coach:
Solomon Bozeman, just 33 years old, takes over the struggling Pine-Bluff program.  The former Sun Belt Player of the year (Arkansas Little Rock), he comes to APB from Oral Roberts where he was an assistant coach.   

Roster & Overview of the Lions
From the previous season, six of the top eight players in minutes played, including four of the top five scorers, along with the coach, left the program so Bozeman essentially has had to start from scratch.   He has restocked with transfers with all of the current top players in minutes played being at a different school last year.  While his starting rotation seems to be settled the Golden Lions lack depth and Bozeman is still trying different guys off the bench, none with any success.   From Staring At The Floorboards;  “Bozeman will bring some denial heavy defense from his days with Joe Golding, and some unique zone looks from his Paul Mills tutelage, so the Lions might be a little bit of tricky prep defensively (looking for positive things to say).”
Probable Starters
Guard Shawn Williams #55  Graduate, 6’1”, 175 lbs, 18.2 ppg, 2.8 apg, 35 mpg, 34% from deep
Leads team in scoring, 3 pt shooting, assists, minutes played.  Transfer from Nichols St,  APB is his 4th school
Guard Kylen Milton  #1  Sophomore, 6’4” 192 lbs,   13 ppg, 32 mpg, 39% from deep
Transfer from W. Kentucky
Wing Brandon Brown  #11 Junior 6’5” 210 lbs,   9.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 32 mpg
Leads teams in rebounding, getting to the FT line and steals.  Shooting just 2-11 from deep.  JC transfer.
Wing Brahm Harris  #14  Junior 6’6” 215 lbs,   3.8 ppg, 2 rpg, 25 mpg
JC transfer
Forward Trey Sampson  #15 Senior 6’7” 205 lbs  14 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 28 mpg
A perfect 14-14 from the FT line but just 2-16 from beyond the arc.  Has started four of five games, DNP vs. Portland. Transfer from Northeastern St.
Possible Key Reserves
Guard Kshun Stokes  #0 Junior, 6’2” 190 lbs  3.3 ppg, 16 mpg
Guard Gabriel Vargas  #4  Freshman, 6’5” 180 lbs  13 mpg
Forward Omar Parchman  #22 Senior 6’8” 210 lbs 
Started vs. Portland St.  Second season with APB, started at a JC.
Guard Travonta Doolittle  #2  Senior, 6’2” 190 lbs  3.3 ppg, 16 mpg
Second season with APB, started at a JC.
Guard Dequan Morris  #23  Senior (5th yr) , 6’4” 180 lbs  7 ppg, 18 mpg
DNP vs. Portland or UOP. Has played entire college career at APB
Wing Jaylan Thomas #3   Sophomore, 6’8”, 183 lbs, 3ppg, 12 mpg
DNP vs. Portland or UOP  Transfer from Murray St.
Match-up & prediction
Game outcome won’t be in doubt, this is the easiest of the UCSB D1 opponents and serves to provide  Pasternack an opportunity to fine-tune his rotation and to work on schemes & execution.  If the Golden Lions keep it close at first, it shouldn't last long as their lack of depth will catch up.  
 Prediction:  UCSB 95 APB 59
Official Site:
Hey Guys! ... s-board.4/
How to Watch: ESPN+
Team Preview:
https://staringatthefloorboards.wordpre ... ssion=true
Fun facts about APB:  The school is a Historically Black College (HBC) founded in 1873 and is part of the Univ of Arkansas system.  Famed Pittsburgh Steeler Defensive End LC Greenwood who helped make up the famous Steel Curtain in the 1970s is an alum, class of ‘69 when the school was then known as Arkansas A&M

Friday, November 19, 2021

Three Keys to Success for UCSB Women's Basketball Against Pepperdine

Coach Bonnie Henrickson defines the 3 keys to success against the Pepperdine Waves at the Firestone Fieldhouse, 6 PM Pacific time, November 20, 2021.

1) Taking care of the ball on offense (limit turnovers)

2) Defensive transition (getting back on defense)

3) Defend the 3 point line

Gauchos Travel to Pepperdine for Saturday Night Matchup

Chicago St. vs UCSB Men's Basketball Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB (0-1) vs Chicago State Cougars (2-1)
Saturday, November 20, 2021, 1 pm PST
Quick Bite:  The Gauchos open their home D1 season with the Chicago State Cougars of the WAC.  The Cougars are a surprising 2-1, defeating D1 newcomer St. Thomas and SIUE before getting rocked by 36 at mid-major power Loyola Chicago on Tuesday.  Last year they suffered an 0-9 season in which their average loss was by 33 points and they finished as the lowest rated team in D1.  They ran out of players and (mercifully) pulled the plug after losing to Northwestern by 44 on Dec 5.  Adding to the misery of the program, they were kicked out of the WAC and will be independent come July.
CSU-UCSB History
This will be the first game between the two schools.

CSU Head Coach:
Gerald Gillion is in his first season in what is the toughest job of D1 hoops.  He spent one year as an assistant coach at Samford before moving to Chicago.  Known as an excellent recruiter but his ties are in the Southeast.    

Roster & Overview of the Cougars
Coach Gillion hit the reset button with 4 starters, three of them freshmen, brand new to the team.  Only two players from last year are playing meaningful minutes this season.  Unlike the other Cougars the Gauchos faced in Pullman, these Cougars lack height yet they are still managing to outrebound their opponents by 6.4 per game.  43% of their fg attempts are from beyond the arc and they hit 40% of them.
Probable Starters
Guard Brandon Betson  #11  Junior, 6’1”, 180 lb  20.3 ppg, 3 apg, 2.7 rpg, 34 mpg
JC transfer.  Team’s leading scorer and 3pt shooter.  Also leads teams in assists and free throw makes.  Accurate, an outstanding 56% from deep, 54% overall, 7-8 from the stripe. 
Guard Bryce Johnson #3 Freshman, 6’3”, 172 lbs  6.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 20 mpg
4-9 from deep
Guard Andrew Lewis #1 Senior, 6’3”, 180 4.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 15 mpg
Came off the bench the first two games, started vs Loyola. Shooting just 30% from the field this season. Was the team’s starting SG at season start last year but played just two games due to injury.
Wing Jahsean Corbett #24 Freshman, 6’6”, 195   6.3 ppg, 6 rpg, 24 mpg

Forward Coreyoun Rushin  #15 Senior 6’6” 200 lbs  8.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 30 mpg
Leading rebounder.  Transferred from Idaho St previous year playing just 2 games for the Cougars due to transfer rules.
The Cougar’s best returning player by far.
Probable Top Reserves
Guard Kedrick Green #21  Freshman, 6’2”, 180  6.3 ppg, 2.3 apg, 3 rpg, 22 mpg
Started first two games.  Second on team in assists
Guard Jameon Harris #0 Freshman, 6’3”, 190 lbs, 5 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 13 mpg
Guard Dominque Alexander #2 Senior, 5’10”, 160 lb, 4.3 ppg, 14 mpg
JC transfer
Forward Teddy Bayi Ba Mandeng,  #22 Junior 6’9”, 200 lb,  10 mpg
JC Transfer
Match-up & prediction:
Given their lack of height, much of the damage done by the Cougars has been done by their backcourt, particularly from beyond the arc.  Norris should get untracked vs. this smaller opponent while Sow can do even more damage than he already has been doing.  The Cougars turn the ball over a lot (18 pg) and this is an opportunity for the Gaucho perimeter defense to improve.  Gauchos should be able to extend their defense out, with Norris & Sow able to help.
After an icy cold night of shooting from beyond the arc up in Pullman, expect at least some improvement in this area, especially if Cole Anderson gets a bit more time in the rotation.
Prediction:  UCSB 83 CSU 64
Official Site
Hey Guys!
How to Watch: ESPN+
CSU Season Preview and Game Preview Links:
Fun (?) facts about CSU
CSU is a predominantly African-American public school in Illinois. It was founded in 1867 as Cook County Normal School, undergoing several iterations & names, eventually becoming Chicago State University in 1971.  In the late 1890s, the school began to focus on underserved (but still white) communities laying the groundwork for the school to later focus on serving the African American community. The last century has been a struggle for the school with very low graduation rates, declining enrollment and some corruption scandals in the leadership. 
In 1984 their basketball team finished 3rd in the NAIA and moved to D1 right after.