Monday, December 13, 2021

UCSB vs UOP Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB (3-3)* @ Pacific (2-6)*
Tuesday, December 14, 2021, 7 pm
*D1 records only
Quick Bite:  The Gauchos, coming off their worst performance of the season with their 21 point beat down in Moraga, finish their road leg of their non-conference season with a visit to Stockton to take on the UOP Tigers.  It is the first game between the former conference foes since the Tigers left the Big West after the 2013 season.   The Gauchos look to finish with a winning record vs. the WCC having defeated Pepperdine and lost to St. Mary’s.
UOP-UCSB History
Like the War-by-the-Shore rivalry was, this one is all knotted up, sitting at 55 games apiece. The Tigers won the last game between the two schools, a dramatic 3 point win in the 2013 BWT quarters after allowing the Gauchos to come back from a 19 point deficit. 
The teams first played in 1947 with the Tigers winning the first two games of the series, the Gauchos getting their first win in 1948.  The longest win streak for the Tigers was 8 games (1977-81) and for the Gauchos it is 6 games, 1999-2001.  The Tigers own a one game win streak.
The most famous game between the two schools is the infamous Tortilla game in 1997 in which the 18-2 Tigers, led by future #1 NBA draft pick Michael Olawakandi, came into SB heavily favored and faced a raucous UCSB crowd in no mood to listen to anyone.  Tortillas kept hitting the floor and the Gauchos kept getting hit with technicals.  But UOP failed to take advantage and made only one of 6 free throws.

The Arena
The Spanos Center, named for the former Chargers owner who has also donated a lot to Cal Poly, was built in 1981 and seats 6,150.  It was renovated in 2019 with new lighting & floors.  The Tigers are 2-1 vs D1 teams at home this year and average attendance is 973
Tigers Head Coach
Leonard Perry has taken over for the Damion Stoudemire who left to take on an assistant coach role with the Boston Celtics.  In college, Perry was a star player for the Idaho Vandals, leading them to the NCAA tournament in 1990, and he coached his alma mater 2001-06, leading theVandals to a 48-97 record.  This will be his 6th season with UOP. 

Tigers Overview
As is typical with most programs that experience a coaching change, the Tigers lost a couple key players to the Portal plus lost a couple to graduation and the Tigers have had a bit of a rocky start to their season.  There is much common ground between the programs as the Tigers are 0-3 vs the Big West already (Hawaii, Davis, Fullerton) and the only D1 wins for the Tigers are vs. the same soft teams that the Gauchos faced in Chicago State and Arkansas Pine Bluff.  The Tigers have lost three straight including by 12 at San Jose St on Saturday.
The Tigers do return three starters and have restocked with a mix of transfers and freshmen.  Perry is unhappy with how the team has been playing, has been dealing with attitude issues & some injuries and has been tweaking his starting lineup and holding some players out so it is a bit of a guessing game as to who will actually start/get significant minutes.
Possible Starting 5
Point Guard Pierre Cockrell, #3, 6’0”, 175 lb, Junior  6.7ppg, 4.6 apg, 2.6 rpg, 1.8 ATO, 30 mpg.
Has started all but one game, was scoreless vs. SJSU.  Leads the team in assists & steals.
Bracket Buster: “There may be no bigger part to a WCC team’s offense than Crockrell’s role for the Pacific Tigers. The driving floor general may be the most underrated point guard in the conference. His 3.41 assist to turnover ratio led the conference and was the 4th best in all of Division I hoops (2020-2021 season). Crockrell’s speed and the Tigers’ screen-heavy system resulted in 10.1 points per game.” 

Guard Nick Blake#, 6’6”, 175 lb, Sophomore, 6.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 17 mpg
Transfer from UNLV has taken on a more prominent role of late in the absence of Luke Avdalovic
Wing Alphonso Anderson#2, 6’6”, 220 lb Senior  10.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 29 mpg
Transfer from Utah State, dealing with some back issues.
Forward Jordan Bell#42  6’8”, 220 lb. Graduate 5.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 17 mpg. 
Coming off his best game of the season scoring 19 pts and pulling down 7 boards in 32m in the loss to SJSU.  In his second year with the Tigers, played the previous two at LMU after starting at Northwestern St. Tiger’s leading rebounder last year starting most games but mostly coming off the bench this season.
Center Sam Freeman#15  6’10”, 240 lb. Sophomore  6.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 14 mpg
Transfer from Minnesota where he was lightly used, 7 fgs all year.  Has been starting of late but not playing a lot of minutes.
Possible Key Reserves
Forward Jeremiah Bailey, #13, 6’6”, 220 lb, Senior 13.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 14-32 from deep, 2.5 TO pg, 29 mpg.  Team’s leading scorer but ran afoul of Perry resulting in first being held out of a game then coming off the bench vs. SJSU.  He did play 29m vs. the Spartans so possibly back to his starting role. Leads team in getting to the line but just 59% once there.
 Guard Greg Outlaw#24, 6’4”, 175 lb, Sophomore  4.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 15 mpg
Has started 4 games
 Guard Jalen Brown#2, 6’3”, 170 lb  Junior  3.5 ppg, 12 mpg
Has started 2 games.  JC transfer
 Guard Khaleb Wilson-Rouse#0, 6’2”, 180 lb  Junior  3.2 ppg, 15 mpg
Is just 1-9 from deep but 10-11 from the stripe so probably overdue.  JC transfer
G Luke Avdalovic#2, 6’5”, 190 lb  10 ppg, 16-32 from deep.  30 mpg
Transfer from NAU where he was their 2nd leading scorer.  A sharpshooter from deep, leading the Tigers in 3pt makes (16-32), is from nearby Folsom.  He is a DNP the last two games and is in concussion protocol according to the UOP message board.  Could be back in the lineup.
Match-up & prediction:
Both teams are coming in not playing well.  The Gauchos were absolutely schooled in the paint as the St. Mary’s put on a clinic on how to run the Pick & Roll while scorching the Gauchos from deep as well.  The good news for UCSB is that Mattias Tass won’t be suiting up for the Tigers and they just don’t have a center of his caliber.  Despite being unable to adjust during the game I have to imagine fixing this deficiency has been a focal point between games for the Gauchos.   Most of the Tigers production comes from the wings/forward position and, despite shooting a respectable 35% from deep just 25% of UOP’s FG attempts are from beyond the arc. 
Sow & Idehen should be able to work better on both ends of the court and the Gauchos should have an advantage at the 5.  The strength of the Tigers is at the forward/wing positions as Jeremiah Bailey, Jordan Bell and Alphonso Anderson provide a ton of production there.  Mile’s Norris is off to a very slow start certainly part of the story of the Gaucho’s slow start this year.   But if he can just defend well Tuesday, the Gauchos have enough firepower elsewhere that a great defensive effort from him can lead SB to the win.
Most interesting will be to see how Ajare Sanni performs against his old team.  He is still slumping but  maybe familiar sight lines will help.  Btw, I met his mom at the last game and she confirmed that Kelton has been butchering the pronunciation of their last name and she even contacted him to fix it.  You’ve got this Max!
In the Patton article on Sow yesterday, Amadou commented on how team chemistry is still really good despite the struggles while UOP fans report that body language from the Tiger players suggest a different story.  I don’t think it will be pretty and will likely be tight but I think the Gauchos keep believing and pull away.  UCSB  74 UOP 67
Official Site
Hey Guys!  UOP Tigers message board
How to Watch
UOP Season Preview and Game Preview Links: ... -season/5/
Fun facts about UOP
The school was founded in 1851 and is the oldest university in California.  Initially located in Santa Clara and known as California Wesleyan College, it moved to San Jose in 1871 and Stockton in 1923.
UOP’s greatest athletic success came in women’s volleyball, winning two national championships (1985 & ’86), seven final fours and was a perennial tournament team from 1981-2004.  They had a football team for exactly 100 years, from 1895-1995.  The program was most famous for having the hall-of-fame coach Amos Alonzo Stagg at the tail end of his career in the 1930s & 40s. 
Men’s hoops had its most successful run in the 2000s under Bob Thomason, winning first round games in the 2004 & 2005 NCAA tournaments and winning 7 BWC regular season titles.  They also won one a tournament game in 1967 which put them into the Elite 8, losing to UCLA.

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