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Big West Weekly Preview: Dec 7th-Dec 13th

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Looking at the week ahead in the Big West.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at the coming week, the Big West Standings have some surprises so far, mainly Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly:

TEAM CONF OVERALL
Hawaii 0-0 5-1
Cal State Fullerton 0-0 6-2
UC Irvine 0-0 6-3
Cal Poly 0-0 5-3
UC Riverside 0-0 5-3
UC Davis 0-0 4-3
Long Beach State 0-0 5-5
UC Santa Barbara 0-0 2-4
CS Northridge 0-0 2-6

The following is a preview of some of the noteworthy games of the week:

Monday December 7th

Cal State Northridge Matadors at San Francisco Dons

War Memorial Gymnasium, San Francisco, California

All Time Record: First all time meeting between the two schools

Player to Watch (CSUN): Jason Richardson (13.3 PPG, 4.6 APG, 2.9 RPG)

Player to Watch (SF): Devin Watson (19.1 PPG, 5.3 APG, 2.3 RPG)

Records: CSUN (2-6), San Francisco (4-4)

Games Last Week:

CSUN

12/5 vs Pepperdine (L 70-55)

12/4 at Montana (L 82-50)

San Francisco

12/1 vs Eastern Washington (L 81-77)

A comparison of the two teams leads to in depth discoveries of the two teams:

CSUN (NCAA Rank)

SF (NCAA Rank)

Points per game

66.0 (306th of 351)

67.8 (280th of 351)

Points against per game

75.4 (252nd of 351)

67.8 (109th of 351)

Field Goal Percentage per game

.422 (237th of 351)

.423 (234th of 351)

Field Goal Percentage against per game

.430 (194th of 351)

.407 (114th of 351)

Total Rebounds

301 (144th of 351)

323 (79th of 351)

Turnovers

122 (299th of 351)

118 (285th of 351)

The Matadors have had a rough start, only notching wins against Wright State and Vanguard. One of the lone bright spots on the year is freshmen sensation Jason Richardson. The 6’2 guard from Gardena is putting his name in for Freshmen of the Year for the Big West.  As a team, look for them to continue their trend of porous defense and not enough scoring to keep up. Richardson should get at least 15 points and 5 assists against the Dons.

The Dons had a rough go of it last week, notching two losses against Big Sky foes Eastern Washington and Montana. The two strengths of the Dons, defense and rebounding, didn't show in their trip to Missoula, with the Grizzlies notching 82 points and 33 rebounds. Devin Watson, the 6’1 sophomore guard from Oceanside, California, is on a blistering pace so far notching high points of 24, 27, and 25 points against Fresno State, UC-Riverside, and Eastern Washington, respectively.

Prediction:

Look for CSUN to continue their poor defense on the year and look for the Dons to win big in this one, with Devin Watson continuing his hot ways with 22 points.

SF 74, CSUN 62

Wednesday, December 9th

Long Beach State 49ers at Pepperdine Waves

Firestone Fieldhouse, Malibu, California

All Time Record: Long Beach State is 6-14 all time against Pepperdine

Player to Watch (LBSU): Nick Faust (17.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.8 APG)

Player to Watch (Pepperdine): Stacy Davis (14.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.5 APG)

Records: LBSU (5-5), Pepperdine (4-4)

Games Last Week:

LBSU

12/1 vs San Diego State (L 76-72)

12/3 at Colorado State (W 83-77)

12/5 vs New Mexico State (W 67-53)

12/6 at UCLA (L 83-76)

12/12 vs Tampa

Pepperdine

12/5 at Cal State Northridge (W 70-55)

12/12 at Ball State

A comparison of the two teams leads to in depth discoveries of the two teams:

LBSU (NCAA Rank)

Pepperdine (NCAA Rank)

Points per game

73.7 (194th of 351)

69.4 (260th of 351)

Points against per game

73.6 (224th of 351)

64.4 (55th of 351)

Field Goal Percentage per game

.425 (228th of 351)

.430 (209th of 351)

Field Goal Percentage against per game

.447 (257th of 351)

.421 (169th of 351)

Total Rebounds

350 (32nd of 351)

297 (155th of 351)

Turnovers

113 (261st of 351)

100 (169th of 351)


The 49ers strengths are their rebounding and their strength of schedule against quality opponents. Their rebounding is superb with per game leaders of Gabe Levin (5.8 RPG), Nick Faust (5.2 RPG), and Travis Hammonds (5.1 RPG). Furthermore, their schedule has made it that you expect them to beat lower level opponents like Pepperdine. If you just look at this last week, they made their way to the Mountain West, the best team in the WAC, and the Kentucky killers in UCLA. Look for transfer guard Nick Faust to pour it in some more, with him having scored 80 more points this year than the second highest scorer, Justin Bibbins.

The Waves strength in the year is their defense with a 55th place rating in the NCAA. They have played majority mid majors throughout the year and in their wins against San Diego Christian, Duquesne, Montana, and Cal State Northridge, they have held the opponent to 49,70,63, and 55 points. Their offense is middling but their defense keeps them in games.

Prediction:

Look for LBSU to handle the Waves and win big in this one.

LBSU 85, Pepperdine 65

Saturday December 12th

UNLV Rebels at UC Riverside Highlanders

SRC Arena, Riverside, California

All Time Record: UC Riverside is 0-1 all time against UNLV

Player to Watch (UCR): Taylor Johns (20.0 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 3.0 APG)

Player to Watch (UNLV): Stephen Zimmerman (10.3 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.1 APG)

Records: UCR (5-3), UNLV (7-1)

Games Last Week:

UCR

12/3 Northern Colorado (W 77-66)

12/6 Loyola Marymount (L 77-76)

UNLV

12/4 Oregon (W 80-69)

12/9 at Wichita State

A comparison of the two teams leads to in depth discoveries of the two teams:

UCR (NCAA Rank)

UNLV (NCAA Rank)

Points per game

77.9 (113th of 351)

83.1 (43rd of 351)

Points against per game

67.9 (112th of 351)

66.4 (84th of 351)

Field Goal Percentage per game

.447 (149th of 351)

.467 (86th of 351)

Field Goal Percentage against per game

.386 (46th of 351)

.398 (80th of 351)

Total Rebounds

304 (127th of 351)

322 (81st of 351)

Turnovers

90 (100th of 351)

109 (236th of 351)

The Highlanders main strengths on the year are Taylor Johns and Jaylen Bland along with their defensive ability. Their two stars have scored a combined  46, 20, 16, 25, and 31 points in their five wins in the year. They have Bland averaging 17.9 PPG and Johns averaging 20 PPG. An illustration of their defensive prowess is against their last two wins, Lamar and Northern Colorado, they have held them to .367% shooting and .369% respectively.

The Rebels have talents up and down their roster. Between Zimmerman and Derrick Jones, they have two freshmen that can contribute immensely with the contributing upperclassman led by Ike Nwamu and Ben Carter. If you look at their schedule as well, the Rebels have not racked up wins against cupcakes, having played UCLA, Indiana, and Oregon. The only perceived weakness that they have is their turnovers, which wouldn’t seem to be a big deal against the Highlanders.

Prediction:

In what seems to be the biggest home game they have on the year, against a very good UNLV team, look for the Highlanders to keep it close the first half, with Johns and Bland scoring in bunches. The Rebels then come back out in the second half and pull away.

UNLV 82, UCR 70

UC Irvine Anteaters at Utah State Aggies

Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, Logan, Utah

All Time Record: UC Irvine is 27-31 all time against Utah State

Player to Watch (UCI): Mamadou Ndiaye (11.4 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 0.7 APG)

Player to Watch (USU): Chris Smith (14.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.2 APG)

Records: UCI (6-3), USU (5-1)

Games Last Week:

UCI

12/4 at Pacific (W 70-67)

12/6 at Saint Mary’s (L 70-60)

Utah State

12/9 at BYU

A comparison of the two teams leads to in depth discoveries of the two teams:

UCI (NCAA Rank)

USU (NCAA Rank)

Points per game

70.7 (243rd of 351)

71.8 (218th of 351)

Points against per game

66.3 (83rd of 351)

65.8 (75th of 351)

Field Goal Percentage per game

.444 (156th of 351)

.456 (118th of 351)

Field Goal Percentage against per game

.401 (87th of 351)

.427 (185th of 351)

Total Rebounds

324 (74th of 351)

226 (318th of 351)

Turnovers

99 (163rd of 351)

82 (60th of 351)


The Anteaters main strengths on the year are their defense and their rebounding. The leading rebounders of 7’6 Mamadou Ndiaye (6.3 RPG), 6’10 Mike Best (4.6 RPG), and 6’1 Alex Young (4.7 RPG) help lead the defensive end of things with Ndiaye also contributing to the 34th ranked blocking defense in the country. Ndiaye is the main contributor with guard Luke Nelson also scoring 11.4 PPG. Their schedule has prepared them in a major way for quality mid majors, like Utah State, with wins against UCF, Boston College, and Pacific, with losses against quality teams in Boise State and Saint Mary’s.

The Aggies statistically have a quality defense and keep the basketball safe, but they have built up their record on a lot of cupcake teams, having played the likes of Adams State, Union, 2-6 Utah Valley, and 2-5 Missouri State. Their lone loss cam against powerhouse Duke where they got blown out 85-52 and their lone quality win a three point win against Weber State. It will be interesting to see what the product is they put on the floor against a better team than Adams State and Union.

Prediction:

Look for UCI to play a close game against the Aggies with the home court advantage of altitude and a loud crowd being a factor. In the second half, look for them to pull away with Ndiaye notching a handful of blocks.

UCI 74, USU 64

Loyola Marymount Lions at Cal State Fullerton Titans

Titan Gym, Fullerton, California

All Time Record: Cal State Fullerton is 13-12 all time vs Loyola

Player to Watch (CSF): Tre’ Coggins (14.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.8 APG)

Player to Watch (LMU): Brandon Brown (13.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 6.0 APG)

Records: CSF (6-2), LMU (5-3)

Games Last Week:

CSF

12/4 at Seattle (W 70-61)

12/6 at Washington (L 87-69)

12/9 at Boise State

Loyola Marymount

12/2 at Oregon State (L 79-70)

12/6 vs UC Riverside (W 77-76)

A comparison of the two teams leads to in depth discoveries of the two teams:

CSF (NCAA Rank)

LMU (NCAA Rank)

Points per game

75.0 (162nd of 351)

74.4 (177th of 351)

Points against per game

68.2 (123rd of 351)

73.9 (225th of 351)

Field Goal Percentage per game

.421 (243rd of 351)

.406 (288th of 351)

Field Goal Percentage against per game

.379 (35th of 351)

.441 (238th of 351)

Total Rebounds

312 (108th of 351)

285 (187th of 351)

Turnovers

97 (149th of 351)

95 (129th of 351)


Tre Coggins has been a stalwart for Fullerton so far. The 6’2 guard from San Juan Capistrano, California, who transferred from Air Force, has been getting buckets this year. He has notched 119 points total on the year, with high points of 21 against Pacific, 25 against Southern Utah, and 25 against Nevada. He has been held in check in the last three games, having only scored 8 points each game. He shot 3-7 from the field against Washington last game, only notching the 8 points.

Loyola has gone on a run of late recently, having won four of their last five games, beating Antelope Valley, CSUN, Southeast Missouri State, and UC Riverside. Furthermore, they only lost to Power Five Oregon State by nine points in Corvallis. They have played the majority of their quality opponents close, losing to Colorado State by eight and Oregon State by nine. They did get blown out by UC Irvine by 24. Evaluating them as a whole, they have beaten a lot of cupcakes to get their five wins, and once they do play quality teams they struggle.

Prediction:

Look for Tre Coggins to break out of his slump this game and get back to scoring in bunches. Loyola will continue their trend of losing to quality teams and will struggle scoring points this game.

CSF 65, LMU 53

Sunday December 13th

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at South Dakota State Jackrabbits

Frost Arena, Brookings, South Dakota

All Time Record: UCSB is 1-0 all time against South Dakota State

Player to Watch (UCSB): Michael Bryson (18.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 3.4 APG)

Player to Watch (SDSU): George Marshall (12.9 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.9 APG)

Records: UCSB (2-4), SDSU (7-1)

Games Summary:

UCSB

12/3 vs USC (L 75-63)

South Dakota State

12/2 vs Wayne State (W 80-53)

12/8 at Minnesota

A comparison of the two teams leads to in depth discoveries of the two teams:

UCSB (NCAA Rank)

SDSU (NCAA Rank)

Points per game

64.2 (324th of 351)

79.6 (87th of 351)

Points against per game

70.2 (167th of 351)

63.1 (41st of 351)

Field Goal Percentage per game

.402 (302nd of 351)

.479 (53rd of 351)

Field Goal Percentage against per game

.402 (97th of 351)

.364 (17th of 351)

Total Rebounds

211 (329th of 351)

317 (95th of 351)

Turnovers

75 (39th of 351)

107 (224th of 351)


The Gauchos strengths on the year have been their defense and keeping care of the ball. So far the Gauchos have gotten a lot of experience on the year, having lost games against Cal, Oregon State, Arizona State, and USC by 18,12,2, and 12. They have got a quality win on the year against San Francisco. The strength of their schedule, has battle tested them and should help them when they play in the Big West portion of the year. Playing on the road against a team that has a lot of wins on the year, will bring down the quality of opponent from Power Five to quality mid major. Look for leading scorer Michael Bryson to score in bunches and get his team involved more.

The Jackrabbits have accumulated the majority of their was on the year against cupcakes so far with wins against, Chadron State, Illinois State, Houston Baptist, Cleveland State, and Wayne State. They have two good wins against Weber State and Texas Christian. With five of their wins against poor competition, this game should be more of a sign on what kind of team they have. Look for George Marshall to fill up every category of the stat sheet in this one.

Prediction:

Look for Michael Bryson to score 25 and for UCSB to get win number three on the year.

UCSB 70, SDSU 60