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  • UCSB vs USC preview by a Gaucho fan

    Hey Trojans,

    I put together a preview of USC for the benefit of my fellow Gaucho fans on our message board and you are welcome to check it out: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/ucsb...hp?f=1&t=21663

    And for your benefit, here is an overview of UCSB:

    The 2017-18 season is the start of the Joe Pasternack era for UCSB after Bob Williams was fired after 19 seasons as the Gaucho head coach. Last year was the worst season in UCSB history as the team suffered from a combination of injuries, academic ineligibility and being very young.

    Pasternack, the former Associate Head Coach at the University of Arizona, immediately brought in two impact graduate school transfers in combo guard Marcus Jackson from Rice and Leland King of Nevada.
    He's also already signed the best recruiting class at UCSB since Ben Howland was our lead recruiter under Jerry Pimm in the late 80s/early 90s.

    UCSB is 8-2 for the young season, already surpassing their win total (6) for last year. Their wins have come against a SOS ranked 139th in the country. For comparison, USC’s is ranked 28t (https://www.teamrankings.com/ncaa-ba...ength-by-other)
    UCSB’s losses were on the road to Pittsburgh, a game the Gauchos led by as many as 10 and by a bucket with two minutes left but sabotaged themselves by shooting only 10-22 from the FT line. They also lost by 19 to Texas A&M, whom you guys are familiar with and who I think are a legit Final 4 contender. Since the A&M game, UCSB has won 7 straight including a 22 point win on the road against Montana State. The Gauchos are 3-2 on the road, 1-0 neutral court and 4-0 at home. Their best victory is over San Diego which is also 8-2 and boasts road wins over Colorado, New Mexico State and Grand Canyon. UCSB’s RPI now stands at 33, its DC2 score is 79 and Pomeroy is 139. You should check out the DC2 which is run by a fellow Gaucho fan and provides an alternative to the RPI: http://dcindex-choop.blogspot.com/searc ... DC2%20Rank
    With the two grad transfers, the return of Senior Gabe Vincent from injury and Senior Jalen Canty from academic ineligibility, UCSB has gone from being a very young team to a very experienced one, albeit not necessarily with each other. UCSB is playing primarily man-defense which is a radical departure from last season where we played almost exclusively a match-up zone. The offense is far more up-tempo compared to what was run under Bob Williams. For much of the season the defense has allowed wide open lanes to the hoop and most games were relatively high scoring affairs. But this defense has been a bit better at generating turnovers, about 12 per game. UCSB is averaging ~77 ppg and allowing 71. UCSB’s offensive production is extremely starter heavy (93%) as are the total minutes played. With four of five starters are averaging double digits and pg Jackson a scoring threat when healthy, the opponents have to deal with scoring threats across the lineup. Coach Pasternack has been emphasizing the last couple games that the bench needs to have a bigger role and is looking for players to fill out a regular 9 man rotation. There was a glimmer of that in the last game as the bench produced 12 points, more than double the season average.

    Starting Lineup
    Sophomore shooting guard Max Heidegger leads the team with 23.4 ppg at a .464 clip which also puts him at 6th in the nation in scoring. He has the ability to hit the three, 3.1 pg at a .437 clip and slash and get to the line 34th in the country in makes at a .713 clip. He is incredibly transformed from his freshman year when he made only 20% of his threes and shot about 28% overall. He is effective at running the point and bringing the ball up too, something he had to do when our starting PG, Marcus Jackson, was out injured the first three games and when Jackson needs a breather. Earlier this season he won the Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Week award. Needless to say, Heidegger is turning out to be a pretty special player for UCSB.
    Graduate-transfer, forward Leland King from Nevada, was immediately available for the Gauchos this year and has made a massive impact averaging a double-double; 19.2 ppg and 10.0 rbg . He can drive to the basket and shoot from beyond the arc, making those at a .467 clip. His downside is mediocre defense.
    UCSB Senior F/C Jalen Canty transformed himself over the summer, losing 30 lbs becoming quicker and with more endurance. He is a solid rebounder and has some pretty good post moves and is another double-double threat. He works very hard underneath and is much improved from last year. He is averaging 11.3 ppg and 8.2 boards. He missed most of last year due to academic issues.
    Our starting PG Marcus Jackson, a grad transfer from Rice, set a career record with 11 assists in against Nebraska Omaha. He’s been hampered by a hip injury this season, missing the first three games and slumping the past two. After averaging about 10ppg his first few games of the season he has slumped to 7ppg. The team has had 8 days off so hopefully his hip won’t be bothering him as much and hel’ll be effective again.
    Senior wing Gabe Vincent was all-Big West his sophomore season, but tore his ACL and missed much of last season. He is back to carrying a full load and is getting his game back. With a greater number of offensive weapons this season he is more of a facilitator than before and is second on the team in assists. Despite his injury last season, he is the 5th all-time three point shooter in school history and is scoring at 10.9 ppg this season. His 3pt % is down a bit right now, hitting only 14/45. He has been improving as the season has progressed and his knee has been getting stronger. If he remains healthy, this trend should continue, we know what he is capable of.

    The Bench:
    Currently, versatile Christian Terrell is getting the most minutes, about 19 pg off the bench and he has earned that because of his defense and ability to board. He is 6'6" and has played the 2 & 3 and has run the point before. He has yet to contribute on offense significantly and at times shows a real lack of confidence but is showing some progress. He has made 2-6 from three.
    F/C Junior Ami Lakoju, like Canty, was an academic casualty last year. He has size, makes a high percentage of his shots last season but only in the last two games played like he did as a sophomore. He scored 8 points in our 22 point victory against Montana State and has seen significant minutes the past two games.
    Freshman pg Brandon Davis. Solidly built, plays well within himself with few mistakes and is a good defender. Lacks the dynamic element you would want from a PG and isn’t a perimeter scoring threat but keeps the ship moving. He is averaging 1.3 apg and has yet to score this season.
    Junior Forward Maxwell Kupchak, son of the former Laker GM Mitch Kupchak, has earned a regular minutes by playing smart and rebounding well above his size. Limited by a lack of an outside shot but usually gets a bucket off of his hustle.
    Senior C Alex Hart lacks athleticism but utilizes his height well and contributed nicely last season when Canty and Lakoju were ineligible. He’s played limited minutes this season but I expect to see him on the court given the strength of the Trojan frontcourt—we’ll need him to chew up some fouls.

    UCSB & USC: The Gauchos and USC have played 14 times in a series that began in 1946 and the Trojans hold a decisive all-time advantage of 13-1, including a 96-72 win on Nov. 27, 2016. UCSB's only victory in the series came on Dec. 3, 2002, in SB, 69-53.

    Shared Opponents: UCSB defeated N. Dakota State in their home & season opener by 19. Two nights later the Jackrabbits gave the Trojans a scare in LA, leading by as much as 10 before foul trouble led to an end-of-game surge by SC and the Trojans won by 10. Both teams lost handily to Texas A&M, the Gauchos by 19 on the road, USC by 16 in the Galen Center

    By the Numbers;
    USC Rankings: UCSB Rankings:
    DC2: 61 DC2: 79
    RPI: 77, RPI SOS: 58 RPI: 32, RPI SOS: 149
    Pomeroy: 28 Pomeroy: 139

    UCSB Hoops History:
    The late 80s/early 90s was the heyday for UCSB hoops. The Big West conference then had a very different make-up of schools and UNLV was at their peak winning the National Championship in 1990 and going undefeated in 1991 up until their major upset loss to Duke in the 1991 Final Four. An answer to a trivia question, UCSB was the last school to defeat UNLV before they went on that run. Back then, the Gaucho home court advantage was considered among the best in the west and the Events Center became known as the Thunderdome. Sadly, it resembles nothing of that now but the die hard fans are hopeful that Pasternack with bring back the crowds and the noise. UCSB went to the NCAAs twice in this era, including winning in the first round over Houston in 1990 before losing by 3 to #1 seed Michigan State.

    Since then UCSB has only made the tournament 3 times, 2002, 2010 and 2011, bowing out in the first round each time.

    Gauchos in the NBA
    Brian Shaw was a first round pick for the Celtics 1988 and went on to a nice NBA career including winning a couple championships with the Lakers in the Shaq-Kobe era. More recently, Orlando Johnson played a couple years after leading the Gauchos to consecutive NCAA births and Alan Williams is currently with the Phoenix Suns but is injured. He led the NCAA in rebounding his junior and senior years (2013-14, 2014-2015)


  • #2
    Thanks for the inside info about your Gauchos...Trojans better be ready to play.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the post!

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