For the second consecutive yr, the UCSB males’s basketball workforce enters Big West Convention play on a scorching streak — this yr with an 11-Three general document and the prime spot in the Big West with half of the season now in the books.
The Gauchos’ offense has been quarterbacked by dynamic backcourt duo sophomore guard JaQuori McLaughlin and sophomore captain level guard Devearl Ramsey. Ramsey has contributed 11.2 factors per recreation whereas averaging Three.eight assists, which is sixth greatest in the convention — to not point out he shoots the fifth highest mark from deep in the Big West with a three-point proportion of 42 %.
McLaughlin compliments 10.9 factors per contest with Three.5 assists per recreation, giving him the eighth highest variety of common assists in the Big West convention. Ramsey and McLaughlin, a pair of sophomores, management the ball on the assault for the offense, however it’s graduate guard Ar’Mond Davis who delivers the bulk of the scoring for the Gauchos with 14.2 factors per recreation. Davis provides 5.Four rebounds per recreation as a multifaceted offensive menace that crashes the boards, together with freshman ahead Amadou Sow.
Talking of Sow, the freshman gained his first profession Big West Men’s Basketball Participant of the Week award after a 21-point, nine-rebound efficiency towards mid-major No. 10 College of San Francisco. Sow is the most effective shooter in the Big West Convention, capturing 58.2 % on area objectives.
There have been flashes of stardom from the different two freshmen on the group as guard Sékou Touré has the highest participant effectivity score in the Big West and as ahead Jay Nagle owns the third greatest three-point proportion in the convention with 46.2 %.
With such a well-rounded workforce for the Gauchos this season, the actual query is who will face the wrath of Head Coach Joe Pasternack in his second season with Santa Barbara.
Check out all of the groups in the battle for the Big West crown:
UC Irvine, 12-Four
The Anteaters held the prime spot in the convention for the majority of the first half of the season earlier than dropping a pair towards the finish of their non-conference schedule. Neck and neck with the Gauchos, Irvine has earned the mid-major No. 15 spot with a 12-Four document, putting the workforce second in the Big West.
The Eaters opened the yr up 7-Zero with massive wins towards Texas A&M and Santa Clara. They adopted it up with one other spectacular victory of 80-75 over Saint Mary’s School in late November however completed off their non-conference season with a pair of losses a month later.
Nonetheless, this Irvine staff has a exceptional rotation with a harmful and skilled duo of guards in the backcourt in, because of junior guards Evan Leonard and Max Hazzard who bolster Irvine’s lethal three-point assaults. Irvine’s 36.2 % from deep is right when competing towards the first-place Gauchos, who permit simply 28.1 % from the three, the 13th greatest in the NCAA.
UCI’s graduate ahead Jonathan Galloway sits in the No. 2 spot of the Big West in rebounding with 7.Three boards per recreation whereas senior ahead Elston Jones helps with 7.1 rebounds per recreation, fifth in the convention. The pair of massive males patrol the paint in addition to any frontcourt in the Big West, permitting simply 66.6 factors towards per contest which ranks barely under UCSB’s prime mark of 64.Three common factors allowed.
The Anteaters, who give up simply 38 % of area objectives from opponents, thrive on the defensive finish with the greatest defensive capturing proportion in the Big West. This makes the Eaters the most vital menace towards UCSB which at present shoots a convention better of 48.1 % from the subject this yr.
College of Hawaii, 9-5
Winners of three video games straight, the Rainbow Warriors have emerged as official contenders to make a run for the title of Big West Champion as they presently sit in third place heading into the latter half of the yr.
Hawaii has a strong collective of starters that may rating the ball properly, as 4 gamers common double-figures in factors led by junior guard Eddie Stansberry who posts 13.2 factors per recreation following a 26-point efficiency towards Alabama A&M.
Whereas Stansberry delivers the most scoring on common, it’s sophomore guard Drew Buggs who strikes with a pass-first mentality. Buggs owns the second highest assists per recreation in the Big West, averaging 5.Zero per contest.
Buggs has an array of weapons at his disposal with Stansberry operating the wing however when the Warriors look to maneuver the ball inside, junior Zigmars Raimo is the doubtless recipient.
Raimo, a Latvia native, rebounds at the fifth highest fee in the Big West with 7.1 boards per recreation whereas capturing 57 % from the subject, putting him as third in the convention.
Hawaii recorded assertion wins towards College of Colorado at Boulder and Utah earlier in the non-conference half of the season to construct up its resume and makes an underdog run for the Big West title come convention play.
Cal State Northridge, 6-10
Following a 6-24 season, certainly one of the most disappointing years in program historical past, Cal State Northridge wiped the slate clear with the rent of first yr Head Coach Mark Gottfried, along with including former NBA Champion Mo Williams to the assistant teaching employees.
The brand new-look management is definitely an enormous cause why the Matadors rank amongst the greatest offenses in the Big West, however with out freshman phenom Lamine Diane, CSUN might be in the similar place as the season prior.
Diane has catapulted CSUN into fourth place in the convention by means of his Big West better of 24.Three factors and 11.1 rebounds per recreation. The freshman additionally ranks amongst the prime defenders with 1.7 steals per recreation whereas blocking 2.Three photographs on common, each coming in first in the Big West as properly.
Nevertheless, the CSUN assault doesn’t simply depend on Diane’s two-way potential. Whereas the freshman tops out the Big West as the No. 1 scorer, it’s sophomore guard Terrell Gomez who delivers 18.Four factors on common for the third greatest mark amongst Big West gamers.
Complementing Gomez in the backcourt, freshman guard Darius Brown II produces a play-making increase with 5.1 assists per contest, one other first place in the Big West.
Whereas Irvine is UCSB’s largest menace on the defensive finish, the Matadors are definitely the prime menace on offense with their harrowing assault. CSUN ties UCSB in first with 77.eight factors per recreation whereas passing the ball higher than another workforce in the Big West.
The one factor holding CSUN again? Its sluggish protection. The Matadors are final in opponent subject aim proportion, permitting an enormous 82.9 factors per contest.
There could also be some kinks to clean out however CSUN is a contender for the lengthy corridor with a trio of younger, formidable attackers and new management at the helm.
Lengthy Seashore State, 6-10
Tied for fourth in the convention with two different squads, the 49ers look to show their season round come convention play.
Seashore has relied on the dynamic offensive manufacturing by senior guard Deishuan Booker who has posted 14.2 factors per contest, the third most in the Big West.
In the paint, redshirt senior middle Temidayo Yussuf drags down 7.2 rebounds per recreation for the Niners as he contributes 12.9 factors on common. Yussuf shoots at the seventh greatest fee in the Big West, flattening 49.7 % on subject objectives, however Lengthy Seashore nonetheless struggles offensively.
The Niners have shot simply 41.7 % from the subject this season, the lowest mark in the Big West, whereas they fail to deal with the ball as nicely, with conference-high 16.Zero turnovers per recreation.
Whereas CSUN seems to be in first-place rivalry for years to return with a trio of gifted younger gamers, Lengthy Seashore appears to be looking for its subsequent era of studs as all three of its prime main scorers are seniors and can depart from the program subsequent yr.
UC Riverside, 5-10
Speak about a workforce that may shoot the three nicely. Between junior guard Dikymbe Martin and sophomore ahead Ajani Kennedy, the Highlanders have certainly one of the most harmful three-point duos in the Big West.
Martin is the solely double-digit scorer on the Highlanders with 15.9 factors per recreation as the fifth greatest scorer in the convention, however he additionally hits on 44.eight % from behind the arc.
As for Kennedy, the sophomore out of Moreno Valley owns the most effective three-point proportion in the convention, capturing 56.Three % from deep alongside together with his 7.5 factors per recreation which is second on the Riverside roster.
Only a hundredth of a % behind UC Irvine, Riverside is second in the Big West in capturing from the perimeter with 37 % however struggles to get second probability alternatives on misses.
No one on the Highlanders roster brings down over Four.5 rebounds per recreation as UCR is the second worst rebounding group in the Big West, solely in entrance of last-place UC Davis.
Anticipate minimal submit play whereas jumpers are hoisted from deep since the Highlanders shoot the most three-pointers in the Big West. However who can blame them? With a pair of spot-up shooters like Martin and Kennedy, all eyes must be round the perimeter.
Cal Poly, Four-9
The Mustangs have hit a metaphorical wall in the world of Big West basketball. The final time Cal Poly had a profitable group was throughout the 2012-13 season and coming off a 9-22 yr, Poly confirmed that this season is extra of the similar.
It’s not all dangerous for the Mustangs who’ve a pacesetter in senior level guard Donovan Fields who posts 15.eight factors per recreation to go together with Four.Three assists.
Equally, sophomore wing Mark Crowe is a dynamic menace from nearly anyplace on the flooring as he shoots the fifth greatest fee from the subject in the Big West whereas additionally splashing 51.6 % from vary, No. 2 in the convention.
Nevertheless, very similar to the Highlanders, Cal Poly doesn’t have a strong facilitator to guard the restricted space in its strife to get rebounds.
Solely two of Cal Poly’s 4 wins have come towards Division I packages — a type of faculties is enjoying its first season in Division I.
Cal State Fullerton, Four-10
Coming off of a Cinderella Big West Event final season that finally landed them in March Insanity, Fullerton loaded its entrance half of the season with troublesome matchups all through.
The Titans have a pair of two of the handiest scorers in the Big West as seniors [[senior guards]] Kyle Allman Jr. and Khalil Ahmad pose vital threats to any protection. Allman Jr. provides 18.5 factors per recreation whereas Ahmad follows shut behind with 18.2 on common.
With junior ahead Jackson Rowe averaging 7.2 rebounds per recreation in the submit, the third most in the Big West, Fullerton appears to have all the bases coated.
So, the lingering query stays: what the heck is that this workforce doing improper? My reply: enjoying groups which are, fairly merely, higher than them. Fullerton will get little to no manufacturing from its offense, barring the three aforementioned starters.
But, with a harmful offense, don’t rely out the Titans. CSUF appears like the preferrred workforce to impede a playoff-hopeful group with its dynamic scoring duo, so be sure that to recollect the Titans once they face off towards prime groups in the Big West.
UC Davis, Four-10
Sitting in lifeless final, the Aggies have suffered a heartbreaking yr. Heading into 2018-19, Davis had eyed a repeat crown as Big West common season champions.
The Aggies returned each starter from final yr’s first place roster, however the outcomes are drastically totally different. Davis hasn’t gained a recreation on the street this season, going a surprising Zero-7 when enjoying away this yr.
With senior ahead AJ John out with an damage midway via the season, senior guard and 2017-18 Big West MVP TJ Shorts II is left to bear the scoring burden. His 14.2 factors per recreation simply haven’t been sufficient to hold the Aggies’ struggling offense, which scores solely 62.9 factors every contest, the least in the Big West.
The Aggies have hassle capturing from deep and have been unable to match groups on the boards with a -Three.6 rebounding margin, one other Big West Convention low.
On paper, the Aggies ought to be a fierce competitor with 2017-18 Coach of the Yr Jim Les at the helm however on the hardwood, discovering factors have been slim pickings, one thing they hope will flip round come Big West play.