Here we go again ... Another road game ... Cal State Northridge has seen enough of the country already ... Three of the four games thus far during the 2011-12 season have been at USC (11/11/11), at Hawai'i (11/14/11) and at Boise State (11/19/11) ... After a brief stop over at home to play San Diego Christian (11/22/11), the Matadors are packing their suitcases for a non-league game on Saturday (11/26/11) at Drake University in Des Moines, Ia. ... Game time is 7:05 pm. (ct) ... The Matadors have never played Drake on their home court, but the Matadors are familiar with the Knapp Center ... During the 2007-08 season, Cal State Northridge played in the Drake Tournament but did not play the Bulldogs ... The Matadors lost to Duquesne (74-97) in the first round of the Drake Tournament (11/30/07), but came back the next night to record a 69-43 victory over North Carolina Central ...
Cal State Northridge is the youngest team among more than 340 NCAA Division I schools in the country ... Of the 18 players on this year's roster, there are only 12 years of collegiate basketball experience, an average of 0.67 years ... UC Irvine is second at 0.69 years ... Navy is third nationally at 0.70 years ... These statistics factor in the team's total years of previous collegiate experience with the number of players on the roster ... The 18-man Matador roster has only three seniors and NO juniors ... The rest of the team is composed of underclassmen (six sophomores, seven freshmen, two redshirt freshmen).
Stephen Hicks (6-5, 190, RS Freshman, Guard/Forward, Thousand Oaks, Ca) has only played in four games in his collegiate career and has already emerged as one of the top players in the Big West Conference ... Hicks is leading the Matadors and the conference in scoring (21.0 ppg) and is the team's top rebounder (9.8 rpg, #2 in the BWC) ... Hicks started his collegiate career with 19 points and eight rebounds at USC (11/11/11) ... Hicks then followed up with his first collegiate double-double (points-rebounds) with 22 points and 17 rebounds at Hawai'i (11/14/11) ... The 17 rebounds were only seven short of the school record set by George Robnett against UC Irvine during the 1970-71 season ... Hicks continued to showcase his scoring talents with a career-high 23 points against Boise State (11/19/11) ... Then in his last game against San Diego Christian (11/22/11), Hicks scored 20 points along with nine rebounds ... Hicks is sixth in the league in free throw shooting (.880, 22-for-25) ... Hicks hit his first 14 free throws before missing a free throw at Boise State (11/19/11) ... Like Hicks, Vinnie McGhee (5-10, 170, Senior, Guard, Oakland, Ca) has scored in double-figures in the first four games of the 2011-12 season ... McGhee started the season with a season-high 14 points at USC (11/11/11) followed by eleven points at Hawai'i (11/14/11), 13 points at Boise State (11/19/11) and another 13 points against San Diego Christian (11/22/11) ... McGhee is averaging 12.8 ppg, #11 in the Big West Conference ... McGhee has a team-leading 17 assists (4.3 apg, #4 in the Big West Conference) and is hitting .813 (13-for-16) from the free throw line ... Allan Guei (5-9, 160, Freshman, Guard, Compton, Ca) and Josh Greene (6-0, 180, Sophomore, Guard, Los Angeles, Ca) rank 2-3 in free throw percentage in the Big West Conference ... Guei has hit a .929 (13-for-14) percentage, second-best in the league while Greene has hit 12-of-13 free throws for .923, third-best in the Big West Conference ... Kwame Vaughn of Cal State Fullerton lists the conference at .933 (14-for-15).
Cal State Northridge leads Big West Conference schools in free throw percentage ... The Matadors are hitting .804 (78-for-97) from the charity stripe ... Four Matador players (Josh Greene, Allan Guei, Stephen Hicks, Vinnie McGhee) have combined to hit 60-of-68 shots for .882 ... The Matadors rank second in the Big West Conference with 8.5 steals per game ... Vinnie McGhee (5-10, 170, Senior, Guard, Oakland, Ca) second in the conference with 1.75 steals per game.
During the past four seasons, Cal State Northridge basketball has been featured prominently on television (29 times to be exact), including games on CBS, Fox Sports Net and ESPNU ... During CSUN's march to the NCAA Tournament in 2008-09, Matador games were televised a school record nine times ... Matador basketball fans will have the opportunity to see Cal State Northridge three times on television during the 2011-12 men's basketball season ... On November 15, the Matadors will be featured nationally on ESPN against the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. The game will air at 1 a.m. Pacific Time (11 p.m. HT, November 14) at the Stan Sheriff Arena ... Then on January 21, 2012 when the Matadors travel to Cal Poly, the Big West game will be televised on Fox Sports Net (Prime Ticket) at 5:30 p.m. ... On February 25, the Matadors conference game at UC Irvine will be televised on Fox Sports Net (Prime Ticket). Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ... Depending on the team's success in 2011-12, the Matadors could be featured another two times on television ... That would include a "Wild Card" selected game on Saturday, February 4, when the Matadors travel to Big West Conference favorite Long Beach State at 7:30 p.m. ... The game could be televised either on ESPNU or Fox Sports West. Other games also under consideration on February 4 are UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Fullerton, UC Davis at UC Riverside, or Pacific at UC Irvine ... Another possible telecast would be on Saturday, February 18, when Cal State Northridge participates in the tenth annual ESPN sponsored SEARS BracketBusters event ... Thirteen nationally televised contests will be selected from a pool of 142 teams from 16 conferences and will be shown on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3 ... The SEARS BracketBusters matchups, game times and network assignments will be announced on Monday, January 30.
Challenging is always the trademark of the CSUN basketball schedule, and this year is no exception ... The non-league schedule includes games at Pac-12 schools USC (season opener on Nov. 11, 2011) and at Washington (12/22/11) ... Both the Trojans and Huskies competed in the NCAA Tournament last year ... The CSUN game at USC was the second straight season the Matadors have faced a Pac-12 school in the season opener ... Last year (2010-11), Cal State Northridge opened the regular season at UCLA ... The Matadors will have eleven non-league games in addition to its 16-game Big West Conference schedule ... The conference schedule will open on Dec. 29 against UC Irvine at The Matadome.
Drake University leads the series with Cal State Northridge, 1-0 ... the Bulldogs scored a 90-80 victory overthe Matadors at the Matadome on February 20, 2010 ... Lenny Daniel scored 20 points and grabbed ten rebounds for the Matadors ... Vinnie McGhee is the only current CSUN player to participate in that game ... McGhee scored six points along with three rebounds and three assists in 14 minutes off the bench ... Josh Young led Drake with 20 points ... Five Drake players scored in double figures.
Drake University, a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, is 3-2 this far ... The Bulldogs are predicted to finish seven in the conference this year ... Creighton is the MVC favorite ... The Bulldogs have scored wins over Upper Iowa (83-58), Iowa State (74-65) and Winthrop (66-62) ... Their losses have been to Mississippi (59-63) and to Virginia (5-60) ... Ben Simons (6-8, 206, Junior, Forward, Cadillac, Mi) and Rayvonte Rice (6-4, 240, Sophomore, Guard, Champaign, Il) are the team's two top scorers ... Simons is averaging a team-leading 18.2 points per game while Rice checks in at 16.3 ppg ... Simons recently scored 24 points against Iowa State, and another 22 points against Ole Miss ... Simons has scored in double-digits in all five games ... Rice's best game this year was a 23-point effort against Winthrop ... Jordan Clarke (6-8. 254. RS Junior, Forward, Rockville, Md) is the team's leading rebounder at 7.2 rebounds per game.
Cal State Northridge has signed two players to national letters of intent during the early signing period in November ... Brandon Perry (6-6, 260, Forward) played a pivotal role in helping Taft High School to the Los Angeles City championship last year ... Taft chalked up a 29-3 record and a perfect 10-0 mark in the West Valley League ... Perry's topgames included 17 points (7-for-9 from the floor) over El Camino Real High School ... Several publications have rated Perry as one of the top 150 playes in the country ... Donovan Johnson (6-3, 180, Guard) hails from Palisades High School ... In 2010-11, Johnson averaged 16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, three assists and three steals per game to gain Los Angeles All-City honors along with being the MVP of the highly competitive Western League ... Johnson scored in double figures in 28 of the team's 32 games last season ... That included a season-high 30 points (11-for-14 from the floor) against Westchester High School.
Last year, Cal State Northridge men's basketball was pegged to finish eighth in the annual Big West Conference pre-season media poll ... The Matadors proved the experts wrong, finishing alone in third place (9-7) and eventually landing a spot in the semi-finals of the Big West Tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim ... This year (2011-12), the pre-season results are the same ... Cal State Northridge is predicted to finish eighth in this year's conference ... CSUN tallied 61 points to finish just behind UC Davis (63 points) in seventh place, and six points ahead of ninth place UC Irvine (55 points) ... Long Beach State was selected the favorite to claim the 2011-12 Big West men's basketball title ... The 49ers collected 20 first-place votes from the 24-member voting panel for a total of 212 points ... LBS welcomes back four starters from the 2010-11 squad that finished 22-12 overall and won the Big West regular season title by four games with a 12-4 record ... UC Santa Barbara has presented the biggest roadblock to Long Beach State in its quest to reach the NCAA Tournament ... The Gauchos have knocked off the 49ers in the Big West Tournament championship game the last two seasons, earning the conference's automatic bid to the Big Dance ... UCSB was picked to finish second in this year's media poll, receiving the four remaining first-place votes and 196 points ... Cal Poly was picked third in the poll with 158 points ... Cal State Fullerton finished fourth in the media poll with 131 points, followed by UC Riverside in fifth place with 114 points, Pacific with 91 points in sixth place, UC Davis with 62 points in seventh place, Cal State Northridge in eighth place with 61 points, and UC Irvine with 55 points to finish in ninth place in the media poll.