Matadors Set to Open Big West Play Thursday Against UC Irvine

GAME #11 (Big West Game #1):

UC Irvine Anteaters (3-9, 0-0 Big West) at Northridge Matadors (3-7, 0-0 Big West)

Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 - 7:05 p.m. PST
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Gametracker: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Bill Courtland - PBP, Alan Zinsmeister - Analyst)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

Game Notes (PDF)

NORTHRIDGE NOTES

In a battle of two of the youngest teams in the NCAA, Cal State Northridge (3-7, 0-0 Big West) and UC Irvine (3-9, 0-0 Big West) open the conference season Thursday, Dec. 29 at The Matadome ... The Matadors will take on UC Irvine for the 47th time in the program's history Thursday night ... Northridge earned victories in both regular season games played against the Anteaters last season; defeating UCI 68-62 on its home floor on Jan. 27, the Matadors defeated the Anteaters 91-83 at the Matadome nine days later to earn their first season sweep over UCI since the 2004-05 season.

MATADOR MEMO

Cal State Northridge is the youngest team among more than 340 NCAA Division I schools in the country ... Of the 18 players on thisyear's roster, there are only 12 years of collegiate basketball experience, an average of 0.67 years ... UC Irvine is second at 0.69years ... Navy is third nationally at 0.70 years ... These statistics factor in the team's total years of previous collegiate experiencewith the number of players on the roster ... The 18-man Matador roster has only three seniors and juniors ... The rest of theteam is composed of underclassmen (six sophomores, seven freshmen, two redshirt freshmen).

PLAYER PROFILES

has only played 10 games in his collegiatecareer and has already emerged as one of the top players in the Big West Conference ... is second in the conferencein scoring (17.1 ppg), and is also the team's top rebounder (8.4 rpg, #3 in the BWC) ... started his collegiate careerwith 19 points and eight rebounds at USC (11/11/11) ... 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 schoolrecord set by against UC Irvine during the 1970-71 season ... continued to showcase his scoring talentswith a career-high 23 points against Boise State (11/19/11) ... Against Pacifica College (12/17/11), scored 18 pointsalong with 10 rebounds ... has scored in double-digits in all 10 games played ... leads the conference at the freethrow line, connecting on 47-of-52 attempts (.904) ... hit his first 14 free throws before missing a free throw at BoiseState (11/19/11) ... has scored in double-figures in five of the 10games he has appeared in this season ... started the season with a season-high 14 points at USC (11/11/11) followedby 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) ... ranks second on the team with 24 assists (2.4 apg) ...ranks at the top of the Big West Conference in free throw percentage in the Big West Conference... has connected on 19-of-21 free throws (.905) ... The Big West Conference stipulates that a player must appear inat least 75.0% of their team's games to receive an official statistical ranking, Greene has participated in six of CSUN's 10games played this season.

TEAM TIDBITS

Cal State Northridge continues to lead all Big West Conference schools in free throw percentage ... The Matadors are hitting.778 (175-for-225) from the charity stripe ... Four Matador playershave combined to hit 91-of-107 free throws for .860 ... The Matadors lead all Big West teams with a +3.00 turnover margin,14.70 offensive rebounds per game, and rank second with an average of 6.8 steals per game.

FRESHMAN FACTS

Cal State Northridge has three freshmen who are generating sizable contributions to the team this year ... Redshirt freshmanranks third in the conference in scoring (17.1 ppg) and is third in rebounding at 8.4 rpg ... has been named astarter in four of CSUN's 10 games ... has scored in double-digits in three games, posting a season high of 14 points atUSC (11/11/11), the Matadors' season opener ... is shooting .818 from the free throw line (18-for-22) ...) made his collegiate debut against Cal State Bakersfield (11/30/11) and respondedwith a game-high 20 points and 11 rebounds ... Only three freshmen in the entire conference (as of 12/27) have recorded adouble-double this season, two of those three players play for ... in addition to effort against CalState Bakersfield, finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds at Hawai'i (11/14/11), and followed that effort nearly onemonth later with 18 points and 10 rebounds against Pacifica (12/17/11) ... UC Irvine's Will Davis II is other freshman to recorda double-double ... have earned significant playing time this season, averaging a team-high 29.4,17.3, and 16.8 minutes per game respectively.

CONFERENCE CHATTER

Last year, Cal State Northridge men's basketball was pegged to finish eighth in the annual Big West Conference pre-seasonmedia poll ... The Matadors proved the experts wrong, finishing alone in third place (9-7) and eventually landing a spot inthe semi-finals of the Big West Tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim ... This year (2011-12), the pre-season results arethe same ... Cal State Northridge is predicted to finish eighth in this year's conference ... CSUN tallied 61 points to finish justbehind UC Davis (63 points) in seventh place, and six points ahead of ninth place UC Irvine (55 points) ... Long Beach Statewas selected the favorite to claim the 2011-12 Big West men's basketball title ... The 49ers collected 20 first-place votes fromthe 24-member voting panel for a total of 212 points ... LBS welcomes back four starters from the 2010-11 squad that finished22-12 overall and won the Big West regular season title by four games with a 12-4 record ... UC Santa Barbara has presentedthe biggest roadblock to Long Beach State in its quest to reach the NCAA Tournament ... The Gauchos have knocked offthe 49ers in the Big West Tournament championship game the last two seasons, earning the conference's automatic bid tothe Big Dance ... UCSB was picked to finish second in this year's media poll, receiving the four remaining first-place votesand 196 points ... Cal Poly was picked third in the poll with 158 points ... Cal State Fullerton finished fourth in the media pollwith 131 points, followed by UC Riverside in fifth place with 114 points, Pacific with 91 points in sixth place, UC Davis with 62points in seventh place, in eighth place with 61 points, and UC Irvine with 55 points to finish in ninth-place.

SERIES STORY

Thursday's game is the 47th meeting all-time between Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine, and the first occasion that the two teams have faced one another in a conference-opening game ... This also is the first time that Bobby Braswell has opened his Big West schedule against the Anteaters ... UC Irvine currently leads the all-time series 24-22 ... Against the Anteaters, the Matadorspossess a 12-9 record in games played at the Matadome, 8-14 road record, and are 2-1 in neutral site games ... CSUN entersThursday's game with back-to-back victories against the Anteaters earned throughout the 2010-11 season ... a win in Thursdaynight's matchup will give CSUN its second-longest win streak against UCI in the program's history ... Northridge won bothregular season games during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons, building a program-high four-game win streak against Irvine ...Not including that four-game win streak, CSUN has won consecutive games against UCI on five previous occasions.

IRVINE INFORMATION

Possessing one of the youngest Division I teams in the nation, UC Irvine features a roster that includes seven freshmen and zeroseniors ... Leading the way for head coach Russell Turner is junior guard Daman Starring, and junior forward/guard Michael Wilder. The only Anteaters to average 10 or more points per game, Starring (12.0 ppg) and Wilder (10.9 ppg) also provide much needed leadership for a squad that possesses an average of only 0.69 years of previous collegiate playing experience... earning consecutive victories against San Diego (12/3) and Vanguard (12/10) earlier this season, the Anteaters enter theMatadome fresh off their 22-point victory against Hope International (12/22) ... all three victories were earned at the BrenEvents Center ... going back to last season, the Anteaters have dropped their last 13 consecutive road games ... UCI's last roadtriumph took place at Cal State Bakersfield on Jan. 19th, with the Anteaters defeating the host Roadrunners by a score of 76-73... UC Irvine has lost four of its last five games played at the Matadome.

SIGNING STORY

Cal State Northridge has signed two players to national letters of intent during the early signing period in November ...played a pivotal role in helping Taft High School to the Los Angeles City championship lastyear ... chalked up a 29-3 record and a perfect 10-0 mark in the West Valley League ... top games included 17points (7-for-9 from the floor) over El Camino Real High School ... Several publications have rated as one of the top 150players in the country ... hails from Palisades High School ... In 2010-11, averaged16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, three assists and three steals per game to gain Los Angeles All-City honors along with being theMVP of the highly competitive Western League ... 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.

SCHEDULE SAGA

Challenging is always the trademark of the CSUN basketball schedule, and this year is no exception ... The non-league scheduleincludes games at Pac-12 schools USC (season opener on Nov. 11, 2011) and at Washington (12/22/11) ... Both the Trojansand Huskies competed in the NCAA Tournament last year ... The CSUN game at USC was the second straight season theMatadors have faced a Pac-12 school in the season opener ... Last year (2010-11), Cal State Northridge opened the regularseason at UCLA ... The Matadors will have 11 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.

TELEVISION TALK

During the past four seasons, CSUN basketball has been featured prominently on television (29 times to be exact), includinggames on CBS, Fox Sports Net and ESPNU ... During CSUN's march to the NCAA Tournament in 2008-09, Matador games weretelevised a school record nine times ... Matador basketball fans will have the opportunity to see Cal State Northridge threetimes on television during the 2011-12 men's basketball season ... On November 15, the Matadors were featured nationally onESPN against the University of Hawai'i in Honolulu ... Then on January 21, 2012 when the Matadors travel to Cal Poly, the BigWest game will be televised on Fox Sports Net (Prime Ticket) at 5:30 p.m. ... On February 25, the Matadors conference gameat UC Irvine will be televised on Fox Sports Net (Prime Ticket). Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. ... Depending on the team's successin 2011-12, CSUN could be featured another two times on television ... That would include a "Wild Card" selected game onSaturday, February 4, when the Matadors travel to Big West Conference favorite Long Beach State at 7:30 p.m. ... The gamecould be televised either on ESPNU or Fox Sports West ... Other games also under consideration on February 4 are UC SantaBarbara at Cal State Fullerton, UC Davis at UC Riverside, or Pacific at UC Irvine ... Another possible telecast would be onSaturday, 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 onESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3 ... The SEARS Bracketbusters match-ups, game times and network assignments will beannounced on Monday, January 30.

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