Cal State Northridge (19-8) Hosts UCSB (21-7) In Big West Showdown
March 3, 2008
Game Gossip ... From the start, Cal State Northridge has been in first place in the Big West ... With one week left in the league campaign, the Matadors are still in first place (11-3 BWC, 19-8 overall), but still in hot pursuit are Cal State Fullerton (11-4 BWC, 19-8 overall) and third place UC Santa Barbara, one game back at 10-4 and 21-7 overall ... The Gauchos, the pre-season league favorite, invades The Matadome for a Thursday (3/6/08, 7:05 p.m.) showdown at The Matadome ... Cal State Fullerton concludes its league season on Saturday (3/8/08) at UC Irvine ... According to ESPN Bracketology (3/3/08), if the NCAA Tournament was to start today, CSUN would be a 14th seed and would play Stanford (#3 seed) at the Anaheim Regional ... The Matadors are 20th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll (2/18/08).
Televison Time ... The Mar. 8 home season finale against Cal Poly will also be televised on Fox Sports Prime Ticket ... Game time is 5:00 p.m.
Series Story ... UCSB leads the series with CSUN, 26-9, including a 75-59 win over the Matadors last year at The Matadome ... UCSB has won the last two games on CSUN's home floor ... UCSB is 10-3 at The Matadome ... Earlier this year (1/5/08), the Matadors battled back from a 13-point second half deficit to record a 88-84 decision at UCSB ... Deon Tresvant scored a career-high 31 points (23 points in the second half) ... Tresvant hit seven 3-pointers in the second half, collected a career-high seven rebounds along with a career-high four steals in 32 minutes off the bench.
Coaches Corner ... Bobby Braswell is in his 12th season as head coach at Cal State Northridge ... Braswell has coached 352 games in his duties as head coach, and has produced a record of 187-165 (.531) ... Braswell has guided Cal State Northridge to postseason play in each of his previous eleven seasons, reaching the conference tournament championship game on four occasions ... In past seasons under Braswell, the Matadors have prided themselves on tough defense and a productive offense ... Last year, the Matadors led the Big West Conference in rebounding margin (+6.9) and steals (8.97) ... Already this year, the Matadors have forced the opponents in 514 turnovers, produced 253 steals (#2 in the Big West, #8 in the nation), and have outrebounded the opposition, 1,013-986 ... Braswell's teams have been ranked in the Top 25 in steals nationally in ten of the last eleven seasons ... Braswell is assisted by second year assistant coach Louis Wilson, and newcomers Stan Johnson and James Blake ... Ryan Dodd is in his first season as Director of Basketball Operations.
League Leaders ... Cal State Northridge and several players are among the leaders in the Big West Conference ... The Matadors are #1 in field goal percentage defense (.414), rebounding (37.5 rpg), defensive rebounds (25.3), blocked shots (3.3 bpg), and 3-point field goal percentage (.302), and #2 in scoring (78.1 ppg), offensive rebounds (12.4 oprg), assists (15.3 apg), steals (9.4 spg, #11 in the nation), and scoring margin (+7.6) ... Tremaine Townsend, senior all-conference candidate and Jonathan Heard are first and seventh in the Big West in rebounding (9.7 rpg, 5.9 rpg) ... Townsend is #1 in defensive rebounds (7.3 drpg) and third in offensive rebounds (2.4 oprg) ... Heard is fourth in offensive rebounds (2.3 opg) ... Townsend and Heard are second and fifth in field goal percentage (.535, .500) in the league ... Townsend is second in the BWC in blocked shots (1.2 bpg) while Chitwood is third (1.2 bpg) .. Chitwood is trying to become the first CSUN player to lead the Big West in blocked shots ... Josh Jenkins continues to lead the conference in assists (6.5 apg, #8 in the nation), second in assist/turnover ratio (1.64) and second in steals (1.7 spg) ... Jenkins is trying to become the first CSUN player to lead the conference in assists since Markus Carr during the 2001-02 season (5.3 apg) ... Deon Tresvant is third in three-point goals per game (2.8), eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (.408) and tenth in scoring (13.3 ppg).
Scoring Story ... Five players are averaging in double figures, four players are shooting .500 or better, and four players are shooting 39 percent or better from three-point territory.
Defensive Data ... Cal State Northridge has improved its defense in 2007-08 ... The Matadors have held the opposition to only .414 percent shooting (#1 in the Big West) and has forced the opposition into 514 turnovers in 27 games ... Cal State Northridge has collected 254 steals (#2 in the Big West) ... In only four games this year has the opposition shot 50 percent or better from the floor ... In only three games has the opposition hit 40 percent or better from three-point territory.
"It all starts with defense for us. The points and totals for the game are just gravy. If we're defending, we're going to get turnovers, we're going to get easy baskets and we're going to get a lot of opportunities." CSUN head coach Bobby Braswell
Rebounding Raves ... Rebounding has vastly improved for Cal State Northridge in the last three seasons ... During the 2005-06 campaign, CSUN ranked last in the Big West, but improved to second-best last year, and are currently first in the Big West averaging 37.5 rebounds per game ... The Matadors are trying to break the four year stranglehold on the rebound title held by Cal State Fullerton ... Four CSUN players are averaging 4.6 or more rebounds per game, including a conference-leading 9.7 rebounds per game by junior center Tremaine Townsend ... Senior all-conference candidate Jonathan Heard is seventh in rebounding (5.9 rpg) ... Townsend's 22 rebounds at UC Davis (2/9/08) is a Big West best in 2007-08 ... In fact, Townsend's 22 rebounds, Chitwood's 18 rebounds vs Chicago State (11/10/07), and Townsend's 15 rebounds at Cleveland State (11/28/07) and 14 vs Utah Valley State (12/5/07) are the four of the five best rebounding efforts in the Big West this year .. Townsend is trying to become the first player in school history to lead the league in rebounding.
Broadcast Barometer ... All Matador men's basketball games can be heard live over the internet at GoMatadors.com with Bill Courtland and Alan Zinsmeister providing the broadcasting duties ... For the third-straight season, the Matadors have partnered with CSTV and the Big West Conference to present live video streaming of all league games and non-conference home contests ... Click on the Big West TV banner on the front page of GoMatadors.com for more information.
Senior Salute ... Experience counts ... Two reasons for CSUN's success this year have been the play of seniors Jonathan Heard and Calvin Chitwood, all-conference candidates ... Heard is averaging 11.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game whle Chitwood checks in at 10.5 points and 4.6 rpg ... In four seasons, Chitwood and Heard have played in 222 games (159 as starters) and have combined for 2,466 points and 996 rebounds.
Matador Memo ... Cal State Northridge has shown an ability to fight back from behind in several games to win ... Five of CSUN's 19 wins have been comeback affairs after being down by eight points or more ... At UC Santa Barbara (1/5/08), the Matadors battled back from a 13-point second half deficit to win, 88-84 ... At UC Riverside (1/16/08), the Matadors were down by ten points in the first half, only to comeback to score a four-point win, 66-62 ... In the season opener vs Chicago State (11/10/07), the Matadors battled back from a ten-point second half deficit to post a 96-85 win ... At Utah Valley State (12/28/07), CSUN scored a 73-65 win after being down by nine points ... At Cleveland State (11/28/07), the Matadors were facing an eight-point deficit but came back to score a 78-68 victory.
Depth Dialogue ... There is no doubt the team's talented depth has contributed to the team's success in 2007-08 ... Eight players are averaging 14.4 minutes or more ... A key reserve, Deon Tresvant, is averaging 25.7 minutes per game ... Tresvant is CSUN's leading scorer (13.3 ppg, #10 in the Big West) ... No reserve in school history has ever led the team in scoring ... That could happen this year with Tresvant ... The last reserve to average in double figures was Gerald Rhoden during the 1996-97 season when he averaged 11.4 ppg.
Team Talk ... In six games, the Matadors have scored 92 points or more ... The 40 field goals vs Vanguard is a Big West best in (2007-08). ... The 39-point victory (100-61) over Long Beach State (1/26/08) was the second largest margin of victory over a Big West school in the 46-year history of The Matadome ... The 100 points vs Long Beach State (1/26/008) is the 69th time in school history that CSUN has scored 100 or more points in a game.
Road Review ... The Matadors finished the regular season with a 9-5 road record ... That was the first winning road campaign since the 2000-01 season (8-6) ... That was also the year CSUN qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
Matador Minute ..., CSUN has notched 12 of its 19 wins by double-digit margins ... The margin of victory in those games is 15.5 points (995-731) ... In 2006-07, the Matadors played 31 games and had only five wins by ten or more points ... The 12 assists by John Jenkins vs CS Bakersfield (11/21/07) is a Big West best in 2007-08. ... Calvin Chitwood's six blocks at UW (12/22/07) is a school record and a Big West season-best (2007-08).