#15 Cal State Northridge Faces #2 Memphis In NCAA Tournament Opener
March 16, 2009
It is the dream of every college basketball team; to earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament ... Cal State Northridge has turned that dream into reality ... "March Madness" has arrived ... Let the "Big Dance" begin ... And so for the Matadors, who are seeded 15th in this year's NCAA Tournament, CSUN will face a formidable opponent in the University of Memphis ... What is so special about the Memphis Tigers? ... Memphis has won 25 straight games, has chalked up a 31-3 record, returns a sizable portion of its team that played in the NCAA championship game last year, and are seeded #2 this year ... The Matadors, winners of the 2008-09 Big West regular season title for a second straight season and winners of the conference tournament to earn an NCAA berth, can also walk with a bit of a swagger ... In a season filled with enough adversity to write a New York Times best seller, Cal State Northridge has overcome tremendous odds to compile a 17-13 record ... CSUN has won eleven of the last 14 games ... Let the NCAA Tournament begin!!!
Cal State Northridge will be appearing in its second NCAA Tournament since the school joined the ranks of the NCAA Division I during the 1990-91 season ... During the 2000-01 campaign, CSUN, then a member of the Big Sky Conference, won the league tournament, and advanced to the "Big Dance" where it lost a 99-75 decision to #12 Kansas in Dayton, Oh ... Forward Jeff Parris came off the bench to score 18 points and grab ten rebounds ... Guard John Burrell also added 16 points in a reserve role ... The Kansas Jayhawks featured several players who went on to play in the NBA including Nick Collison, Drew Gooden and Kirk Hinrich.
For the second straight season, Cal State Northridge head coach Bobby Braswell has earned Big West Conference Coach of the Year honors ... Braswell coached the Matadors to their first outright Big West title in 2008-09 ... It also marked back-to-back championships for Braswell, who coached Cal State Northridge to a share of the crown last year with Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara ... Tremaine Townsend (6-9, 225, Senior, Center, Phoenix, Az), who is trying to win the conference rebound title for a second straight season, was named First Team All-League ... Townsend is currently averaging 8.4 rebounds per game ... Townsend is fourth in the BWC in blocked shots (29, 1.00 bpg), fifth in field goal percentage (.491), and seventh in steals (38, 1.31 spg) ... Townsend is the fourth player in Matador history to gain First Team All-Big West Conference honors ... Markus Carr (2001-02), Ian Boylan (2004-05) and Jonathan Heard (2007-08) are the other three players to join that exclusive list ... Townsend, who grabbed 22 rebounds in two games at the recent Big West Tournament, was named to the all-tournament team ... Rob Haynes (6-4, 185, Senior, F/G, Cerritos, Ca) and Josh Jenkins (5-10, 185, Senior, Guard, Albuquerque, NM) were named Honorable Mention All-League ... Haynes, a team captain, is shooting .423 from three-point territory, fourth-best in the league ... Jenkins was leading the BWC in assists (134, 6.09 apg) for a second straight year ... Rodrigue Mels (6-3, 180, Senior, Guard, French Caribbean, Guadeloupe), gained Big West All-Tournament MVP honors by scoring 51 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in two games ... Vs UCSB (3/13/09) in the semfinals, Mels tallied career-highs in pts. (28) and rebounds (6).
Cal State Northridge continues to occupy the #1 position in several team categories in the Big West Conference including scoring (73.7 ppg), rebounding (37.3 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.417), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.324), rebound margin (+3.8) and steals (8.93 spg).
The recent season-high six game winning streak proves that defense wins games ... Following a 91-87 loss to Cal State Fullerton (1/21/09), head coach Bobby Braswell made it very clear to the Matadors that "DEFENSE wins games" ... In wins over UC Irvine (74-55, 1/24/09), at UCSB (72-70, 1/29/09), at Cal Poly (79-68, 1/31/09), vs CS Bakersfield (79-62, 2/5/09), vs Cal Poly (67-55, 2/11/09) and vs UC Riverside (77-64, 2/14/09) ... During that time, CSUN held the opposition to a .377 shooting percentage (119-for-316) and outrebounded the opponents in all six games ... For the season, CSUN is first in the BWC in field goal percentage defense (.417) ... In 14 games this year, CSUN has held the opposition to under 40 percent shootng.
Depth has certainly played an important role in the team's recent success ... Players coming off the bench have scored in double figures 30 times ... The versatility of the bench has enabled CSUN to employ 12 different starting lineups ... Thirteen players have started at least one game this year ... Ten players are averaging 10.0 minutes per game or more.
Tremaine Townsend (6-9, 225, Senior, Center, Phoenix, Az) , #1 in the Big West Conference in rebounding (8.4 rpg) and the defending conference rebound champion, is approaching the school's Top 10 list for career rebounds ... Townsend has 518 rebounds ... Jeff Parris (1997-01) resides in tenth place with 524 caroms ... Rob Haynes (6-4, 185, Senior, F/G, Cerritos, Ca) has played in 118 games in four seasons at CSUN, two short of the school record held by Jonathan Heard (2004-08).
Tremaine Townsend (6-9, 225, Center, Phoenix, Az), a First Team All-Big West Conference selection, continues to attack the boards in an attempt to win the conference rebounding title for a second straight season ... In ten games this year, Townsend has grabbed double-digits in rebounds ... Last year, Townsend became the first player in CSUN history to lead the league in rebounding (9.9 rpg) ... This season, Townsend has moved to the top of the rebounding leading board in the conference at 8.4 rpg ... Rob Haynes (6-4, 185, Senior, Guard, Cerritos, Ca), an Honorable Mention All-Big West choice, has quietly put together an excellent season in 2008-09 ... Haynes has scored in double-digits in 16 of the 28 games he has played including a career-high 18 points (6-for-8 from the floor, 4-for-6 from behind the arc) at Cal State Fullerton (12/29/08) and another 18 points against UC Davis (1/5/09) ... Haynes, a team captain, is shooting .423 (55-for-130) from behind the arc, tops on the team and fourth-best in the Big West Conference ... Haynes has made at least one 3-pointer in 27 straight games ... Kenny Daniels (6-4, 210, Junior, Forward, St. Louis, Mo), like Haynes, has also quietly put up some good numbers this year ... A starter in 24 games, Daniels has scored in double figures in eleven of his last 16 games to raise his season average to 8.7 ppg ... Daniels scored a career-high 24 points at UC Davis (3/5/09) ... Daniels leads the team in field goal percentage at .577 (101-for-175).
With Deon Tresvant (6-0, 170, Senior, Guard, Long Beach, Ca) indefinitely away from the team tending to legal matters, Tremaine Townsend (6-9, 225, Senior, Forward, Phoenix, Az) has taken over the scoring lead among active players at 10.9 ppg (#11 in the BWC) ... Townsend posted career-highs in points (25) and field goals (11) in a recent game against UC Davis (1/5/09) ... Townsend stands on top in rebounds at 8.4 per game (#1 in the BWC) ... Mark Hill (5-11, 175, Junior, Los Angeles, Ca) tallied a career-high seven steals at Idaho, the most by a Matador player in nine years.
Bobby Braswell, the 2007-08 and 2008-09 Big West Coach of the Year, is in his 13th season as head coach of the Cal State Northridge Matadors ... Braswell has coached 385 games in his duties as head coach, and has produced a record of 205-180 (.532) ... Braswell has guided Cal State Northridge to post-season play in each of his 12 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 forced the opponents into 557 turnovers, produced 274 steals (#1 in the Big West, #15 in the nation), and outrebounded the opposition, 1,113-1,092 ... Braswell's teams have been ranked in the Top 25 in steals nationally in eleven of the last 12 seasons.
Josh Jenkins (5-10, 185. Senior, Guard, Albuquerque, NM) is continuing to recover at home after suffering serious injuries in a single car accident on February 14 ... Jenkins was a passenger in the vehicle ... The driver in the accident was killed ... Jenkins' injuries will keep him out of action for the remainder of the season ... "Obviously, we're thankful that Josh is alive," said head coach Bobby Braswell ... "This is a big blow to our team at this point of the season, but more importantly he's alive and we pray that he will have a speedy and full recovery." ... Jenkins was able to join his teammates on the bench at Matador home games ... Jenkins, who was named an Honorable Mention All-Big West selection, was leading the Big West in assists (134, 6.1 apg).
In its pre-season college basketball issue, Sports Illustrated predicted a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the Matadors ... Cal State Northridge was ranked 25th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 pre-season poll ... The Matadors generated 118 points, and was only one of four teams from the West to be ranked in the Top 25 among mid-major teams ... The other west teams were Gonzaga (#1, 754 points), St. Mary's (#3, 616 points), and San Diego (#8, 481 points) ... For the first time in school history, the Matadors received a vote in the pre-season Associated Press men's basketball poll ... Cal State Northridge was the only school from the Big West Conference to receive a vote in the Associated Press pre-season poll.
The 77-64 victory over UC Riverside (2/14/09) was the tenth straight over the Highlanders ... During that time, CSUN has won five straight games on UCR's home court ... During the 13-year tenure of head coach Bobby Braswell, CSUN has played at least one Pac-10 team during the season eleven times ... During the 2008-09 campaign, two Pac-10 teams (Stanford, UCLA) were on the schedule, the sixth time during Braswell's tenure he has played two Pac-10 teams in a season ... When CSUN played at Drexel (Dec. 1 in Philadelphia, Pa), it was only the second time in the 51-year history of the basketball program that CSUN played in the state of Pennsylvania ... During the 2004-05 season, CSUN played at Lafayette (Easton, Pa) ... The game at New Mexico (11/24/08) was the second trip to "The Pit" for head coach Bobby Braswell ... In 1983, as a high school coach, Braswell witnessed the classic game between North Carolina State and Houston with the Wolfpack (coached by Jim Valvano) scoring a last second basket to win the NCAA title.