I cannot confirm nor deny that Cal was not originally scheduled to play UC San Diego in our opening exhibition game. However, I think we'd all have to agree that it's a solid second choice.
Last year's Div-II Tritons team finished 11-17 overall and 6-16 in conference. Although most of their key rotation players return, they do lose their 2nd leading scorer and leading rebounder Casey Ryan(G/F, 12ppg, 9.6rpg).
Because we here at CGB will stop at nothing to get our readers the inside scoop, I contacted my younger sister. Proud UCSD alum that she is, her expert take on the Triton hoopsters was: "We have a basketball team?"
Let's take a closer look at their lineup after the jump:
C Christian Hatch(Sr), 6'8, 245 lbs 14.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg
F Justin Brue(Jr), 6'5, 215 lbs, 9.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg
G Tyler McGrath(Jr), 6'3, 175 lbs, 8.2 ppg, 44% 3FG
G Ryan Peters(Jr), 6'4, 200 lbs, 2.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.2 apg
G James McCann (So), 5'11, 165lbs, 9.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.9 apg
F Mike Meza(Sr), 6'5, 220 lbs, 4.9 ppg, 2.7 prg
G Matt Bailey(So), 5'10, 180 lbs, 1.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.9 apg
C Ryan Wheeler(Sr), 6'10, 260 lbs, 2.4 ppg, .9 ppg
Fun UCSD Stats:
%FG = .412
%3FG = .36
3pt made per game = 3.4
FT made per game = 18.1
Rebounding margin +5.9/game
11.3 assists per game
13.6 turnovers per game (!)
-2.8 turnover margin
3.5 steals per game
2.4 blocks per game
Their rebounding margin per game is impressive...except for the fact that they apparently don't shoot too well so there would be plenty of rebounds to be had. Turnovers per game is a bit high, but could be explained by breaking in a true frosh point guard last year.
18 free throws made per game seems a bit high. However, Cal averaged 17.6 free throws per game last year. It means that the Tritons don't just jack up a lot of outside shots - they seem to make an effort to work it inside to their bigs.
Let's face it: this team just wasn't very good last year and should be completely overmatched by our Bears. Bring out Rob Filley and Raffi Challian!
Cal's Projected Starting Lineup:
PF Harper Kamp
SF Allen Crabbe
PG Brandon Smith
On paper, their best player is their senior center, Christian Hatch. I don't imagine that we'll play Harper a lot in this one, so it will be a good learning experience for Solomon and our youngs bigs to see if they can shut down an veteran big guy.
I think Monty will keep the minutes somewhat limited for his veterans and let the young guys and newcomers show their stuff. This should be a great opportunity to see if Justin Cobbs looks like an impact player, if any of the youngsters from last year have improved, and if the true frosh look ready to contribute.
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