Bulldogs aim for it’s first D1 win of the season
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How will Fresno State slow down UCSB?
The game: Fresno State (1-0) at UC Santa Barbara (1-0)
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Odds: Fresno State -1
Background: Life post-Orlando Robinson doesn’t look promising for Fresno State. Sure, they start the season 1-0, but it wasn’t pretty. They beat DII Fresno Pacific by 11 points but trailed much of the game. The Bulldogs started four guards next to Isiah Moore, who lead the team with 19 points and 10 rebounds. There’s plenty of floor spacing and athleticism on this iteration of Fresno State but the size is lacking. They could play more Eduardo Andre (only four minutes in the opener) in this contest against UCSB’s lengthy frontcourt tandem of Andre Kelly and Miles Norris.
Time to face the Bulldogs for the first time since 2010:
🆚 Fresno State
📍 Kaiser Permanente Arena | Santa Cruz, Calif.
🗞️ https://t.co/P2MCxP0rJo pic.twitter.com/lyRkXuN19J
— UC Santa Barbara Basketball (@UCSBbasketball) November 11, 2022
UCSB hammered San Fran State by 16, led by 25 from sophomore guard Cole Anderson. While I don’t expect Anderson to produce 25 points again — I do expect more from Kelly and starting PG AJay Mitchell. The starting guard scored 10 points and tossed 10 dimes but went 3-10 from the floor. If the Gauchos can knock off the Mountain West foe, Mitchell has to shoulder more of the scoring load. The bench depth of UCSB isn’t great but the starting lineup is as good as you can get in the Big West and would even compete in the Mountain West. That lineup would finish top-four in this conference without a doubt.
Players to watch:
Fresno State: Jermarl Baker – The multi-time transfer looks to finally stay healthy after missing much of last season. He scored eight in the opener but he’s the best pure scorer Fresno State has on the roster. If he can’t figure out the scoring today, it looks like a long evening against a really formidable mid major team.
UCSB: Andre Kelly – The California transfer, Kelly grabbed 14 rebounds in UCSB’s first game of the season but I’d like to see more scoring from him. He’s capable of backing down other bigs and has great footwork down low. Expect a good performance from the Gauchos starting center in today’s game against an unknown Fresno State frontline. I’m not sure if Kelly received more interest from bigger named schools, but posting 14 and eight in the PAC-12 is difficult regardless of where he did it.
Fresno State 67
Fresno has to win the game defensively at this point, using their handsy defense and athleticism to force turnovers and ill-advised decisions. Unfortunately for Justin Hutson’s team, UCSB has one of the top point guards in college basketball and he’s very safe with the ball. Mitchell will perform and lead the Gauchos to a win over Fresno, who I still have plenty of concerns about.
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