Scouting the UC Riverside Highlanders

Two teams heading in opposite directions: Cal State Fullerton will try to snap its 3-game losing streak on Wednesday night while UC Riverside has won four in a row, including wins over top-tier foes UCSB and CP-SLO.

The Titans (10-6, 2-2) face UC Riverside(10-8, 4-1). Tip-off is Wednesday, 7:00 PM at Dilapidated Titan Gym.

The Rankings

  AVG
UCR 195 182 261 191 237 213
CSF 242 (16) 170 (39) 190 (3) 253 (16) 183 (11) 208

 

UC Riverside Highlanders Scouting Report

  • Notable wins include four-game Big West conference winning streak (CPSLO and UCSB at home, UCD, UOP on the road). They also beat Washington State by 1 on a neutral court. That's pretty much it but confidence could not be higher.
  • Notable losses include USC by 21 at home, SDSU by 25 on the road and Nevada by 24, also on the road.
  • Senior laden team, and like the Titans, have gone the transfer route.
  • Basically have three players: 6-4 senior Phil Martin (17.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg), 6-1 senior Kareem Nitoto (10.2 ppg, 2.4 apg) and 5-11 junior Robert Smtih (9.4 ppg, 3.5 apg). Smith, a transfer point guard from Santa Clara became eligible 11 games ago.
  • Seniors BJ Shearry (4.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg), Elliott Berry (6.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg) are the UCR "bigs" but neither are really inside players. The lone big man is Kevin Bradshaw (5.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg), a 6-8, 225 pound senior.
  • Like CP-SLO, they will try to keep the score in the 60s and will take the air out of the ball. They lead the Big West in free throw shooting and are second in field goal percentage (conference games only).
  • They are not a 3-point shooting team and have taken, by far, the fewest three's in the conference. Another weakness is in rebounding.
  • Vegas: Titans by 8 with a score of 69-61 (o/u 131).

Keys to game

  • On paper, this team is not very impressive -- just to be clear, we are talking about the Highlanders, not the Titans. Cal State Fullerton matches up extremely well with UCR, better than any other team in the Big West. This game, unfortunately won't be played on paper. Mentally, these two teams could not be further apart, with the Titans on the short end. Okay, more an observation than a key, so let's just say that if Titans continue to play like they have in the last four Big West games (didn't see the game against Bakersfield), they will come up short.
  • Cal State Fullerton needs to dictate the flow of the game. Press if you have to but the score needs to be closer to the 80s than the 60s.
  • Titans need to dominate the areas that they should dominate: 3-point shooting and rebounding. This is one game where Omondi Amoke should excel at the five and this is one game where he needs to avoid early foul trouble.
  • Play defense. Might be a good team to use the zone. If they hit the open three's, go back to man.
  • While their record may be fool's gold, the Highlanders actually think they can beat anyone. When the Titans get up by 10 -- and they will -- they can not let up. No lead will be safe. Okay, maybe a 25 point lead with five minutes left.
  • By far the biggest game of the year for Cal State. Win this game and you head out for the three-game road trip with something to build upon. A loss would seem to confirm one of two things: a) we just weren't that talented after all, or b) the while talented individually, just can't seem to play well as a unit.

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