Season Preview: Summary & Predictions

Most reputable publications believe Cal State Fullerton is on the verge of greatness this season but can you really trust these rags? Probably not, so that is why four fans have all you need to know about how well the Titans will do in the 2005-06 season.

Summary of Grades

 
Pt. Guard
Wings
Front Court
Whit Haydon

A+

B B
Adam Rank A B A, C, I
Mike Welton A B- B+
Paul Causey A+ A- B

 

Previews: Throwback | DXDA Star | Rufus | TitanCentral

Throwback (Whit Haydon)

Fullerton has not had a wildly successful non-conference run since 1986. I look for the Titans to struggle to find themselves early and then play its best ball in conference.

I feel Fullerton is a year away from dancing. Fullerton had the third smallest point margin of any 20+ win team last year and loses tremendous emotional leadership -- which is far more important than returning talent in this case.

The season will not make any sense, losing inexplicable games and then rebounding back to win the next couple. A fine year, continued winning and exciting times, but ultimately not matching the euphoria of 04-05.

Predictions: 9-4 non-conference, 8-6 in conference. 2-0 in the BWT and no postseason. 19-11 overall.

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DXDA Star (Adam Rank)

Fullerton coach Bob Burton had an excellent quote in the Orange County Register’s preview of Cal State Fullerton, though you might have missed it as it was buried under 10 column inches.

“This is the most overrated program that I’ve ever been involved with,” Burton said. “Honest to god, I really am concerned how good we really are. And I’m going to think that until we go out an actually do something.”

Finally, somebody with some perspective.

Titans fans have turned into college basketball’s version of Raiders fans as most believe that Fullerton won the NCAA tournament last season and are going to repeat this season. Even Clippers fans show more restraint. Now long time fans that bailed on the program after Donny Daniels “quit” are coming back to Titan Gym and expecting big things.

It is time for a reality check.

Maybe Titans fans should remember what happened to Cal State Northridge last season. The Matadors had pushed Pacific in the finals 2004 Big West Tournament and their team was going to steamroll to a Big West title last year. Or so they thought. Even with the return of Ian “the Fixer” Boylan, Northridge finished in fourth place as reality settled in. Northridge, who had such high hopes, had a level of disappointment only matched by the average Steve Bisheff reader.

The Titans were very fortunate in its run to and into the NIT. It was a magical season and it is foolish to believe that it will automatically be duplicated. If somebody had told you that Bob Burton would win 16 or 17 games in his third season, you would have taken it. Especially those that thought Sydney Green was the best coaching option. Now all of the basketball gourmets are already predicting NCAA tournament upsets over perennial powers such as Stanford.

Hopefully the players have a better perspective. Last year is in the past and the 2005-06 version of the Titans has not proved a thing. The program is on the cusp of being one of the best in the Big West, but it cannot claim a spot in the penthouse until it goes out ad wins the Big West title.

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Rufus (Mike Welton)

I think this is a wide open race, for the Big West Title, with as many as six team capable of winning it all. I don’t think any team will go through undefeated like Pacific did last year, the team that can hold home court advantage and steal some on the road will be the eventual champion. Being league champion will not mean much, as you will have to prove yourself in the BW Tournament to advance to the NCAA’s.

I think CSUF, Pacific, CSUN, LB State, UCI, and UCSB all have a chance to win the league. CSUF returns three starters, with one being the leading returning scorer. Pacific returns only one starter, but he is probably the best player in the league. UCI returns 4 starters and appears to be looking at playing at a faster pace. LB State is going to be running and gunning this year, and that fits their players better. CSUN lost its best players, but returns two starters and is younger and more athletic. UCSB returns all five starters, and if they can avoid injury could be tough.

UCR and SLO will struggle.

My prediction is that the Titans will be 23 and 7. Titans will go 10 and 3 in non-league games, 11 and 3 in league games, 2 and 0 in the BWT, and 0 and 1 in the NCAA.

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TitanCentral (Paul Causey)

College basketball is the greatest spectator sport there is anywhere. Nothing is more satisfying than latching onto a team, following them for 20 years and then seeing a remarkable season like the Titans had last year. Truly a memorable and historic event.

But no one could have predicted it and that made it even sweeter.

This year, however, everyone is predicting the Titans to have a great year and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 29 years. Even the local writers, who are notorious for their cold-shoulder and negative outlook, have jumped on board.

Is this really the same program that I watched during the disastrous Holland and Hawking and Daniels' years? The same program where the doubters said there was no way any coach could ever win at Fullerton? (Not with their facilities, their administration, their fans and all those other problems which are far too many to mention.) Has Cal State Fullerton really turned the corner and is a program on the rise? Could head coach Bob Burton really have made that much of a difference in such a short period of time? And lastly, can Cal State Fullerton have back-to-back 20 win seasons for the first time in their history?

Yes, yup, sí, oui and ja.

If you blinked, you might have missed it. The Titans have the talent, the coaches and all they need is a tiny bit of luck -- and lots of healthy bodies -- and a trip to the NCAA Tournament will be theirs ... and ours.

Predictions: 9-4 non-conference, 10-4 in conference. 2-0 in the BWT and 1-1 in the NCAA Tournament. 21-9 overall. I'll be damned if I'm going to let all these bandwagon prognosticators predict us in the tournament with the biggest homer of them all saying something different. It's a great time to be a Titan!

 

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2004-2005 Basketball Predictions

 
Throwback
Rufus
TitanCentral
Non-conference
9-4
10-3
9-4
Conference
8-6
11-3
10-4
Big West Tournament
2-1
2-0
2-0
Post-season No Yes, 0-1 Yes, 1-1
Totals (all games):
19-11
23-7
21-9