SJSU Hoops takes on it's "over-hill" rival UCSC

Coming off a 4 win season last year, the Slugs are rebuilding. They think they have the right man for the head-coaching job in Gordon Johnson (St. Joseph's Notre Dame, Alameda). The slugs have a long way to go to turn their program around.

One of the by-products with having the football season come to such a disappointing end, not to mention gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, mind numbing, and any other body part that was bruised—is that it is a terrible lead-in to the basketball team.

Instead of having Sienfeld-like lead in, they get "Becker." And if you have ever watched an episode of Becker—you know how hard it is to stomach more of that type of "entertainment."

But, this team deserves more.

If you caught last Friday's game against Pacific or listened to Mike Chisolm's call of the game, you know that this team will fight hard all season long.

But we have to do our part as fans.

Let's forget about football and turn our attention to basketball. The more we support them, the faster that they will develop and improve. The Event center needs to be rocking every game. Other teams need to dread coming here.

And it starts Tuesday against the Banana Slugs.

UC Santa Cruz:

Coming off a 4 win season last year, the Slugs are rebuilding. They think they have the right man for the head-coaching job in Gordon Johnson (St. Joseph's Notre Dame, Alameda). Johnson was successful in Alameda, but has a long way to go to turn that program around.

Expected starters include: G/F Chris Gilbert (6-3), F Derek Jones (6-6), G Matt Robles (6-0), G/F Darwin Zook (6-3); Minas Be-Emnet (6-0), and C Brian Maxwell (6-8). The team lost at home by 30 to Biola to start the season.

Analysis:

I don't expect much of a game on Tuesday night, but it will give the coaching staff more of chance to evaluate the talent. Two things that the team has to, at all cost, not do:

1. Don't play down to the Slugs.

2. Don't look past the Slugs. The Slugs are going to throw up a lot of threes, and if they start to connect, we can be in a real fight. We need to put the Slugs down early.

Did you know?

When a Banana Slug mates, the female rips off the male's genitals after they have sex. True fact. And, this is why the traditionally feminist college in Santa Cruz is called the Banana Slugs.

Some thoughts from the Pacific game:

·Brett Lilly: Started out hot (13 points within 10 minutes of the game), but he did not score the rest of the way. The coaching staff will have to design plays to get him in the better position to score. Brett's stroke and confidence is back!

·Mike McFadden: He is the real deal, and he will only get better once a point guard returns. Then he can concentrate on scoring, instead of running the point. He didn't get into a scoring mentality until the end of the game.

Then he was unstoppable.

·Eric Walton: Started out slow, but boy was he going up against good players. He had his hands full with Yango and Maraker, and still almost had a double double. The key for him this season is not to get down. He will always have the toughest frontcourt assignment.

He needs to keep fighting.

·Phil Calvert: Almost back to his old self, which is great news for the Spartans.

We'll need his team leadership.

·D.J. Brown: Missed that shot at the end, but you have to be encouraged that he had the cajones to be the guy who wants to take the last shot.

He needs to have amnesia, because he will be called on again to take the last shot.

Notes from around the WAC:

Great news for the Spartans: Fresno got their hats handed to them by the Oregon Ducks.

It's always great day when the Dawgs lose—And Friday was pretty special, since both the Football team and Basketball team got whooped. And neither game was even close. The Ducks "are not" supposed to challenge this year in the PAC 10, especially since Luke 1 is gone.

But Luke Jackson had a steady game and led them to a relatively easy win. I think the PAC 10 will be very deep this year, but the WAC will be very mediocre.

I would be surprised if more than two teams go to the NCAA tourney—if that.

Good news for the Spartans: Hawaii lost to UCSB over the weekend. This bodes well for the Spartans, since I think that the Spartans can leapfrog over Hawaii this year.

Most publications have UCSB and Pacific finishing in the middle of the Big West this year. Hawaii laid an egg at home and we almost stole a game on the road.

Hawaii has the talent to be a force, but I'm not sure they can make up for the loss of Carl English. Also, I've never been a big fan of Riley Wallace (Hawaii's coach).

He seems to recruit well, but does not appear to be a good bench coach.

Bad news for the Spartans: Both Rice and Boise St. convincingly took care of business on the road against D1 lower-division foes.

Rice simply dominated Idaho St. and won by 30, and Boise St won by 10 against Portland.

Both teams are expected to challenge for the WAC crown this year and they are off to great starts. Tulsa and UTEP had wins against D2 teams (so what).

Scary news for the Spartans:

La Tech almost pulled off an upset win on the road against Alabama. These Dawgs are very, very young, and to come so close to winning against a team that will be challenging in the SEC is not so good for the Spartans and the rest of the WAC—for years to come.

Write down the name Paul Millsap. They are calling him the next Karl Malone (he went to La Tech, so what else would you call him?).

More like Ike Diogu of Arizona State: Same size, bulk and skill-level.

Scarier News for the Spartans:

The upset win of the Cal Poly over California at Haas Pavilion. They simply, out played the Bears. And that building was rocking, too. The Bears had controlled the entire came, but the ‘Stangs never gave up.

Cal Poly features former Miner and always Spartan-killer Nick Enzweiller, plus Varney Dennis: Two very skilled power forwards that go 230 and 265, respectively. Plus, a 6-9 small forward in Vladimir Lisinac.

The ‘Stangs next game is against Colorado at home on Wednesday. We should pay attention to this game. The Buffs feature a legit 7 footer in David Harrison. If Cal Poly can come out with a win, then they will really be on a roll.

All-in-all:

I wouldn't be surprised if both Pacific and Cal Poly play in post season tourneys at season's end. At the very least, the NIT.

This is great experience for the Spartans, which will only make them better when WAC play starts.

See you Tuesday at the Rec Center! Be there…

SJSUJunkie OUT!


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