SEASON OPENER: A closer look at CSUB

THERE'S BEEN OODLES written about the Cougs headed into this hoops season on CF.C -- but what about their season opening opponent on Friday, Cal State Bakersfield? As the Cougs prepare to tip off the 2013-14 campaign (TV: Pac-12 Networks, 7:00 p.m.) here's what you need to know about the Roadrunners.

CSUB, who went 14-16 last season after two key players were injured, are picked to finish 3rd in the WAC in 2013-14.

For reference, Seattle University is predicted to finish second, New Mexico State is the choice to win the conference and Idaho is tabbed to finish fourth.

CSUB routed Occidental, an NCAA Division III program, 104-63 in their exhibition game this past Saturday.

As far as any criticism goes when it comes to a 41-point win, CSUB narrowly won the rebound-battle, 26-20, and were only 14-of-26 (53.8-percent) from the free-throw line.

Redshirt senior Brandon Barnes, a 6-1 guard, was named to the preseason, all-WAC first team.

His father, Rod Barnes, is CSUB's head coach.

The younger Barnes was second on the team in scoring last season, averaging 12.1 points and led the team with 5.2 rebounds per game.

Senior guards Zach Lamb and Isaiah Grayson, two of CSUB's better players in 2011-12, are back after missing all or most of last year -- Lamb played in five games last year before dislocating an ankle while Grayson's knee injury shuttered all of his 2012-13 campaign.

Grayson averaged 5.8 assists per game and led the team with 66 steals in 2011-12.

Senior forward Corey Hall had 12 points in the exhibition win and Tyler Smith CSUB's junior center, checks in at 6-11. In all, CSUB has three post players 6-10 or taller.

"They've got big guards, but on the front line, they're 6-8, 6-9, and we match up with them there," Coach Barnes told the Bakersfield-Californian. "It's a good opportunity to see where we are."

CSUB is 0-12 all-time against Pac-12 teams, stretching back to the days of the Pac-12 and Pac-8.

Series History: The ‘Runners and Washington State will be meeting for the third time. WSU won both matchups in 1976 (86-62) and again in 1980 (61-53). Both previous meetings were also in Pullman.

  • Bakersfield redshirted five players last season, Lamb, Issiah Grays, Stefon Johnson, Tyler Smith and Abdul Ahmed. Their 2013-14 roster features 12 seniors or juniors, with just three sophomores and one freshman.

  • Their 2012-13 leading scorer and CSUB all-time leading scorer, Stephon Carter, graduated last season.

  • This is CSUB's first season as a member of the Western Athletic Conference.

  • Prior to Barnes' arrival two seasons ago, CSUB had only won eight, eight, seven and nine games the previous four years. Barnes has led CSUB to 29 wins in two years as head coach.

    Careful what you call 'em... From the CSUB weekly release:
    "With the inclusion into the Western Athletic Conference along with the geographical footprint of the WAC, CSU Bakersfield's athletic teams will now simply be referred to as ‘Bakersfield.' This move allows for maximum exposure in several large media markets being represented by the WAC and for a proper identification with the city in which we compete."

    Acceptable Alternatives: CSUB
    Refrain From: Cal State Bakersfield
    Never: Bakersfield State, UC Bakersfield, Cal-Bakersfield
    Mascot: Roadrunners or ‘Runners
    Acceptable Abbreviations for print: Bakersfield or CSUB
    Never: CSB or CS Bakersfield"

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