Cal State Northridge Matadors
Big West (17-13, 11-5)
Big Wins: 1/29 at UCSB (72-70), 2/28 Long Beach State (95-74), 3/14 vs Pacific (71-66)
Bad Losses: 11/21 at Cal State Bakersfield (65-67), 1/21 Cal State Fullerton (87-91), 2/18 at UC Irvine (51-73)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2001, First Round loss to Kansas
Coach: Bobby Braswell (0-1 in 1 NCAA appearance)
Why They Can Surprise:
California State University, Northridge plays a high pressure defense. The team will generate a ton of steals, but that can lead to easy buckets for the opposition as well. If the Matadors can rattle the opposing point guard and force turnovers, they can stay close to any opponent. It is the emergence of the frontcourt that has turned CSUN into the Big West conference champions. Tremaine Townsend averaged 10.9 points and 8.4 rebounds on the season and is always a threat to tally a double-double. Townsend is even the best shot blocker on the team and will use his 6-9, 225 pound frame to play decent defense.
Willie Galick is his partner in the paint. The 6-8 transfer from Pepperdine compliments Townsend very well and has developed into a consistent scorer who can finish around the basket or step out and hit the mid-range jumper. Galick’s 6-8 frame is also beneficial on the glass and when Townsend and Galick are dominating the paint, the Matadors are dominating their opponent.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Not long ago the backcourt was the best asset on this team. However, Deon Tresvant, a terrific outside shooter and the team’s leading scorer, only played in 12 games this year before being suspended. To make matters worse, point guard Josh Jenkins was injured in a car accident in mid-February and will not be returning this season. That has put a ton of pressure on Rob Haynes and Mark Hill. Haynes has to pick up the scoring slack left behind by Tresvant, and he has done that most of the year. Hill has stepped into the starting point guard role and done a decent job.
Who To Watch:
Losing two guards has caused the Matadors to depend more on their bench too. Kenny Daniels usually started anyways and the 6-4 wing has emerged as a consistent and dangerous scoring threat late in the year. Rodrigue Mels has stepped up his scoring output late in the season as well. He scored 19 points against UC Santa Barbara and 18 against UC Davis in late February and early March. Mels followed those big games up with his two best games, tallying 28 points and 23 points, during the conference tournament. Therin Taylor will not explode for 20 points like Daniels and Mels could, but Coach Bobby Braswell will need Taylor to at least play some quality minutes to provide the backcourt a break from their high pressure defense.
Mark Hill, Junior, Guard, 7.9 ppg, 2.7 apg
Rob Haynes, Senior, Guard, 9.4 ppg, 1.0 apg
Kenny Daniels, Junior, Forward, 8.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Willie Galick, Junior, Forward, 9.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg
Tremaine Townsend, Senior, Forward, 10.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Vincent Cordell, Junior, Forward, 3.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Rodrigue Mels, Senior, Guard, 8.8 ppg, 1.3 apg
Therin Taylor, Junior, Forward, 2.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.1 (67th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.4 (231, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.4 (91, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.8 (93, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.0 (95, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.9 (131, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.6 (144, 5)
Rebound Margin: 3.4 (61, 2)
Assists Per Game: 14.2 (91, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 17.6 (324, 9)
Following the Bracket announcement, more team info will be added, including final RPI, final team statistical rankings, Joel's prediction, and more!