Dan Jennings anchors Long Beach State’s front line. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY)
[UPDATE: Saturday 1:30pm] – Seems silly to waste this wonderful preview by Jigsy, so this is now also your game thread for today (yes, it might also be somewhat from laziness, but who’s to say????) -Wufpacker
Long Beach State that is, this Saturday at 2:00pm on RSN (likely Fox Sports South). The 49’ers of LBSU, or The Beach as they like to be called, aren’t doing very well this year. They are sporting a 1-8 record so far and ranked 227 according to Ken Pomeroy. Their lone win has been against Hawaii Pacific, a Div II team. They don’t play a Sendekian non-conference schedule, their losses have been against Arizona, Kansas St. (twice), Michigan, VCU, Creighton, Washington, and Loyola Marymount. Needless to say they aren’t going to be in awe of the Pack.
This my friends is the Walter Pyramid, LBSU’s 5000 seat basketball/volleyball arena.
LBSU won the Big West regular season title last year and was in the NIT but Head Coach Dan Monson kicked starters Tony Freeland and Keala King, as well as reserve Deng Deng, off the team during the offseason due to misconduct. …The Beach mainly plays a zone so we get to see more of it and likely played better than what North by Northwestern showed against the Pack. …LBSU isn’t a big team with only one significant player above 6-7, Dan Jennings at 6-9. …Junior Guard Tyler Lamb transferred from UCLA but won’t be eligible until the fall semester ends, which doesn’t help against the Pack but should help them during the conference season.
Category …Offense (NR) …Defense (NR)
Adj. Efficieny …99.5 (250) ……103.9 (185)
Adj. Tempo ……66.1 (288)
Effective FG% 45.0 (302) …..52.4 (255)
Turnover % ….19.2 (211) .…18.3 (177)
Off. Reb% …..30.8 (192) .….35.8 (282)
FTA/FGA ……33.0 (297) ……38.2 (132)
Looking back at 2013 there isn’t much difference from this year on defense, except they don’t send their opponents to the free throw line as much. What is different is so far their tempo is a little slower, not as efficient on offense, and not shooting the ball as well, which is understandable considering they don’t shoot the 3 well or good at shooting FT’s.
- #5 Michael Caffey (6-0, 175, JR) PG – Caffey is their go-to guy, he gets an insane 31% of their possessions. Caffey needs help, he’s simply taking way too many shots even while shooting a respectable 38% from behind the arc. Making more FT’s could really help him since his FT Rate is 36.5% but making only 54% at the line. This is the guy the Pack needs to focus their efforts on and try to slow down. I expect to see Barber/Lee covering him on defense.
- #35 Dan Jennings (6-9, 245, SR) Forward – Jennings started his career at West Virginia, spending 2 years there before transferring to LBSU. Jennings is the only other returning starter this season in addition to Caffey. His minutes have increased and is getting a few more possessions while increasing his efficiency, though he’s not a very good FT shooter currently 13-33 (39%), last year he was only hitting 46%. This is the guy to watch around the rim for rebounds and we need to get a body on him.
- #15 A.J. Spencer (6-3, 200, JR) Guard – Spencer is one of two JUCO transfers now starting for The Beach. He has respectable numbers all around, for one he’s the only guy on the team shooting above 67% from the charity stripe at 86.4%, so don’t foul him. The one place he’s really struggling, like the rest of the team, is behind the arc, 15%.
- #11 David Samuels (6-7, 225, JR) Forward – Samuels is the other JUCO transfer now starting for LBSU. Samuels isn’t bad but he isn’t good either, 37% 2FG, 20% 3FG, 67% FT, but he can rebound so keep an eye on him for when they miss.
- #14 Branford Jones (6-1, 185, R-FR) Guard – Jones sat out last season due to a leg injury but it hasn’t slowed him down in the leading the team in 3FG% at 38.5%. Caffey has made more but he’s taken nearly twice as many as Jones. Basically he’s the other guy to not allow wide open looks at the basket.
Coming off the Bench:
#2 Kris Gulley (6-7, 195, JR) Forward
#31 McKay LaSalle (6-3, 190, JR) Guard
#21 Christian Griggs-Williams (6-7, 260, JR) Forward
#20 Desmond Ross (6-3, 190, FR) Guard
#33 Nick Shepard (6-9, 220, JR) Forward
Not much help coming off the bench, honestly there’s really no help. None of these guys are very efficient with the ball. The one good thing I can say is Griggs-Williams will help the defensive rebounding while he’s in the game. So that mean’s one of these guys will have a career night because it wouldn’t be a game if some unknown didn’t have a career night against the Pack.
This team is not expected to make it to the NCAA Tournament and will not help the Pack’s RPI, so we should win easily but we’re NC State and we all know what that means. V-man should have a big game against this small lineup, I’d also like to see the other forwards have big games, and it would be nice if Lee has a breakout game from behind the arc.
Pomeroy likes us by 13, giving us a 90% chance at winning.