Cal Poly Mustangs: NCAA Tournament Team Preview

Cal Poly Mustangs NCAACal Poly Mustangs

Record: 13-19 (6-10 Big West)

Coach: Joe Callero

Tournament Berth:  Big West Automatic Bid

Big Wins: Cal State Northridge, UC Irvine, Hawaii

Big Loses: Arizona, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Stanford

It has been a long strange trip to the NCAA post-season tournament for the Mustangs, and it would be safe to say that not many gave them a chance when the Big West tournament started. Their record to date is 13-19, and three of those wins came during their trek to the conference championship. Coming in as a number-seven seed, the Mustangs routed second seed UCSB 69-38. The strangest thing about that win was that the Gauchos had beaten the Mustangs on the Cal Poly home court by 16 in the last game of the regular season just five days earlier. In their second game of the tournament the Mustangs then edged top-seed UC Irvine by three to advance to the championship game. From there they took down fifth-seeded Cal State Northridge 61-59 to keep the incredible journey alive and claim their first-ever berth in the NCAA post-season basketball tournament. The Mustangs were the lowest seed ever to win the Big West Tournament.

Team Leaders

POINTS

PPG

FG%

FT%

3PT%

Chris Eversley

13.6

.404

.691

.296

Dave Nwaba

11.9

.528

.699

.000

REBOUNDS

REB

OFF

DEF

BPG

Chris Eversley

7.1

2.1

5.0

0.4

Dave Nwaba

4.9

1.9

3.0

0.6

ASSISTS

APG

SPG

TO

AST/TO

Jamal Johnson

2.8

0.8

1.1

2.5

Ridge Shipley

1.8

0.3

0.7

2.5

Starting Five

F – Chris Eversley

F – Joel Awich

F – Dave Nwaba

G – Kyle Odister

G – Jamal Johnson

Who’s Hot:  Chris Eversley leads the team in scoring with about 13 ½ per game, and averaged 15 over the last two games of their Big West tournament run.

Who’s Not:   The Mustangs must have captured the Big West with mirrors, because they rank lower than 250 in all the important offensive categories including Points, Rebound and Assists per game and in Field Goal Percentage. Defensive stats are similar.

Outlook:  If anyone is looking for a hot team that would become the media’s darling if they win a game or two in the tournament, it is the Mustangs. Any optimism that the team could have any chance of advancing past their first game would have to come in looking at the one defensive category at which they excelled this year—Points Allowed. Cal Poly rated 35th in the nation is fewest points allowed, giving up only 63.4 per game. Entering the tournament with a below-.500 record, the Mustangs have been assigned what the media call a “play-in” game and the NCAA calls a first-round game. No matter what it’s called, the team will have to win a game just to make it to the field of 64 when they play 19-14 Texas Southern in Dayton on Wednesday.  Whatever is said about this Cal Poly team, it cannot be said that they have no depth.  Their bench has played over 40 percent of their minutes this year, and that is the best in the country.  If the Mustangs should keep their winning streak alive and advance on to the round of 64 with a win on Wednesday they will truly face a David and Goliath matchup.  Wichita State, undefeated at 34-0, awaits.

Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
@Chuck_pod

Sources:
ESPN
CBS
The Tribune

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.