Thursday, December 20, 2012

Notes on Northridge

Next up come the Matadors of Cal State Northridge, who hail from the Big West Conference. Like Utah, Northridge has already exceeded its 2011-12 win total (seven) with an 8-3 record. They have a couple guys who can score and rebound -- Stephan Hicks (17.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg) and Stephen Maxwell (12.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg); and a guy who can score and dish -- Josh Greene (12.4 ppg, 7.1 apg). Hicks, in particular, has performed quite well against their tougher opponents; he had 25-8 against BYU and 18-10 against Arizona State.

Also watch for freshman Landon Drew, who contributes off the bench. He had 16-6-5 against Arizona State and 10 points against UCLA. He also happens to be the younger brother of UCLA's Larry Drew II.

Utah Assistant Coach Andy Hill briefly contrasted Northridge's defensive style with SMU during the ESPN700 post-game radio interview on Tuesday night:

"Defensively, [SMU is] really good in the half-court. Northridge is really good defensively but they do it by pressuring you and picking up, full-court, trapping and running and jumping and some odd zones. So it's going to be a completely different game. They want to get the game high in the numbers as far as scoring -- they're a little bit different from SMU that way. We'll have to really concentrate on taking care of the ball because we don't need to give [Northridge] opportunities offensively by turning it over, especially with increasing possessions."
Northridge is good enough to boost Utah's RPI, should the Utes win. Of course, that also means they'll be tough to beat. Like several other teams on Utah's slate (such as Boise State and SMU), the Matadors have proven to be a lot better than we initially thought when the schedule was released.

Get past these guys, and we should have nine wins going into conference play.

1 comment:

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