COMPLETE GAME PREVIEW (pdf)
Up Next: at Northern Arizona
Saturday, Feb. 18 (6:05 p.m. PT)
Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion (Greeley, Colo.)
Audio: HERE (Worldwide), ESPN 1280 (San Luis Obispo County) / Tom Barket (play-by-play)
Live Stats / Streaming Video: HERE
All-Time Series Record: Cal Poly, 1-0
Winning Streak: Cal Poly, 1
Only Meeting: Dec. 17, 1990 (CP, 76-62, @CP)
SAN LUIS OBISPO – The Cal Poly men's basketball program faces the NCAA Division I three-point percentage leader for the second straight season in the ESPN Sears BracketBuster series when visiting Northern Colorado on Saturday, Feb. 18. Tip time inside Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion in Greeley, Colo., is set for 6:05 p.m. PT. Northern Colorado (8-17, 5-9), seventh in the Big Sky Conference standings following a 79-76 Wednesday loss at Eastern Washington, enters Saturday's matchup shooting 45.2 percent from beyond the arc. Cal Poly (15-12, 6-7), which dropped the chance to claim sole possession of fourth place in the Big West standings following a 94-81 setback at Cal State Northridge (Feb. 15), ranks second among conference programs by limiting opponents to a 33.5 percent three-point mark. Northern Colorado also ranks 25th among Division I programs with a 47.7 percent field goal mark.
HOW TO ENJOY MUSTANG BASKETBALL THIS WEEKEND: Tom Barket returns to the headset to provide play-by-play detail of Cal Poly's Saturday showdown at Northern Colorado for GoPoly.com HERE and in San Luis Obispo County on ESPN 1280. Live stats and streaming video of the matchup will be available HERE.
MUSTANGS SET TO MAKE HISTORY: Having already matched last season's overall victory total, Cal Poly requires just one additional triumph to post the program's highest win total since finishing 19-11 during the 2006-07 campaign. Cal Poly has never posted a 20-win season through 18 Division I campaigns.
CAL POLY VERSUS NORTHERN COLORADO: Cal Poly's first and only matchup against Northern Colorado resulted in a 76-62 victory on Dec. 17, 1990 inside Mott Gym. The Mustangs, making just the program's fourth all-time trip to Colorado (at Colorado twice, at Colorado State once) are 1-0 against Big Sky Conference programs this season following a Nov. 30 triumph versus Sacramento State.
MUSTANGS OWN WINNING EDGE IN BRACKETBUSTER SERIES: Saturday's ESPN BracketBuster contest at Northern Colorado marks Cal Poly's second straight series matchup against a Big Sky opponent. The Mustangs fell to 3-2 all-time in the BracketBuster series a year ago with a last-second, 59-56 home loss against Northern Arizona.
… BUT, BACK IN THE BIG WEST: Senior forward David Hanson (above) led three Mustangs in double-digit scoring figures on Feb. 15, but Cal Poly's effort to lock up fourth place in the Big West standings was derailed with a 94-81 loss at Cal State Northridge. Entering Saturday's BracketBuster series, Cal Poly resides in a fourth-place tie in the Big West standings with Pacific (10-15, 6-7). Both the Mustangs and Tigers sit three games back in the Big West standings of UC Santa Barbara (14-8, 9-3) and Cal State Fullerton (17-7, 9-3) and just one game above UC Riverside (11-15, 5-8) and UC Irvine (9-17, 5-8). Long Beach State (19-6, 12-0) remains the runaway leader for the Big West regular season crown.
BIG WEST, BIG TIME: Highlighted by Long Beach State's nationally televised Saturday visit to Creighton, all nine Big West programs will be in BracketBuster action on Saturday, Feb. 18. Below are the conference's 2012 matchups (all times Pacific).
Long Beach State at Creighton, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
Idaho State at Pacific, 5 p.m.
UC Davis at Northern Arizona, 5:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Utah State, 6 p.m.
Montana State at Cal State Fullerton, 6 p.m.
Cal Poly at Northern Colorado, 6:05 p.m.
Fresno State at Cal State Northridge, 7 p.m.
Eastern Washington at UC Irvine, 7 p.m.
Southern Utah at UC Riverside, 7 p.m.
DEFENSE REMAINS AT THE FOREFRONT: Despite Wednesday's setback at Cal State Northridge where the Mustangs yielded their highest point total in three seasons, Cal Poly enters Saturday's matchup at Northern Colorado ranked 34th among NCAA programs in opponent points per game (60.6) as well as leading the Big West in opponent rebounds per game (29.4) and ranking second in opponent three-point percentage (33.7). Highlighted by limiting USC to 36 points on Nov. 19 – the fewest points scored by a Cal Poly opponent in 18 years at the Division I level – the Mustangs have held foes under 60 points during 13 of 27 games this year. The Mustangs have also held opponents under 30 percent from three-point range a further 11 times during the 2011-12 season.
CAL POLY TOUGH ON THE BOARDS: Cal Poly has grabbed the same amount of boards or outrebounded its opponent during 23 of 27 games this year, mass production that has the Mustangs ranked 32nd nationally and second among Big West squads in rebounding margin (plus-5.5) entering Saturday's matchup at Northern Colorado. Not surprisingly, Cal Poly is 13-6 this season when outrebounding the opposition with the only defeats coming at DePaul (Dec. 21), versus UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 2) and Long Beach State (Jan. 5, Jan. 19) and at UC Riverside (Jan. 14) and CSU Bakersfield (Feb. 4).
POSSESSION IS NINE-TENTHS OF THE WIN: Cal Poly enters Saturday's matchup at Northern Colorado ranked 16th among NCAA programs and first among Big West squads with just 10.9 turnovers committed per game. Also 44th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.15-to-1), the Mustangs have finished with a single-digit turnover total 10 times this season.
20-20 VISION: Through 27 contests this season, no Cal Poly player has scored 20 points during a game. Through the course of the season, three different Mustangs have registered 19 points during a game: Will Taylor (vs. Menlo College, Dec. 14), Chris Eversley (vs. Cal State Northridge, Jan. 21) and David Hanson (at Pacific, Jan. 26). Additionally, Cal Poly players have posted an 18-point game six separate times.
EVERSLEY'S EVOLUTION: Sophomore forward Chris Eversley had recorded just 52 points during his initial 15 contests as a Mustang, but the Chicago native and 2010 transfer from Rice has registered double-digit scoring figures during nine of Cal Poly's previous 12 outings and, since Jan. 7, ranks second among Mustangs with 12.3 points per game. During a string of notable nights, Eversley's latest highlight effort came against UC Riverside (Feb. 9) as he posted his first career double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds) and kicked down a college-best four assists. The 14 rebounds were also the highest single-game total by a Mustang this season. Most recently, Eversley scored 15 points at Cal State Northridge (Feb. 15). Eversley, who has worked his way into the Mustang starting lineup during the last six games after scoring a career-high 19 points against Cal State Northridge (Jan. 21), owns five games of nine-plus boards.
TAYLOR CONTINUES TO RISE TO THE OCCASION: With a team-leading five double-doubles this season, senior forward Will Taylor enters Saturday's matchup at Northern Colorado ranked second among Big West players with a 53.9 (110-for-204) percent field goal mark and third with 7.1 rebounds per game. Cal Poly's leading free throw shooter at 77.8 (56-for-72) percent and a starter during all 27 of Cal Poly's contests after redshirting last season, Taylor has grabbed seven-plus rebounds in a game 14 times this year, recorded double-digit scoring figures 13 times and shot higher than 60 percent from the floor on 11 occasions.
HANSON'S HIGHLIGHT EFFORTS: Cal Poly's leader with 20 double-digit scoring games after notching just four total points during the program's opening two contests, senior forward David Hanson enters Saturday's matchup at Northern Colorado also leading the Mustangs with 11.7 points per contest and ranked second with four double-doubles. Hanson, 14th among Big West players with 5.3 rebounds per game, has recorded double-digit scoring figures during 11 of Cal Poly's previous 13 games.
FERMIN FORGES THE BULLETS FOR CAL POLY TO FIRE: Arguably the Big West's most efficient point guard, senior Amaurys Fermin enters Saturday's matchup at Northern Colorado ranked second among conference players in assists (93), third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.58-to-1) and fourth in assists per game (3.44) Fermin, who matched a career high with eight assists at DePaul (Dec. 21), also ranks second among Mustangs with 16 double-digit scoring games and third with 9.9 points per contest. After redshirting the 2009-10 (transfer) and 2010-11 (injury) seasons, Fermin has started all 27 games for Cal Poly this year.
MUSTANG BOUNCEBACKABILITY: Cal Poly has compiled an 8-3 record this year following a loss and failed to drop more than two successive games during any stretch. Since the start of the 2010-11 season, Cal Poly has posted a 15-10 mark following a defeat.
LOOKING AHEAD: Cal Poly returns to Big West action and the nationally televised stage when visiting UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, Feb. 25 for an 8 p.m. ESPNU matchup. Cal Poly, which dropped a 58-57 home decision against the Gauchos on Jan. 2, seeks its first victory inside UC Santa Barbara's Thunderdome since Jan. 20, 2007. The Mustangs then close regular season action against UC Davis (March 1) and Pacific (March 3).
Mustangs Visit Northern Colorado for ESPN BracketBuster Saturday Night
|Cal Poly (15-13)||37||36||73|
|Northern Colorado (9-17)||38||43||81|
COMPLETE GAME PREVIEW (pdf)