This past weekend, the CSUN men’s basketball team kicked off their regular season by traveling to DeKalb, Ill. for a three-game set in the Northern Illinois Showcase. Suspensions and transfers notwithstanding, the showcase was an intuitive look at the players available and the team moving forward.
Many Games will be Decided at the 3-point Line
Over their first three games, the Matadors shot 37.8 percent from the 3-point line, which is marked improvement over last season’s 32.6 percent mark. However, their opponents fared well better from the 3-point line, shooting 44.8 percent from beyond the arc. Moreover, CSUN’s opponents made 16 more 3-pointers than the Matadors, meaning the Matadors will need to compensate for that point difference in other ways.
Depth Looks to be An Issue…Again
The Matadors bench production was atrocious in all three matchups, being outscored in all of them. Opponents’ reserves outscored the Matadors’ 99-32. This may due to the fact that CSUN utilized seven players over the course of three games, causing fatigue was to be a factor. This was never more evident than against Northern Illinois, where Tre Hale-Edmerson spent a good portion of the game on the bench because of foul trouble. As a result, CSUN’s was rotation was cut to a paper-thin six players, and the Huskies’ bench outscored the Matadors by 43. The worst part is that relief doesn’t appear to be in sight as Landon Drew has been hampered by a foot injury and the status of Aaron Parks and Jerron Wilbut remains uncertain after the pair violated team and university policy.
The Freshman Guards Appear to Be Ready to Compete Right Away
Coming into the season, Hale-Edmerson and Drew were expected to carry the team through growing pains, while the freshmen got up to speed. With that said, it has actually been the freshmen that have been carrying the torch for head coach Reggie Theus and the Matadors. In all three games, freshmen Micheal Warren, Jason Richardson and Tavrion Dawson have been the top three scorers for CSUN. Specifically, Richardson and Warren have provided a scoring punch from the guard positions, Parks continues to sit out. Interestingly enough, Warren and Richardson have demonstrated the ability to get better as the game goes on, as both scored 18 or more points in the second half of games.
Reggie Theus Needs to Work on His Halftime Speeches
Although the Matadors displayed some resilience in the second half of all the games—especially against Wright State—they put themselves in poor positions coming out of the halftime break. Against Northern Illinois, they saw a six-point deficit swell to a 13-point deficit less than four minutes in, against Wright State another six-point deficit grew to a 14-point hole in less than four minutes and against South Dakota, a three-point disadvantage grew to eight points in under two minutes.
Landon Drew Needs to Get Healthy Soon
Although Richardson and Warren played admirably at both guard spots, CSUN needs Drew to get back to 100 percent health if they want clean up their play. Drew played the least of any player who played last weekend, despite being the one of two returning starters from last season. Playing in Drew’s place were Richardson and Warren, who both scored well, but also do not value possession as much as Drew does. The duo had 1.28 assist-to-turnover ratio, which falls short of the 2.48 assist-to-turnover ratio that Drew posted last year. Consequently, the Matadors were outscored in the points off of turnovers category 42-33.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]