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UW Basketball vs. Cal Poly Mustangs Preview and Open Thread

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The Dawgs look to close out their home non-conference season with a win.

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Tuesday, 12/20/16

Tip-Off Time: 8:00pm PST

TV: Pac-12 Washington

Radio: Komo 1000

Cal Poly Statistics:

Record: 5-6

Points For per Game: 66.9 ppg

Points Against per Game: 73.8 ppg

Strength of Schedule: 126th

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 101.6 (218th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 108.1 (261st)

Cal Poly Key Players:

F- Luke Meikle, Jr. 6-9, 209: 8.5ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.1apg, 36.8% FG, 66.7% FT, 22.2% 3pt

Meikle is the primary big for a team that usually only plays one at a time. He plays more of a stretch-5 role as he takes almost three 3-pointers per game but doesn’t shoot well from outside so the Huskies can live with him taking those shots.

G- Kyle Toth, Sr. 6-2, 175: 11.8ppg, 2.5rpg, 0.2apg, 51.8% FG, 83.3% FT, 54.8% 3pt

Toth has been the star for Cal Poly this year. He’s making an astounding percentage of shots from beyond the arc and the Dawgs have to be aware of where he is at all times. He’s 2nd in the country in offensive efficiency due to the crazy shooting percentages as well as the fact that he has only 2 turnovers the entire season and is 4th nationally in turnover percentage. About 75% of his attempts come from behind the line so the Dawgs need to close out hard and make him dribble.

G- Victor Joseph, Jr. 6-0, 170: 11.7ppg, 1.4rpg, 0.6apg, 46.9% FG, 71.4% FT, 43.6% 3pt

Joseph is another fantastic shooter and takes about 60% of his shots from beyond the arc. He’s capable of pouring on points in a hurry.

G- Ridge Shipley, Sr. 6-0, 185: 7.5ppg, 1.1rpg, 2.9apg, 35.7% FG, 58.8% FT, 31.7% 3pt

Shipley is one of the few Mustangs who enjoys passing the ball. He’ll primarily play the role of distributor while he’s on the court.

G- Donovan Fields, So. 5-10, 160: 8.6ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.4apg, 38.6% FG, 88% FT, 36% 3pt

Fields is the biggest defensive pest for Cal Poly with the same steal percentage as Matisse Thybulle. He doesn’t shoot well from the floor but can make UW pay from the line.

The Outlook

Last game I thought the Huskies would play a lot of zone against a team that took very few 3’s and made even fewer of them and was right (obviously the zone was ineffective but strategically it was the correct decision). Tonight I expect to see absolutely no zone against a team that is 9th in the country in the percentage of its shots that come from behind the 3-point line. The Mustangs attempt about 25 three pointers per game.

Cal Poly plays with only one player taller than 6-2 about 80% of the time so the Dawgs should have height mismatches across the board. They are 343rd in effective height nationally per Kenpom.com.

One (among many) bugaboos of the Romar era is that in these situations he always matches the opponents rather than forcing the opponent to match us. It will be interesting to see if we stay primarily with a 2 big lineup and force them to have their 6-2 players guard Dickerson and Dime or if we go 4 wings around one big. I expect more of the latter as we’ll still have several inches at every position except with Crisp.

Unsurprisingly, with their height problems the Mustangs get into a lot of foul trouble and because of that they give a lot of guys a lot of minutes. No one averages more than 28 minutes per game for them and 9 guys play at least 12 minutes. Part of the reason for their problems is that their 2nd best player, 6-8 forward Josh Martin, is out for the year with a stress fracture after putting up 11 points and 8 rebounds through their first 5 games. Additionally, their leading passer (and rebounder without Martin), Jaylen Shead, missed their last game and it’s unclear if he plays tonight.

This game will be another unique test for the Huskies. The Mustangs are incredibly small but they play to their strengths and will take as much time as they need to work the ball around the perimeter until they find an open 3-pointer. Expect them to find it a lot against UW.

On offense, the Dawgs can’t get frustrated with the slower pace and take bad shots just to try to speed things up. As much as UW has struggled, they are clearly the better team in this matchup. If they can take their time and take advantage of the mismatches on offense and defense they should take care of business. But I don’t trust them to do it all game so it’ll be close for a long time before we finally pull away.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 87, Cal Poly Mustangs- 75