How to Watch (and bet)
Date: Tuesday, 12/13/22
Tip-Off Time: 7:30 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: 950 AM
Location: Seattle, Washington
DraftKings Betting Line: Washington Huskies -12
Cal Poly Mustangs 2022-23 Statistics:
Record: 5-3 (4-3 vs. D1 teams)
Points For per Game: 62.7 (311th)
Points Against per Game: 63.4 (46th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 96.8 (300th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 100.8 (132nd)
Strength of Schedule: 252nd
Cal Poly’s Key Players:
G- Brantly Stevenson, Jr. 6’4, 185: 10.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.3 apg, 56.1% FG, 41.2% 3pt, 87.5% FT
The closest thing to a true point guard the Mustangs have is Camren Pierce who comes off the bench. Stevenson is the primary ball handler with the starters and is a solid outside shooter but attempts fewer than two 3’s per game. He’s making 64% of his 2-pt shots though so can be extremely efficient on cuts to the basket.
G-Kobe Sanders, Jr. 6’6, 185: 5.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.5 apg, 35.9% FG, 27.3% 3pt, 81.3% FT
It’s been a slow shooting start for Sanders who isn’t great at a career 33% from deep but better than he’s shown so far. His impact has primarily been on the defensive end with a steal rate that’s 35th in the country.
G-Chance Hunter, Sr. 6’6, 200: 9.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.3 apg, 42.3% FG, 41.7% 3pt, 75.0% FT
Nearly 2/3rds of Hunter’s shots this year have come from 3-pt range as he has taken on the role of a sniper for the Mustangs. He went 3/3 against D2 Bethesda which brought up his overall percentage but is still their best shooter based on volume. He’s solid on the defensive end as slightly above average both in steal rate and defensive rebound rate.
G- Trevon Taylor, Sr. 6’6, 210: 10.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 0.8 apg, 42.4% FG, 31.8% 3pt, 69.0% FT
This is Tayor’s 3rd stop after stints at both Wyoming and James Madison to begin his career while on his 2nd year with Cal Poly. His shooting splits are down a little but he’s taking more shots so Taylor’s points per game have increased. He plays a lot of power forward with the 4 guard/wing lineups and is leading Cal Poly in rebounds per game at 6’6.
F- Alimamy Koroma, Sr. 6’8, 220: 13.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 58.7% FG, 38.5% 3pt, 72.2% FT
Koroma may be undersized for a center but is still an adept post scorer making 62% of his 2-pt shots so far this year. He has a career low 3% block rate which is Nate Roberts-esque and also is below average both as an offensive and defensive rebounder. Braxton Meah has a chance to dominate down low going up against Koroma but will need to be disciplined to stay out of foul trouble when Koroma has the ball.
This game looked a lot easier about a month ago when Cal Poly lost their first 3 games against D-1 competition. Since that point the Mustangs have gone 4-0 including a 23-point beatdown of Portland State to move up from 277th to 219th in the KenPom rankings. That stretch also included an 11-point win over Cal Baptist who Washington has already lost to this season. This game isn’t a gimme as the Huskies try to recover from a beatdown in Spokane to Gonzaga.
The danger of Cal Poly starts with their veteran status. The Mustangs rank 25th nationally in minutes continuity as they brought back 7 of the 9 key contributors from last year including all 5 starters. Unsurprisingly that also means they’re an older team as they’re 67th in D-1 experience and have 0 freshmen in the rotation.
That being said there are reasons to like this matchup for the Huskies even with Noah Williams and Franck Kepnang out. The key to beating Washington’s zone is ball movement. Teams that can’t pass and try to rely on isolation play almost always struggle to open up holes that are otherwise there. That isn’t a good sign for Cal Poly who is 360th out of 363 teams in D-1 in assists per field goal made. Only one player on their team averages more than even 1.5 assists per game and Camren Parker comes off the bench.
Cal Poly tries to make up for the lack of passing by driving to the basket and drawing fouls. They are 35th in the country shooting 76.9% from the line and also rank 32nd in the percentage of their points that comes from free throws. Center Alimamy Koroma is the best at getting to the line but 5 rotation players draw at least 3.9 fouls per 40 minutes. For context, Keion Brooks Jr. is the only Husky to eclipse that mark this year (Kepnang did but he is now out for the season). If the refs swallow their whistles then it plays to Washington’s advantage. But it’s Pac-12 refs so good luck with that.
The defense has been the strength for Cal Poly as Stanford is the only team to eclipse 71 points against them so far. The Mustangs may be undersized in the paint with a 6’8 starting center but a trio of 6’6 wings gives them good size on the perimeter to disrupt opposing ball handlers. They rank 10th in turnover rate on non-steals as they have been able to force opponents to make mistakes with their length which doesn’t bode well for PJ Fuller. There also is size that comes off the bench for the backup center for Cal Poly is...former Husky Bryan Penn-Johnson. In his return to D-1 BPJ is averaging 10 fouls committed per 40 minutes (that’s fouling out in 20 minutes) so it’s unlikely he sees heavy minutes.
Expect this to be a very low scoring game and if Cal Poly gets hot from 3 for a little while they could easily escape with the upset. In such a low possession game I’m going to predict that the Mustangs at least are able to cover.
Max’s Record this Year: 6-4 Straight Up, 5-4-1 Against The Spread
Washington Huskies- 65, Cal Poly Mustangs- 59