Photo by Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Cal Basketball

UC Davis Returns a lot, but that Shouldn’t Matter for Cal

October 20, 2019
1,615

After the trip to New York City for the 2K Empire Classic, the Bears return home and don’t leave the Bay Area for the next 10 games. The homestand begins with a slew of games against local teams, beginning with UC Davis on November 26th.

Both Torvik projections and KenPom projections put this as a win for the Bears even though the Aggies will bring a very experienced core of players to the Haas.

UC Davis Aggies

Last season: 11-20 (7-9), KenPom No. 252

2020 Torvik Projection: 15-17 (8-8)

2020 KenPom Projection: 13-19 (6-10)

Head Coach: Jim Les

Jim Les enters his ninth season at UC Davis and so far, the Aggies have finished all over the place in the Big West Conference. Conference records have ranged from 3-13 during his first season to 14-2 in 2015 and have fallen basically everywhere in-between. But after two years of improvement in 2017 and 2018, last year was a disappointing one that saw the Aggies fall to 11-20 and 7-9 in the conference with a first-round conference tournament loss to Cal State Fullerton.

To be sure, Les has the mid-major experience. Prior to Davis, Les spent nine seasons at Bradley, a normally decent team out of the Missouri Valley Conference. Over the past few seasons, Les’s teams have generally been better at defense. Last season, the Aggies ranked 159th in KenPom’s adjusted defense and just 310th in the adjusted offense.

The one thing the Aggies do very well on defense is turn teams over. In each of the last two seasons, UC Davis has ranked in the top-40 in KenPom’s turnover rate, turning teams over at a clip of 22.0 in 2017 and 21.1 in 2018. So it will be a relatively early test for the Bears and their ability to value the basketball.

On offense in recent years, the Aggies have found success in three-point shooting and getting to the free-throw line at a decent rate. But when your team ranks 310th in KenPom’s adjusted offense, it’s tough to find really anything the offense does well and that was the case last season.

Key Returning Players:

Joe Mooney, 6-3, SR., 9.9 pts, 2.6 rbds, 1.2 asts

Stefan Gonzalez, 6-2, SR., 6.9 pts, 3.4 rbds

Matt Neufield, 6-11, SR., 7.8 pts, 3.0 rbds

As mentioned above, the Aggies have a core of four seniors and two juniors that all bring quite a bit of experience. Leading the way in returning production in terms of points is Joe Mooney, who was the third-leading scorer on last year’s team. Mooney also has Stefan Gonzalez, and the two form a solid backcourt for the Aggies. Neufield is the Aggies’ tallest player by about three inches at 6-11 and is the main paint-presence for UC Davis.

Key Losses:

TJ Shorts, 15.2 pts, 4.7 rbds, 4.3 asts

Siler Schneider, 10.4 pts, 2.8 rbds, 1.9 asts

One reason why the Aggies return so much but are still projected to take a step back is the question of who fills the hole left by TJ Shorts. He did basically everything last season for the Aggies, leading the team in points scored, rebounds, assists, and steals. Siler Schneider was the team’s second-leading scorer. With those two losses, Mooney and Gonzalez have some immediate scoring and distribution holes to fill.

Key Incoming Players:

Malcolm Johson, 6-5, JR.

Wesley Harris, 6-6, JR.

Kennedy Koehler, 6-8 SO.

The Aggies add a trio of transfers that could make an impact this season. Wesley Harris spent two seasons at West Virginia and one at Tennessee State before transferring to UC Davis. Harris, along with Malcolm Johnson and Kennedy Koehler could all add some depth for the Aggies at the three and four positions.

This is a game the Bears should win. And it shouldn’t really be close. The Aggies have some intriguing pieces returning, but the talent level — and coaching ability — should still tip heavily towards the Bears. Take care of business in this one and move on to the tougher games with local teams on the schedule.

Non-Con Opponents Preview Series:

Texas

Georgetown

Duke

Prairie View A&M

Cal Baptist

UNLV

Pepperdine

Discussion from...

UC Davis Returns a lot, but that Shouldn’t Matter for Cal

1,459 Views | 6 Replies | Last: 24 days ago by HoopDreams
Alkiadt
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Evidently, this press release doesn't matter either....
calumnus
How long do you want to ignore this user?
"Shouldn't matter"? That seems overly cocky to add to a headline.

Last year UCDavis was ranked #150 according to Sagarin.

Cal was # 207 and Sagarin predicts we would have lost by 4 points on a neutral court.

UC Davis gets everyone back while Cal lost most of our "best" players and will be breaking in most of a new team. A win would be a good sign the team is improved but is it by no means assured.

Civil Bear
How long do you want to ignore this user?
calumnus said:

UC Davis gets everyone back while Cal lost most of our "best" players and will be breaking in most of a new team. A win would be a good sign the team is improved but is it by no means assured.


Not quite. Per the body of the above article, Davis loses their only two players that averaged double-digits in scoring. Cal at least returns a couple of those. If the Bears lose this one, it's going to be a loooooooong season.
SFCityBear
How long do you want to ignore this user?
calumnus said:

"Shouldn't matter"? That seems overly cocky to add to a headline.

Last year UCDavis was ranked #150 according to Sagarin.

Cal was # 207 and Sagarin predicts we would have lost by 4 points on a neutral court.

UC Davis gets everyone back while Cal lost most of our "best" players and will be breaking in most of a new team. A win would be a good sign the team is improved but is it by no means assured.


That is right. I've never put much faith in pre-season predictions. How can anyone predict what Cal will be like this season, with few returning vets, and a lot of new players, mostly freshmen, some ranked, some not ranked, from varying backgrounds, all of whom have never played together, and all playing in a new system with a new coach they had never seen before? Computers are used to make these type of predictions, but computer programs are only as good as the data you input, and Cal has less data to input than almost any team. You can't assign rankings, numbers and statistics to this situation, and if the pundits do, the predictions they make will not be any better than throwing darts at a board full of possible outcomes.
calumnus
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Civil Bear said:

calumnus said:

UC Davis gets everyone back while Cal lost most of our "best" players and will be breaking in most of a new team. A win would be a good sign the team is improved but is it by no means assured.


Not quite. Per the body of the above article, Davis loses their only two players that averaged double-digits in scoring. Cal at least returns a couple of those. If the Bears lose this one, it's going to be a loooooooong season.


True. It just seemed like unnecessary woofing to include that part in the headline. We can't take any game for granted, especially early on.

I do like the team Fox cobbled together and will be rooting for them but am not expecting a lot of Ws.

HoopDreams
How long do you want to ignore this user?
calumnus said:

Civil Bear said:

calumnus said:

UC Davis gets everyone back while Cal lost most of our "best" players and will be breaking in most of a new team. A win would be a good sign the team is improved but is it by no means assured.


Not quite. Per the body of the above article, Davis loses their only two players that averaged double-digits in scoring. Cal at least returns a couple of those. If the Bears lose this one, it's going to be a loooooooong season.
True. It just seemed like unnecessary woofing to include that part in the headline. We can't take any game for granted, especially early on.

I do like the team Fox cobbled together and will be rooting for them but am not expecting a lot of Ws.
gotta agree with calumus on this one. UCD is not known to be a juggernaut, but a veteran team always concerns me no matter who we are at the time

Page 1 of 1
 
×
Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.