Breakdown: Fresno State vs. CSUN
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Publisher
Posted Nov 16, 2013


Fresno State and Cal State Northridge face off on Saturday night in front of a sold out Save Mart Center crowd. Bulldog Playbook breaks down how the Bulldogs and Matadors match up.

Fresno State (1-1) vs. Cal State Northridge (1-1)

PG: #3 Cezar Guerrero (6-1, 190, So.) vs. #2 Landon Drew (6-1, 175, So.)

Cezar Guerrero makes his Save Mart Center debut and a sold out crowd will get to see the hype behind the Bulldogs’ new point guard. Guerrero is a scoring point guard who can make the difficult passes as well. He has taken 17 of his team-high 26 shot attempts from three point range. Sophomore Landon Drew expects to take his game to another level as a starter for head coach Reggie Theus.

Advantage: Fresno State

SG: #1 Tyler Johnson (6-4, 186, Sr.) vs. #1 Josh Greene (6-0, 180, Sr.)

Tyler Johnson hasn’t shot well in his first two games, but he is still averaging 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 5.5 assists. Josh Greene is the Matador’s top shooter and he will shoot in high volumes. Greene shot 14 three pointers in each of the team’s final two games last season, and took 11 attempts in their loss to USC earlier this week. Johnson’s size and athleticism gives him an edge in this clash of offensive styles.

Advantage: Fresno State

SF: #23 Marvelle Harris (6-4, 212, So.) vs. #3 Stephen Hicks (6-6, 200, Jr.)

Marvelle Harris (17.5 ppg) and Stephen Hicks (14.5 ppg) can both light up the scoreboard. Harris is more of a shooter while Hicks is better at getting to the basket and drawing fouls. Hicks can also crash the boards as well, averaging 7 rebounds per game in each of his last two seasons.

Advantage: Cal State Northridge

PF: #22 Paul Watson (6-7, 187 Fr) vs. #21 Stephen Maxwell (6-7, 220, Jr.)

Stephen Maxwell has had the strongest start to the 2013-14 season for the Matadors. Maxwell logged a double-double in each of his first two games, averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds. True freshman Paul Watson is actually Fresno State’s leading scorer as well at 18 points per game through two regular season games. He won’t be expected to keep those numbers going this season, but he definitely gives the team a scoring option from midrange and the perimeter.

Advantage: Cal State Northridge

C: #10 Alex Davis (6-9, 205, Jr.) vs. #35 Tre Hale-Edmerson (6-7, 215, So.)

Tre Hale-Edmerson gives CSUN a complimentary frontcourt player alongside Maxwell. Hale-Edmerson is a high energy player who can contribute in a variety of ways. Alex Davis is yet to make much of an impact in his first two games, but Saturday gives him his most favorable matchup so far this season. If Davis can get more touches it will take some of the load off of the backcourt.

Advantage: Cal State Northridge

Benches

Neither team has many options off the bench, and in result, keep their rotations tight. Fresno State’s Allen Huddleston will likely have the biggest impact off the bench for either team. Karachi Edo may also have a bigger role inside for the Bulldogs without a significant size disadvantage.

Advantage: Fresno State

Coaches: Rodney Terry vs. Reggie Theus

Former NBA All-Star Reggie Theus is in his second head coaching position at the collegiate level. In 2005, Theus took a New Mexico State program that had just won 6 games the previous season to a winning record in each of his two years at NMSU, including an NCAA Tournament appearance. Theus also spent two seasons coaching the Sacramento Kings of the NBA. Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry has the Bulldogs off to a 1-1 start in his third year, looking for his first winning season.

Advantage: Cal State Northridge

Intangibles

Both teams are coming off blowout losses to power conference teams. One intangible will stand out from all others on Saturday - that being a full Save Mart Center. A sold out arena could provide the biggest home court advantage that Fresno State has ever had in the SMC.

Advantage: Fresno State

Prediction

Saturday’s game will feature two teams that pride themselves on defense while running up-tempo offenses. Without the size disadvantage that Fresno State faced in their first two games, Alex Davis and Karachi Edo make a bigger impact in the frontcourt. The Bulldogs feed off a big crowd for a hot shooting night and some key runs to edge out CSUN.

Fresno State 74, Cal State Northridge 69


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