Get to know all of the NCAA Tournament’s automatic bids here.
Conference: Big West
Coach: Joe Callero
Record: 13-19 (6-10 Big West)
Rankings and Ratings:
- Kenpom: 172
- RPI: 223
- AP/USA Today: Not ranked
Seeding?: They weren’t in Dave Ommen’s latest bracket, but the Mustangs will likely be a 16 seed with a trip to Dayton in their future.
Names you need to know: F Chris Eversley (13.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg), G David Nwaba (11.9, 4.9), G Kyle Odister (9.3, 2.2)
Stats you need to know: The Mustangs lost nine of their last 11 games to end the regular season, and they played five of those games without Odister. Cal Poly averaged just 63.3 points per game and shot 40.8% from the field, ranking last in the Big West in both statistical categories. However this is a group that takes care of the basketball, averaging just nine turnovers per game and ranking 39th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). Defensively teams shot 43.5% from the field against Cal Poly.
Tendencies: Tempo is critical for Cal Poly, as they rank 348th in the country with an average of 60.8 possessions per 40 minutes. They’re not going to run up and down the floor, preferring to play one half court at a time. Eversley and Nwaba are their two best offensive options, with Odister being a key figure as well. And in their Big West title game victory over Cal-State Northridge freshman guard Ridge Shipley was an important piece, stepping in for the struggling Jamal Johnson and hitting three three-pointers (finishing with 14 points) off the bench.
Big wins, bad losses: Cal Poly picked up just two wins against Division I opponents in non-conference play, beating Big Sky tournament finalist North Dakota and Santa Clara. In conference play the Mustangs lost a game to Cal-State Fullerton and was swept by UC Davis, which did not qualify for the Big West tournament.
How’d they get here?: Beat Cal-State Northridge 61-59 in the Big West title game. In the two games prior the Mustangs beat two-seed UCSB and one-seed UC Irvine.
Outlook: A win in Dayton looks improbable for the Mustangs. Then again, so did their run through the Big West tournament.
How do I know you?: This is the first-ever NCAA tournament appearance for Cal Poly, whose alums include Ozzie Smith, John Madden and Chuck Liddell.