by Aaron Hughes | Staff Writer|
The CSUSB men’s basketball team will face off against the national superpower, UCLA Bruins on Nov. 6th.
Despite the big occasion, the Coyotes are hoping that a good performance against UCLA will give them the momentum they need to have a good season.
“It’s a big deal for the players,” said assistant coach Robert Tossetti. “They’ll be the most talented team we play all year but we’ll be trying to gauge where we are at.”
Many of CSUSB’s players are familiar with the Bruins having played against them at different levels before. Coach Tossetti is hopeful that this could work to the Coyotes’ advantage.
“Our guys have played with some of them in summer leagues and high school,” said Tossetti. “They know who they are and won’t be overwhelmed by the big names. Whether we can play with them is another story.”
The CSUSB coaching staff isn’t treating this contest any different than any other game this season, despite the fact that UCLA has won 11 NCAA titles in their history.
They are preparing for the game as though it was just another game and are trying to not get too focused on their opponents national stature as a big time program. Instead, they’ll want to focus on the game itself and focus on trying to play their particular brand of basketball.
“Hopefully that will translate into the regular season and we can improve on some things that we’ve been working on in practice,” said Tossetti. “Some things we need to work on and get better at.”
Despite CSUSB trying to play their game, the timing of the game against UCLA means the Coyotes won’t know what to expect.
Because it’s the first game of the season for both schools, the Coyote coaching staff doesn’t have any game footage of the opposition to study.
“The tricky part is playing them so early. It’s the first game of the season for both of us so we don’t have any video on them,” said Tossetti. “We’re going to do what we do and we’ll make adjustments as the game goes on. We know who their key guys are and we’ll put our better defenders on them.”
Despite CSUSB having taller players than they’ve had in previous seasons, Tossetti isn’t convinced they will match up well against the Bruins.
“We’ll be bigger, or just as big as anyone in our conference this year but we won’t compare height wise to UCLA,” said Tossetti. “Even though we might be undersized, we’ll still be trying to play to our strengths.”
Assistant coach Anthony Jones agrees.
“Going into a game like this we have to do what we do and not worry about the opposition,” said Jones. “Obviously we want to try and win but also we understand that it is preseason and we need to work on us offensively, defensively, as well as team chemistry.”
Starting against UCLA, the Coyotes will be striving to win every game this year, taking games one at a time.
That philosophy comes right down from head coach Jeff Oliver, he’s not targeting a particular win total. Instead, he plans to win every single game they play and at the end of the season, they will see where they are at in the conference hierarchy.