Ten days ago, we put an epic beat down on #16 Baylor at home. It was delightful, it was stress-free, and it moved us up to #19 and #20 in the polls. And our RPI (which usually lags behind our ranking) sits at a very healthy #13.
In short, we took care of business in the 2015 portion of our schedule. We scheduled quality individual games and a quality tournament, and we won more than our fair share in both. We're currently ranked as the best sixth best two-loss team in the country, behind UNC, Kentucky, Duke, Villanova, and Louisville. Those are some blue blood programs, and we're right in the conversation.
Tonight we have a chance to work out the kinks and keep the momentum moving heading into SEC play. Let's break it down.
Cal Poly isn't the absolute worst
We researched the 6-6 Mustangs thinking we'd find the typical "get crushed by anyone of significance" results that a mid-tier team in the Big West typically yields... but that wasn't exactly the case. Cal Poly has close losses at UNLV and UCLA, and they have really only been blown out twice (at Saint Mary's and at USC) this season.
In short, five of their six losses have come against teams in the RPI top 65, and their overall average margin of defeat is 10.6. They don't get tagged very often, and they have a solid win over Fresno State to boot... placing their RPI number at a pretty healthy 104.
We'll win the game tonight, but don't be surprised if Cal Poly sticks around for a while.
A new shooting guard appears
Kobie Eubanks, a former top 100 shooting guard in high school, committed to Texas A&M in early November and is eligible to play tonight.
We don't believe Eubanks will become an immediate factor in the coming months, but he adds some solid injury insurance for the conference run and should be a strong challenger for the minutes vacated by Danuel House next season.
Tonight is about fine tuning
The Baylor game was an amazing, beautiful experience... but it wasn't perfect. Namely, our second unit (while outstanding defensively) struggled to score in the second half. Had Baylor been anything other than a complete clown show that night, they very well could have made things dicey down the stretch.
So as you watch tonight, remember... this game isn't entirely about margin of victory. If we can tighten up our rotation, clean up the offensive possessions without our optimal lineup on the floor, and improve at the line; this evening will be successful. And an early mass exodus of key players probably wouldn't be the worst idea. We've been coasting at around a game per week for the last month, and the twice-a-week SEC gauntlet is coming. If we can notch a W and stay healthy, I'll consider this a successful evening.
BTHO Cal Poly
TV: SEC Network + or online via WatchESPN
Tip-off: 7:00 PM
Location: Reed Arena