By Wes McCurtis
Fullerton Calif., November 25, 2016 – Despite an 0-2 start in this year’s Wooden Legacy, CSUN remains hopeful that its tough non-conference schedule will prepare them to turn some heads in the Big West Conference this season. Coach Reggie Theus has assembled a roster with 5 active transfers from Power 5 Conference schools to go along with an experienced backcourt, led by senior guard Aaron Parks.
“It’s great to play against guys with different talents and different heights. I feel like the more we play against these types of teams and the bigger the opponents are, the more we will improve,” said Parks. “Our team and I like to compete and to be able to play against these high level teams. It allows us to get better and learn from these games.”
The Matadors (2-4) entered the tournament with road loses to UCLA and Stanford. “It’s a really tough schedule and the thing that matters most is to compete,” said Theus. “The prize is at the end of the season. This is the fight in between. You do not try to win the battle, you want to win the war. That’s the bottom line. Our team needs to go through some adversity so that we can get better. I really believe that these games will help us”.
CSUN then struggled in a tough match-up with Texas A&M in their tournament opener, falling to the Aggies 87-102. The Matadors looked to bounce back and upset New Mexico on Friday, but ultimately came up short in an 89-105 loss to the Lobos.
Theus remained optimistic about his team’s ability to compete after Friday’s loss to New Mexico, saying “For us, these games are about battling and giving you a chance. Today we gave ourselves a chance in the game for most of the game. I hate losing but I am encouraged in terms of our effort. This is a great tournament because of the level of play. These are the kind of games that get you ready for conference.”
CSUN was picked to to finish third in the Big West this season, but are looking to prove the media pollsters wrong. The Matadors will look to pick up a Wooden Legacy Tournament win in the seventh place game as they take on the loser of Portland vs. Dayton on Sunday at 8 p.m. (PT) in Honda Center.