#60 Long Beach State 49ers: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

The Long Beach State 49ers face an absolutely brutal non-conference schedule.  If the can survive that stretch, once Big West play begins… in the words of Dr. Dre at the end of California Love, “Long Beach in tha house!”

LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS
Last Season: 1st, 14-2 in Big West, 22-12 overall
Predicted Big West Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: T.J. Robinson (Sr)/Nick Shepherd (Fr)/Mike Vantrimpont (Jr)
F: Edis Dervisevic (Sr)/Kyle Richardson (Jr)/Gatete Djuma (Fr)
F: Eugene Phelps (Sr)/James Ennis (Jr)/Kris Gulley (So)
SG: Larry Anderson (Sr)/Shaquille Hunter (Fr)/Sean Starkey (Sr)
PG:Casper Ware (Sr)/Corey Jackson (Sr)/Michael Caffey (Fr)/Jerramy King (Jr)

Gone: G-Greg Plater, G/F-Tristan Wilson, SG-Brandon Nevens,

2011-2012 Outlook:
Experience is at a premium in the 49ers starting line-up with a senior laden group returning.  Leading that charge is Big West Player and Defensive Player of the Year, point guard Casper Ware.  Fellow first team all-conference selection, Larry Anderson will once again join Ware in the backcourt giving them a bigger duo at guard with Greg Plater graduating.  Anderson can use his size and driving ability to cause match-up problems for other Big West teams.

T.J. Robinson and Eugene Phelps return to their starting spots in the frontcourt.  Robinson averaged a double-double for the second straight season and with 36 boards, will become the schools all-time leader in rebounds.  He can be a terror on the glass but has also added the ability to stretch defenses with his jumper and range out to the three-point line.  After transferring in from a junior college, Edis Dervisevic was a key role player a year ago and will likely move into the starting line-up.  He adds a physicality in the paint that Robinson lacks.

If there is one concern about Dan Monson’s team this season it is the uncertainty off the bench.  The 49ers only went seven deep last season but will need to find some role players this year.  Corey Jackson played sparingly last year and figures to be the first guard off the bench while freshmen Shaquille Hunter and Michael Caffey could work themselves into the mix.

Kyle Richardson saw limited minutes last season and is the only frontcourt reserve who even sniffed meaningful action.  Redshirt freshman Nick Shepherd could make an impact this year due to his size.  JUCO transfers James Ennis and Kris Gulley will try and crack the rotation on the wing.

With an experienced and talented starting five, Long Beach State is the clear favorite to win the Big West.  Unlike last year when they were upset in the title game of the conference tournament, the 49ers need to complete the net cutting sweep to earn a berth in the Big Dance.  If they do, it is never too early to start talking potential Cinderella sleepers… just sayin’.

capser ware long beach state

Player to Watch: Casper Ware
Besides Robinson becoming the 49ers all-time rebounding leader, Ware could break some school marks as well as he ranks in the top ten in points, assists, and steals.  The four-year starter makes an impact on both ends of the floor.  He is also coming off a summer in which he captured MVP of the highly competitive summer Drew League which could help him take his game to the next level and also increase his awareness among NBA teams.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/16 at Pitt
11/19 at San Diego State
11/28 at Louisville
12/6 at Kansas
12/10 at North Carolina
12/22 vs. Xavier (Diamond Head Classic)
12/23 vs. Clemson/UTEP, (Diamond Head Classic)
12/25 Kansas State/Southern Illinois/Auburn/Hawaii (Diamond Head Classic)
2/18 vs. TBA (ESPN Bracket Buster)

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#61 Virginia Tech Hokies
#62 Clemson Tigers
#63 New Mexico State Aggies
#64 Tennessee Volunteers
#65 Iona Gaels
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs

#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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