By virtue of beating Seton Hall last night, Long Beach State get the honor of facing the Hoos. The 49ers (yep, the 49ers) are led by coach Dan Monson, who came to prominence as the Gonzaga head coach who put them on the map in the late 90s. He had some good years with Long Beach State, but the past few years have seen them fall below .500, though a 3-0 start to this year is promising.
Beating Seton Hall is an accomplishment, as the Pirates aren't bad. But this is not a particularly deep team, and some of their main guys played a lot of minutes last night. That could hurt, especially going up against the Hoos, who are one of the deepest teams in the nation.
The 49ers are led by a guy who is familiar to the Hoos, former Maryland wing Nick Faust. Faust is actually one of three transfers playing for Coach Monson. The other two are PF Gabe Levin (from Loyola Marymount) and SF Roschon Prince (from USC).
Those three newcomers are a big boost to a team that lost its top 3 scorers (and top 2 rebounders and top passer) from last year. And it's not like that team last year was all that great. The only other newcomer is backup PG Noah Blackwell.
Long Beach State does not have a regular contributor who is bigger than 6'7" (Levin). At every spot, they are going to be giving up a great deal of size to the Hoos. Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey should have their way inside. Of course, that means they'll try to win the game from the perimeter. Faust and Travis Hammonds are both very good outside shooters, and Blackwell has shown that ability in limited opportunities so far.
But they aren't going to win with just outside shots. They are going to try to run. They are going to try to speed up the Hoos. They don't generally play a very fast pace, but they'll try to speed up their game against the Hoos. We saw earlier this week that the Hoos can get sped up, so hopefully the Hoos are able to play their game and not get into too much of an up and down game.
The 49ers are probably not talented enough to play with the Hoos. Especially not in the 2nd game of a back-to-back. The Hoos should have little trouble with this one.