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By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian
By JEFF EVANS, Californian columnist email@example.com
This weekend is where Rod Barnes hopes his team’s depth pays dividends.
Cal State Bakersfield has a busy three days today, Saturday and Sunday at the Fresno State Classic: Three games in less than 72 hours.
“We’ve got a lot of people and we will try to spread out the minutes,” Barnes said.
The Roadrunners haven’t played since Monday’s 71-69 win over Idaho State, CSUB’s fourth straight victory.
“We’re going into the tournament with confidence and with guys playing well,” Barnes said. “I feel we’re 10 or 11 guys deep and we have a good frame of mind.”
CSUB faces Northern Arizona (2-3) today at 4:30 p.m., then faces the host Bulldogs (4-2) in Saturday’s 7 p.m. matchup.
At 11 a.m. Sunday, the opponent is Drake from Des Moines, Iowa (3-1).
Each team has a different style, Barnes said.
“Fresno tries to get up and down the floor,” he said. “Northern Arizona has really, really good guard play and Drake has a unique style, their offense is different. We’ve got to be prepared for whatever.”
These games are the only time in the regular season the Roadrunners play over three straight days. They don’t even have any back-to-back days of games the rest of the regular season.
But this tournament has another benefit: it’s a preview of the style CSUB will see in the postseason, when the Roadrunners enter the Western Athletic Conference Tournament in Las Vegas in mid-March with an NCAA Tournament berth on the line.
“In Vegas, we’ve got to play three games in three days (to win the automatic NCAA berth for the WAC),” senior forward Brandon Barnes said. “Those will be the most important games of the season for us. This is a good test for us.”
Northern Arizona is coming off an 83-59 win over San Diego Christian, an NAIA program, last Saturday. Fresno State is also coming off a win over San Diego Christian on Monday.
Northern Arizona, a Big Sky Conference member, has losses to Loyola Marymount and USC this season.
Fresno State lost at UOP 86-77 last Saturady and also lost at Pittsburgh. The Bulldogs’ wins before this week came against Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge.
Drake beat future CSUB opponent Nebraska-Omaha 88-80 on Saturday. The Bulldogs’ only loss was at St. Mary’s, 67-63. Drake’s other two wins are against non-Division I teams Iowa Wesleyan and Illinois-Chicago.