Las Vegas Sun

October 2, 2023

We also had our hands full with UC Santa Barbara

Here’s some good news for Rebel fans upset about Wednesday’s loss to UC Santa Barbara: They also beat us the year we won the national championship.

People always ask me where is the toughest place to play, hoping I would say somewhere such as Kentucky. But the toughest place to play in my opinion was Santa Barbara. They beat us in Santa Barbara that year.

It was just nuts when the Rebels would come to town. The students would stay up all night waiting to get in. They were absolutely wild and so loud. You couldn’t take a timeout because the players couldn’t hear you talk over the noise.

Santa Barbara had more going for it that the fans. Led by coach Jerry Pimm, it was a solid program. His assistants were Ben Howland, the UCLA coach, and Jamie Dixon, who is at Pittsburgh. That was just an outstanding staff.

The Rebels had plenty of opportunities to win Wednesday’s game. They had the looks but the ball just didn’t go in. Those things happen every now and then, you have to hope it doesn’t happen to more than one guy at the same time. Well, Wednesday it unfortunately happened to more than one guy.

I wouldn’t put a lot of stock into one bad performance because they have been shooting the ball so well this year. I knew they would be good defensively and so depth at the guard spot, but I didn’t expect them to shot the ball so well.

I give credit to Lon Kruger and assistant Steve Henson. They were both great shooters at Kansas State and doing a great job passing their knowledge onto the players. I’ve seen some of the workouts and those two guys are great teachers.

Derrick Jasper, for instance, had the reputation of not being a good shooter when he transferred from Kentucky. But he has really turned into a great player. I’ve been so impressed with the way he competes and does so much for the Rebels on the court.

I plan on being at tomorrow’s Southern Utah game. I look forward to seeing everyone.

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