2009-10 Opponent Preview: Fresno State

As the 2009-10 season men’s basketball season approaches, BYUCougars.com continues to preview each of the Cougars’ opponents. Today’s preview-Fresno State.

Game Preview

BYU meets a familiar face and a familiar program when the Cougars go up against Steve Cleveland and the Bulldogs. Cleveland coached at BYU for eight seasons, compiling a 138-108 record and leading the Cougars to two conference championships before returning to coach at his hometown team. His 138 wins are fourth all-time in BYU history.

BYU and Fresno State previously competed against each other every year as members of the Western Athletic Conference until 1999 when the Cougars formed the Mountain West Conference. BYU holds a ?-? edge overall against the Bulldogs.

Season Outlook

Cleveland has compiled a 63-63 record in his four years at Fresno State. He’s established a “Built to Last” mentality in the Bulldog program, with a great emphasis placed on graduating student-athletes. Cleveland’s best season with Fresno State came in 2006-07, finishing with a 22-10 record and an NIT berth.

Player to Watch

Paul George, G/F, So., 6-8, 210

George exploded onto the Bulldog roster as a freshman, leading the team in rebounds per game (5.8), blocks (58) and three-pointers (63) while averaging 15.3 points per game, second-best on the team. George can play anywhere on the court and will be tough to contain inside and outside the key.

Other Key Players

Sylvester Seay, F

Nedeljko Golubovic, F

Mychal Ladd, G

Game Implications

BYU head coach David Rose is facing Cleveland, the man for whom he was an assistant until taking over when the coach went to Fresno. The game will be played at the Galen Center in Los Angeles in a semi-neutral contest.

Bulldogs at a Glance

Head Coach Steve Cleveland
At Fresno State 5th year / 63-63
2008-09 Record 13-21 overall, 3-13 WAC
Home/Road/Neutral 9-8, 3-10, 1-3
Starters Ret/Lost 3/2
Lettermen Ret/Lost 6/4

2008-09 Team Stats

Points/Game 67.6
Points Allowed/Game 69.8
Field Goal % .438
Opponent FG % .439
Rebounds/Game 33.4
Assists/Game 14.2
Steals/Game 6.6
Blocks/Game 4.7

Returning Stat Leaders

Points/Game Sylvester Seay, 15.3
Rebounds/Game Paul George, 6.2
Assists/Game Paul George, 1.9
Steals Paul George, 59
Blocks Sylvester Seay, 58
Three-pointers Paul George, 63