Chicago State may be 3-15 overall, 0-3 in Western Athletic Conference play and adjusting to its first season under head coach Lance Irvin, but you wouldn’t really be able to tell all that based on Cal State Bakersfield head coach Rod Barnes’ comments about the squad.
“We have a lot of work to do because Chicago State is a very dangerous team,” Barnes said. “They’ve got some experience. They’ve added a couple of pieces. They’ve been playing very good basketball. They’ve just been short of wins.”
The Roadrunners are coming off a last-second win over Missouri-Kansas City on Thursday, have won nine of their last 11 games and are tied for first place in the WAC at 4-1. But Barnes has been clear that he doesn’t want anyone overlooking the Cougars when the two teams play on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Icardo Center.
Chicago State has six players who play the bulk of its minutes, averaging more than 25 per game. Senior guard Rob Shaw averages 11.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. Senior guard Anthony Harris leads the team with 14.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest.
“They’re a good team,” Barnes said. “They’re playing well together. They don’t have a lot of depth. … The guys that are playing are playing a lot of minutes. Sometimes when that happens, you play more consistent because guys know that they’re gonna be on the floor and they spend a lot of time with each other in the game.”
The Cougars opened WAC play with single-digit losses to UMKC and Cal Baptist before losing to Grand Canyon on Thursday by 34 points. Chicago State’s average scoring margin of minus-20.7 points is the worst among all Division I teams.
“They’re still figuring out how to win games, but they’re competing,” Barnes said.
Jon Mettus can be reached at 661-395-7389. Follow him on Twitter: @jmettus.