Cal State Fullerton (11-6, 3-2) vs. UC Irvine (6-12, 3-3) at 7 p.m. in Irvine, CA

After a week off, men’s basketball is back at it tonight with a big game against the Titans of Cal State Fullerton. The 4th place Titans and 5th place Anteaters should be a good game, with another example of different recruiting philosophies going head to head.

CSUF has been renamed transfer central, as for some reason Head Coach Bob Burton has experienced great success and a track record of recruiting D-I transfers. Out of 13 scholarships on the roster, CSUF has an astounding eight players who started their careers at a different D-I school. Out of that group, the trio of Omondi Amoke (Cal), Kwame Vaughn (USF) and DJ Seeley (Cal) spearhead the offense, while Orane Chin (South Florida) and Andre Hardy (Oral Roberts) provide boosts off the bench. The only impact Titan who started there as a freshman is guard Isiah Umipig, who was selected the Big West Conference 6th Player of the Year in 2010-11.

Compare this approach to UCI’s true freshman-laden team, and the difference in maturity is huge. However, CSUF has been inconsistent, with a win-loss record largely padded by a cupcake schedule. They’ve also been weak on defense, another opposite from UCI’s defense-first, non-existant offense at times approach. One thing that is the same with the two teams is that both like to run and play quick basketball, so it should be an exciting one to watch.

CSUF is coming off of a big win for them against UCR, which had just beaten Cal Poly and UCSB. If UCI can pull this one out, it’ll do wonders for the Anteater’s collective confidence going forward. People forget that last year’s team started out 4-3 in conference, capped by a huge win against Long Beach State, before losing their next five, a stretch they never really recovered from. Let’s hope the 2011-12 squad doesn’t fall into a similar slide.

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