Playoff Preview: No. 9 BC vs. No. 8 Moorpark

Mohamed Bafakih, Contributing Editor

It’s win or go home as BC men’s basketball kicks off its playoff run tonight as they travel to Moorpark College to face the Raiders in the opening round of the Southern California regional playoffs.

Both teams earned their first conference championship bids in over a decade, as BC (23-5 overall, 12-2 Western State Conference – South Divison) snapped an 18-year drought for its first outright title, while Moorpark (20-8, 9-3 Western State Conference – North Division) ended a wild WSC-North race en route to a share of its first conference title in 10 years.

Prior to the release of the seedings on Feb. 22, BC head coach and conference Coach of the Year Rich Hughes anticipated the Renegades to fall anywhere between No.5-9 in the SoCal regional playoffs, but the result wasn’t too entrancing for Hughes.

“It’s a new criteria; there’s some flaws to it,” he said on earning the No. 9 seed. “I definitely think we’re higher than that. I definitely don’t think we’re a top four team, and even five is somewhat a little bit debatable, but I thought we were 6-8 and a home team.

A home game would have meant a chance for BC to put its 10-0 home record this season on the line, but the show will head to unfamiliar territory.

BC hasn’t faced Moorpark since the arrival of Hughes, who is now in his 11th season, but facing the Raiders on their floor gives Hughes and his team a feeling of discontentment.

“As a coaching staff, we were very offended and upset about it,” he said. “I hope they feel slighted.”

Familiar foe to BC, Antelope Valley College (23-6, 7-5 WSC-South), earned the No. 7 seed despite the Renegades finishing conference three games ahead for a first place finish and holding higher state rankings throughout the second half of the season.

Looking past the seedings, Moorpark brings what Hughes stated a more “guard-oriented and open-floor team who resemble Las Positas and Redwoods”  – teams that BC faced during the preseason and split against.

The Raiders’ roster has 10 of their 13 players listed as guards, with their tallest player being 6-foot-7, so Moorpark may see difficulties dealing with BC’s 6-9 swingman Deandre Dickson defensively – especially if foul trouble comes to play.

Dickson, along with the rest of BC’s frontcourt, is where Hughes anticipates the success to present itself.

“They’re not very big, so if we can get the ball inside and utilize our inside strength we’re going to hurt them there,” he said.

If the Renegades presumably advance, they would have to face the state’s top-ranked team, who held the top spot for nearly the entire course of the season, and the region’s No. 1 seed in Saddleback (27-1).

Saddleback plays on Saturday, so Hughes would have a day to head down there and get a glimpse of what they’re like if both teams respectively advance to set up the #9 vs. #1 showdown.

KEY STATS: Moorpark is 6-2 at home this season and are winners of 6 of its last 7 games. BC is 7-2 on the road this season and have won 9 out of its last 10 games.

KEY MATCHUP: Lawrence Moore (BC; 6-3)  vs. Larry Bush (Moorpark; 6-1)

Moore, who is 3rd in the state with 2.3 steals per game, and his aggressive defense will be needed as Bush is the leading scorer of the team at 16.8 points per game and is coming off of a 39-point double overtime win against Cuesta in the conference-clinching game for the Raiders. With both of them sophomores, they’ll be needed to keep their seasons alive in win or go home circumstance.

KEYS TO A RENEGADE VICTORY: BC forces 16.1 turnovers per game (8th in the state) while Moorpark averages 11.9 turnovers per game (21st). BC must make it uncomfortable and disrupt Moorpark’s guards in order to have a chance at advancing.

BC’s two losses on the road this season was in large part because they only scored 61 and 68 points, an average of almost 20 points less than they’re season total (83.4 PPG).