Montlake Madness Speaks to Cal State Northridge Head Coach, Bobby Braswell

Cal St Northridge Gonzaga Basketball
Cal State Northridge’s head coach, Bobby Braswell, was kind enough to take some time to answer our questions in advance of Sunday night’s contest. Here’s our interview: /

Montlake Madness: Please give me the capsule scouting report on your team as you see it at this point — style of play, strengths, weaknesses, etc.

Coach Braswell: We won four of our last five games so I think we’re improving. Obviously we got off to a rough start having to go play at Purdue who’s the number-four ranked team in the country right now. They’re a very good basketball team and we kind of got our nose bloodied a little bit but we’ve steadily made improvements as the season’s progressed.

We’re known as a defensive-minded team. It’s still early in the year for us, we’ve got a lot of new guys that are here and are learning how to play defense the way I want to play defense.

MM: What’s your strategy for beating Washington?

CB: We have to try and control the tempo as much as we can. Washington obviously wants to get the ball up and down the floor and we’ve got to be smart and not turn the basketball over and try to slow them down. That’s the main objective, try and control the tempo.

MM: You led Memphis with 7:45 to go in the game during last year’s NCAA Tournament, and wound up losing the game by 11. How do your games against ranked opponents during the regular season help you prepare you to pull off the upset the next time you’re in a similar situation in the Tournament?

CB: We don’t necessarily think about getting ready for the Tournament. We just feel like any game that we play, especially against high-major institutions, top-10 teams or top-25 teams gives us an opportunity to get ourselves prepared for our conference. We always play a difficult schedule and this schedule is no different. Obviously Washington is one of the top teams in the country and if we can have a positive showing against them and compete then hopefully the obstacle that some people may see is an opportunity for something special.

MM: Can you give me your brief scouting report on the Huskies?

CB: I just know that they’re extremely athletic and really get after you defensively. They really want to run the ball and get the scores up in transition so, that’s why I said before, it’s important for us control that. They’ve got a couple guys averaging 20 points a game and one of them is a 20 and 10 so we’ve got to try to find a way to limit those guys as much as we can. They’re a very good, very young, very athletic team and they’ve got a lot of speedsters so we’ll have to find a way to keep up with them.

MM: You used to be an assistant at Oregon, an arch-nemesis of the Huskies. Do you hold any residual feelings of Pac-10 rivalry from that time in your career?

CB: Not at all. Lorenzo Romar is a good friend and I’m happy that he’s had the success that he’s had. He’s done a great job up there but there is no rivalry there.

MM: What’s your coaching philosophy? How do you approach being a basketball coach and also being a role model to your players?

CB: Coaching philosophy is that we want our teams to play extremely hard. We want them to play unselfish basketball and we want them to represent the University and represent themselves in a positive way. We demand that they play hard every day and compete and we also encourage our guys to be good citizens on and off the floor and I think part of that responsibility is how I live my life and how my coaching staff lives their lives. We want to be more than just people who tell you how to live but exemplify that in how we do things.