Coming off some of their best stretches of basketball this season, the Cal State Bakersfield men's and women's teams will get to test themselves against teams of national prominence as they close out non-conference play.
Each team faces a significant test on Sunday. The Roadrunner men travel to Lubbock to face a Texas Tech team that played in the national championship game a year ago, while the women head to Corvallis to take on an unbeaten, top-five team in Oregon State.
Below is a breakdown of each weekend matchup.
With a week remaining until Christmas, the 4-8 Roadrunner men were winless in games decided by single-digits and road games. They proceeded to break each streak in matchups with Montana State and Cal Poly.
A late Taze Moore second-chance score helped CSUB edge Montana State 74-72 on Dec. 19, in a game where the final 23:18 was played within one possession. Moore (13 points) then led a balanced offensive attack in a 72-50 drubbing of Cal Poly, the Roadrunners' first regular-season road win since February.
The 'Runners look to make further strides against a Texas Tech team that remains formidable despite losing more than 75 percent of its scoring from last season's Final Four run.
The 23rd-ranked Red Raiders recovered from a three-game losing streak with a three-game win streak, one that began with a 70-57 win over Louisville, which entered that Dec. 10 matchup ranked No. 1 in the country.
Freshman Jahmi'us Ramsey leads the team with 17 points per game while graduate transfer Chris Clarke is third in the Big 12, averaging nine rebounds a contest.
Stat of note: The 8-3 Red Raiders have owned the second half this season, outscoring opponents by 123 points. They've had second-half scoring edges in nine of 11 games, all nine of which are double-digit deficits.
One of those second-half surges came in a Dec. 21 game against WAC foe Texas Rio Grande Valley. Trailing 27-26 at halftime, Tech used an 11-0 run midway through the second half to pull away for a 68-58 win.
Coach Rod Barnes on recent win streak: “Our guys are playing a whole lot more confident. We’ve been talking for the last three or four weeks about soul searching. It was the first time that I really felt like our guys started to really hurt. I really started to see the team say 'We’ve got to get this right, we’re getting tired of losing.’ I just started to see us make a move, make a transition to not just coach telling them ‘Hey, we’ve got to get this correct.'"
Like last year, the CSUB women's team is closing its non-conference schedule with games against Oregon State and UC Riverside. But the vibe is much different this time around.
While the Roadrunners entered that 2018 stretch on a five-game losing streak -- one that extended to seven when it was over -- they come into a Sunday game against OSU on a six-game win streak. This run of success helped turn a team projected to be middle of the pack in the WAC at the start of the season to one many now consider to be the league favorite.
CSUB will get a taste of what the NCAA Tournament would be like in a Sunday contest against No. 3 Oregon State. The Beavers come in 11-0 and received four first-place votes in the most recent Associated Press poll.
All-purpose guard Mikayla Pivec leads a prolific offense in scoring (15.6 points per game), rebounding (9.9), assists (5.6) and steals (1.5). Pevic had 22 points on 9-of-9 shooting while adding 10 rebounds to lead the Beavers to a 92-52 win over CSUB last December.
The Roadrunners' final non-conference game will be a road contest against future Big West opponent UC Riverside on Tuesday. While 0-10 against everyone else, the Highlanders are 3-0 against WAC teams, earning wins over New Mexico State (60-58), Utah Valley (67-53) and California Baptist (80-64).
Stat of note: Though they built up an 8-0 record at home, success hasn't followed the Roadrunners when they've left the Icardo Center.
CSUB is 0-3 away from home and has lost six straight road games since last February. Sunday's game will be the first of four consecutive road tilts.
Coach Greg McCall on Oregon State: “They’re a really good team. We really have to lock in on our assignments that we have for them, on the defensive end especially. They’re huge. They are big across the board. They have great shooters, they have a really, really good point guard. They run their stuff very well. We have our work cut out on the boards so we’ve got to be ready to really box out.”