That number shouldn’t mean anything to you, I mean, it’s a random number. Divisible by four evenly but not five. Split down the middle it is 88. Again what’s the meaning?
176, which are how many men’s basketball games CSU Bakersfield has played as an NCAA Independent, a run that ended on March 9 as CSUB won their fourth-straight game to end their season at Utah Valley. It was their 176th and final game as an Independent as they join the Western Athletic Conference next season.
Since the 2007-08 season, that is how many games have been played by the program, but of course being an Independent and playing nothing but non-conference games means you probably have to travel all over this land to play those games right? Correct.
I did a little research, considering I have been there for all 176 contests, there for all 62 wins and 114 losses. Witnessed all the bad calls, good calls, missed shots and buzzer-beaters, I’ve been there, done that, and yes I have the t-shirt.
Breaking it down since the beginning of our Division I era in the 2007-08 season, we’ve played 176 games as an Independent against 60 different programs including the likes of Gonzaga, UCLA, Wyoming, Colorado, Colorado State, Texas Tech, Cincinnati, Nevada, Portland, Boise State, Montana State and many more. We’ve played teams representing 17 different conferences including the Pac-12, Big 12, Big East, Big West, Great West, Mountain West, West Coast Conference, Western Athletic Conference, Atlantic Sun and a few more.
I couldn’t even start to calculate the miles traveled in these six seasons, but I can tell you our furthest road game was last season at New Jersey Tech in Newark, a whopping 2,796 miles from Bakersfield. Our closest road game was 99 miles away at Cal State Northridge, a couple of times.
We have played in 17 different states including the aforementioned New Jersey, Virginia, Mississippi, Texas, Nebraska, Colorado, Montana and Idaho just to name a few. We’ve also played and won a game in every time zone in the continental United States.
I’ve commented before how advantageous this has been for me personally, allowing me to see some of the places that a kid from Tehachapi would never normally explore. I mean who growing up in the Tehachapi Mountains ever believes that they’ll one day find themselves in rural Virginia or Cincinnati, Ohio and being paid to be there?
I am happy this era is over. It now means we enter a phase in our program when we are finally on an even playing field, it means next season when March rolls around we aren’t just watching conference tournaments and NCAA tournament play, we’re actually competing and have one-in-eight shot of making it to the ‘big dance.’
176, seems like a lot when you spell it out like that. That chapter is closed. Time to get ready to pen another one in just a few short months.
COREY COSTELLOE, a Tehachapi High graduate, is Director of New Media and Broadcasting for California State University Bakersfield.