Big West Tournament Preview
This is one of the best leagues in the country for nicknames. We’ve got the Matadors, Gauchos, 49ers, and Anteaters, some real heavy hitters. There’s also a very good team in UC Irvine that can do some damage in the NCAA Tournament.
2018 Champion: Cal State Fullerton
1-seed UC Irvine Anteaters 27-5 (15-1)
The Anteaters are strong defensively allowing just 63.8 points per game, which is just outside the top-50 in KenPom. Offense can be tough to come by for this team but guard play will dictate their offense.
2-seed UC Santa Barbara Gauchos 21-9 (10-6)
The Guachos boast five players averaging double figures but they don’t shoot it well from 3-point range. 2nd chance points will be crucial for Santa Barbara to knock off Irvine.
3-seed Cal State Fullerton Titans 14-16 (10-6)
The Titans are the rare combo of up-tempo style of play and strong defensive team. The problem is they don’t score the ball very well. Kyle Allman and Khalil Ahmad are their two best players and will have to have big tournaments if they want to advance.
4-seed Hawai’i Warriors 18-12 (9-7)
Scoring is a premium in this league, not many teams are proficient in that category and Hawai’i is right in the middle of the pack. However, they have two good big men, which most teams in the Big West don’t that can change the game and open up the inside out play.
5-seed Long Beach State 49ers 14-18 (8-8)
As one of the fastest tempo teams in the country, the gameplan is simple for Long Beach, they need to limit their turnovers and play efficient offense. Deishaun Booker is one of the league’s best scorers and is capable of leading his team to a couple wins.
6-seed UC Davis Aggies 11-19 (7-9)
UC Davis is one of the worst offensive teams in America. It will be very tough for them to win games especially when you add on the fact that they aren’t spectacular defensively. If TJ Shorts can find some efficiency in his offensive game, the Aggies will be dangerous.
7-seed Cal State Northridge Matadors 13-19 (7-9)
Mark Gottfried still has the pay for play scandal following him and it looks like he is being directly linked to payments and Dennis Smith Jr and whatever else. But that’s not what I’m here for. He is still coaching and he leads one of the worst defensive teams in America. However, his team has an absolute stud big man Lamine Diane who averages a double double (24.8 points 11.1 rebounds 1.5 steals 2.1 blocks) and a strong shooter in Terrell Gomez. Those two can wreak havoc on this league if they figure out how to get some stops.
8-seed UC Riverside Highlanders 10-22 (4-12)
Diykembe Martin is far and away the best player on Riverside, he leads them in scoring, assists, and steals and shoots the ball over 45% from both the field and 3.
Santa Barbara over Northridge
Davis over Fullerton
Irvine over Riverside
Hawai’i over Long Beach State
Irvine over Davis
Santa Barbara over Hawai’i
Irvine over Santa Barbara