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A quick look at the Big West Conference

According to the latest Sagarin Ratings, Big West Conference teams are 1-16 against the top 50 rated teams in the country this season. The University of Hawai’i basketball team’s win over Saint Mary’s (rated No. 44 by Sagarin) last month represents the only significant victory.

The Warriors, with a non-conference record of 11-3, also happen to be the only Big West team with double-digits in the win column so far this season.

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It doesn’t necessarily make Hawaii the favorite to win the Big West, but it certainly means the Warriors have as good a shot as any other team this season.

Conference play begins this Thursday with four games, including Hawai’i at Cal Poly. The other games on Thursday are UC Riverside at Cal State Fullerton, UC Davis at Cal State Northridge, and UC Irvine at Long Beach State. UC Santa Barbara, which is currently the highest-rated team in the Big West, has a bye on Thursday and will open its conference schedule on Saturday.

Here is a brief look at the nine teams:

CAL POLY
Record:
4-9
Head coach: Joe Calero (fifth season)
Results vs. Sagarin Top 50: Loss at Arizona (73-62), loss at Oregon (82-61), loss at Pittsburgh (73-56)
Of note: The Mustangs have played one of the toughest schedules in the nation, and they have a 0-7 road record to show for it. However, they are 3-1 at home and went 9-0 at home against Big West opponents last season.
Players to watch: Chris Eversley (6-7, Sr., F) was a first-team All-Big West selection last season, and is averaging 14.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this season. Dave Nwaba (6-4, So., F) is averaging 11.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, and has a .606 field goal percentage. Kyle Odister (6-0, Sr., G) is averaging 9.3 points per game and leads the team with 29 3-pointers.

HAWAI’I
Record:
11-3
Head coach: Gib Arnold (fourth season)
Results vs. Sagarin Top 50: Loss at Missouri (92-80), win vs. Saint Mary’s (76-74)
Of note: The Warriors are the only Big West team averaging more than 80 points per game at 82.0. They have won nine of their last 10 games, and are off to the best start since the 2003-04 team opened 14-3.
Players to watch: Christian Standhardinger (6-8, Sr., F) was a first-team All-Big West selection last season, and is averaging 17.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this season. Garrett Nevels (6-2, Jr., G) is averaging 13.6 points per game and leads the team with 29 3-pointers and a .509 percentage from 3-point range. Isaac Fotu (6-8, So., F) is averaging 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Keith Shamburger (5-11, Jr., G) is averaging 9.9 points per game and ranks second in the Big West in assists at 5.0 per game.

CAL STATE FULLERTON
Record:
5-9
Head coach: Dedrique Taylor (first season)
Results vs. Sagarin Top 50: none
Of note: The Titans have not played any elite teams, but they suffered losses against notable opponents such as USC (76-62), Marquette (86-66), Miami, Fla. (48-46) and UNLV (83-64). They have 12 active players on the roster, and nine have already started at least one game.
Players to watch: Michael Williams (6-2, Sr., G) is averaging 15.2 points per game and leads the team with 27 3-pointers. He sat out last season as a redshirt after transferring from San Francisco. Alex Harris (6-1, Jr., G) is averaging 12.0 points and 2.5 assists per game.

CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Record:
8-7
Head coach: Reggie Theus (first season)
Results vs. Sagarin Top 50: none
Of note: The Matadors are 5-1 at home, with the only loss to Seattle. They are 1-6 on the road, including losses at USC, Fresno State and Central Michigan. The Matadors’ last game resulted in a road loss at South Dakota, and then they were stuck in South Dakota for three extra nights due to the severe weather.
Players to watch: The Matadors have the most productive duo in the conference – Stephan Hicks (6-6, Jr., G/F) is averaging 17.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, and Stephen Maxwell (6-7, Jr., F) is averaging 16.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Josh Greene (6-0, Sr., G) is contributing 14.8 points per game and leads the team with 37 3-pointers and a .493 percentage from 3-point range.

LONG BEACH STATE
Record:
4-10
Head coach: (seventh season)
Results vs. Sagarin Top 50: Loss at Arizona (91-57), loss vs. Michigan (85-61), loss at Missouri (69-59), loss vs. Creighton (78-61), loss vs. VCU (73-67), two losses vs. Kansas State
Of note: The 49ers have played the toughest schedule in the country, according to the Sagarin Ratings. They are 1-8 away from home, including six losses to top 50 teams. They are the three-time defending regular-season champions of the Big West.
Players to watch: Tyler Lamb (6-5, Jr., G) is averaging 20.8 points per game since he became eligible in mid-December. He is a transfer from UCLA. Mike Caffey (6-0, Jr., G) was a first-team All-Big West selection last season, and is averaging 16.9 points and 4.3 assists per game this season. Dan Jennings (6-9, Sr., F) is averaging 11.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.

UC DAVIS
Record:
5-10
Head coach: Jim Les (third season)
Results vs. Sagarin Top 50: none
Of note: The Aggies rank first in the Big West with 7.7 3-pointers per game, but they are last in the conference in rebounding at 29.9 per game. Head coach Jim Les is a former NBA player (1988-95 with four different teams).
Players to watch: Corey Hawkins (6-3, Jr., G) was a first-team All-Big West selection last season, and is averaging 17.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game this season. Josh Ritchart (6-9, Sr., F) is averaging 17.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game and leads the team with a .632 field goal percentage. He has missed the past six games due to injury, but is expected back soon. Ryan Sypkens (6-4, Sr., G) is averaging 11.5 points per game and leads the Big West with 49 3-pointers. He hit 10 3s in a game earlier this season.

UC IRVINE
Record:
9-7
Head coach: Russell Turner (fourth season)
Results vs. Sagarin Top 50: Loss at Oregon (91-63), loss at Arizona State (74-61)
Of note: The Anteaters lead the Big West in several statistics, including rebounds (40.3), assists (17.6), blocked shots (6.5) and field goal percentage (.490). They are one of the tallest teams in the country, with five players 6-8 and taller.
Players to watch: Will Davis II (6-8, Jr. F) is averaging 12.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and has a .603 field goal percentage. He was the Big West Defensive Player of the Year last season. Luke Nelson (6-3, Fr., G) is averaging 11.8 points per game and leads the team with 29 3-pointers. Mamadou Ndiaye (7-6, Fr., C) is the tallest player in NCAA Division I, and is averaging 9.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He leads the nation with a .750 field goal percentage, and leads the Big West with 53 blocked shots. Alex Young (6-1, So., G) is averaging 9.9 points and 4.2 assists per game.

UC RIVERSIDE
Record:
5-9
Head coach: Dennis Cutts (first season)
Results vs. Sagarin Top 50: Loss at San Diego State (77-41)
Of note: The Highlanders are just one victory away from matching their total of last season, when they finished 6-25. Six of their nine losses this season have been by four points or less.
Players to watch: Chris Patton (6-10, Sr., F) is averaging 12.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He has missed the last two games due to injury, but is expected to be ready for Big West action. Taylor Johns (6-7, So., F) is averaging 12.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game and has a .556 field goal percentage.

UC SANTA BARBARA
Record:
9-4
Head coach: Bob Williams (16th season)
Results vs. Sagarin Top 50: Loss at Colorado (76-68), loss at UCLA (89-76)
Of note: Among the Gauchos’ victories this season are an 86-65 win at UNLV, and a 72-65 home win over Cal. UCSB is the top defensive team in the Big West so far, allowing just 65.3 points per game while holding opponents to a .395 field goal percentage.
Players to watch: Alan Williams (6-7, Jr., C) leads the Big West in both scoring at 23.5 points per game, and rebounding at 10.7. He has six double-doubles this season, and has scored 20 or more points in nine different games. He has earned the Big West Player of the Week award three times already this season. Kyle Boswell (6-2, Sr., G) is averaging 12.5 points per game and leads the team with 42 3-pointers and a .488 percentage from 3-point range. Zalmico Harmon (6-0, Jr., G) is averaging 7.0 points and 5.2 assists per game.

10 Comments

  1. Onward to the road we go,cause we are the Road Warriors ! Step it up guys, Big West title at stake!

  2. Cal Poly will be a tough game. But in Coach Gib’s first year, we nearly pulled off a non-conference win in SLO with a tip-in that was erroneously called off at the buzzer.

    Anyhow, it should be an exciting conference season. There’s much hope this season with an improved backcourt.

    =======================================

    Midmajor Top 25 Poll (Hawaii jumps into the poll at #18):

    http://www.collegeinsider.com/mens-mid-major-top-25.php

  3. Scary part of season….This is the Real Season, for possible NIT or NCAA invites, Poly and Northridge, they play well at home, in front of less than 2000 or so, really small crowds. Hope that the Cali boys will go off, and the Bigs, Standhardinger, Fotu, Jovanovich if needed, and Rozitis, along with wings, AV and MT, just play great Defense, and can score the ball., put up 80 pts, I think UH wins against Poly, although they are known for D too.
    Against Northridge, another, UH put up 85 pts, I think they win.
    How will boys respond this first road swing, the REAL DEAL part of BB season? If UH sweeps, these ” boys” have become MEN! If they work really hard, and can split, they are growing, and maturing to becoming Great young men.
    This team, you guys, if read our blogs, stay Focused, as Shamburger says, you all want 2, not 1, 2 wins. Go get em, Spear and the gang, wish the best to the Fabulous Fourteen!
    😀
    Go Bows!

  4. hoopsa,
    I think real key for 8 new guys on this roster, the experience of 1 year Big West conference play on the road last year with Seniors, Standhardinger, Spearman, Rozitis, and Sophomores, Harper and Jawato, and Fotu. Those six can lead the way for the new guys, however out of the 8 new guys, Valdes, Nevels, Smith, Jovanovich,Shamburger, and Thomas, all played in Cali in past year, or in Keith’s case, 2 years ago. Team will be as ready as the can be. Just have to shutdown, or try to let Eversley dominate, and some other Poly guys go off. Always the worry, if Poly, though RPI not rated high, and coming off of 4 road losses, they will play tough at home, And you know what fans? UH just has to play 4 times tougher, gut it out,close it out, and try to come home with 2 wins!

  5. or try to let Eversley NOT dominate, and some other Poly guys go off.
    Correction.
    Guys, if hoops,says, if you glimpse at our blogs, comments posts, we got your back, thousands will probably watch if they can, around the USA and globe, and locally, to support you all.
    Plus, the families of sons, who live in Cali, if they can they will be at both of your road games, screaming out support!
    Go Warriors, Rebound, shoot well, protect the ball, D up and come home with a sweep of first 2 games on the road, to take first place!
    You all can do it!!

  6. Seems like UH MBB team, all are relatively healthy, no report of flu etc.
    we all like UH.
    So for fun, I make my picks final score and results(actually really want it to happen)

    If till game time, all 5 starters, in good health have their legs, and shots during warm ups are going in. Plus maybe 4 or 5 guys off the bench are raring to go.
    UH 80 Cal Poly 76

    Samething with Northridge game, if now, coming off of huge victory over mustangs, UH whole team playing with focucs and confidence, and shooting well having fun, and closing the deal.
    UH 84 Cal Northridge 75

    A lot of factors, can UH hit their shots from rim to 3 line, Will Poly and Northridge, being, supposed underdogs, RPI wise, suddenly get unreal hot from the field, and play shutdown D? Well, we shall see starting this Thursday, very exciting game,. sweating bullets already, however, This team with the 3 seniors as hoops, and winbows say, plus the steady PG play of Keith and Quincy, and the twin super PF’s, plus AV and MT, Stefan, playing wild in California, I love Hawaii’s chances to go 2-0! Start BWC play on top as winbow and hoops say!

    Go Bows!!
    Uhfanzonly1.
    And special shout out to , Jawato, hey “B” Jawato, you back in Cali now, show the golden state how Jaws plays super 3 ball!

  7. Hope that Nevels, Jawato, and possibly 808 secret weapon, DB, Dyrbe Enos, goes off and hits 3 for 3, in critical part of game, and seals a victory by hitting 2 free throws with .5 seconds to go. Unreal. Wish all the guys the best!
    Remember team Maximum Boom effort, play hard, smart and Stay together One Ohana, Win Regular season BWC, and BWC tourney, you will have NIT and NCAA invites!
    Go Bows…and maybe Harper and Hackman, get to bomb some 3 balls too, that means, UH doing well, or they need Mike and Jack’s help, remember Jovanovich, guys, so be ready, any time, if needed, Gib could call on you. So win as 14 guys, and win, as 14 MEN!
    Go Bows!
    Uhfanzonly1.

  8. Tom Apple, lets get moving on Gib’s contract , It’s taken long enough, Gib bleeds green and white, we all want him to stay, please don’t do a Herman Frazier. The contract process is embarassingly taking too long . I know this is typical for the normal operation of upper campus but this has got to change, if you want the athletic department to be run like a business , take a look at how Bachman Hall runs itself. Mahalo

  9. well we have about 15 fouls to give against eversley…davis, Stefan and thomas

  10. Hawaii will definitely win both away games. We’re a much improved team from last year. The improvement isn’t only due to our new guards but thanks also to a much improved Gib Arnold.

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