Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Hawai’i picked eighth in Big West Preseason Poll


After sweeping the regular-season and postseason tournament titles last season, the University of Hawai’i basketball team is picked to finish eighth out of nine teams in the 2016-17 Big West Conference Preseason Media Poll.

Long Beach State received 19 of 23 first-place votes and is predicted to finish first. UC Irvine is second, followed by CSUN and UC Santa Barbara.

Hawai’i, which must replace all five starters from last season’s record-setting 28-6 team, actually received one first-place vote. Cal Poly is predicted to finish ninth – and is the only team below the Warriors.

Seven players were named to the Media Preseason All-Conference Team, but none from Hawai’i.

Here is the official release from www.bigwest.org

Long Beach State is the favorite to capture the 2016-17 Big West men’s basketball regular season championship, according to a 23-member media panel who also voted on a seven-player preseason all-conference team.

Head coach Dan Monson’s 49ers, which return three starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s 20-15 club, collected 19 first-place votes for 203 points. Long Beach State reassumed the favorite’s role for the first time since the 2012-13 season. UC Irvine earned 158 points with one first-place vote to finish second in the poll. With 155 points and two first-place nods, CSUN came in third place followed closely behind by UC Santa Barbara in fourth (147). UC Davis was fifth with 88 points and Cal State Fullerton finished sixth with 83. UC Riverside (76), Hawai‘i (73) and Cal Poly (52) rounded out the poll. The Rainbow Warriors grabbed the one remaining first-place vote.

In addition to recording a 20-win season, Long Beach State finished 12-4 for third place in the Big West and qualified for the National Invitation Tournament for the eighth time in program history. The 49ers return All-Big West Second Team selection Justin Bibbins. The junior point guard handed out 164 assists for the third-highest single-season total in school history. Junior Gabe Levin is another returning starter. The 6-7 forward earned honorable mention all-conference after averaging 9.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Coming off a school record 28-win season, UC Irvine claimed a share of last year’s regular season title, the program’s second in three years. The Anteaters welcome back senior Luke Nelson, a Big West Player of the Year candidate. The 6-3 guard led UCI in scoring last season with 13.7 points per game and landed a spot on the All-Big West First Team. He is the conference’s active career leader in points (1,226), assists (361) and steals (115). UCI has compiled four straight 20-win seasons for a total of 93 victories over that span.

CSUN trots out a full roster for the first time in the fourth year of the Reggie Theus era. The third place prediction is the highest for the Matadors under Theus. Junior guard Kendall Smith headlines a returning group of three starters and seven letterwinners. He averaged 15.3 points in 21 games. Senior Aaron Parks (13.3 ppg) and junior Micheal Warren (12.7 ppg) give the Matadors scoring depth. In addition, the program welcomes in Division I transfers Rakim Lubin (Connecticut), Darin Johnson (Washington), Reggie Theus Jr. (South Carolina) and Dylan Johns (Texas A&M).

Bob Williams enters his 19th season at UC Santa Barbara as just the third head coach in Big West history to accumulate 300 wins. The Gauchos posted a 19-14 record last year and participated in the inaugural Vegas 16 postseason tournament. UCSB is led this season by a talented backcourt in junior Gabe Vincent and senior Eric Childress. Vincent averaged 14.1 points per game and hit 80 three-pointers, the second most in school history. Childress knocked down a career-best 32 threes and averaged a team-high 4.3 assists per game. Both players were named honorable mention all-conference.

The seven players the media selected to the preseason all-conference team consisted of one sophomore, four juniors and two seniors. Cal State Fullerton had two players named to the list in sophomore Khalil Ahmad and senior Tre’ Coggins. LBSU also featured a pair of honorees in Bibbins and Levin. In addition, CSUN’s Smith, UCI’s Nelson and UCSB’s Vincent all received preseason recognition from the panel.

2016-17 Media Poll
1, Long Beach State (19 first-place votes), 203 points
2, UC Irvine (1), 158
3, CSUN (2), 155
4, UC Santa Barbara, 147
5, UC Davis, 88
6, Cal State Fullerton, 83
7, UC Riverside, 76
8, Hawai’i (1), 73
9, Cal Poly, 52

Preseason All-Conference Team
Khalil Ahmad, Cal State Fullerton, So., G
Justin Bibbins, Long Beach State, Jr., G
Tre Coggins, Cal State Fullerton, Sr., G
Gabe Levin, Long Beach State, Jr., F
Luke Nelson, UC Irvine, Sr., G
Kendall Smith, CSUN, Jr., G
Gabe Vincent, UC Santa Barbara, Jr., G


  1. Just MY Comments…

    Kenpom Already HAS UHMBB @ #4 BWC
    (HE IS Smarter than MOST Media)
    AND Even he IS Probably ‘Conservative’
    AND His System ‘Automatically’ Adjusts for RESULTS

    UHFB was Picked LAST; Currently Strong #2, ‘Maybe/Probably’ Should Be Mathematically #1)
    MEDIA Usually Vastly DOES NOT Understand The VALUE of COACHING
    LIKE NATIONAL Coaches-Of-Year JJ, GANOT …MWC Rolo(?)

    With OUR System And Coaching (and Player Skills-Execution…Stats;
    Example SEVEN Assists in 30 minutes Running Time?)
    I SAY Almost NO WAY (Only Injury) BWC Will Finish the Season with SIX guards Better Than ALL the Guards at UH

    YEAR 2 — Earn PROGRAM R-E-S-P-E-C-T…

    Here WE…
    GO ‘BOWS!

  2. The current team and the 2016-17 season –
    Really put last season’s best coaching staff to the potentially a challenge of their life!

    Fans will provide the best morale support.

  3. The poll looks reasonable if you look at the teams on paper. However, I think UH will finish between 4th-5th in conference which would be a good year considering how young and inexperienced this team is. Next year is the money year if we can develop players this year, add MT back in the mix and pick up a top notch recruit like Avea.

  4. I will agree with PONO. It looks like the first 4 teams are solid and then the last 5 are questions. I think if UH can be in fifth place and beat the other bottom teams then that will be a good year and still doing better than what people think.

    I don’t see no way that UH can be 8th place in this league even with the NCAA penaltys.

  5. This team may have some difficulty but I believe they will end strong and be a serious contender by the end of the season and especially in the Big West tournament where they will surprise everyone. We have a good team and they will get stronger throughout the year. Go bows. As fans we are 100% behind you and your coaches.

  6. UH has an outside chance of winning the conference. And I’m obviously not the only one to think that – we did get a vote. Irvine is much less of a threat without Mamadou and LBSU much less without Faust and Hammonds. In any case, I think we’all dominate in the years to come under Ganot.

  7. anderpops,

    We can’t make it to the BWC tournament due to the post-season ban. Or is that not considered post-season?

  8. I Think BWC Would Need to help by Defining BWC Tourney as part of Regular Season,
    I believe there was some discussion but I’m Not Holding my breath, Nor Buying ANAHEIM Tickets…

  9. “Competition Penalties: The men’s basketball team shall end its season with the last scheduled regular season game and be banned from postseason competition during the 2016-17 academic year ”
    (UH Infractions Decision)
    End its season with the last regular season game means no Big West tournament.

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