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Big West weekly review-preview

Week 4’s slate of Big West Conference games did not produce any big surprises, so there was not much change in the conference standings.

UC Irvine won two games last week to remain atop the Big West at 6-1. Hawai’i is right behind at 5-1, thanks to an epic comeback victory over CSUN. The Rainbow Warriors erased a 17-point deficit in the final 11 minutes of the game against the Matadors, and it allowed Hawai’i to remain a half-game behind the Anteaters.

UC Riverside moved into sole possession of third place at 4-3, and CSUN dropped to fourth at 4-4.

Here is a look back at last week and a look ahead to this week:

• What happened to the 49ers?

No, we don’t mean the Super Bowl. The Long Beach State 49ers appeared ready to become a dark horse contender in the Big West race following an upset of first-place UC Irvine on January 22. However, the 49ers lost two games last week, including an 87-62 blowout loss at home against UC Santa Barbara.

Long Beach State is now 7-16 overall and tied for eighth place in the Big West at 2-5. Cal Poly is tied with Long Beach at the bottom of the standings, and the Mustangs will host the 49ers this Wednesday. The loser of that game will fall into sole possession of ninth (last) place.

•  Honda Center to remain home of Big West Tournament through 2022

The Big West Conference announced last week that the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., will continue to host the Big West Conference Championship Tournament through 2022.

The Honda Center – which is the home arena of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks – has been the host site for the Big West tournament since 2011.

•  Player of the Week

As noted in a previous post, Hawai’i senior guard Eddie Stansberry was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week on Monday. It was the third time he received the award this season, tying a Hawai’i program record (three previous UH players got player of the week honors when the program was in the Western Athletic Conference).

Stansberry is the only Big West player to earn the award more than once so far this season. Last season, CSUN’s Lamine Diane received the award three times.

•  Big week for UC Santa Barbara

The Big West team in the spotlight this week is UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos host both Hawai’i (Thursday) and UC Irvine (Saturday). In effect, UCSB can put itself back in contention with victories over both of the conference leaders this week.

The Gauchos were picked to finish second in the Big West Preseason Poll, but are currently tied for fifth place with a 3-4 conference record.

•  Latest NET rankings

UC Irvine continues to remain way ahead of the rest of the league in the latest NET rankings by the NCAA.

112 – UC Irvine
176 – Hawaii
178 – UC Santa Barbara
205 – UC Riverside
216 – UC Davis
228 – CSUN
251 – Cal State Fullerton
291 – Long Beach State
330 – Cal Poly

The NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) is a measuring tool that relies on statistics and other variables to rank all 353 NCAA Division I teams.

•  Best game of last week

Cal Poly 101, Cal State Fullerton 100 (OT). Cal Poly’s Colby Rogers scored on a layup off a long pass from Keith Smith with 0.4 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Mustangs the crazy win. Earlier in regulation, Cal State Fullerton trailed by nine points with less than a minute remaining, but sent it to overtime on a 3-pointer by Austen Awosika with 1.9 seconds remaining.

Awosika also hit a running jumper with 4.6 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Titans a momentary 100-99 lead before Rogers’ stunning layup to win it for Cal Poly.

•  Game to watch this week

Hawai’i at UC Santa Barbara, Thursday. This is Hawai’i’s first road game since January 11. Since that last road game, the Warriors went 4-0 during a three-week homestand that included a 70-63 win over UCSB.

The Gauchos are 1-2 at home against Big West teams so far this season.

This week’s games
Wednesday

UC Riverside at Cal State Fullerton
Long Beach State at Cal Poly

Thursday
UC Davis at UC Irvine
Hawai’i at UC Santa Barbara

Saturday
UC Riverside at CSUN
UC Irvine at UC Santa Barbara
Hawai’i at Cal Poly
UC Davis at Cal State Fullerton


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