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Big West weekly review-preview

It was a forgettable start to the conference regular season for all but one team in the Big West Conference.

After the first week of the Big West regular season, one team (UC Irvine) is 2-0, another team (UC Santa Barbara) is 0-2, and the other nine teams are 0-0. Eight teams were affected by canceled games due to COVID issues on December 27 and 28.

Hawai’i was among the affected, as its scheduled opponent, Cal Poly, announced on December 26 that it would not be making the trip to Honolulu due to a positive COVID-19 test within its program.

The Rainbow Warriors’ next games are scheduled for January 8 and 9, on the road at UC Riverside. For what it’s worth, UC Riverside’s first four games of the Big West season have already been canceled – December 27 and 28 vs. Long Beach State, and January 1 and 2 at UC Davis.

However, the Highlanders recently completed a quarantine, and worked out a last-minute scramble to host New Mexico State in non-conference games on January 2 and 3.

Hawai’i has a bye this week, and its last game was on December 19 against Hawai’i-Hilo.

Here are a couple of other notes to ponder after the first week:

• It’s way too early to draw any conclusions during this already-crazy season, but at 2-0, UC Irvine already has a significant advantage over the rest of the conference. Canceled games will not be rescheduled, so the Anteaters basically have a two-win head start on the rest of the conference.

What’s more, UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara were picked to finish 1-2 in almost every preseason poll.

• There are no givens or gimmes in Big West basketball, but it was a tough blow for Hawai’i to have two home games against Cal Poly canceled through no fault of its own. The Warriors were picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll; Cal Poly was picked to finish 10th.

• The lack of available opponents for non-conference games has basically turned the Big West regular season into a challenge for seeding spots in the Big West Conference Tournament in March.

In simpler terms, no teams from the Big West will be receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, so the winner of the Conference Tournament will take the Big West’s automatic bid to the NCAAs.

With that in mind, it is worth noting that the teams that finish 7th through 10th in the final standings will have to play “first round” games to reach the quarterfinal round. The top six teams will be seeded directly into the quarterfinals.

• UPDATED: The conference schedule will remain compromised for at least two more weeks. At least three teams – Cal Poly, CSUN and UC Davis – are unavailable to play games this week. Cal Poly is expected to be cleared for games on January 8 and 9 at Cal State Bakersfield.

CSUN announced its “pause” on December 31, and thus canceled its games for January 1, 2, 8 and 9.

UC Davis is in a bit of a more unpredictable situation. The UCD campus is in Yolo County, which is currently restricting athletic teams from hosting or traveling for competition. It remains to be determined if and/or when Yolo County will lift those restrictions.

Big West Conference
December 27 results

at UC Irvine 75, UC Santa Barbara 56
CSUN at Cal State Fullerton, canceled
Long Beach State at UC Riverside, canceled
UC Davis at Cal State Bakersfield, canceled
Cal Poly at Hawai’i, canceled

December 28 results
at UC Irvine 73, UC Santa Barbara 69
*at CSUN 66, New Mexico State 63
CSUN at Cal State Fullerton, canceled
Long Beach State at UC Riverside, canceled
UC Davis at Cal State Bakersfield, canceled
Cal Poly at Hawai’i, canceled

January 1 games
UC Riverside at UC Davis, canceled
UC San Diego at Cal Poly, canceled
UC Irvine at CSUN, canceled
Cal State Bakersfield at Long Beach State, 4:00 p.m. (PT)
Cal State Fullerton at UC Santa Barbara, 5:00 p.m. (PT)

January 2 games
UC Riverside at UC Davis, canceled
UC San Diego at Cal Poly, canceled
UC Irvine at CSUN, canceled
*New Mexico State at UC Riverside, 2:00 p.m. (PT)
Cal State Bakersfield at Long Beach State, 4:00 p.m. (PT)
Cal State Fullerton at UC Santa Barbara, 5:00 p.m. (PT)

January 3 game
*New Mexico State at UC Riverside, 2:00 p.m. (PT)

*Non-conference game

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