Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Big West weekly review-preview

Well, the uninvited and unwanted COVID-19 made its way back to the Big West Conference last week. After a one-week respite from COVID-related issues, two more Big West games were canceled last week.

The previous week – January 17-23 – featured the completion of all 11 scheduled games involving Big West Conference teams, ending a streak of eight consecutive weeks with at least one canceled game due to COVID-related issues.

The cancelations returned last week, when Long Beach State announced that it was going on a “pause” for two weeks due to a COVID case within its program. The 49ers’ series with UC San Diego was canceled last week, and a two-game series at UC Santa Barbara is also announced as canceled.

With that, all 11 teams in the Big West can now claim to have lost at least two conference games due to COVID issues. UCSB was the last remaining team that had a chance to complete the full schedule.

If no other games during the regular season get canceled – and yes, that’s a big IF – the maximum number of counting conference games will be 16.

UCSB, Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, CSU Bakersfield and Hawai’i are all on track to reach 16 conference games.

Current league leader UC Irvine is on pace to reach 14 Big West games, as are UC Riverside and CSUN.

Long Beach State’s current situation will drop it to 12 conference games. UC Davis, which endured a seven-week break due to county restrictions, is on pace to reach 10 Big West games.

In short, there will be an unequal amount of games played, and the standings will not be easy to track. Winning percentages will determine the order, and the resulting seedings for the Big West Conference Championship Tournament.

Standings Check

Thanks to Hawai’i’s thrilling upset of UC Irvine last Saturday, there are no undefeated teams in the Big West. The Anteaters remain atop the standings at 5-1, but UC Santa Barbara (6-2), CSU Bakersfield (7-3), UC Riverside (4-2) and even Long Beach State (2-2) can now be considered within range of catching UCI.

On the opposite end of the standings, UC Davis is technically in last place at 0-2, but the Aggies still have games to play against fellow bottom-dwellers CSUN and Cal Poly. CSUN is 2-4 and Cal Poly is 1-7.

At the end of the regular season, the top six teams in the standings will be seeded into the quarterfinals. The teams that finish 7-10 will play “first round” games to qualify for the quarterfinals.

UC San Diego is a provisional member of the Big West and will not participate in the postseason. All games against UCSD will not be counted in the Big West standings.

Player of the Week

CSU Bakersfield senior guard Justin McCall was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week after leading the Roadrunners to a split against Cal State Fullerton.

McCall scored 20 and 26 points, respectively, in the two games against the Titans. He connected on 20 of 28 shot attempts (71.4 percent) and added eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.

Best Game of Last Week

Hawai’i 62, UC Irvine 61. The Warriors did the rest of the conference a favor by knocking the Anteaters down a notch. Hawai’i out-scored UCI 10-0 in the final 2:32 of regulation, and forced the Anteaters into several uncharacteristic errors in the crucial moments of the game. Junior Madut drained two free throws with 2.8 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, then he made a clutch 3-pointer in OT.

Games to Watch This Week

CSU Bakersfield at UC Irvine. This series could have a huge impact at the top of the standings. A two-game sweep by the visiting Roadrunners could vault CSUB into first place. A two-game sweep by UCI could drop CSUB out of contention for the regular-season championship.

Big West Conference Upcoming Schedule
Friday, February 5

Long Beach State at UC Santa Barbara, canceled
UC Davis at CSUN, 4:00 p.m. PT
CSU Bakersfield at UC Irvine, 4:00 p.m. PT
UC Riverside at Cal State Fullerton, 5:00 p.m. PT
Hawai’i at UC San Diego, 5:00 p.m. PT

Saturday, February 6
Long Beach State at UC Santa Barbara, canceled
UC Davis at CSUN, 2:00 p.m. PT
UC Riverside at Cal State Fullerton, 5:00 p.m. PT
Hawai’i at UC San Diego, 5:00 p.m. PT
CSU Bakersfield at UC Irvine, 7:00 p.m. PT

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