Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Big West weekly review-preview

The chase for the Big West Conference regular-season title is down to three teams – UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and UC Riverside.

UCSB is in the driver’s seat at 10-2 with four games remaining – two games at UC Riverside this week, then two games at home against Cal Poly on March 5 and 6. A UCSB sweep of Riverside this week could clinch the regular-season title for the Gauchos. Of course, unplanned canceled games can affect matters as well.

UC Riverside is 5-3 with four games remaining. The Highlanders need to sweep UCSB this week and sweep CSUN on March 5 and 6 to still have a chance at the regular-season title.

UC Irvine is 8-4, but only has two conference games remaining – March 5 and 6 at Long Beach State. The Anteaters need to sweep the 49ers, and have UCSB lose at least three of its four games to have a shot at the regular-season title.

The dilemma of the uneven schedule

COVID-19 issues wreaked havoc on the Big West Conference regular season schedule. How it affects the final standings remains to be seen.

Amazingly, not a single Big West team will complete all 20 scheduled games by the Big West. Hawai’i, if it is able to complete its final four games of the season, will lead the conference with 18 Big West games.

At the opposite end, UC Davis will need to play its final four games of the season just to reach 10 Big West games. What’s more, the Aggies’ series against contenders UC Irvine, UC Riverside and Cal State Bakersfield were all canceled.

The solution? The Big West may penalize the teams with a significantly lower amount of games with “losses” to determine the seedings for the Big West Conference Championship Tournament. The number of teams penalized and the specific amount of “losses” will be determined at the end of the regular season.

No fans allowed at tournament

The Big West announced on Monday that the 2021 Big West Conference Championship Tournament will be held without spectators, including the general public, as well as family and guests of team personnel.

It keeps consistent with the regular season. All Big West games at all sites during the regular season were played without spectators.

The 2021 Big West Tournament will be played March 9-12 at the Michelob ULTRA Arena in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

The conference also announced that the official title of the tournament is now the Air Force Reserve Big West Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships, presented by the Hawaiian Islands.

Best game of last week

CSUN 88, Hawai’i 80 (OT). The Matadors rallied from a 23-point deficit in the first half for a stunning victory over the Warriors. Each team made 13 3-pointers, and each team had four players finish with double-figure points. One day earlier, the Warriors hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to score a 75-74 win over the Matadors.

Series to watch this week

UC Santa Barbara at UC Riverside. As mentioned above, the Gauchos can move a huge step closer to clinching the regular-season championship with a sweep this week. On the other hand, the Highlanders can make the standings very interesting – and end UCSB’s 12-game winning streak – with a pair of wins over the Gauchos.

Player of the Week

CSUN junior Darius Brown II was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week after a historic performance last week. The 6-foot-2 point guard recorded a triple-double of 18 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in CSUN’s 88-80 overtime win over Hawai’i.

It is the first triple-double by a CSUN player against NCAA Division I competition, and just the 13th triple-double in Big West Conference history.

In two games against Hawai’i, Brown averaged 16.0 points on 14-of-23 shooting, along with 11.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 4.0 steals per game. He also took over the national lead in the statistical category for assist-to-turnover ratio at 4.55.

Friday’s Games
UC Davis at Cal Poly, 2:00 p.m. PT
UC San Diego at UC Irvine, 4:00 p.m. PT
CSUN at CSU Bakersfield, 7:00 p.m. PT
UC Santa Barbara at UC Riverside, 8:00 p.m. PT
Long Beach State at Hawai’i, 7:00 p.m. HT

Saturday’s Games
UC Davis at Cal Poly, 2:00 p.m. PT
UC San Diego at UC Irvine, 4:00 p.m. PT
CSUN at CSU Bakersfield, 7:00 p.m. PT
UC Santa Barbara at UC Riverside, 7:00 p.m. PT
Long Beach State at Hawai’i, 5:00 p.m. HT

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