Tipoff Time: Men's Hoops Season Ready To Roll
Men's Basketball Release No. 1
Eight teams are in action on opening night of the 2016-17 men's basketball season, with preseason favorites Long Beach State and UC Irvine starting off at home.
Season Set To Begin
The 48th season of Big West men’s basketball begins on Friday with eight games. Defending conference tournament champion Hawai‘i hosts SIUE in the opener of the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic. The Rainbow Warriors close out the tournament on Tuesday against Florida Atlantic in the ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. UC Davis is in the Cable Car Classic with its opener against Tennessee State. Preseason media favorite Long Beach State welcomes Cal State Los Angeles before heading to Wichita State on Sunday. UC Irvine, which shared the regular season crown last year with UH, hosts Utah State on Friday.
Player of the Week
Big West Men’s Basketball Player of the Week selections will take place on Monday, November 14. The selections will take place each Monday during the regular season.
Lou Henson Award Watch List
Juniors Justin Bibbins of Long Beach State and Gabe Vincent of UC Santa Barbara represent the Big West on the 50-player Lou Henson Award Preseason Watch List, as announced by online publication CollegeInsider.com. The two guards are up for the award presented annually to the nation’s top mid-major player. Bibbins, a second team all-conference pick last year, registered 164 assists for the third-highest single-season total in 49er history. Vincent, who earned All-Big West Honorable Mention praise, knocked down 80 three-pointers to rank No. 2 on the Gaucho single-season chart.
Long Beach State Earns Media Nod
With 203 points and 19 first-place votes, Long Beach State was the choice of the media to win the 2016-17 Big West men’s basketball regular season title. Head coach Dan Monson’s 49ers, which return three starters and eight letterwinners from last season’s 20-15 club, was cast in the favorite’s role for the first time since the 2012-13 season. In addition to returning Bibbins, LBSU also welcomes back junior forward Gabe Levin, an honorable mention all-conference selection who averaged 9.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Once again, LBSU faces one of the nation’s toughest non-conference schedules with road games against the likes of Wichita State, North Carolina, Louisville, UCLA, Washington, Kansas and Texas.
Nelson Leads Anteater Charge
UC Irvine, a program that has compiled four straight 20-win seasons and captured a school record 28 victories in 2015-16, needs senior Luke Nelson to spearhead the effort this season for continued success. The only returning member of the all-conference first team, the guard from England is the Big West active career leader in points (1226), assists (361) and steals (115).
Monson Poised For Top 10 In Wins
With 155 career wins at LBSU, Dan Monson is nine victories away from entering the Big West career top 10. UC Irvine’s Bill Mulligan is currently No. 10 on the list with 163.