FOX Prime Ticket will televise Saturday's showdown between first-place co-leaders UC Davis and UC Irvine, with Big West Tournament seeding and regular season title implications at the forefront.
UC Davis, UC Irvine Clash For Crown
Going into the final week of the men’s basketball conference schedule, either UC Davis or UC Irvine will earn the No. 1 seed in next week’s Big West Tournament at Honda Center. Both squads are currently 10-4 in league play. UC Irvine plays at UC Riverside on Wednesday, while UC Davis hosts Hawai‘i on Thursday.
Regardless of the outcome of those games, Saturday’s regular season finale between the Aggies and Anteaters from the Bren Events Center will have title and tournament seeding ramifications. FOX Prime Ticket will carry the game at 3:00 p.m. Here are the various seeding scenarios entering the game:
• If both teams enter 10-5 or 11-4, the winner of Saturday’s game is the outright regular season champion and No. 1 seed in the conference tourney.
• If UC Davis is 11-4 and UCI 10-5, the Aggies earn the title outright with a victory. With an ‘Eater win, the two teams are declared regular season co-champions. The tiebreaker to determine No. 1 seed is based on which team owns a better record against common opponents starting at the top of the standings and working down.
• If UCI is 11-4 and UC Davis 10-5, the Anteaters are outright champions with a victory. With an Aggie win, the two teams would share the championship. UC Davis would claim the No. 1 seed based on its 2-0 head-to-head record against UCI.
What’s On The Line
UC Irvine and UC Davis have combined to win outright or share the Big West regular season crown in each of the last three seasons. UCI won the outright title in 2013-14, and shared the top spot with Hawai‘i in 2015-16. UC Davis won the program’s first Big West title in 2014-15 with a 14-2 record.
Point Club Watch
Four active Big West players have joined the career 1,000-point club – UC Irvine’s Luke Nelson (1,417), CSUN’s Aaron Parks (1,063), Brynton Lemar of UC Davis (1,048) and UC Santa Barbara’s Gabe Vincent (1,044). UC Irvine senior Jaron Martin is in range to become the fifth player to attach to that list. The guard enters the week with 974 points, 26 away from becoming the 27th Anteater to accomplish the feat.
Assist Milestone In View
UC Davis senior Darius Graham recently surpassed 400 career assists, just the third in school history to do so. Next up on the list is UC Santa Barbara guard Eric Childress (396) and UC Irvine guard Luke Nelson (391).
Nelson Nears Top 10
With 236 career three-pointers made, UC Irvine senior Luke Nelson is not only tied with Michael Hunter (2006-10) for the school record, he’s on the doorstep of the Big West all-time top 10. Michael Bryson occupies the No. 10 spot after making 241 threes from 2012-16 at UC Santa Barbara.
Big West Rise Up Tour Continues At UC Riverside
The Big West Tour sponsored by Fox PrimeTicket and Coors Light returns for 2017, running January 12th through March 2nd. Over the course of the Tour, Big West representatives will make stops at the eight Big West campuses in California, giving fans opportunities to win prizes from the Big West spin wheel. The final stop is at UC Riverside on March 1-2. The Big West Men's and Women's Basketball Tournament returns to Honda Center for the 2017 season, the event's 8th year at the Anaheim-based arena. The tournament runs March 9-11, with the women's first and second rounds March 7-8 at Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid and the women's semifinals and finals at Honda Center March 10-11. The entire men's tournament will be played at Honda Center March 9-11.
PRIOR TO TIPOFF
MAR. 1 – UC IRVINE AT UC RIVERSIDE (ESPN3) - UC Irvine has struggled to win at UC Riverside, going 2-4 at the SRC Arena during the Russell Turner era. However, the Anteaters have won nine of the last 10 meetings, including a 79-60 victory on Feb. 18. Jaron Martin had six three-pointers in that game, and the Anteater senior has canned 16 treys in the last three games, shooting 57.1% (16-for-28) from distance. The Highlanders look to end a six-game losing streak. Reserve center Menno Dijkstra is averaging 11.9 points and shooting 70.8% (34-for-48) over the last seven games. PXP: Trent Rush • COLOR: Richie Schueler
MAR. 2 – CSUN AT CAL POLY (BIGWEST.TV) - Cal Poly is getting hot at the right time – winners of three of its last four games, including three straight road victories. The Mustangs are 4-4 on the road in league play, and surprisingly, just 1-5 at the Mott Athletics Center. They hope to continue their surge against a CSUN team that has lost three straight. The Matadors seek to avenge a 14-point loss to Cal Poly on Feb. 15, in which the Mustangs had their best shooting night during conference play, making 30 of 55 shots overall (54.5%).
MAR. 2 – UC SANTA BARBARA AT CAL STATE FULLERTON (ESPN3) - Cal State Fullerton lost a tough overtime battle at Hawai‘i on Saturday and saw its four-game win streak snapped. The Titans would secure their first above .500 record in Big West play since 2011-12 with a win. Freshman Jackson Rowe has collected 46 rebounds over the last four games, an average of 11.5 per game. UC Santa Barbara’s Eric Childress leads the Big West in steals (56) and steals per game (2.2). PXP: Trent Rush • COLOR: Richie Schueler • SIDELINE: Sanaz Tavassol
MAR. 2 – HAWAI‘I AT UC DAVIS (BIGWEST.TV) - UC Davis needs two more wins to secure its second 20-win campaign in three seasons. The Aggies are 10-0 at home this season. They look to finish 8-0 in home conference games for the second time in three seasons. The game features two of the top scorers and rebounders in the league in Chima Moneke (15.0 ppg/6th, 9.1 rpg/1st) of UC Davis and Noah Allen (15.4 ppg/4th, 5.8 rpg/7th) of Hawai‘i.
BIG WEST BY THE NUMBERS
26 - Points UC Irvine’s Jaron Martin needs to become 27th player in school history to reach 1,000 for his career
13 - Number of 3-pointers Cal Poly hit in each of its two road wins last week
11 - League-leading number of 20-point games for Hawaii’s Noah Allen
Williams, Monson Among Winningest Coaches In Big West History
UC Santa Barbara’s Bob Williams and Long Beach State’s Dan Monson are the two current longest-tenured and winningest head coaches in Big West history. Williams became only the third coach in conference history to reach the 300-win mark when the Gauchos won at UC Riverside on Feb. 18, 2016. He joined Bob Thomason (436 at Pacific) and Jerry Tarkanian (405 at Long Beach State and UNLV) in the exclusive club. Williams, in his 19th season at the helm of the Gauchos, is also third with 184 wins in Big West play. In his 10th season, Dan Monson has compiled 168 wins at Long Beach State, putting him in eighth place all-time in the Big West. On the conference wins list, Monson is 104-57 all-time, just the seventh coach in league history to get to the century mark.
Monson Reaches Milestone
Long Beach State 10th-year head coach Dan Monson earned his 100th career Big West victory when the Beach toppled Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 26. He became just the seventh coach in league history to accomplish the feat. Monson now sports a 104-57 mark in Big West games. In terms of overall victories at LBSU, Monson has 168 of those, and he’s now the eighth-winningest head coach in Big West history.
ALL-TIME BIG WEST VICTORY LEADERS
Bob Thomason, Pacific
Jerry Tarkanian, Long Beach State/UNLV
Bob Williams, UC Santa Barbara
Neil McCarthy, New Mexico State
Jerry Pimm, UC Santa Barbara
Pat Douglass, UC Irvine
Dan Monson, Long Beach State
Cal State Fullerton forward Jackson Rowe leads all Big West freshmen in scoring and rebounding. Here are the top five freshmen in both categories.