The eight-team bracket for the 2017 Big West Men's Basketball Tournament has been finalized, with quarterfinal action at Honda Center beginning on Thursday, March 9.
The quarterfinals schedule is as follows:
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No. 2 UC Davis vs. No. 7 Cal Poly – Noon
No. 3 Cal State Fullerton vs. No. 6 CSUN - 2:30 p.m.
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No. 1 UC Irvine vs. No. 8 UC Riverside - 6:00 p.m.
No. 4 Long Beach State vs. No. 5 Hawai‘i - 8:30 p.m.
Hawai‘i is the defending tournament champion, and looks to become the first repeat winner since UC Santa Barbara in 2010 and 2011. Since the Gaucho back-to-back, five different schools have hoisted the trophy at Honda Center: Long Beach State (2012), Pacific (2013), Cal Poly (2014), UC Irvine (2015) and Hawai‘i (2016).
Top-seeded UC Irvine secured its third regular season championship in four years with Saturday's win over UC Davis in the regular season finale. The Anteaters won the title outright two times (2013-14 and 2016-17) and shared the title last year with Hawai‘i.
The quarterfinals are live on Fox College Sports Pacific, FoxSportsGo.com and the Fox Sports Go app. Fox Sports West will also carry the first two quarterfinal games live. The 6:00 p.m. UC Irvine vs. UC Riverside game will air tape delayed on Prime Ticket, following the 8:30 p.m. live showing of Long Beach State vs. Hawai‘i.
The bracket will be reseeded following the quarterfinals, pitting the highest remaining seeded team against the lowest remaining seeded team in the first semifinal on Friday, March 10 at 6:30 p.m. The other two quarterfinal winners will square off no earlier than 9:00 p.m.
ESPN3 will stream both semifinal games live. ESPNU will air the 6:30 p.m. game tape delayed, following the conclusion of the second semifinal. The 9:00 p.m. semifinal game will air live on ESPNU.
The championship game is scheduled for Saturday, March 11 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2. The winner will earn the Big West's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Westwood One will also have a national broadcast of Saturday's final that can be heard on several platforms – on regular radio stations across the country (list of stations are available at westwoodsports.com), on the Westwood One Channel via the TuneIn mobile app and streamed online for free on westwoodonesports.com. The game will also be available on Sirius 137 and XM 201.
More information, including schedules and ticket prices for the 42nd annual Big West Men's Basketball Tournament can be found at the link above.
Hawai‘i Ruled Eligible For Big West Tourney
The NCAA ruled Friday, March 3 that Hawai‘i did not have to serve a men’s basketball postseason ban, and was eligible to compete in the Big West Tournament at Honda Center. UH’s probationary period has been reduced from three years to two and will now end in December 2017. The scholarship penalty was also reduced from two to one for each of the two years. The decision comes after UH appealed the NCAA December 2015 ruling that instituted the penalties.
UC Irvine Lands No. 1 Seed
For the third time in school history, UC Irvine is the No. 1 seed in the Big West Tournament. The Anteaters previously earned the top seed in 2001 and 2014. Both times the ‘Eaters lost in the semifinals. UCI secured the No. 1 seed after defeating UC Davis for the Big West title on the last day of the regular season.
UC Irvine has won the Big West regular season crown – either shared or outright – in three of the last four seasons. UCI won the outright title in 2013-14, and shared the top spot with Hawai‘i in 2015-16. The team’s three seniors – Luke Nelson, Jaron Martin and Ioannis Dimakopoulos – have been part of a regular season or Big West Tournament title-winning team in each of their four years with the program.
Two Teams Going For 20
UCI is one win away from recording 20 victories for the fifth straight season. Former member Utah State had six 20-win seasons in a row from 1999-2005. UC Davis is also one win shy of reaching 20 for the second time in three years.
Cal State Fullerton head coach Dedrique Taylor has taken his program from 10 wins in 2015-16 to 16 this season. In addition, the Titans finished 10-6 for the most conference wins since 2011-12. CSF’s No. 3 seed is the program’s highest in the tournament since being No. 2 in 2012.
Familiar No. 7
Cal Poly is the No. 7 seed in the tournament for the fourth straight year. The Mustangs won the 2014 tournament from that spot, but have bowed out in the quarterfinals in each of the last two years. The 7 seed has toppled the No. 2 in the quarterfinals three times in the six years the tournament has been held at Honda Center.
With a practically completely rebuilt roster, Hawai‘i head coach Eran Ganot led his troops to an 8-8 conference record despite being picked to finish eighth in the preseason media poll. The Rainbow Warriors are attempting to become the first repeat Big West tourney champion since UC Santa Barbara in 2010 and 2011.
Cream Of The Crop
The No. 1 seed has won the Big West Tournament title in six of the last 11 years.
PRIOR TO TIPOFF
NO. 2 UC DAVIS VS. NO. 7 CAL POLY - The two teams split the regular season series and both games were decided by exactly four points. Cal Poly won the only other tourney meeting in the 2013 quarterfinals. In conference play, Cal Poly made the most threes (130) but UC Davis was No. 2 in defending the trey, allowing opponents to shoot only 31.1% (96-for-309) from distance. The Aggies were 9-1 in Big West play when limiting foes to 70 points or less.
NO. 3 CAL STATE FULLERTON VS. NO. 6 CSUN - Cal State Fullerton holds a 3-2 lead over CSUN in the five previous tourney meetings. Last BWT meeting was in 2011 in the quarterfinals when No. 3 seed CSUN beat the Titans. CSF has won six of seven and eight of its last 10 games, while the Matadors enter on a five-game losing streak. Four of the league’s top 10 scorers are featured in this game – Kendall Smith, Tavrion Dawson, Darin Johnson and Tre’ Coggins.
NO. 1 UC IRVINE VS. NO. 8 UC RIVERSIDE - UC Irvine is 3-0 all-time against UC Riverside in the BWT, with the last win coming in 2015. The No. 8 seed has never upset the No. 1 seed in six previous quarterfinal games at Honda Center. The game features the two stingiest defenses in terms of opponent field goal percentage. In league play, UCI held opponents to 37.4% shooting and UCR was right behind at 40.1%. UCI swatted a league-high 135 shots overall.
NO. 4 LONG BEACH STATE VS. NO. 5 HAWAI‘I - Hawai‘i owns a 2-0 advantage in BWT meetings, ending Long Beach State’s season in the 2016 championship and 2015 quarterfinals. The Beach were 5-0 in conference when they held the opponent under 70 points. The Rainbow Warriors finished 7-2 in Big West games when Noah Allen scored 20 points or more. Temidayo Yussuf made all nine of his shots in the regular season finale against UH, an 84-75 win.
BIG WEST BY THE NUMBERS
2 - Points UC Irvine’s Jaron Martin needs to become 27th player in school history to reach 1,000 for his career
6 - Number of different schools that have won tournament titles in six years at Honda Center
22 - Steals for Cal State Fullerton’s Lionheart Leslie in last six games
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 185 wins in Big West play. In his 10th season, Dan Monson has compiled 169 wins at Long Beach State, putting him in eighth place all-time in the Big West. On the conference wins list, Monson is 105-57 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 105-57 mark in Big West games. In terms of overall victories at LBSU, Monson has 169 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.