Men's Hoops Serves Up Tournament Feast This Week
Weekly Release No. 3
Nearly the entire conference will be involved in one tournament or another with this week's men's basketball schedule, including a first-time appearance by Hawai‘i in the Wooden Legacy.
UC Irvine Extends Streak To Five Straight
UC Irvine improved to 5-0 on the early season following Monday’s 65-56 victory over UTSA in the first round of the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla. The ‘Eaters now face Tulane in the semifinals with a chance to move closer to the best start in school history. The 1981-82 team began 9-0. The current ‘Eaters squad is off to the program’s best start since 1982-83 when that team also opened up 5-0.
‘Eaters Road Streak Rises To Seven
Dating to last season, UCI has won seven consecutive true road games – tied for the third-longest active streak in Division I with Michigan State and Xavier. Gonzaga and Virginia own the longest active road win streak at nine apiece.
Tournaments Galore For Turkey Weekend
Almost the entire Big West will be competing in a tournament this week – seven schools to be exact. A pair of 3-1 schools – UC Santa Barbara and Hawai‘i – look to continue solid starts in tournament play. The Gauchos head to Boise, Idaho for games against Portland State and Idaho in the Vandal Holiday Hoops Classic. The Rainbow Warriors are in the Wooden Legacy, where they face Pac-12 foe Utah in the Thanksgiving Day opener at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Gym.
Cal Poly goes north to participate in Portland Classic, while UC Riverside competes in the Tiger Thanksgiving Tournament in Stockton. UCI continues play in the Gulf Coast Showcase, while LBSU completes a two-game run in Las Vegas as part of the MGM Resorts Main Event. UC Davis heads to Big Ten country to face Indiana in the Hardwood Showcase.
Two Named To Henson Award Watch List
CollegeInsider.com released a 50-player “Watch List” for its annual Lou Henson Award, and the Big West is represented by Cal State Fullerton senior Kyle Allman, Jr. and UC Davis senior T.J. Shorts II. The Lou Henson Award is presented annually to the nation’s top mid-major player in Division I college basketball. The award is named after the former Illinois and New Mexico State coach who is one of 12 coaches in the history of the game to take two schools to the Final Four.
Allman, Jr., a first team all-conference choice as a junior, is No. 5 in the Big West in scoring (17.5 ppg) through four games. Shorts II, the reigning Big West Player of the Year, is No. 15 in scoring at 11.0 per game and is shooting 80.0% (16-of-20) at the foul line so far this season.
Ahmad Nears Titan Career Scoring Top 10
Cal State Fullerton senior Khalil Ahmad leads the Big West and is tied for No. 17 nationally in scoring at 23.4 points per game. He had a career-high 40-point game against Monmouth and scored 31 at Arizona State in two early season offensive outbursts. Ahmad now has scored 1,266 career points, which puts him just 19 shy of moving past former NBA standout Cedric Ceballos for 10th place in school history.
Big West squads have lined up another challenging non-conference slate which includes a minimum of 23 games against opponents which advanced to the NCAA Tournament or National Invitational Tournament last season. Twelve out of 13 games scheduled against 2018 NCAA teams will be played on the road or at a neutral site. In fact, all but the Dec. 8 Montana at UC Irvine game will not be played at a Big West home facility. The possibility to play additional games against 2018 postseason teams is dependent on the outcomes of several tournaments within the first couple of months.
Games Against 2018 NCAA Tournament Teams
Nov. 6 Cal State Fullerton at Arizona State
Nov. 9 Long Beach State at UCLA
Nov. 9 UC Irvine at Texas A&M
Nov. 11 Cal Poly at Arizona
Nov. 12 Long Beach State at Arizona State
Nov. 12 UC Davis at Arkansas
Nov. 19 Long Beach State vs. Iona
Nov. 28 Hawai‘i at UCLA
Dec. 8 Montana at UC Irvine
Dec. 19 CSUN at New Mexico State
Dec. 21 UC Irvine at Butler
Dec. 22 UC Davis at Arizona
Jan. 1 CSUN at San Diego State
Games Against 2018 NIT Teams
Nov. 16 Long Beach State at Mississippi State
Nov. 22 Hawai‘i vs. Utah
Nov. 28 UC Irvine at Saint Mary’s
Nov. 28 Long Beach State at USC
Dec. 2 UC Santa Barbara at Washington
Dec. 10 Cal State Fullerton at Saint Mary’s
Dec. 22 Cal State Fullerton at Nebraska
Dec. 29 Long Beach State at Stanford
Dec. 30 UC Davis at USC
Jan. 1 Cal State Fullerton at Washington
BIG WEST COACHING
Long Beach State’s DAN MONSON is the dean of Big West head coaches, entering his 12th season roaming the sidelines of the Walter Pyramid. He ranks eighth all-time in conference history with 187 wins, while his 114 Big West victories is sixth all-time. Only five Big West head coaches have accumulated 200 or more wins during their tenure with the conference – Bob Thomason (Pacific, 436), Jerry Tarkanian (Long Beach State & UNLV, 405), Bob Williams (UC Santa Barbara, 313), Neil McCarthy (New Mexico State, 248) and Jerry Pimm (UC Santa Barbara, 222). Monson has won a minimum of 15 games in each of the last 10 seasons, needing that total to get to 200 for his career during the 2018-19 campaign. Monson needs eight wins to catch Fresno State’s Boyd Grant (194) and 11 to surpass UC Irvine’s Pat Douglass (197) in the Big West record book.
GOTTFRIED, PATRICK NEWEST ADDITIONS TO BIG WEST COACHING FAMILY
Two new faces will be roaming the sidelines for the Big West this season. Veteran head coach MARK GOTTFRIED begins his first season at CSUN after three previous head coaching stints at Murray State (1995-98), Alabama (1998-09) and NC State (2011-17). Gottfried his compiled a Division I record of 401-244 during his 20-plus years of head coaching experience. He has reached the NCAA Tournament 11 times, including an Elite Eight appearance with Alabama in 2003-04 and two Sweet Sixteen stops with NC State (2011-12 and 2014-15). His teams also have participated in the NIT on four other occassions.
DAVID PATRICK begins a new era at UC Riverside as a first-time head coach. Patrick had successful assistant coaching stints at TCU and LSU before arriving in the Inland Empire. He is known as an outstanding recruiter, credited with bringing in 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons to LSU. He also coached NBA champion and Australian national team guards Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova while working as an assistant at Saint Mary’s.
THE 2017-18 SEASON IN REVIEW
The Big West had several key moments take place during the 2017-18 season.
• Cal State Fullerton became the eighth different school in eight years to win the Big West Tournament at Honda Center. The list of champions since the tourney moved to Honda Center in 2011 – UC Davis (2017), Hawai‘i (2016), UC Irvine (2015), Cal Poly (2014), Pacific (2013), Long Beach State (2012) and UC Santa Barbara (2011).
• CSF won its third Big West Tournament title all-time – and first in 10 years. Other title teams were in 1978 and 2008.
• UC Davis accumulated 20 wins for the third time in four years, and won its second regular season title over that stretch after finishing 12-4 in league play.
• Under first-year head coach Joe Pasternack, UC Santa Barbara set the Big West record for biggest turnaround in one season and he took a program that finished 6-22 in 2016-17, to a 23-9 mark in 2017-18. The +17 win improvement not only was the best in league history, the Gauchos went from setting the school record for losses to tying the program benchmark for wins.
• UC Irvine notched its sixth straight winning season, the longest such streak by a Big West school since UCSB reeled off seven straight from 2005-12.