ampm Big West Men's Basketball Tournament Field Set
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Men's Basketball Release No. 18
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ampm Big West Tournament Ticket Information
The matchups for the 2011 ampm Big West Men's Basketball Tournament have been determined as first round action tips off on Thursday, March 10 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Conference regular season champion Long Beach State is the No. 1 seed and squares off against No. 8 seed UC Irvine at noon on Thursday. The 49ers bring an eight-game winning streak into the postseason, but coincidentally, their last setback occurred on Jan. 22 to the same Anteater squad they will be playing. LBSU won its first regular season crown since 2006-07, finishing 14-2 and amassing the most conference wins by a school since Pacific posted an unblemished 18-0 mark in 2004-05.
The next afternoon matchup pits No. 4 seed Pacific against No. 5 seed UC Santa Barbara. The Tigers swept the season series from the Gauchos but enters the tournament on a three-game skid. UCSB snapped a three-game losing streak with a 49-43 victory in the regular season finale against rival Cal Poly. The defending tournament champion Gauchos look to claim back-to-back crowns for the first time in school history. Bob Thomason, 403-289 in his career at Pacific, is two wins from tying and three away from unseating Jerry Tarkanian (Long Beach State and UNLV) as the Big West all-time wins leader.
Thursday's evening session begins at 6:00 p.m. with No. 2 Cal Poly taking on No. 7 UC Riverside. The Mustangs tied a program record for most wins in Big West play, finishing 10-6 for second place in the standings. The Big West's stingiest defensive squad, Cal Poly allowed 58.5 points per game in the regular season. The Highlanders won two of their final three league games, allowing them to earn a tiebreaker edge over UCI for the No. 7 seed.
The final first round game pits No. 3 seed Cal State Northridge against No. 6 seed Cal State Fullerton. The Matadors, picked to finish eighth in the preseason media poll, overcame a 4-12 start to win nine of their last 14 games. Among their nine conference wins includes season sweeps of UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and first round opponent Cal State Fullerton. The Titans earned the No. 6 seed with key road wins against Pacific and UC Davis on the final weekend of the regular season and halted a five-game slide in the process.
The ampm Big West Tournament continues on Friday, March 11 with semifinal action starting at 6:30 p.m. Both semifinals will be aired live on ESPNU. The championship game on Saturday, March 12 tips at 5:00 p.m. on ESPN2.
KEEP AN EYE ON
T.J. Robinson, Long Beach State
Robinson enters the 2011 ampm Big West Tournament having corraled 10 or more rebounds in six of the last seven games. During that seven-game span, he is averaging 11.6 boards. The 6-7 forward ranks second in the Big West in rebounding (10.1 rpg) and third with 15 double-doubles, including five in the last seven contests. Robinson’s 302 rebounds place him seventh on the Long Beach State single-season list, and he is second in school history with 819 career rebounds.
Long Beach State Posts 20-Win Season
In addition to claiming the regular season title, Long Beach State boasts its first 20-win campaign since the 2006-07 club finished 24-8. The 49ers have won with defense, posting a 7-0 record in conference games they limit an opponent under 60 points. LBSU is 12-0 against Big West foes when they hold them under the 70-point mark.
No. 1 Seeds Sitting Pretty
No. 1 seeds have experienced success recently in the ampm Big West Tournament, hoisting the trophy in four of the last five years.
BIG WEST TOURNEY CHAMPIONS (2006-10)
Year Champion Seed
2010 UC Santa Barbara #1
2009 Cal State Northridge #1
2008 Cal State Fullerton #3
2007 Long Beach State #1
2006 Pacific #1
A different school has won the conference tournament in each of the last six seasons. Beginning with former league member Utah State in 2005, Pacific (2006), Long Beach State (2007), Cal State Fullerton (2008), Cal State Northridge (2009) and UC Santa Barbara (2010) have cut down the nets in celebration.
Close Games Common In Big West
Of the 72 conference games that have been played, 26 (or more than one-third) have been decided by five points or less. Six contests have been determined by one point, three by two points, four by three points, seven by four points and six by five points.
Honda Center New Official Tournament Home
In November of 2009, Honda Center announced a five-year partnership with the Big West Conference to host its annual men’s and women’s post-season basketball tournament beginning with the 2010-11 season. Each year the winner of the three-day single-elimination playoff receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Big West and Honda Center also are mutually hosting their fifth NCAA event with the upcoming 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball West Regional. Previous events took place in 1998, 2001, 2003 and 2008.
Johnson’s Double Figure Streak Broken
On a night when UC Santa Barbara held Cal Poly to a season opponent low 43 points, Gaucho junior Orlando Johnson had his streak of 57 straight double-digit scoring games snapped. The Big West scoring champion for the second straight season, Johnson is averaging 20.3 points per game. He and teammate James Nunnally have established the school record for most points in a season by a duo with 1,033 points, breaking the old mark of 1,019 set twice before.
Daniel Having Stellar Season
Cal State Northridge senior Lenny Daniel leads the Big West in field goal percentage (.583) and has 16 double-doubles on the season, second-most among league players. With 78 career blocks, he is only five short of setting the school record.
Willard Among Best Rebounders In Big West History
Pacific senior Sam Willard ranks No. 9 in Big West history with 872 career rebounds. He was the first player in 15 years to crack that list, and is 14 boards away from overtaking the No. 8 spot.
BigWest.TV To Stream Selected Tournament Games
The Big West Conference and the CBS College Sports Network will bring exclusive coverage of ampm Big West Tournament action. All four women’s first round games, the two women’s semifinals and the four men’s first round games will air on BigWest.TV as part of the standard BigWest.TV package, the CBS XXL All-Access package, and as a stand alone pay-per-view 10-game package for $7.95. Games can be accessed through the This Week in the Big West page on its website at thisweek. All press conferences from Honda Center will also be uploaded to the BigWest.TV site.