Men's Basketball Season Set To Tip Off
Men's Basketball Weekly Release No. 1
The 2012-13 Big West men's basketball season is ready to tip off with nine of the 10 conference members in action this weekend.
Mike Caffey and Long Beach State will open their 2012-13 season with a Homecoming game Saturday.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
• Long Beach State has been anointed the preseason favorite to win the 2012-13 Big West championship. The 49ers garnered 13 first place votes and 194 points from the media voting panel, finishing ahead of second place Cal State Fullerton, which collected 164 points and six first place votes. UC Irvine was picked third in the poll with 153 points and one first place vote, while Hawai’i was selected fourth with 132 points. UC Santa Barbara finished fifth with 129 points, and Pacific, which earned the lone remaining first place vote, came in sixth at 113 points.
• The 49ers return only one starter from last year’s 25-9 club that won the Big West regular season title at 15-1 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. Senior James Ennis earned All-Big West Honorable Mention praise last season after averaging 10.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. The 6-7 guard/forward also ranked No. 2 in the conference in steals (1.6 spg). The 49ers also welcome back sophomore Mike Caffey, who is expected to assume the starting point guard role following the graduation of two-time Big West Player of the Year Casper Ware. Division I transfers Dan Jennings (West Virginia), Keala King (Arizona State), Tony Freeland (DePaul) and Edgar Garibay (Loyola Marymount) bring in new talent and experience.
• Nine of the 10 Big West schools are in action this week with Cal State Fullerton beginning its season on Monday at Stanford. UC Riverside and Hawai’i are the only two conference teams that play twice this week. The Highlanders travel to the midwest to meet DePaul and Illinois-Chicago. The Rainbow Warriors open up at home in the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Rainbow Classic and face Maryland-Eastern Shore, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Houston Baptist. The Houston Baptist game tips off at 1:00 a.m. (PST) on ESPN as part of the network’s 24-hour basketball marathon.
• Hawai’i is making its Big West debut after spending the last 33 years as a member of the Western Athletic Conference. The Rainbow Warriors return four letterwinners back for third-year head coach Gib Arnold’s team.
• Cal State Fullerton is led by interim head coach Andy Newman, who inherits two All-Big West performers in D. J. Seeley and Kwame Vaughn. Seeley, an all-conference first-team choice, ranked fourth in the Big West in scoring (17.3 ppg) and eighth with 66 three-pointers. Vaughn, who earned All-Big West Second Team accolades, led the league in assists (3.7 apg) while averaging 15.6 points and 4.5 rebounds.
• For the eighth year, institutions will air all home and conference matches on BigWest.TV. For the 2012-13 season, all BigWest.TV events will air free of charge. Head to thisweek for weekly event schedules.
Big West.TV brings together live and on-demand video from each of the Big West’s 10 member institutions. Now in its eighth year, BigWest.TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features, including every home and conference contest in women’s volleyball as well as men’s and women’s basketball. Also covered are select contests in men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, softball and Big West Championships.