Men's Basketball Title Race Begins This Week
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This Week In The Big West - December 24-30, 2012
Men's Basketball Weekly Release No. 8
Cal State Northridge (9-3), which boasts the Big West's best record, treks to Hawai’i for the league opener this Saturday. Two games also will be televised as Pacific travels to Long Beach State (PRIME TICKET) and Cal State Fullerton hosts UC Santa Barbara (ESPNU).
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
• The Big West enters conference play this week with five games slated for Saturday. The nonconference portion of the schedule finished up last week with a couple of wins over the Pac-12 Conference highlighting the action. UC Irvine knocked off USC, 61-54, at the Galen Center to defeat the Trojans for just the second time in eight tries – and first triumph since 1983. Cal State Northridge overcame a 21-point halftime deficit and outscored Utah by 26 points in the second stanza to notch a 76-71 victory. It was the biggest comeback in head coach Bobby Braswell’s 17 seasons with the Matadors.
• Cal State Northridge emerged with the Big West’s best record (9-3) coming out of nonconference play. The Matadors reached nine wins faster than any team in the 55-year history of the program. The win over Utah that propelled CSUN into league play was the first over a Pac-12 school since Nov. 20, 2005 when the Matadors downed USC.
• CSUN has the distinction of being the first Big West opponent ever for new conference member Hawai’i. The Matadors, who were picked to finish eighth in the preseason media poll, travel to the islands to face off against a Rainbow Warrior team that has played nine of its first 11 games at home. UH (6-5) is one of three Big West teams to sport an above .500 record entering conference play.
• Two games will appear on television this week. The Big West’s package with FOX begins Saturday when Pacific travels to preseason conference favorite Long Beach State for a 4:00 p.m. matinee on PRIME TICKET. The 49ers are an impressive 9-1 in conference regular season games on television the last two seasons. Cal State Fullerton hosts UC Santa Barbara in a 7:00 p.m. game on ESPNU.
• UC Davis senior guard Ryan Howley, who did not have a double-digit rebounding performance in any of his three previous seasons, is tied with UC Santa Barbara’s Alan Williams for the Big West lead with six in 2012-13. Howley pieced together three straight efforts with 10 or more rebounds at last week’s World Vision Classic in Logan, Utah, setting the tournament record with 38 total caroms. Howley tops the Big West with 10.5 rebounds per game.
• Cal State Fullerton senior Kwame Vaughn was named as one of 85 players to the watch list for the 2013 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year award.
• 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.