Pairings Determined For 2014 Big West Men's Basketball Tournament
Links associated with this release:
2014 Big West Men's Basketball Tournament Page
2014 Big West Men's Basketball Tournament Bracket
Men's Basketball Release No. 19
Quarterfinal matchups have been finalized for the 2014 Big West Men’s Basketball Tournament, which begins on Thursday, March 13 at Honda Center.
The opening game at noon pits No. 2 seed UC Santa Barbara against Central Coast rival and No. 7 seed Cal Poly. The Gauchos are seeking their fourth Big West Tournament title under head coach Bob Williams, and have won at least 20 games for the fourth time in the last seven seasons during his tenure. The last tournament meeting between the Gauchos and Mustangs occurred in the 2012 semifinals.
No. 3 seed Long Beach State challenges No. 6 seed Cal State Fullerton in the afternoon’s second game. The 49ers have won five tournament titles, the most recent in 2012, and have been no lower than a 3 seed in each of the last six seasons. The Titans snapped a four-game losing streak to LBSU with an 84-76 victory on Mar. 2.
At 6:00 p.m., No. 1 seed UC Irvine takes the court against No. 8 seed UC Riverside. Top-seeded for the first time since 2001, the Anteaters bring a 22-10 record into their tournament opener. The 22 wins rank third-most in program history. UCI captured the program’s first outright regular season title since 2000-01, finishing the conference schedule 13-3. The Highlanders are making their third tournament appearance in the last four years.
The final game of the evening is slated to tip at approximately 8:30 p.m., and features No. 4 seed Hawai‘i versus No. 5 seed Cal State Northridge. The Rainbow Warriors made their inaugural Big West Tournament appearance last year, losing in the quarterfinals to UC Irvine. The Matadors return to the Honda Center floor after a two-year hiatus. CSUN sports a win against each of the tournament’s top four seeds – UCI, UCSB, LBSU and UH.
All four Thursday quarterfinal games will be televised on Prime Ticket and Fox Deportes.
Semifinal action on Friday, March 14 begins at 6:30 p.m. with the highest remaining seed squaring off against the lowest remaining seed. The other two teams advancing from the quarterfinals tip off at 9:00 p.m. or 30 minutes after, whichever is later. Both games will be aired live on ESPN3. ESPNU will carry the second semifinal live, while the first semifinal will be aired on a tape delayed basis immediately following the 9:00 p.m. game.
The championship game tips off on Saturday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
More information, including game recaps, schedules and ticket prices can be found at BigWestTournament.com.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
• The 39th annual Big West Men’s Basketball Tournament takes place at Honda Center, March 13-15, with the winner earning the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
• A top three seed has won the tournament in 12 of the last 13 years. UC Santa Barbara was the lone team to stray from that trend, winning the 2011 tournament as a No. 5 seed. Five No. 1 seeds, four No. 2’s and three No. 3’s have been crowned champion since 2001.
• UC Irvine is a No. 1 seed for the second time in program history, the only other occasion in 2001. The Anteaters are seeking their first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
• The higher seed has won nine of the 12 quarterfinal round games in the three previous tournaments that have been held at Honda Center. All four higher seeds won in last year’s quarterfinals. Two No. 7 seeds have won in the quarterfinals – UC Riverside in 2011 and UC Irvine in 2012. No. 5 UC Santa Barbara also defeated No. 4 Pacific in 2011.
• The last time the top two seeds played in the championship game was 2007 – Long Beach State versus Cal Poly.
Tourney Bound: Cal Poly is making its fifth straight Big West Tournament appearance and seeking a third consecutive quarterfinal victory. As the No. 7 seed, the Mustangs face rival and No. 2 seed UC Santa Barbara. UCSB won the last tournament meeting between the two teams in the 2012 semifinals.
Special Space: With 1,131 points and 582 rebounds, senior Chris Eversley aims to become just the sixth Mustang to compile career totals of at least 1,100 points and 600 rebounds.
Johnson Eyes Assist Chart: Senior Jamal Johnson is getting close to becoming the sixth player in Mustang history with 300 career assists. The 6-0 guard ranks sixth all-time at Cal Poly with 287 assists.
Ball Handlers: Cal Poly enters the Big West Tournament ranked No. 6 in the country in fewest turnovers per game (9.3). The Mustangs have committed fewer than 10 miscues in 12 of their last 15 contests.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Break That Streak: Cal State Fullerton is in the Big West Tournament for the 12th straight year, but the Titans are hoping to end a four-game losing streak at the event.
Still Intact: Senior Michael Williams enters the postseason having scored in double figures in all 30 games. He has posted 12 games or 20 or more points.
That’s A Trend: Williams, who ranks No. 5 in the Big West in scoring with 17.6 points per game, became the third Titan Division I transfer in the last four years to garner the conference’s Newcomer of the Year award. Coming over from the University of San Francisco, the 6-2 guard is one of the Big West’s top marksmen, ranking fourth with 68 three-pointers.
Harris Consistent: Junior Alex Harris is riding a streak of 16 straight double-digit scoring games. The Titans are 5-3 in games in which he contributes 20 or more points.
Tourney History: The Titans have competed in the most conference postseason tournaments (36) all-time.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Dangerous: Cal State Northridge returns to the Big West Tournament after a two-year hiatus, and aims to wreak some havoc. The fifth-seeded Matadors have a win against all of the top four seeds – No. 1 UC Irvine, No. 2 UC Santa Barbara, No. 3 Long Beach State and No. 4 Hawai‘i.
Join The Club: Junior Stephen Maxwell is on the cusp of becoming just the third player in Matador history to collect 1,000 career points and 700 rebounds. The 6-7 forward has amassed 1,225 points and 691 boards. His 574 points ranks fourth on the CSUN single-season list.
Greene Machine: Senior Josh Greene has made 59 of his 62 free throw attempts, a mark of 95.2%. The 6-0 guard owns the No. 2 single-season mark in Big West history for free throw percentage (.920), which also currently ranks sixth nationally.
Career-High For Hicks: Junior Stephan Hicks is coming off a career-high 28-point effort against Long Beach State.
LONG BEACH STATE
Seed Talk: After three straight seasons as the No. 1 seed in the Big West Tournament, Long Beach State is not in the favorite’s role as the third seed this year. Still, the 49ers have been no worse than a No. 3 seed for six straight years, and have at least reached the semifinals five straight times.
Finishing With A Flourish: Senior forward Dan Jennings comes into the Big West Tournament having tallied four straight double-doubles. He had 10 points and 13 rebounds in the regular season finale against UC Riverside. Over the last four games, Jennings is averaging 11.0 rebounds.
Caffey Ninth In Assists: Junior point guard Mike Caffey moved into ninth on the LBSU career assists list with 331. He is 11 shy of tying for the eighth spot occupied by former NBA player Lucious Harris (1989-93).
Barometer For Success: The 49ers shot 50.9 (28 of 55) percent against UCR, improving to 6-0 in conference play when they make more than half of their shots. LBSU ranked No. 2 in field goal percentage (.460) during league play.
Tourney Miss: UC Davis lost seven of its final eight conference games to miss the Big West Tournament for the first time since 2011. The injury-riddled Aggies lose just one senior off of this year’s team.
What A Way To Go Out: Senior Ryan Sypkens rewrote the Big West record book to wrap up his UC Davis career. The 6-4 guard erased a 15-year old record, supplanting Pacific’s Adam Jacobsen as the Big West career three-point record holder. Sypkens finished with 315 treys, eclipsing the previous mark of 311 by Jacobsen (1993-98).
Hawkins Still Impressive: Junior Corey Hawkins averaged 18.0 points per game, ranking No. 2 in the Big West in scoring. The 6-3 guard remained one of the league’s most prolific scorers after becoming Big West scoring champion in 2012-13. Hawkins posted nine games of 20 points or more.
Lemar Finishes Strong: Freshman guard Brynton Lemar finished his initial campaign with a career-high 19 points against UC Riverside and he toiled a career-best 39 minutes in the season finale versus UC Irvine.
Champions: UC Irvine returned to the champion’s circle for the first time in 12 years, winning the Big West regular season title with a 13-3 mark. UCI shared the league title in 2001-02 and their last outright title came in 2000-01.
In Search Of Record: UCI’s 23 victories is tied for the second-most in program history. The single-season record belongs to the 2000-01 club that finished 25-5. Three wins in the Big West Tournament not only would give this year’s team the school record, but send the program to its first NCAA Tournament.
McNealy Joins Rare Company: Senior Chris McNealy, who was named a first team all-conference performer Monday, is just the third player in UCI history to accumulate 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 100 steals in a career.
Mamadou On Brink Of Record: Freshman Mamadou Ndiaye’s 94 blocked shots is one away from tying and two from breaking the Big West single-season mark held by Pacific’s Michael Olowokandi (1997-98).
They’re In: UC Riverside is back in the Big West Tournament field after a one-year hiatus, entering as a No. 8 seed. The Highlanders clinched the berth with a 78-65 win against UC Davis, in which they recorded their second-best single-game field goal percentage (.547) and free throw percentage (.889) of the season.
No Stranger to Close Games: The Highlanders played more than half their games – 16 to be exact – with outcomes decided by five points or less. They finished 5-11 in those games, but won a thrilling 106-105 double overtime nailbiter against Cal State Northridge two weeks ago.
Blocks Man: Sophomore Taylor Johns has recorded the third-most single-season blocked shots (71) in the UCR record book and the second-most in the school’s Division I history. He is three swats away from accumulating 100 for his career.
Leading Frosh: Guard Sam Finley leads all Big West freshmen in scoring at 12.5 points per game.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Winning Williams: UC Santa Barbara clinched its fifth 20-win season during the 16-year tenure of head coach Bob Williams. The 21 victories represent the second-most by a Williams-coached team, trailing only the 23-9 team in 2007-08. The Gauchos also won 12 conference games for the fourth time in seven years.
Williams On A Short List: Junior Alan Williams, the 2013-14 Big West Player of the Year, is just the fourth player in UCSB history to collect at least 1,000 points and 800 rebounds in a career. Williams ranks third in school history with 807 boards.
Simply Impressive: Williams, the nation’s leading rebounder (11.6 rpg) and No. 12 nationally in scoring (21.6 ppg), is the first player to lead the Big West in both categories since Pacific’s Christian Maraker accomplished the feat in the 2005-06 season.
Floor General: Junior Zalmico Harmon has 68 assists and only six turnovers over the last 13 games.
Accomplished: Hawai‘i earned its first 20-win season in a decade following Saturday’s 81-77 win over Cal State Fullerton. The 2003-04 squad was the last to hit the mark after finishing 21-12.
Standhardinger Reaches 1,000: Senior Christian Standhardinger earned his second straight All-Big West First Team citation after ranking fourth in the conference in scoring (17.7 ppg) and rebounding (8.4 rpg). The 6-8 forward recorded a season-high 15 rebounds, one off his career-high, in the regular season finale against CSF. He reached double-digit rebounds nine times over the last 17 contests.
Protector: Junior Keith Shamburger tops the conference in assists (5.4 apg), and he has had an outstanding run over the last 14 contests, producing 86 assists against just 21 turnovers – a 4.1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Efficiency: Sophomore Isaac Fotu secured first team all-conference recognition after ranking in the Big West top 10 in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage. The 6-8 forward is No. 12 nationally in field goal percentage (.593).