Bracket Set For 40th Annual Men's Tournament At Honda Center
Links associated with this release:
2015 Big West Men's Basketball Tournament Page
2015 Big West Men's Basketball Tournament Bracket
2014-15 Men's Basketball Release No. 18
The #MarchToMadness begins on Thursday, March 12 at Honda Center with eight teams vying for the 2015 Big West Men's Basketball tournament crown.
Four quarterfinal games will be televised on Prime Ticket beginning Thursday at noon with top-seeded UC Davis facing No. 8 CSUN. The regular season champion Aggies bring a 24-5 record and 12-2 Big West mark into the contest.
The second quarterfinal, which will tip at approximately 2:30 p.m., pits No. 4 seed Long Beach State against No. 5 seed Hawai‘i. The two teams are meeting in the tournament for the first time.
Quarterfinal three showcases No. 3 seed UC Irvine versus No. 6 seed UC Riverside at 6:00 p.m. Both programs are seeking their first tournament title and trip to the NCAA Tournament. The two squads met last year in the quarterfinals as well.
The evening's final contest features another quarterfinal rematch, as Central Coast rivals go toe-to-toe in a game that will begin at approximately 8:30 p.m., or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the UCI-UCR game. No. 2 seed UC Santa Barbara takes on No. 7 seed Cal Poly, with the Mustangs vying to win the tournament championship for the second straight year.
The bracket will then be reseeded following quarterfinal action.
Friday's semifinals will be televised on ESPNU and ESPN3. The 6:30 p.m. semifinal will showcase the highest remaining seeded team against the lowest remaining seeded team. At 9:00 p.m., or 30 minutes after the previous game, whichever is later, the other two remaining teams will meet.
On Saturday, March 14, ESPN2 will air the 8:30 p.m. championship as the winner earns the Big West's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Westwood One will also broadcast the final nationally on regular radio stations across the country (list of affiliates can be found on westwoodonesports.com, on Sirius Channel 93 and XM Channel 291, on the Westwood One Channels via the Tunein mobile app, and streamed online for free on westwoodonesports.com.
More information, including game recaps, schedules and ticket prices can be found at the above link.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
• The No. 1 seed has failed to win the Big West Tournament in three of the last four years. Cal Poly, as the No. 7 seed, was the lowest seed in tournament history to raise the crown.
• This is the 40th annual tournament. Among current conference members, Long Beach State owns the most championships with five, followed by UC Santa Barbara (3), Cal State Fullerton (2), CSUN (1) and Cal Poly (1).
• UC Davis is the No. 1 seed for the first time in school history. Entering the tournament with a 24-5 record, the Aggies need two wins to post the conference’s highest win total since former member Pacific finished 27-4 in 2004-05.
• UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara would need to reach the tourney title game to compile 20 wins, and give the Big West four 20-win clubs since the 2007-08 season.
Repeat Of History?: Cal Poly has lost four straight entering Thursday’s Big West Tournament matchup against rival UC Santa Barbara. A similar late season slump didn’t deter the Mustangs last season, as they became the first No. 7 seed in Big West Tournament history to win the championship.
Tournament Talk: Cal Poly has won at least one game in each of the last three conference tournaments. The Mustangs are 3-2 against UCSB in head-to-head tournament meetings, including last year’s quarterfinal win, the 31-point margin of victory tied for sixth-highest in the record book.
Better Guard Him: Sophomore guard Ridge Shipley had hit at least three treys seven times during an eight-game stretch before going 0-for-3 from beyond the arc against UCSB. He still leads Cal Poly with 44 threes on the season.
Consistency: The Mustangs have remained among the NCAA’s top five in fewest turnovers allowed all season long, and enter this week No. 2 at 8.8 per game. They tied their season low with four turnovers against UCSB.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Missed Tourney: For the first time since 2002, Cal State Fullerton is not a participant in the Big West Tournament. The Titans finished 1-15 in Big West play for their first last place finish since the 2001-02 season. CSF has made more tournament appearances (36) than any other current conference member.
Harris Moves Up: Senior guard Alex Harris posted back-to-back 15-point performances against UC Irvine and Hawai‘i to lift his career total to 1,196, placing him No. 12 on the scoring list in the school record book. Harris managed to accomplish that in just three seasons as a Titan.
Tough Finish: The Titans ended the season on a nine-game losing streak, its longest since the 2001-02 dropped 10 in a row.
More On Harris: Harris completed his Titan career with 130 steals, tying him for No. 9 in school history with Henry Turner (1985-88).
Streak: CSF has hit at least one trey in 572 straight games.
Why Not?: CSUN enters the Big West Tournament as the No. 8 seed and plays top-seeded UC Davis in Thursday’s quarterfinals. No eight seed has ever won the tournament. Can the Matadors one-up Cal Poly, which became the first seven seed to win the tournament last year?
Hicks Zeroes In On 2,000: Senior Stephan Hicks enters this week with 1,958 points, and a strong run in the tournament could make him the seventh player in Big West history to reach career milestone 2,000.
In The Meantime...: Hicks, who is No. 10 on the all-time Big West scoring list, should climb past Cal State Fullerton’s Bobby Brown (1,961, 2003-07) and Long Beach State’s Michael Wiley (1,962, 1977-80) for the eighth slot.
Maxwell Keeps It Coming: Senior forward Stephen Maxwell logged his 13th double-double of the season, second-most among Big West players, and 42nd in his career when he posted 16 points and 11 rebounds against Long Beach State in the regular season finale.
LONG BEACH STATE
Tourney Time: Long Beach State is a “true” No. 4 seed in the Big West Tournament for the first time since 1993, which could bode well for the history buffs. The 49ers won the tournament in 1993. The 1999 squad was the fourth seed from the Western Division back when the conference utilized a two-division setup.
Tournament Tidbit: The 49ers have won at least one game in the Big West Tournament in five straight years.
History Beckons: Senior Mike Caffey needs just seven more rebounds over the remainder of the season to join Ed Ratleff as the only two players in 49er history with career numbers of 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists. Caffey is the program’s No. 6 all-time scorer with 1,622 points and is No. 3 with 455 assists.
Double-Double Machine: Senior David Samuels posted three consecutive double-doubles to finish off the regular season and he ranks third in the Big West with seven overall.
Tightened Up: LBSU is allowing its opponents to average just 54.3 points during its current three-game winning streak.
No. 1 Seed: UC Davis clinched its first Big West regular season title and secured its first conference tournament seed after toppling UC Riverside and UC Davis last week to improve to 14-2 in league play. The Aggies look to buck a tournament trend that has saw the No. 1 seed fail to win the title in three of the last four years.
Undefeated: The Aggies finished their home slate undefeated at 14-0, and became the first Big West team since Long Beach State (12-0) in 2011-12 to accomplish the feat.
Three-Point Ace: Senior Corey Hawkins has hit a career-best 73 three-pointers this year, but most impressively leads the NCAA in three-point field goal percentage. He is hitting at an incredible 49.7 percent (73 of 147) clip.
Barometer Of Success: UC Davis is 10-0 this season when holding its opponent to 60 points or less.
Ritchart Nears Top 10: Senior Josh Ritchart enters the Big West Tournament with 1,301 career points and he needs 26 points to enter the Aggie all-time top 10.
Lucky Three?: UC Irvine enters the Big West Tournament a “true” number three seed for the first time in program history. The Anteaters were the No. 3 seed from the Western Division in 1998 and 2000 back when the Big West featured a two-division setup. The Anteaters are seeking their first conference tournament title and NCAA Tourney trip.
Tournament Talk: UCI has won at least one game in the Big West Tournament in three straight years.
Where There’s A Will...: Senior Will Davis II became just the third player in school history to register 800 career rebounds last week. He goes into the tournament at 808. The 6-8 forward also moved into eighth place in UCI career scoring with 1,325 points while his school blocked shot record stands at 207.
Forever Young: Junior point guard Alex Young is close to joining just three others in the Anteater record book with 400 career assists. With 395 career helpers, Young is just 17 short of No. 3 Jerry Green and 80 shy of record holder Raimonds Miglinieks.
Rematch Time: In a rematch of the 2014 quarterfinals, UC Riverside takes another shot at UC Irvine on Thursday at Honda Center. The Highlanders fell 63-43 last year. UCR is 0-2 all-time against UCI in the Big West Tournament.
Quirky Tournament Stat: UCR seeks to snap a three-game tournament losing streak. The Highlanders are 3-8 all-time in the tournament. All three wins came against Cal Poly (2004, 2008, 2011), last year’s tournament champion.
Johns Approaches Another Milestone: Junior forward Taylor Johns is three rebounds away from becoming the sixth player in school history – and the second in the Division I era – to reach 600 for a career. He recently joined the school’s 1,000 career points club.
Close Game Convo: The Highlanders appeared in a ton of close games during the 2013-14 season, finishing 5-11 in games decided by five points or less. In 2014-15, UCR is faring better with a 6-7 record in tight outcomes. UCR fwould have sported an even better mark if not for back-to-back two- and one-point losses to UC Davis and Long Beach State.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Meeting Again: UC Santa Barbara takes a five-game winning streak into Thursday’s Big West Tournament quarterfinals against rival Cal Poly. The two teams sported identical seeds last year when the No. 7 Mustangs upset the No. 2 Gauchos in a quarterfinal matchup.
Tournament Talk: The Gauchos have lost three straight in the Big West Tournament after winning their seven previous games.
Big Al And The Double-Double: Senior Alan Williams, the NCAA’s Division I leader with 48 career double-doubles, has recorded a double-double in four straight games and a Big West-leading 15 times this season.
Vincent Chases Frosh Record: Gabe Vincent has made 52 three-pointers, the second-most by a freshman in UCSB history. He made a season-high tying five treys at Hawai‘i last week. The school record by a freshman is 58.
Measure Of Success: UCSB is 15-0 this season when holding an opponent to 60 points or less.
Twenty Twenty: Hawai‘i secured its second straight 20-win season after knocking off Cal State Fullerton in the regular season finale. It is the first time the program has secured back-to-back 20-win campaigns since the 1996-97 and 1997-98 squads accomplished the feat.
Bobbitt Still No. 1: Junior Roderick Bobbitt remains the NCAA leader with 95 steals this season. His streak of at least one steal in 28 straight games was halted against CSF, but he still has a realistic shot of becoming just the fourth player in Big West annals to amass 100 steals in a season.
Shooting It With Confidence: UH enters the Big West Tournament having shot better than 50 percent from the field in three straight games. The team is shooting 53.1 percent (85-for-160) during that stretch.
Jankovic Steps Up: Sophomore Stefan Jankovic has provided the Rainbow Warriors an additional offensive presence since the transfer became eligible to play on Dec. 22 versus Nebraska. The 6-11 forward has scored in double figures in 13 of the last 15 games.