The 2017-18 Big West men's basketball season gets underway this weekend, featuring a challenging non-conference slate that includes a minimum of 33 games against teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament or NIT last year.
#STARTBIG | #BWCMBB
Hoops Season Is Here
The 49th season of Big West men’s basketball begins on Friday with seven games. Defending regular season champion UC Irvine starts out on the road against South Dakota State. UC Davis, which won the program’s first NCAA Tournament game last season, opens up at Northern Colorado on Monday. The Aggies captured the Big West Tournament title to stake their claim to the NCAA berth.
Player of the Week
Big West Men’s Basketball Player of the Week selections will take place each Monday during the regular season, with the first award announced on Nov. 13.
Media Tabs UC Irvine As Preseason Favorite
UC Irvine received 14 first-place votes and 216 points from the Big West men’s basketball media as the preseason favorite to win the title during the 2017-18 season. The Anteaters, which return 10 letterwinners but do not have a senior on the roster, edged UC Davis with seven first-place votes and 189 points. Cal State Fullerton was picked to finish third with 158 points and one first-place vote, while Long Beach State was fourth with 153 points and a first-place vote. Hawai‘i also received two first-place nods for fifth place at 146 points. UC Santa Barbara received the last first-place vote and had 94 points for sixth place. CSUN was chosen seventh with 73 points, edging out UC Riverside and Cal Poly, which were selected eighth and ninth with 71 and 70 points, respectively.
Moneke Leads Preseason All-League Team
The only returning member of the 2016-17 All-Big West First Team, UC Davis senior Chima Moneke headlined the six-player preseason media all-conference team. Joining Moneke on the list was CSUN senior Tavrion Dawson, UC Santa Barbara senior Gabe Vincent, Cal State Fullerton sophomore Jackson Rowe, and Long Beach State teammates senior Gabe Levin and junior Temidayo Yussuf.
Moneke Earns More Preseason Honors
UC Davis forward Chima Moneke is on the national radar for recognition as he enters his senior season. Moneke was recently named to the CollegeInsider.com preseason Watch List for both the Lute Olson Award and Lou Henson Award. The Lute Olson Award recognizes the nation’s top Division I player who has played at least two seasons. Moneke is featured on a list of 40 players from conferences including the Power 5. The Lou Henson Award is presented annually to the nation’s top Division I mid-major player.
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Cal State Fullerton
Long Beach State
UC Santa Barbara
Big West squads have lined up another challenging non-conference slate which includes 33 games against opponents that advanced to the NCAA Tournament or National Invitational Tournament last season. Thirteen of the 20 games against 2017 NCAA teams will be played on the road or at a neutral site. The possibility for additional games against 2017 postseason teams exists depending on the outcomes of several tournaments within the first couple of months.
Games Against 2017 NCAA Tournament Teams
Nov. 10 Cal State Fullerton at USC
Nov. 10 UC Irvine at South Dakota State
Nov. 12 North Dakota at Hawai‘i
Nov. 13 Troy at Hawai‘i
Nov. 15 Cal State Fullerton at Saint Mary’s
Nov. 17 UC Irvine at Kansas State
Nov. 20 Long Beach State vs. West Virginia
Nov. 24 Nevada at Hawai‘i
Nov. 26 UC Irvine at UCLA
Nov. 26 UC Riverside at Michigan
Nov. 29 Long Beach State at Arizona
Dec. 2 Nevada at UC Irvine
Dec. 16 Princeton at Cal Poly
Dec. 16 UC Irvine at Saint Mary’s
Dec. 17 UC Santa Barbara at USC
Dec. 19 Cal Poly at SMU
Dec. 19 UC Davis at Nevada
Dec. 21 Long Beach State at Michigan State
Dec. 22 Miami (FL) at Hawai‘i
Dec. 28 New Mexico State at UC Irvine Games Against 2017 NIT Teams
Nov. 10 UC Riverside at California
Nov. 12 Cal Poly at California
Nov. 13 CSUN at Fresno State
Nov. 22 Cal Poly vs. College of Charleston
Nov. 23 Georgia at Cal State Fullerton
Nov. 28 CSUN at California
Dec. 2 Fresno State at Long Beach State
Dec. 2 Hawai‘i at Utah
Dec. 9 Fresno State at Cal Poly
Dec. 16 Cal State Fullerton at California
Dec. 20 Valparaiso at UC Riverside
Dec. 21 Cal Poly at UT Arlington
Dec. 23 Long Beach State at Colorado State
BIG WEST COACHING
Long Beach State’s Dan Monson is the dean of Big West head coaches, in his 11th season on the sideline at the Walter Pyramid. He ranks eighth all-time in conference history with 170 wins. His 105 conference victories is good for seventh on the coaching leaderboard. Only five Big West head coaches have accumulated 200 or more wins during their tenure with the conference – Bob Thomason (Pacific, 436), Jerry Tarkanian (Long Beach State & UNLV, 405), Bob Williams (UC Santa Barbara, 313), Neil McCarthy (New Mexico State, 248) and Jerry Pimm (UC Santa Barbara, 222).
ACTIVE BIG WEST COACHING RECORDS
Dan Monson, Long Beach State
Russell Turner, UC Irvine
Same as school
Joe Callero, Cal Poly
Jim Les, UC Davis
Dennis Cutts, UC Riverside
Same as school
Eran Ganot, Hawai‘i
Same as school
Dedrique Taylor, Cal State Fullerton
Same as school
Reggie Theus, CSUN
Joe Pasternack, UC Santa Barbara
PASTERNACK JOINS BIG WEST COACHING FRATERNITY
The newest head coach in the Big West is UC Santa Barbara’s Joe Pasternack. He is the 13th head coach in school history and just the third in the last 35 years. His previous stop was as Associate Head Coach under Sean Miller at the University of Arizona. He also served as head coach at the University of New Orleans for four seasons. Pasternack takes over a squad that returns four starters and 11 letterwinners, but uncharacteristically struggled last year with a 6-22 record.
WELCOME BACK STAT LEADERS
Returning players who were ranked in the top-10 of several Big West statistical categories are on the following lists.
Three of the top 10 scorers from 2016-17 are back, including UC Santa Barbara’s Gabe Vincent, who ranked fifth in the Big West in scoring (14.8 ppg). Chima Moneke (6th, 14.6) and CSUN’s Tavrion Dawson (9th, 14.1) also return to the fold.
The top four rebounders and seven of the top 10 return. Leading that group is Moneke, who ranked No. 1 in the Big West last year (9.5 rpg). UC Irvine’s Jonathan Galloway (2nd, 7.6), Cal State Fullerton’s Jackson Rowe (3rd, 7.2) and Dawson (6.9) also are back. Also returning is UC Santa Barbara’s Alex Hart (6th, 6.2), UC Irvine’s Tommy Rutherford (9th, 5.3) and UC Riverside’s Chance Murray (5.2).
Three of the top 10 assist leaders return, led by Hawaii’s Brocke Stepteau, who was seventh (3.0 apg) last year. Rainbow Warrior teammate Sheriff Drammeh (8th, 2.8) is also back, as is UCR’s Dikymbe Martin (9th, 2.6).
Two of the top steals leaders come back in UCR teammates Martin (4th, 1.4 spg) and Murray (7th, 1.3).
Six of the top 10 blocked shots leaders are back, including four of the top five. Moneke (1.4 bpg) was the league leader in 2016-17. Galloway, the reigning Big West Defensive Player of the Year, was third overall (1.1).