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Men's Basketball

Anteaters, Gauchos Seek To Continue Solid Starts


Weekly Release No. 4

UC Irvine (6-1) and UC Santa Barbara (5-1) have experienced early success in the 2018-19 season.  Both clubs are in action twice this week.


UC Santa Barbara Enjoys Best Start In Decade
UC Santa Barbara has won four straight and is 5-1 to start the 2018-19 campaign.  That’s the program’s best start in 10 years, equaling the 5-1 record by the 2007-08 club.  That team eventually became 9-1 before losing another game.  The Gauchos return home to face Sacramento State on Thursday before embarking on a trip to the Pacific Northwest to tangle with Pac-12 foe Washington on Sunday.  UCSB has managed its solid start without the services of first team all-conference guard Max Heidegger, who has missed the first six games due to concussion symptoms.

‘Eaters Put Road Win Streak On Line

Dating to last season, UCI has won seven consecutive true road games – tied for the fourth-longest active streak in Division I.  That streak will be severely tested on Wednesday when the Anteaters travel to Saint Mary’s.  UCI has lost to the Gaels in Moraga in each of the last four seasons.  Gonzaga and Virginia lead the country with nine consecutive true road wins, followed by Lipscomb with eight.  UCI is tied with Michigan State and Xavier for seven.

UC Irvine Off To Hot Start

UC Irvine won six straight games to start the season before falling to Toledo in the championship game of the Gulf Coast Showcase last week.  With a 6-1 record, UCI has secured its best start through seven games since 1981-82.  That 1981-82 squad was the last team to open a season 6-0, eventually going 9-0.  In addition to playing Saint Mary’s on the road, UCI returns to the Bren Events Center for the first time in nearly three weeks when Utah State visits Saturday.

Hawai‘i Defeats Pac-12 Foe
Hawai‘i found its share of tough competition at last week’s Wooden Legacy, squaring off against Utah of the Pac-12, Seton Hall of the Big East and Fresno State of the Mountain West over a four-day period.  The Rainbow Warriors started the tourney with an 11-point win over the Utes, which represented the program’s first victory over a Pac-12 school since defeating California in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

Callero Moves To Third On Cal Poly Wins List

Joe Callero moved into third place on Cal Poly’s career coaching wins list with Saturday’s one-point OT victory over USC Upstate in the Portland Classic.  Callero earned win No. 122 with the Mustangs.  The 10th-year Cal Poly bench boss now trails only Ernie Wheeler (254, 1972-86) and Ed Jorgensen (244, 1947-66) in the record book.

Diane Impresses In CSUN Debut
The first four games of Lamine Diane’s collegiate career have given CSUN fans reason for optimism as first-year head coach Mark Gottfried rebuilds the program.  The redshirt freshman is leading the Big West in scoring at 24.8 points per game.  He scored 34 points in the season opener against New Mexico.  Diane then posted 21 points versus Portland and 29 against Tennessee State, corraling 12 rebounds in both contests for his first two career double-doubles.


Big West squads have lined up another challenging non-conference slate which includes a minimum of 24 games against opponents which advanced to the NCAA Tournament or National Invitational Tournament last season.  Thirteen out of 14 games scheduled against 2018 NCAA teams will be played on the road or at a neutral site.  In fact, all but the Dec. 8 Montana at UC Irvine game will not be played at a Big West home facility.  The possibility to play additional games against 2018 postseason teams is dependent on the outcomes of several tournaments within the first couple of months.

Games Against 2018 NCAA Tournament Teams
Nov. 6     Cal State Fullerton at Arizona State
Nov. 9     Long Beach State at UCLA
Nov. 9     UC Irvine at Texas A&M
Nov. 11   Cal Poly at Arizona
Nov. 12   Long Beach State at Arizona State
Nov. 12   UC Davis at Arkansas
Nov. 19   Long Beach State vs. Iona
Nov. 23   Hawai‘i vs. Seton Hall
Nov. 28   Hawai‘i at UCLA
Dec. 8     Montana at UC Irvine
Dec. 19   CSUN at New Mexico State
Dec. 21   UC Irvine at Butler
Dec. 22   UC Davis at Arizona   
Jan. 1      CSUN at San Diego State

Games Against 2018 NIT Teams
Nov. 16    Long Beach State at Mississippi State
Nov. 22    Hawai‘i vs. Utah
Nov. 28    UC Irvine at Saint Mary’s
Nov. 28    Long Beach State at USC
Dec. 2      UC Santa Barbara at Washington
Dec. 10    Cal State Fullerton at Saint Mary’s
Dec. 22    Cal State Fullerton at Nebraska
Dec. 29    Long Beach State at Stanford
Dec. 30    UC Davis at USC
Jan. 1      Cal State Fullerton at Washington

Long Beach State’s DAN MONSON is the dean of Big West head coaches, entering his 12th season roaming the sidelines of the Walter Pyramid.  He ranks eighth all-time in conference history with 187 wins, while his 114 Big West victories is sixth all-time.  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).  Monson has won a minimum of 15 games in each of the last 10 seasons, needing that total to get to 200 for his career during the 2018-19 campaign.  Monson needs eight wins to catch Fresno State’s Boyd Grant (194) and 11 to surpass UC Irvine’s Pat Douglass (197) in the Big West record book.


Two new faces will be roaming the sidelines for the Big West this season.  Veteran head coach MARK GOTTFRIED begins his first season at CSUN after three previous head coaching stints at Murray State (1995-98), Alabama (1998-09) and NC State (2011-17).  Gottfried his compiled a Division I record of 402-244 during his 20-plus years of head coaching experience.  He has reached the NCAA Tournament 11 times, including an Elite Eight appearance with Alabama in 2003-04 and two Sweet Sixteen stops with NC State (2011-12 and 2014-15).  His teams also have participated in the NIT on four other occassions.

DAVID PATRICK begins a new era at UC Riverside as a first-time head coach.  Patrick had successful assistant coaching stints at TCU and LSU before arriving in the Inland Empire.  He is known as an outstanding recruiter, credited with bringing in 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons to LSU.  He also coached NBA champion and Australian national team guards Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova while working as an assistant at Saint Mary’s.

The Big West had several key moments take place during the 2017-18 season.

• Cal State Fullerton became the eighth different school in eight years to win the Big West Tournament at Honda Center.  The list of champions since the tourney moved to Honda Center in 2011 – UC Davis (2017), Hawai‘i (2016), UC Irvine (2015), Cal Poly (2014), Pacific (2013), Long Beach State (2012) and UC Santa Barbara (2011).

• CSF won its third Big West Tournament title all-time – and first in 10 years.  Other title teams were in 1978 and 2008.

• UC Davis accumulated 20 wins for the third time in four years, and won its second regular season title over that stretch after finishing 12-4 in league play.

• Under first-year head coach Joe Pasternack, UC Santa Barbara set the Big West record for biggest turnaround in one season and he took a program that finished 6-22 in 2016-17, to a 23-9 mark in 2017-18.  The +17 win improvement not only was the best in league history, the Gauchos went from setting the school record for losses to tying the program benchmark for wins.

• UC Irvine notched its sixth straight winning season, the longest such streak by a Big West school since UCSB reeled off seven straight from 2005-12.