Welcome Mat: Big West Back To The Home Front
Weekly Release No. 5
With 49 of the first 73 men's basketball games taking place at road or neutral sites, Big West schools welcome the opportunity to play a majority of their games at home this week.
UC Irvine Keeps Road Streak Alive
UC Irvine earned its eighth straight true road win – dating to last season – when the Anteaters topped Saint Mary’s last Wednesday in Moraga. The ‘Eaters had lost in Moraga in each of the last four seasons before the breakthrough, which also happened to be their first victory over the Gaels since 2002. The eight consecutive road wins is the NCAA’s fourth-longest current streak, trailing only the 10 by Gonzaga and Virginia, and the nine from Lipscomb. UCI’s next test takes place on Wednesday at Cal Baptist.
UC Santa Barbara Matches Last Year’s Start
Despite a four-point loss at Washington Sunday, UC Santa Barbara has started each of the first two seasons under Joe Pasternack with a 6-2 record. UCSB’s start last year swelled to 8-2 and eventually 11-3 prior to the beginning of conference play. The Gauchos return home this week to face Arkansas-Pine Bluff, seeking to improve upon their 3-0 record in the Thunderdome. UCSB is 15-2 at home overall with Pasternack at the helm.
UCI is an undefeated 3-0 in road games this season, but the success in enemy territory stops there. The other eight schools are a combined 2-25 in true road games. UCSB won at Wyoming on the opening night of the season. CSUN defeated Pepperdine in Malibu on Monday night, halting a 15-game losing streak against non-conference road opponents that dated to December of 2015. Six schools are seeking their first road win, including UC Davis (0-3, at Northern Illinois) and Long Beach State (0-5, at Fresno State) this week.
Home Is Where The Success Is
Eight of the 12 games on this week’s schedule will be contested in Big West home facilities. The league is a combined 15-9 at home this season.
Diane Ranks Among Nation’s Top Freshmen
CSUN freshman forward Lamine Diane enters December as the Big West leader in both scoring (25.6 ppg) and rebounding (10.9 rpg). He ranks No. 5 nationally in scoring – and second among freshmen behind only Detroit’s Antoine Davis (29.6 ppg). Diane tops all freshmen nationally in rebounding and is No. 10 overall. Diane also leads the Big West in blocked shots (2.1 bpg) and ranks second in steals (2.0 spg).
Freshmen Sharpshooters Lead Conference
Two players are shooting 50 percent from three-point land to top the Big West – and both are freshmen. UC Riverside guard Dragan Elkaz has made 18 of his 36 attempts from downtown. Likewise, UC Santa Barbara freshman forward Jay Nagle is 11-for-22 from distance.
Youth Is Served
A freshman or sophomore tops the Big West statistically in 10 of 13 categories. The CSUN trio of freshmen Lamine Diane and Darius Brown II, along with sophomore Terrell Gomez, lead in eight of those 10 categories.
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
BIG WEST COACHING
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.
TURNER MOVES UP CAREER WINS LISTS
RUSSELL TURNER notched his 164th win all-time at UC Irvine as a result of Wednesday’s 80-75 triumph at Saint Mary’s. Turner moved past Bill Mulligan for second place on the career wins list at the school, and now trails only Pat Douglass (197, 1997-2010) for the record. In addition, Turner now ranks No. 11 in Big West history with his 164 wins, needing only three more to join the top 10 and displace CSUN’s Bobby Braswell (166, 2001-13). Turner also is within reach of Utah State’s Stew Morrill (167, 1998-2005) for the ninth spot. The ninth-year coach has led the Anteaters to 20-win campaigns in five of the last six seasons.
UC IRVINE RANKED IN COLLEGEINSIDER.COM POLL
After opening the season ranked No. 24 in the preseason CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll, UC Irvine enters the week at No. 18. The Anteaters are riding a four-week run inside the top 25, including a season-best of No. 15 on Nov. 19. Other conference schools have been recognized in the “others receiving votes” section of the poll – Cal State Fullerton, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Hawai‘i. The Gauchos earned three points in the most recent poll after a 6-2 start to the season.