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Men's Basketball

Big West Set For 44th Annual Men's Basketball Tournament

Links associated with this release:
2019 Big West Men's Basketball Tournament presented by Pacific Surfliner

3/10/2019

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2019 Big West Men's Basketball Tournament presented by Pacific Surfliner Bracket

Weekly Release No. 19

Pacific Surfliner is the presenting sponsor for the 44th annual Big West Men's Basketball Tournament, which tips off with all four of Thursday's quarterfinals on ESPN3. Eight different schools have won the title in the eight years the tournament has been held at Honda Center.

Thursday's quarterfinals schedule is as follows:

ESPN3
#2 UC Santa Barbara vs. #7 CSUN - Noon
#3 Cal State Fullerton vs. #6 UC Davis - 2:30 pm
#1 UC Irvine vs. #8 UC Riverside - 6:00 pm
#4 Hawai‘i vs. #5 Long Beach State - 8:30 pm

Cal State Fullerton is the reigning tournament champion, and seeks to become the first repeat winner since UC Santa Barbara in 2010 and 2011. The eight schools to hoist the championship trophy at Honda Center – beginning with UCSB in 2011 – include Long Beach State (2012), Pacific (2013), Cal Poly (2014), UC Irvine (2015), Hawai‘i (2016), UC Davis (2017) and Cal State Fullerton (2018).

Either CSUN or UC Riverside would need to win the tourney this year to make it 9-for-9. The Matadors enter as the No. 7 seed, while the Highlanders are seeded No. 8.

UC Irvine is the No. 1 seed for the third time in the last six years. The 'Eaters won the regular season title with a 15-1 record and enter the tourney on a 13-game winning streak, equalling the program's longest since the 2000-01 squad. UCI won the title by a whopping five games, the largest degree of separation since Pacific did the same in 2004-05.

ESPN3 will present all four quarterfinal games on Thursday.

The bracket will be reseeded following the quarterfinal round. The highest remaining seeded team will face the lowest remaining seeded team in one semifinal game on Friday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m.. The other two quarterfinal winners will clash no earlier than 9:00 p.m.

ESPNU will air the first semifinal game on a delayed basis, available following the conclusion of the live second semifinal. ESPN3 will stream both semifinal games live.

The championship game is scheduled for Saturday, March 16 at 9:00 p.m. on ESPN2, with the winner earning the Big West's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Westwood One will also provide a national broadcast of Saturday's final that can be heard on several platforms:

• On regular radio stations across the country
• On the Westwood One Channels via the TuneIn mobile app
• Streamed online for free at westwoodonesports.com
• On Sirius XM satellite radio at channel 205 (also channel 203 on XM)

The streaming link to the audio player – http://www.westwoodonesports.com/bigwest – will also be available on the Big West men's basketball tournament page.

More information, including schedules and ticket prices for the 44th annual Big West Men's Basketball Tournament presented by Pacific Surfliner, can be found via the link at the top of the page.

TIPOFF TIME

‘Eaters Enter Big West Tourney As No. 1 Seed
The Big West Tournament presented by Pacific Surfliner begins Thursday, March 14 at Honda Center with four quarterfinal games. No. 1 seed UC Irvine, which finished the regular season 27-5 overall and 15-1 in conference play, meets No. 8 seed UC Riverside at 6 pm. The afternoon session includes No. 2 UC Santa Barbara versus No. 7 CSUN and No. 3 Cal State Fullerton versus No. 6 UC Davis. The evening session is capped off with a battle between No. 4 Hawai‘i and No. 5 Long Beach State.

‘Eater Appetite
It has been a historically exceptional season for UCI, which is seeking its second trip to the NCAA Tournament after breaking through in 2015.

• UCI’s 13 game winning streak has tied the school record initially set by the 2000-01 team. It is the longest winning streak by anyone in the Big West since former member Pacific reeled off 22 straight in 2004-05.

• UCI finished Big West play 8-0 in road games, becoming the first team since the 2004-05 Pacific squad (9-0) to go undefeated.

• UCI is 13-2 in overall road games this season, the win total tied with Stony Brook for the most in Division I. UCI has two key road wins – Saint Mary’s (No. 37 NET) and Texas A&M (No. 81 NET) – considered Quadrant 1 and Quadrant 2 wins, respectively, by the NCAA’s rating system. UCI is No. 75 in the NET as of March 11.

• UCI’s 27 wins are the second-most in school history. The ‘Eaters won 28 games in 2015-16 during a 38-game season. UCI has played 32 contests so far in 2018-19.

Big West Tournament Magic
In the eight seasons the Big West Tournament has been held at Honda Center, the facility has produced eight different tournament champions. Either CSUN or UC Riverside would have to win the title this year to make it nine-for-nine.

BIG WEST TOURNEY CHAMPS AT HONDA CENTER
Year Champion Seed
2018 Cal State Fullerton No. 4
2017 UC Davis No. 2
2016 Hawai‘i No. 1
2015 UC Irvine No. 3
2014 Cal Poly No. 7
2013 Pacific No. 2
2012 Long Beach State No. 1
2011 UC Santa Barbara No. 5
                   
Everyone’s Got A Shot
Being the No. 1 seed does not guarantee an NCAA dance party at the end of three games at Honda Center. The top seed has won the tournament just twice in eight years.

Time To Repeat
Cal State Fullerton seeks to repeat as tourney champion for the first time since UC Santa Barbara in 2010 and 2011.

TOURNEY TIPOFF TIDBITS

UC SANTA BARBARA VS. CSUN (ESPN3) - UC Santa Barbara has won three straight quarterfinal games (2015, 2016, 2018). CSUN is seeking its first tourney win since 2014. UCSB is 15-0 this season when leading at halftime. CSUN freshman Lamine Diane is No. 3 in Big West single-season history with 321 field goals made, needing five more to surpass Raymond Lewis of Cal State Los Angeles (325, 1972-73) for the No. 2 slot. UCSB forward Amadou Sow set the new freshman record for points in a season (361), and is No. 3 in rebounds (194), needing two more to move into second.

CAL STATE FULLERTON VS. UC DAVIS (ESPN3) - Cal State Fullerton is 9-0 this season when shooting 50 percent or better from the field, and has won 30 straight when hitting that mark going back to Dec. 7, 2016. The CSF game represents the sixth straight time UC Davis is slotted to play in the quarterfinal afternoon session – Aggies are 3-2 in previous five chances. CSF senior Khalil Ahmad is 18 points shy of becoming fourth player in school history with 1,700.

UC IRVINE VS. UC RIVERSIDE (ESPN3)
- UC Irvine has reached at least the tourney semifinals in each of the last seven years. The ‘Eaters are 4-0 all-time against UC Riverside in the tourney. All four Highlander wins in conference play were accompanied by 10 or more made three-pointers. UCR has made a school Division I record 274 threes this season. UNLV’s Larry Johnson is No. 4 all-time with 304. UCI allowed just one team – Hawai‘i (11 on Jan. 23) – during the 16-game league schedule to make double-digit threes.

HAWAI‘I AT LONG BEACH STATE (ESPN3) - This is the fourth time in five years that these two teams will clash at some point in the tourney. Hawai‘i has played in the fewest “close” games – defined as five points or less – than anyone in the Big West. UH is 1-2 in close games. LBSU is 7-6 in close games. LBSU’s enters the tourney with the league’s second-longest current winning streak (5) behind only UCI (13). UH has made a school record 259 threes this season.

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