Big West Tournament Preview

13 Mar

Big West

March 14-16

Favorite(s)-Long Beach State (18-12 14-4)

It should be no surprise that the 49ers are once again the #1 seed in the Big West tournament.  They tortured themselves again in the non-conference playing at Arizona, Syracuse, Ohio State and UCLA as well as hosting North Carolina.  While they didn’t win any of those games it prepares them for conference play.  One of two seniors, forward James Ennis leads four players in double figures at 17.0 points and sophomore point guard Mike Caffey adds 12.3 and 3.8 assists.

Contender(s)-Pacific (19-12 13-5), Hawaii (17-13 10-8)

Pacific finished 2nd in the conference and while they don’t do much that stands out, only one player (Lorenzo McCloud) averages double digits at 11.4 and their leading rebounder Travis Fulton only grabs 3.9 a game, the Tigers just find ways to win.  They do it with a group effort, 8 guys average over 18 minutes a game and they all contribute averaging at least 4 points and 2 rebounds.

Hawaii is a contender in the Big West for two reasons, their inside presence and their ability to beat teams ahead of them.  Forwards Vander Joaquin and Christian Standhardinger combine for 30 points and 16.3 rebounds.  The Warriors also own wins over the other top teams in the conference except for Cal Poly who swept them.

Team Likely to pull an upset-Cal Poly (17-12 12-6)

The Mustangs beat UCLA on the road and swept Hawaii as well as splits with UC-Irvine and Long Beach State.  With a player like Chris Eversley who averages 16 points and 7 rebounds Cal Poly is certainly capable of knocking off any of the Big West’s best.

3 Key Players-James Ennis-Long Beach State, Chris Eversley-Cal Poly, Christian Standhardinger-Hawaii

Some thought that Long Beach State would be ripe for the picking in the Big West after last season, they were wrong.  The 49ers once again sit atop the conference and boast the probable conference POY in senior James Ennis.  The model of consistency for Dan Monson, Ennis has notched double figures in every game this season and at least 17 in 15 of them.  In addition his 6.9 rebounds also leads the team. There may be other mid majors getting more publicity but James Ennis and LBSU is not a name you want to see in your bracket.

Cal Poly’s signature win came at #11 UCLA when they beat the Bruins by 2.  Leading the way for the Mustangs was junior forward Christian Eversley who had 15 points and 10 rebounds.  The 6-7 Eversley averages 16.2 points and 7.2 rebounds for a team that scores just 66 points a game, he is also the leader in those categories, the next leading scorer is just over 9.9 points and no other player averages more than 4.6 rebounds.  As Eversley goes, so goes Cal Poly.

The 6-8 forward from Germany had 27 points and 10 rebounds in a loss at UNLV and 31 and 16 in a win over UCSB.  The lanky forward is your typical European big man who has the ability to shoot from the outside shooting 34% from outside.  He also knows how to use his size as he averages 7.9 rebounds a game and having recorded nine double-doubles on the season thanks to his 15.9 points per game average.



March 14-16 Anaheim, CA

Thursday, March 14 – Quarterfinal
No. 1 Long Beach State vs. No. 8 Cal-State Fullerton
No. 2 Pacific vs. No. 7 UC-Santa Barbara
No. 3 Cal Poly vs. No. 6 UC-Davis
No. 4 UC-Irvine vs. No. 5 Hawaii

Friday, March 15 – Semifinal
Highest seed remaining vs. Lowest seed remaining
Second highest seed remaining vs. Second lowest seed remaining

Saturday, March 16  Final
Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2


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