Saturday, March 11, 2006

Sports: Big West Tournament, Day 4

Preview

Long Beach State (#3 seed) faces off with University of the Pacific (#1 seed) for the Big West Tournament championship in men's basketball. The winner gets the NCAA bid. UOP by virtue of winning the regular season championship would get an NIT bid should they lose tonight but clearly, NOBODY is playing for the NIT tonight!

LBSU is a run-and-gun-three-point shooting team. UOP plays half-court grind it out basketball. The 49ers will rely on their shooters and quickness of feet and passing to get open looks while the Tigers will rely on their big guys in the paint. As is often the case, the team that dictates tempo should win the game.

Aaron Nixon of Long Beach has to be the favorite for tournament MVP whether or not the 49ers win tonight. He dropped 31 on Fullerton on Thursday and 28 on Irvine on Friday and in both games had the key baskets late in the game when the game was on the line.

Television coverage is at 9pm PST on ESPN.

Yahoo! Sport's box score will be found here.

My prediction: LBSU 76 UOP 69.

Game progress

Am not down at the Arena but am on the Internet!

Pacific 42 Long Beach 36. A high score like that suggests it is being played at the pace Long Beach likes.

Looking over the stats: both teams have hit seven three-pointers, not much foul shooting (typical of the slow whistles of the Big West refs), rebounding is close though LB has more offensive boards (7 vs. 4) but Pacific's FG% is 56.7 while LB is only at 37.8. I'm wondering if the higher shooting percentage of Pacific is due to more points in the paint which is where I think their advantage would be?

It's a final: UOP 78 LBSU 70

UPDATE

UOP got a 13-seed in the NCAA and will play Boston College in Salt Lake on Thursday.

In the last bit of Big West news, Pacific's Johnny Gray was named Tournament MVP. Also named to the All-Tournament team was: Christian Maraker of Pacific, Shawn Hawkins and Aaron Nixon of Long Beach, Aaron Fitzgerald of UC Irvine and Fullerton's Jamaal Brown.

related posts
Day 4
Day 3
Day 2
Day 1
Preview, part II
Preview, part I

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