Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sports: Big West Tournament 2007, preview


Image source: http://www.bigwest.org/sports/mbball/info/champs/

The BWT starts Wednesday.

Last year, I blogged quite a bit about it because I went to a number of the games. Alas, I'm not going this year as the prospects for my Anteaters are poor compared to last year. I will still follow along via the internet!

Kyle Whelliston covers the mid-majors for ESPN.com. Perhaps, he will have a preview for the Big West Tournament in the next day or two.

In the meantime, I hope this little summary will tide you over until Whelliston puts something out there and while you continue to scour basketball boards for any tidbit about the Big West.

#1 Seed - Long Beach
The clear favorites. They clinched the regular season title before the final weekend and finished with a 12-2 record in conference well ahead of Cal Poly's 9-5 mark. The key players to watch on the 49ers are Aaron Nixon (Big West Player of the Year) and Kejuan Johnson. The team is not shy about putting up the three-pointer. The team averages 10.3 made 3-pts per game and 86.4 pts per game.

#2 Seed - Cal Poly
They too aren't shy about putting up the three making 10 per game. The Mustangs are on a seven-game winning streak. Will they get to face the 49ers on Saturday for the NCAA bid? They lost both regular season meetings against Long Beach. Player to watch: Derek Stockalper.

#3 Seed - Cal State Fullerton
A run and gun team that I saw give UCLA trouble for about 2/3 of the game. The Titan's star is Bobby Brown averaging 20 points a game. They started the season off strong but have been slumping having lost 5 of their last 8.

#4 Seed - UC Santa Barbara
The Gauchos are on a three-game winning streak and have the conference stingiest defense giving up only 68.6 points a game. Their star is conference scoring champ Alex Harris who averaged 21 points a game.

#5 Seed - UC Irvine
The Anteaters have been erratic all season. Their longest win streak was only three games. Yet, they are one of two teams in conference to beat #1 seed Long Beach. In their second meeting against the 49ers, they got the lead then gave it up and then almost made the comeback. This same team struggled in two wins over #8 seed UC Riverside. Darren Fells gives them some inside presence and Adam Templeton and Nic Campbell launch the threes.

#6 Seed Cal State Northridge
The Matadors are the other team besides the Anteaters to beat Long Beach. But they too have been erratic all season managing just two three-game win streaks. They have played .500 ball in their last eight games after a mid-season 4-game losing streak. They split the regular season meetings against #7 seed Pacific. Player to watch: Jonathan Heard.

#7 Seed - University of Pacific
The UOP Tigers have had a terrible season after dominating the Big West the last few years. They are currently on a 4-game losing streak. Player to watch: forward Anthony Brown.

#8 Seed - UC Riverside
The Highlanders have had a difficult season. One of their players was killed in an auto accident before the season and their coach took a medical leave of absence. They went 1-13 in conference and 7-23 overall. They did play the Anteaters very close in their two regular season meetings. Player to watch: Larry Cunningham.

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