Sunday, December 23, 2007

Big West not at its best

Saturday was not a good day for Big West Conference.
The Big West looked like it’ll be a one-bid conference again this year, losing what I believe was all five of its men’s basketball games on Saturday.
While three of those teams – UCSB, Cal Poly and UC Irvine – played top 25 teams, there were some cover-your-eyes-type losses by Pacific, Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside.
Pacific lost to Fresno State 75-58 in a game that saw the Tigers struggle defensively, forcing only nine turnovers and finishing with one steal and one blocked shot.
That’s the same Fresno State team that lost to Cal State Bakersfield earlier in the year. A Bakersfield team that could be joining the Big West in the future if the Roadrunners have their way. Speaking of having their way, the ’Runners, who are in the middle of a four-year transition from DII to DI, had their way with the Big West’s UC Riverside in a 71-53 victory in the Inland Empire on Saturday. It was only their second win of the season.
Then there was Cal State Fullerton’s 84-80 loss at home to Wright State. The other game between nonranked opponents was Washington’s 80-66 victory over Cal State Northridge in Seattle.
As far as the Big West against the top 25, No. 1 North Carolina rolled over UCSB 105-70, No. 25 USC beat Cal Poly 78-55 as O.J. Mayo had more assists the Mustangs team, and UC Irvine lost at No. 14 Texas A&M 88-66.
The good thing about this preseason is the top half teams in the league are scheduling games against some of the best teams in the country, and not just the Pac-10 squads as they have in the past.
Problem is, heading into the last week of 2007, five of the nine teams in the Big West have losing records.

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