Non-Conference Play Finishes Up This Week For Men's Hoops
2017-18 Men's Basketball Release No. 8
Big West men's hoops teams look to make one last push in non-conference action before the 16-game league schedule commences on Jan. 3. UC Irvine hosts New Mexico State in the marquee matchup of the week.
Non-Conference Play Winds Down
The Big West picked up six more wins against non-conference Division I competition last week, including UC Riverside’s triumph over a nine-win Valparaiso squad, as well as Hawai‘i knocking off Davidson of the Atlantic 10. One week of non-conference action remains before teams commence a 16-game Big West schedule on Jan. 3. Eleven games dot this week’s slate, with the toughest test belonging to UC Irvine. The Anteaters host New Mexico State, ranked No. 39 in the most recent NCAA RPI. UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton also travel to No. 79 Utah Valley.
UC Santa Barbara First To 10 Wins
UC Santa Barbara notched victories over San Diego Christian and Sacramento State last week to improve to a conference-best 10-3 (.769) on the season. The Gauchos reached 10 wins prior to Big West play for the first time since the 2007-08 season. UCSB’s final non-conference matchup is at home against Pacific Union on Saturday.
Aggies, Gauchos Maintain High RPI’s
UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis remain among the nation’s top teams in the NCAA RPI. The Gauchos are the highest-ranked Big West squad at No. 45, followed closely behind by the No. 57 Aggies. Four of the five Aggies losses have been against RPI top-100 teams – Utah Valley (78), Washington (68), Nevada (23) and Radford (98). The Gauchos have fallen twice to teams in the top 35 of the RPI – Texas A&M (8) and USC (35).
Les Moves Closer To 500th Game
UC Davis head coach Jim Les is inching closer to coaching his 500th Division I game. The seventh-year Aggie bench boss is 95-108 in six-plus seasons. Counting his nine seasons at Bradley, Les is 249-248 all-time as a Division I head coach. Les will reach the milestone on Thursday, Jan. 11 at UC Riverside.
Heidegger, King Big West Top One-Two Punch
The UCSB duo of Max Heidegger and Leland King II rank one-two in the Big West in total points scored – Heidegger with 293 and King II at 229. The 522 combined points by that tandem eclipse the 407 by the Long Beach State tandem of Gabe Levin and Bryan Alberts. Heidegger, who averaged 7.6 points per game as a freshman, is the Big West’s scoring leader (22.5) as a sophomore. That figure ranks him No. 14 nationally. He has eight 20-point games this season.
UC Davis Looks To Extend Home Streak
UC Davis hosts Holy Names on Saturday, aiming to extend its 14-game home court winning streak. That streak is tied for the seventh-longest in the NCAA, alongside Bucknell. Cincinnati (33), SMU (31), Florida State (27), Texas Southern (23), Vermont (16) and Purdue (15) have longer streaks currently. The Aggies are 3-0 at home this season and were undefeated on Hamilton Court (11-0) in 2016-17.