Lace 'Em Up: 2018-19 Men's Hoops Season Tips Off Tuesday
Weekly Release No. 1
The 2018-19 Big West men's basketball season begins Tuesday with six teams in action, including the top four from the preseason media poll. League favorite UC Irvine, ranked No. 24 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll, hosts Idaho.
Welcome To 50th Season Of Big West Hoops
The 50th season of Big West men’s basketball tips off on Tuesday with six schools in action. UC Davis, last year’s regular season champion, opens at home against San Francisco. Reigning Big West Tournament champion Cal State Fullerton travels to Arizona State. UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara also begin their campaigns in hostile territory – the Highlanders facing Oregon State and the Gauchos battling Wyoming. UC Irvine opens up at home against Idaho, while CSUN’s home opener features New Mexico.
Player of the Week
Big West Men’s Basketball Player of the Week selections will take place each Monday during the regular season, with the first award announced on Nov. 12.
Media Pegs UC Irvine As Preseason Favorite
For the second straight season, UC Irvine finished as the favorite to win the Big West regular season title in the preseason media poll. The 24-member panel predicted a tightly bunched base with the top four teams splitting first-place votes. UCI topped everyone with 192 points and 10 first-place votes. Cal State Fullerton was second with 183 poll points and four first-place tallies. UC Davis was third with 180 points and six first-place votes, while UC Santa Barbara earned four first-place nods and 149 points for fourth place. Long Beach State (116 points), Hawai‘i (110), UC Riverside (61), Cal Poly (47) and CSUN (42) followed suit in the poll.
Shorts Headlines Preseason All-League Team
Four returning players off last season’s all-conference first team were tabbed by the media to the 2018-19 Big West Preseason All-Conference Team. UC Davis guard TJ Shorts II, the first dual recipient in league history of Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year honors – led a distinguished list. The six honorees and a couple of notes on their 2017-18 accomplishments:
TJ SHORTS II, UC DAVIS • SR • G
• Averaged 17.8 points in 16 conference games
• Led Big West in assists (4.9 apg) and steals (2.0 spg) during conference play
KHALIL AHMAD, CAL STATE FULLERTON • SR • G
• League’s returning career leader with 1,149 points
• Finished No. 6 in Big West scoring at 15.1 per game
KYLE ALLMAN, JR., CAL STATE FULLERTON • SR • G
• Led league in scoring (19.5 ppg) and 20-point games (17)
• Finished No. 6 in Big West scoring at 15.1 per game
MAX HEIDEGGER, UC SANTA BARBARA • JR • G
• Set UCSB sophomore record with 612 points in 2017-18
• Made a single-season school record 95 three-pointers
EVAN LEONARD, UC IRVINE • JR • G
• Led team in scoring (13.6 ppg), No. 10 in the Big West
• Ranked No. 2 in Big West with 67 three-pointers
TOMMY RUTHERFORD, UC IRVINE • JR • F
• Ranked No. 2 in Big West with .583 field goal percentage
• Named to All-Big West First Team
Big West squads have lined up another challenging non-conference slate which includes a minimum of 23 games against opponents which advanced to the NCAA Tournament or National Invitational Tournament last season. Twelve out of 13 games scheduled against 2018 NCAA teams will be played on the road or at a neutral site. In fact, all but the Dec. 8 Montana at UC Irvine game will not be played at a Big West home facility. The possibility to play additional games against 2018 postseason teams is dependent on the outcomes of several tournaments within the first couple of months.
Games Against 2018 NCAA Tournament Teams
Nov. 6 Cal State Fullerton at Arizona State
Nov. 9 Long Beach State at UCLA
Nov. 9 UC Irvine at Texas A&M
Nov. 11 Cal Poly at Arizona
Nov. 12 Long Beach State at Arizona State
Nov. 12 UC Davis at Arkansas
Nov. 19 Long Beach State vs. Iona
Nov. 28 Hawai‘i at UCLA
Dec. 8 Montana at UC Irvine
Dec. 19 CSUN at New Mexico State
Dec. 21 UC Irvine at Butler
Dec. 22 UC Davis at Arizona
Jan. 1 CSUN at San Diego State
Games Against 2018 NIT Teams
Nov. 16 Long Beach State at Mississippi State
Nov. 22 Hawai‘i vs. Utah
Nov. 28 UC Irvine at Saint Mary’s
Nov. 28 Long Beach State at USC
Dec. 2 UC Santa Barbara at Washington
Dec. 10 Cal State Fullerton at Saint Mary’s
Dec. 22 Cal State Fullerton at Nebraska
Dec. 29 Long Beach State at Stanford
Dec. 30 UC Davis at USC
Jan. 1 Cal State Fullerton at Washington
BIG WEST COACHING
Long Beach State’s DAN MONSON is the dean of Big West head coaches, entering his 12th season roaming the sidelines of the Walter Pyramid. He ranks eighth all-time in conference history with 185 wins, while his 114 Big West victories is sixth all-time. Only five Big West head coaches have accumulated 200 or more wins during their tenure with the conference – Bob Thomason (Pacific, 436), Jerry Tarkanian (Long Beach State & UNLV, 405), Bob Williams (UC Santa Barbara, 313), Neil McCarthy (New Mexico State, 248) and Jerry Pimm (UC Santa Barbara, 222). Monson has won a minimum of 15 games in each of the last 10 seasons, needing that total to get to 200 for his career during the 2018-19 campaign. Monson needs 10 wins to catch Fresno State’s Boyd Grant (194) and 13 to surpass UC Irvine’s Pat Douglass (197) in the Big West record book.
GOTTFRIED, PATRICK NEWEST ADDITIONS TO BIG WEST COACHING FAMILY
Two new faces will be roaming the sidelines for the Big West this season. Veteran head coach MARK GOTTFRIED begins his first season at CSUN after three previous head coaching stints at Murray State (1995-98), Alabama (1998-09) and NC State (2011-17). Gottfried his compiled a Division I record of 401-241 during his 20 years of head coaching experience. He has reached the NCAA Tournament 11 times, including an Elite Eight appearance with Alabama in 2003-04 and two Sweet Sixteen stops with NC State (2011-12 and 2014-15). His teams also have participated in the NIT on four other occassions.
DAVID PATRICK begins a new era at UC Riverside as a first-time head coach. Patrick had successful assistant coaching stints at TCU and LSU before arriving in the Inland Empire. He is known as an outstanding recruiter, credited with bringing in 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons to LSU. He also coached NBA champion and Australian national team guards Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova while working as an assistant at Saint Mary’s.
THE 2017-18 SEASON IN REVIEW
The Big West had several key moments take place during the 2017-18 season.
• Cal State Fullerton became the eighth different school in eight years to win the Big West Tournament at Honda Center. The list of champions since the tourney moved to Honda Center in 2011 – UC Davis (2017), Hawai‘i (2016), UC Irvine (2015), Cal Poly (2014), Pacific (2013), Long Beach State (2012) and UC Santa Barbara (2011).
• CSF won its third Big West Tournament title all-time – and first in 10 years. Other title teams were in 1978 and 2008.
• UC Davis accumulated 20 wins for the third time in four years, and won its second regular season title over that stretch after finishing 12-4 in league play.
• Under first-year head coach Joe Pasternack, UC Santa Barbara set the Big West record for biggest turnaround in one season and he took a program that finished 6-22 in 2016-17, to a 23-9 mark in 2017-18. The +17 win improvement not only was the best in league history, the Gauchos went from setting the school record for losses to tying the program benchmark for wins.
• UC Irvine notched its sixth straight winning season, the longest such streak by a Big West school since UCSB reeled off seven straight from 2005-12.