Skip to content

2013-2014 Big West Conference Preview: Long Beach St., UC Irvine among the contenders

Oct 13, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

source:

AP

All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.

To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To see the rest of the Conference Previews we’ve published, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.

With defending WCC tournament champion Pacific now in the WCC, the conference will have a new representative in the NCAA tournament. Which teams have the best shot of earning that bid? Start with UC Irvine, thanks to the return of guard Alex Young and forwards Will Davis II and Chris McNealy. UC Irvine also adds a transfer in guard Dominique Dunning and 7-5 center Mamadou Ndiaye, the tallest player in college basketball. However head coach Russell Turner does have to account for the graduation of key contributors Adam Folker, Daman Starring and Michael Wilder, so by no means is UC Irvine the clear favorite to win the Big West.

Despite losing four of their top six scorers from a season ago Long Beach State will once again be in the mix, with point guard Mike Caffey leading the way. Head coach Dan Monson added five junior college transfers to the mix, and UCLA transfer Tyler Lamb will be eligible to take the floor in December. UC Davis, Hawai’i, Cal Poly and UCSB should also be contenders this season.

UC Davis head coach Jim Les welcomes back the Big West scoring champion, junior guard Corey Hawkins, and three other starters who helped the Aggies improve their win total by nine games. Hawai’i loses center Vander Joaquim but forwards Isaac Fotu (shared Big West Freshman of the Year honors with Alex Young) and Christian Standhardinger return, and there’s optimism regarding the addition of San Jose State transfer Keith Shamburger.

Cal Poly and UCSB can both claim to have one of the league’s best forwards, with Chris Eversley leading the way for Cal Poly while Alan Williams controls the paint for the Gauchos. Joe Callero’s Mustangs have won 14 straight games at home, and they’ve led the conference in scoring defense in each of the last three seasons. As for Bob Williams’ UCSB squad, Alan Williams returns and sophomores Michael Bryson and Taran Brown will look to take the next step after proving to be valuable pieces as freshmen.

Long Beach State could very well manage to win the Big West for a fourth consecutive season, but the list of challengers may be the strongest they’ve faced during this current run of success.

REALIGNMENT MOVES

In: None
Out: Pacific (WCC)

source:

AP

PRESEASON BIG WEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR: G Corey Hawkins (UC Davis)

Hawkins averaged 20.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest in his first season as an Aggie, including a 41-point explosion in a win at Hawai’i. With a year in Jim Les’ system under his belt, look for Hawkins to emerge as the best player in the Big West.

FOUR MORE NAMES TO KNOW:

  • G Mike Caffey (Long Beach State): With leading scorer James Ennis out of eligibility Caffey (12.0 ppg, 3.8 apg in 2012-13) may be asked to score more this season.
  • F Chris Eversley (Cal Poly): Eversley (15.4, 7.0) posted seven double-doubles last season, including a 30-point, 14-rebound performance in a win over Cal-State Northridge in late-January.
  • F Christian Standhardinger (Hawai’i): In his first season at UH the former Nebraska forward posted averages of 15.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
  • F Alan Williams (UCSB): With averages of 17.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game last season, an argument can be made that Williams is the Big West’s best returnee.

PREDICTED FINISH
1. UC Irvine
2. Long Beach State
3. UC Davis
4. Hawai’i
5. Cal Poly
6. UC Santa Barbara
7. Cal State Fullerton
8. Cal State Northridge
9. UC Riverside

Latest Posts
  1. Is the College of Charleston close to making a decision on head coach Doug Wojcik?

    Jul 22, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

    Doug Wojcik AP

    The College of Charleston Board of Trustees meets on Wednesday.

  2. Iowa State forward Jameel McKay denied wavier, eligible to play in December

    Jul 22, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

    Fred Hoiberg

    The transfer forward will miss the first nine games of the season.

  3. Highlights from the 2014 Nike EYBL Peach Jam (VIDEO)

    Jul 22, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Seven minutes of highlights from this past weekend’s Nike Peach Jam.

  4. Northern Kentucky eligible for the 2015 Atlantic Sun tournament

    Jul 22, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT

    Dave Bezold Dave Bezold

    But they aren’t yet eligible for the NCAA tournament. Click to see why.

  5. Isaiah Austin has a job with the NBA once he finishes degree at Baylor

    Jul 22, 2014, 5:54 PM EDT

    Isaiah Austin Isaiah Austin

    Isaiah Austin is returning to Baylor. Once he gets his degree, he’ll have a job with the NBA.

  6. Montrezl Harrell says he’d be willing to play for Louisville football

    Jul 22, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    montrezl harrell Getty Images

    Imagine 6-foot-8, 235-pound Harrell in a helmet and shoulder pads.

  7. July Live Period Week Two Superlatives

    Jul 22, 2014, 3:16 PM EDT

    Nike Nike

    The second installment of our weekly awards.

  8. Iowa State’s Georges Niang carries extra motivation – and less weight – into 2014-15

    Jul 22, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT

    Georges Niang AP

    Niang, who has dropped some 25 pounds since the end of the season, is looking to have an even greater impact as the Cyclones work to account for the losses of Melvin Ejim and DeAndre Kane.

  9. Mixtape of 2016 five-star guard Malik Monk (VIDEO)

    Jul 22, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    (USA Baketball) (USA Baketball)

    Is this the best high school mixtape since Seventh Woods?

  10. DePaul forward DeJuan Marrero to transfer to Chipola College

    Jul 21, 2014, 11:43 PM EDT

    marrero

    DePaul redshirt freshman forward DeJuan Marrero will play his sophomore season at Chipola.

  11. Malik Newman, Ivan Rabb, Jayson Tatum, Malik Monk among 33 members battling for USA U17 roster spots this week

    Jul 21, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    Malik Newman (Getty Images) Getty Images

    The USA U17 tryouts have a lot of big names and it will also be important for the last week of the July live evaluation period.

  12. Peach Jam mixtape for five-star 2015 guard Isaiah Briscoe (VIDEO)

    Jul 21, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    (Scott Phillips/NBCSports.com) (Scott Phillips/NBCSports.com)

    Isaiah Briscoe helped lead the New Jersey Playaz to a title at Peach Jam.

  13. Four-star Class of 2016 guard Bruce Brown gave up football to focus on basketball

    Jul 21, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT

    (Scott Phillips/NBCSports.com) (Scott Phillips/NBCSports.com)

    Bruce Brown was a promising two-sport athlete, but gave up football to focus on basketball.

  14. Four-star recruit Cameron Walker commits to Stanford

    Jul 21, 2014, 6:10 PM EDT

    adidas adidas

    Walker is the second commitment for the Cardinal this spring.

  15. Seven (more) Takeaways from Nike’s Peach Jam

    Jul 21, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    NikeEYB NikeEYB

    Seven additional thoughts on Nike’s Peach Jam, including Ben Simmons’ one weakness, Malik Monk and how college coaches look at parents

  16. Peach Jam mixtape of top 2016 recruit Jayson Tatum (VIDEO)

    Jul 21, 2014, 2:54 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.45.41 PM

    Tatum is the best player in the class.