Checking In On… the Big West

Posted by Brian Goodman on December 7th, 2011

David Gao is the RTC correspondent for the Big West Conference. You can also find his musings online at Zotcubed, a UC Irvine blog, or on Twitter @dvdgao.

Reader’s Take


The Week That Was:

  • Thomason Sets Big West Win Record: Pacific coach Bob Thomason won his 406th game with the Tigers on December 3, surpassing former Long Beach State and UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian as the all-time winningest coach in the history of the Big West Conference. Pacific defeated Utah State 65-57 in the landmark win, the Tigers’ third of the year. Thomason is in his 23rd year as Pacific coach, and has perhaps his most difficult task before him this season with a team of newcomers and very little returning experience. So far, the Tigers are 3-3, but their win against the Aggies is their only win against a Division I opponent.
  • San Diego State Hangs On: Amidst rumors of San Diego State potentially joining the Big West in non-football sports due to its likely move to the Big East in football, the Aztecs went to overtime against Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara before beating both in a possible foreshadowing of match-ups to come. The 49ers, coming off their upset of #9 Pittsburgh, led by three at halftime and then battled back to force overtime before succumbing to the Aztecs 77-73. A similar storyline unfolded in Santa Barbara, when the Gauchos built up a lead at halftime before losing it and then forcing overtime with a late free throw. San Diego State came through in overtime once again however, defeating UCSB 76-75.
  • Growing Pains: The Big West is quickly sorting out into a top four and bottom five infrastructure, with the bottom five struggling mightily against some underwhelming opponents. Besides Pacific’s aforementioned one D-I victory, UC Irvine is 1-6 after going 0-3 in the Great Alaska Shootout including a loss to D-II Alaska-Anchorage by 14. UC Riverside is 2-4 with only one D-I win as well, albeit a decent win in the 76 Classic against Washington State. Worse off are Cal State Northridge and UC Davis, who together are a combined 2-13 with zero D-I wins on the year.   

Orlando Johnson Is Carrying A Heavy Load For The Gauchos, Playing 70% Of His Team's Available Minutes And Taking 34.9% Of The Shots.

Power Rankings

  1. Long Beach State (4-3) – The Big West darlings have yet to follow up on their triumph against Pitt, instead losing to Montana and #6 Louisville. While losing to the Cardinals is understandable, decent but unspectacular teams such as Montana have to be wins for Long Beach State if they want to make this season not merely good, but great. Interior defense has slipped as of recent, and turnovers and free throw percentage need improvement as well. A lot of that comes down to maintaining a high intensity throughout each and every game, regardless of whether it is in Pittsburgh or Missoula.
  2. UC Santa Barbara (4-2) – After a 4-0 start, UCSB has suffered two gut-wrenching losses to two very tough opponents in SDSU and UNLV. The SDSU game slipped away in overtime partly due to a timeout call when the team had none left, while the UNLV game went into a thrilling double overtime before the Rebels, fresh off their triumph over then #1 North Carolina, pulled out a 94-88 win. Any perceived gap between Long Beach State and UCSB has narrowed over the last two weeks, and it will be interesting to see if Orlando Johnson keeps up his torrid play. As a team, the Gauchos are at the top or near the top of every major statistical category. Read the rest of this entry »
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Morning Five: 05.03.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on May 2nd, 2010

  1. There have been several more comings and goings in the coaching ranks over the last few days.  Two Ivy League schools filled head coaching positions, with Cornell replacing Steve Donahue with Virginia Tech assistant Bill Courtney, and Columbia replacing Joe Jones with St. Mary’s assistant Kyle Smith.  In other vacant head coaching positions, Rutgers is expected to name a coach to replace the embattled Fred Hill sometime this week, and ESPN commentator Fran Fraschilla and Robert Morris’ Mike Rice are alleged to be the co-leaders.  In contract extension news, Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan is now signed through 2015 in Madison and the long-awaited extension for UConn’s Jim Calhoun is supposedly near-completion despite rampant rumors of NCAA violations on the horizon.
  2. New Hofstra head coach Tim Welsh is off to a troubling start in his new job when he was found sleeping at the wheel of his Lexus early Friday morning with a blood alcohol level of 0.18.  He pleaded not guilty to the charge of DWI and expressed deep regrets for his transgression but the school has suspended him indefinitely without pay while things get sorted out.
  3. Some key player news: Ole Miss starting forward Murphy Holloway, a sophomore who averaged 10/7 last year for the Rebs, is leaving Oxford for somewhere closer to his six-month old daughter in his hometown of Columbia, SC.  Ole Miss is unlikely to allow him to transfer immediately to South Carolina, so Clemson appears to be the best bet for his future services.  Cal starting forward Omondi Amoke was dismissed from the team for an undisclosed rule violation.  He had been previously suspended for the Bears’ NCAA Tournament games against Louisville and Duke, and his departure means that Mike Montgomery will have to replace his entire starting lineup next season.  At BYU, up-and-coming guard Michael Loyd, Jr., is also leaving, and it appears that his flamboyant style (he has sported a mohawk and a tongue piercing) may have had something do to with it.  Assuming superstar Jimmer Fredette returns, BYU should still be fine in the backcourt with several returnees.
  4. The 2010 Jimmy V Classic has been announced with a solid doubleheader of games on tap: Memphis vs. Kansas followed by Michigan State vs. Syracuse.  This event could involve three of the top ten teams in America.
  5. The matchups for the Pac-10/Big 12 Hardwood Classic were announced late last week, and many of the games are simply return games from last year’s event.   We really don’t understand why these two leagues can’t get their act together on this thing.  Here are a couple of suggestions.  #1) make it a real event that covers two or three consecutive nights the way the ACC/Big 10 Challenge works.  #2) put all of the games on television, preferably on the same network (FSN?). #3) get some better matchups.  Sheesh.  For your perusal:

Saturday, November 27
USC at Nebraska

Thursday, December 2
Missouri at Oregon
UCLA at Kansas
Arizona State at Baylor

Friday, December 3
Kansas State at Washington State

Saturday, December 4
Oregon State at Colorado
California at Iowa State

Sunday, December 5
Texas at USC
Oklahoma at Arizona

Tuesday, December 21
Stanford at Oklahoma State

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After the Buzzer: Opening Night Recaps

Posted by zhayes9 on November 10th, 2009


Welcome back to RTC’s THIRD season covering college basketball with one of our old standbys, the nightly After the Buzzer feature.   If you’re new here, the purpose of these nightly updates is to go a little deeper than game recaps.  We’ll talk about the key games and storylines of each night of the regular season so that you can join the watercooler crew with some knowledge to throw around the next morning.  Tonight we got the season underway with four opening round subregional games in the 2kSports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.  None of the four favorites were every seriously threatened, but there were quite a few good storylines tonight.

Isiah’s debut. #4 North Carolina 88, Florida International 72. For a team picked last in their Sun Belt division and has just eight scholarship players on its roster, Isiah Thomas had his Florida International Golden Panthers putting up a respectable fight against the top-five Tar Heels in his much-anticipated coaching debut. The bright spots for the powder blues in the first post-Tyler Hansbrough era contest: Deon Thompson appears to be in for a fine year in the post, totaling 20 points and 10 boards on 7/11 FG while frontcourt mate Ed Davis used a slew of putbacks and easy buckets to complete his own double-double: 13/11/4 blks on 5/8 FG. The other big question mark heading into the season was whether Larry Drew could provide steady point guard play for UNC, and the sophomore put in a solid performance with 6/2 A:TO in 21 minutes, including a Lawson-esque coast-to-coast layup in the first half and a few pretty dishes to Thompson and John Henson for jams. The bad news: Even with the incredible turnover and rustiness of a season opener, Roy Williams cannot be pleased with a 26-turnover performance from his team against a Sun Belt foe (the most in any game coached by Williams at UNC), especially backup point guard Dexter Strickland’s five turnovers in 11 minutes. Also worth noting is Williams opting to go with a more experienced starting five with Thompson, Drew, Davis,  Marcus Ginyard and William Graves getting the nod and Henson, Strickland, Tyler Zeller, Leslie McDonald and the Wear twins coming off the pine. This group is absurdly deep up front and, due to the high-impact departures, shouldn’t be expected to look like a world-beater in early November.  They don’t.

Boeheim gets win #800. #25 Syracuse 75, Albany 43. Coming off their embarrassing defeat in an exhibition contest at the hands of D2 Le Moyne, Syracuse needed to come out in their first actual game of the 2009-10 season and make a statement. Their 2-3 zone defense confused the Albany Great Danes all night and was the primary factor in garnering a 75-43 victory for Jim Boeheim’s 800th win, putting him on an esteemed list with only two other active coaches — Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Calhoun. Syracuse’s defense and superb athleticism forced Albany into 32 turnovers and only 27% shooting in a primarily ugly game that lacked much flow. Syracuse shot just 2/17 from outside themselves including a clunker from three-point specialist Andy Rautins (0/6, 0/4 3pt) who left the game midway through the 2nd half with a sprained ankle (3am update: doesn’t sound too serious, but he was wearing a walking boot after the game). The good: Scoop Jardine coupled a productive preseason into another stellar performance at the point tonight, totaling 12 points and 4 assists on 5/7 shooting with just one turnover while his main competition, Brandon Triche, had some moments but mainly struggled with six turnovers. Syracuse looks extremely athletic with Wes Johnson (who features a sick one-handed posterization on an unsuspecting Great Dane) around the perimeter and Rick Jackson swatting shots down low.

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