The Big West has turned into "The Wild Wild West" as chaos ensued last weekend. UC Irvine finally suffered a conference loss at home, while Long Beach State and Hawaii have slowly crept towards the top of the standings.
A quick note about Hawaii...
Hawaii has the best overall record in the Big West and sits at 3-2 in conference play. The reason why we didn't mention them until now is because they started 0-2. Currently the Warriors' RPI ranking is 114 with their best win against St. Mary's and their worst loss against Cal State Northridge.
Their offense starts with Christian Standhardinger. The German national is averaging 18.2 points per game and 7.7 rebounds in what has been a fantastic year for the junior. Along with him is Isaac Fotu, last year's co-Big West Freshman of the Year. Fotu has been averaging 14.9 points and 6.3 rebounds, and also has the Confidential's vote for "Michael Wilder Hair of the Year."
If Hawaii can pull a big win at home versus Long Beach State, look for them to gain momentum as a darkhorse for the NCAA tournament bid.
Obligatory Alan Williams mention of the week...
Big Al was fantastic as usual, as the Gaucho scored 47 points and had 16 rebounds over the weekend. There were times in both games where he was completely shut down by opposition though and other Gauchos had to step up. Opponents are taking note, and this may lead to a decrease of production. (Ed note: Even if KenPom LOVES him)
Game of the Week
The game of the week belongs to UC-Irvine who is travelling to the Thunderdome to take on UC Santa Barbara. This is a fight for the top of the table in the conference. Should UCSB win they'll move one step closer to first and UCI could possibly drop to a tie for third by the end of the night. Kyle Boswell will be the key player in this one: his success will lead the Gauchos to victory.
My Pick - UCSB 73, UCI 70.