Conference play is halfway done, and finally we see that there is some separation between "top" and "the rest." As it stands, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State are definitely leading the pack; while at the bottom, it has been a hard battle for the final seed.
That being said, here's a list of players who have stood out at this point:
Big West Confidential's All-Big West Team:
Alan Williams - F, UCSB (23.1 PPG, 11.4 RPG): Do we really need to say more? One of the nation's most prolific players has not slowed down since the beginning of the season.
Stephen Maxwell - F, Cal State Northridge (17.4 PPG, 8.7 RPG): Northridge is in survival mode right now, and Maxwell is one of the big reasons why.
Mamadou Ndiaye - C, UC Irvine (8.7 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 3.41 Blocks/game): That bolded stat is the real reason why Ndiaye is on here. Here is another stat why he belongs: he's making 75.7% of his field goals.
Christian Standhardinger - F, Hawaii (17.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG): Without him, Hawaii would not be still in striking distance for the top-seed.
Mike Caffey - G, Long Beach State (16.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG): Caffey has shown great leadership on a 49ers squad that without him, could have self-imploded to obscurity in conference play.
Sixth Man Award: Luke Nelson - G, UC Irvine (12.5 PPG, 2.4 RPG): Nelson has been the biggest threat on offense for the Anteaters, and he's only a freshman. It's safe to assume that the best is yet to come for the young Brit.
Subjective and Biased Big West Power Poll:
1. UCSB - Everything is pointing to that February 27th showdown against UC Irvine, unless they implode.
2. UC Irvine - See above.
3. Long Beach State - Credit them for coming back with a vengeance in the offensive department against UC Riverside, after that pathetic showing against UC Irvine.
4. Hawaii - Can sneak back into third by the end of the night.
5. Cal State Northridge - Did Theus finally find his groove with the Matadors? We'll know by the conference tournament.
6. Cal Poly - Dropping like a load of bricks.
7. UC Riverside - Suffered a bad loss to the 49ers last week. It's time to regroup at home versus the Rainbow Warriors.
8. UC Davis - Couldn't finish against UC Irvine, otherwise they would be sitting fifth.
9. Cal State Fullerton - *pokes with stick*
Things that Alan Williams did last week...
He scored 20 points and 17 rebounds in a comeback win against Hawaii. No big deal...
Game of the Week:
UC Santa Barbara travels to The Beach to take on the 49ers tonight. The Gauchos are on a 3-game win streak, while Long Beach State put up 88 points against the Highlanders. Alan Williams will once again be the man to watch. Without a fantastic performance from him, the 49ers will celebrate the home win.
My Pick: UCSB 77, LBSU 67
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