Big West Confidential: The Quest For The Number Eight Seed

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

While final seeding placements have yet to be finalized, everyone in the Big West knows pretty much where they will be...except UC Davis and UC Riverside. Those two teams clash for the final spot in the Big West Tournament tonight.

So why do we care about the UC Davis - UC Riverside match-up tonight?

Two reasons:

1. We're not just UC Irvine-UC Santa Barbara-Long Beach State centered here; we attempt to cover everyone.

2. This is easily the Game of the Week because it is the match-up with the most on the line this weekend.  Whichever team wins gets the final seed for the Big West Tournament, the loser goes home.

Can we even watch this game legally tonight?

Absolutely.  It will be broadcast on ESPN3 at 10 PM EST/7 PM PST.

Who will be the game changers for tonight?

For UC Davis, it will be the Aggies' leading scorer Corey Hawkins, who is second in the conference with 18.5 PPG.  For the Highlanders, look for the big Australian, Chris Patton, to shine on Senior Night.

Any trivia things worth of noting?

Both of these teams are fighting to hit their 10th win of the season, a feat which has only been accomplished five times each in both of the schools' young Division I histories (UC Riverside is only in their 13th season in Division I, UC Davis is only in their 10th).

Game Prediction: UC Riverside will take the emotional advantage of senior night and walk off victorious in a 75-64 win over UC Davis.

On to other things...

Things that Alan Williams did last week...

Big Al had trouble last week, struggling against UC Irvine with 15 points and six rebounds.  He also was limited in minutes and points against UC Davis, scoring eight points in 16 minutes (though he did have 10 rebounds as well).  This should in no way affect the conference MVP voting as he has been consistently the best player in the Big West as well as one of the best in the nation.

Biased and Subjective Big West Power Rankings

1. UC Irvine - They should have zero issues this weekend and should be a No. 1 seed lock in the Big West Tournament, come Sunday

2. UC Santa Barbara - Limited to no Alan Williams, lots of problems.

3. Long Beach State - Looking like a for sure No. 3 seed unless the preposterous happens.

4. Hawaii - Has a chance to improve their seeding with a win tonight over Santa Barbara.

5. Cal State Fullerton - Have snuck up quietly in the rankings, winning 4 of their last 6 games.

6. Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge (tie) - Both were victims of losing to the bottom-dwellers last week and both have tough matches this week.

7. UC Riverside and UC Davis (tie) - It all comes down to tonight.

Are you excited for the final weekend of the regular season?  You should be, because it's March, and the Madness has only just begun!*

*Bad puns and cliches are included as part of March Madness.  If you are allergic to bad humor, please consult your doctor before you watch any tournament in March.

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