For the third season in a row the Big West Conference regular season champion did not win the conference tournament, and will be headed to the NIT.
After a 14-2 regular season run through the Big West, the UC Davis Aggies came up short in the semifinal round of the Big West Tournament ending all hope of a trip to the NCAA tournament. Despite a 25-6 record, there was no hope for an at-large bid as UC Davis played one of the weakest nonconference schedules in the nation.
Sunday night it was announced that the Aggies would be a 7-seed in the 2015 NIT and visit the Stanford Cardinal in the first round.
The Cardinal finished Pac-12 play with a respectable 9-9 record, but did not string together enough quality wins to earn an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal are led by senior point guard Chasson Randle who averaged 18.9 points per game and helped Stanford to a Sweet 16 appearance last season.
Randle, along with UC Davis guard and Big West Conference Player of the Year, Corey Hawkins should make for a fun matchup to watch in the back court as the two certainly know how to score in bunches.
The key to this game will be focus. Often times when a team expects to go to the NCAA Tournament, but instead find themselves in the NIT, they aren't ready.
This season was a big let down for the Cardinal after impressive wins in the big dance a year ago. Tuesday's game will come down to whether or not Stanford is up for the challenge. Even if the Cardinal come out a bit lackadaisical in the game's opening minutes, it will take the best performance of the year from the Aggies to come out of Palo Alto with a victory.
If the Aggies can continue to shoot well from downtown, they have a chance to beat anyone in the NIT. Led by four 5th-year seniors playing in their first postseason game, the Aggies may just be this year's "NIT Cinderella."
Prediction: Stanford 72, UC Davis 67