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Big West Conference Basketball Power Rankings: Aggies Lead Way into Final Stretch

As we head into the final stretch of games, the UC Davis Aggies seem to have a stranglehold on the best in the Big West.

1. UC Davis Aggies (21-4, 11-1)

UC Davis is looking like the team to beat this year in the Big West. Lead by four fifth-year seniors, the Aggies are among the best in the nation in not only field goal percentage, but also 3-point percentage. The Aggies are ranked third nationally for field goal percentage at 49.9 percent and lead the nation in 3-point field goal percentage at 46.3 percent.

2. UC Irvine Anteaters (16-10, 9-3)

UC Irvine is having another solid year under head coach Russell Turner. The Anteaters are statistically the second best defensive team during Big West play. Plus the Anteaters are currently riding a two-game win streak without three of their key players -- Mamadou Ndiaye, Alex Young, and John Ryan -- all whom, according to Turner, will be healthy by March.

3. UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (14-12, 7-5)

UC Santa Barbara has won six of its last nine games, and five of those six wins came without star player Alan Williams in the lineup. Williams has missed three weeks with a right shoulder injury. With Williams back in the lineup, the Gauchos are looking to be a tough contender during the Big West Conference Tournament. While Williams was out with his injury, junior guard Michael Bryson stepped up big for the team, winning Big West player of the week once, and averaging 22.1 points during his teammate's absence.

4. Long Beach State 49ers (13-15, 7-5)

Long Beach State has lost four conference games in a row. The last time the 49ers dropped four straight conference games under head coach Dan Monson, you have to go all the way back to his first year with the program (2007-08). The 49ers look to get things back on track as they travel to Hawaii to face the Rainbow Warriors on Thursday.

5. UC Riverside Highlanders (14-13, 7-6)

UC Riverside, led by the junior duo of Taylor Johns and Jaylen Bland, has quietly won three straight home games and five of its last seven overall. The Highlanders knocked off both UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara at home and they look to extend their winning streak to four games as they hit the road to face Cal State Northridge on Saturday.

6. Cal Poly Mustangs (13-12, 6-7)

Cal Poly is statistically the best defensive team in Big West play. They are holding opponents to only 57 points per game. The only problem seems to be their offense, or lack thereof. The Mustangs rank last in Big West play in points per game and also field goal percentage. To add insult to injury, Cal Poly has a tough week ahead as they host the top two teams, UC Davis and UC Irvine.

7. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (18-11, 6-7)

Hawaii ranks second in points per game during conference play and also leads the Big West in steals per game, but have struggled to shut teams down on the defensive end of the floor. While averaging 69 points per game, the Warriors are giving up the fourth most points in conference play at 67.

8. CS-Northridge Matadors (7-22, 2-11)

CSUN head coach Reggie Theus has been dealt a tough blow in his second season at the helm of the Matadors basketball program. After a trip to the conference tournament final a year ago, CSUN finds itself in a position to potentially miss the tournament entirely this season. Granted, Northridge has a plethora of ineligible players, but it is undoubtedly the biggest disappointment in the Big West thus far.

9. Cal State Fullerton Titans (9-18, 1-11)

Cal State Fullerton, simply put, isn't good. The Titans, as one could imagine are even worse when leading scorer Alex Harris doesn't play. The Fullerton star has missed the last three games. CSUF is just 1-11 in conference play, but with a win over CSUN Thursday, somehow, someway, the Titans will climb above the Matadors for 8th place in the conference. That would give them an opportunity to get to the Honda Center, and when a team gets to Honda Center, anything can happen.