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Big West finals preview: How to watch, preview and prediction

The unlikely preseason picks duke it out for the NCAA Tournament berth

NCAA Basketball: Long Beach State at UCLA Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

How to watch

When: Saturday, March 12, 11:30 p.m.

Where: Dollar Loan Center, Henderson, Nevada

TV: ESPN2

Livestream: WatchESPN.com, ESPN App

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Spread: Long Beach +2

Total: 139.5

The ultimate Big West brews game tips off at 11:30 p.m. ET. There is no better way to end championship Saturday. Long Beach and Fullerton were picked seventh and eighth in the preseason poll. Long Beach closed its quarterfinal matchup against Bakersfield on a 15-2 run, then Jadon Jones hit a buzzer beater 3 to upset UCSB in the semifinal.

Pure onions!!

CSU Fullerton had a less stressful path beating UC Davis in the quarters 73-55 and then dominating Hawaii 58-46. Fullerton runs everything through Tennessee and Sacred Heart transfer E.J. Anosike, who is averaging 16.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest. USF and Grand Canyon transfer averages 12.8 points per contest.

Long beach coach Dan Monson is looking to secure his second tournament appearance in his 15-year tenure at Long Beach State. They play a run and gun style playing at a top-20 tempo in the country. Junior guard Joel Murray leads the 49ers with 16.2 points per game. The guard/wing trio of Murray, Colin Slater, and Jones all shoot over 35% from distance. Beach ranks in the top 82 in the conference in that category. They are just a fun team offensively to watch. They also post the best defensive efficiency rating in the conference. They are commit the least amount of turnovers and lead the conference in free throw rate. team on the defensive end against Big West teams.

Prediction

Long Beach lost nine of their first 11 D-1 games to begin the season. Playing an overly tough non-conference schedule has prepared them for this moment. Fullerton has had a great year, but I think it’s Long Beach’s time. Fullerton struggles defending elite guards, and that will be a problem here. Take Beach to cut down the nets at the end of this.

The pick: Long Beach State ML