Big West Conference action goin' up on a Wednesday? That's right. Our new number on in this week's power rankings, UC Santa Barbara, travels to Hawaii on Wednesday night, after back-to-back wins against UC Davis and UC Irvine. Hawii will be honoring its lone senior, Garrett Nevels on Senior Night, the final regular season home game for the Warriors. Hawaii leads the Big West in attendance so expect the home crowd to get crazy one more time in the hopes of knocking off the red-hot Gauchos. The last time these two teams met up, the Gauchos erased a double-digit deficit in the second half to beat the Rainbow Warriors, 75-74. Not only did these two teams put on a back-and-forth battle in the first matchup, but they made for one of the craziest finishes in college basketball this season.
Take a look:
UCSB won the first contest without Alan Williams, but even with Big Al back for the big matchup on the island, the home crowd will be a little too much for Gauchos to overcome. Hawaii was idle Saturday and had six days to prepare for the hottest team in the Big West. At the end of each rainbow is a jackpot right? Hawaii will hit it Wednesday night.
The Pick: Hawaii by 5
Thursday night is Senior Night in the Walter Pyramid as the 49ers look to build up some more confidence with another win against what should be an easy opponent. Or maybe not such an easy opponent. Don't let Northridge's record fool you, it isn't exactly a reflection of its disappointing 4-11 conference record. The only thing holding the Matadors back is their lack of depth.
For the 49ers, senior Michael Caffey is looking to finish off his strong year and career as part of an elite group at Long Beach State. With 17 more rebounds, Caffey can join Ed Ratleff as the only two 49ers to ever post 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists. Fellow senior David Samuels is also looking to finish off a strong campaign. Samuels has been a force down low for Long Beach State in conference play, averaging almost a double-double at 12.1 points and 9.3 rebounds.
The Pick: Long Beach State by 11
UC Davis looks to add another win to their already stellar season Thursday night as they host the UC Riverside Highlanders. With a win the Aggies would become just the third team in Big West history to go from last place to first place in only two seasons. The only other two schools in conference history to go from worst to first were Fresno State (1977-8) and UC Santa Barbara (1998-9).
For the Highlanders, Thursday's road contest against the Aggies will be anything but easy. The Highlanders are just 2-12 on the road this season and UC Davis hasn't lost at home this season. If UC Riverside wants to have any chance of upsetting the Aggies, they'll need a big game out of Jaylen Bland.
The Pick: UC Davis by 8
Usually when UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton meet up, it makes for quite the Orange County rivalry. Don't expect that to be the case Thursday. The Titans of CSUF were eliminated from the Big West Tournament this past weekend and sit at the bottom of the standings with a record of 1-13 in conference play. There will be no postseason for "Tuffy Titan" in 2015 but don't expect Fullerton to back down.
The Titans will give whatever is left in the tank, but don't expect an upset by any means in this one. The talent gap between CSUF and UCI is just simply too wide for the Titans to overcome on the road. It will also be the final home game for the Anteaters and they will honor seniors Will Davis II, John Ryan and Travis Souza, on Senior Night. Even coming off of a hard fought loss Saturday at UCSB, the Anteaters will come out ready to feast on the down-and-out Titans. Perhaps this one will be close in the first few minutes but don't expect Cal State Fullerton to be within reach at the half.
The Pick: UC Irvine by 21