[Moderated by Matt Jones]
***Welcome to the KSR/KSR College Championship Week Challenge. Over the next 10 days, posts will go up on KSRCollege.com that are conference tournament “previews” of each of the 30 conference tournaments in the NCAA. Each day’s post will go up the day before the Tournament begins (with one exception) and you will have until the opening tip of the first game to get your winner picks in. All you do is log into your account and post a comment in the comment section with the winner. It is that easy.***
The Basics: Tomorrow at noon ET will kick off the Big West Tournament in the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The first game will be Pacific (6) vs UC-Santa Barbara (3), and the championship game will be at 7 pm on Saturday (on ESPN2!). The Big West takes after the NFL a bit, because the conference actually re-seeds the remaining teams after each round.
This is the only bracket out there for the Big West (we are talking about the Big West here). Do with it what you will:
Anaheim, Calif. — Honda Center
The Interesting Players: Watch out for Cal State-Fullerton’s D.J. Seeley, who is shooting 44.4% from the three-point line this season, placing him at the top of the record books for the Titans. He was also named the Big West’s Newcomer of the Year after transferring from UC-Berkeley. Another fun one to watch should be Long Beach State’s Casper Ware, who was just recently named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association District IX Player of the Year. For some perspective, this is the same award Jodie Meeks won a few years ago in District IV.
The Favorite: Long Beach State nearly completed a perfect slate in conference play until they were upset by Cal State-Fullerton in the last game of the regular season. Either of these teams could win it all, but LBS has been the best team throughout the season, and was on a 23-game Big West win streak before their loss on Saturday. CSF is right behind them, though, finishing the season with a perfect 8-0 record in conference play at home. I took a look at some of the Big West message boards (never thought I would sink to that level), and I found some comedy gold. Click here to read trash talk between LBS & UC-Santa Barbara fans, a comparison between one Big West team’s logo & a dryer sheet, and a Hooter’s gift card offering from one of the participants. I guess message board posters aren’t so different across conferences…
The Other Guys: Two-time defending champ of the Big West Tournament UC-Santa Barbara could make a run this year. Last year, they won the tournament as a 5-seed, and they’re coming in as a 3-seed this year, so don’t count them out just yet. The 4/5 matchup should be a good one too: UC-Riverside (5) has only won three Big West Tournament games in its history, and they’ve all been against Cal Poly (4). Incidentally, that’s who they drew this year too.
**In the end, I would go with Long Beach State. They’ve been the hands-down best team in the Big West this year, winning the regular-season conference title by three games. If you want to pick an upset, though, there are plenty of viable teams to choose from, especially the 2 and 3 seeds, Cal State-Fullerton and UC-Santa Barbara. Best of luck!
Voting closes at the tipoff of the UC-Santa Barbara-Pacific game tomorrow (Thursday) at noon ET.
Follow me on Twitter for updates… @AshleyScobyKSR
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