The first round of the Big West Tournament begins shortly, with the top seeded UC Davis Aggies against the 8th seeded CS Northridge Matadors to kick us off. The Aggies have enjoyed a very successful year, going 14-2 in conference play and overall 24-5 record. They have one of the more effective guards in the nation in Corey Hawkins, who does everything well. Hawkins averages 20.6 points per game with a .498% field goal percentage, averages 5.1 rebounds per game, 3.5 assist per game, shoots .829% at the charity stripe and an ultra impressive .497% from three. An unbelievably video game like statistics. Another matchup has the 2nd seeded UCSB Gauchos against the Cal Poly Mustangs. It’s an instant rematch, as the Gauchos just defeated them five days ago. We also have the 3rd seeded UC Irvine Anteaters facing the 6th seeded UC Riverside Highlanders. They have split wins in their two meetings this season, both protecting their home court. Lastly, we got the 4th seeded Long Beach St. 49ers against the 5th seeded Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. This is the most intriguing game on slate in my opinion, as I believe both teams are better than what they’ve done this season. They have split wins in their two meetings, handily defeating each other on their home court’s.
As for the prediction, I’m going with the UC Davis Aggies. I like everything about this team, Corey Hawkins is a beast and a game changer. I was super impressed by how they came back to beat the UC Riverside Highlanders because they were just flat out bad to start, but pulled together and snuck out a victory. I do believe that the Big West does have some challengers though that could dethrone them, more specifically the UCSB Gauchos. They have split wins in their two meetings, but the Gauchos blew them out in their last game. The Gauchos have caught second win, winning their last 8 of 9 games, with the only loss coming on the road to the UC Riverside Highlanders by two. The Gauchos are also the more battle tested team in the division, losing to the Kansas Jayhawks by only 10, the Colorado St. Rams by 2, as well as two overtime losses to the Oregon Ducks and SMU Mustangs. I’m a little shaky about this prediction with all that said, but I stand by my pick and I have the UC Davis Aggies winning the Big West Tournament.