March Madness is finally here. Months and months of hard work, upsetting wins, buzzer beaters, upsets, practice, etc. all boil down to the next three days to see who represents the Big West during the NCAA Tournament. The tournament is being hosted at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Unlike other conference tournaments, the Big West will reseed after the first round with the highest remaining seed facing the lowest.
#1 Hawaii vs #8 Cal State Fullerton is a game that should end up in a blow-out. Fullerton finished ninth in the conference during the regular season, but was given the playoff slot over Cal State Northridge, who was deemed inelligibile due to academic fraud. The Rainbow Warriors needed overtime for a road win, while beating the Titans by 17 at home. Give me Hawaii by a dozen in this match-up.
#2 UC Irvine vs #7 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has the Anteaters facing off versus a Mustang side that has been on a skid. The Anteaters swept the regular season with a six point overtime road win and a 10 point home victory. Irvine should take this one without much issue.
#3 The Beach vs #6 UC Riverside is a game that could go either way. The 49ers dropped a decision by two, before regrouping and beating the Highlanders at home by 11. Long Beach is also coming in with momentum, after topping Hawaii to end the regular season. They need to close out UC Riverside out early, or the confidence will build and the game will come down to the wire.
#4 UC Santa Barbara vs #5 UC Davis pits the skidding Aggies versus the streaking Gauchos. Davis has been struggling, including seven losses over its last nine games, including two to UC Santa Barbara, and needed overtime to sneak by the inellegible Matadors to close out the year. Santa Barbara, on the flip side, has been hot, winning nine of the last ten.