Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Big West conference tournament preview

This is part 32 of a 33-part series in this blog, designed to give you all the information you need to know about each conference's tournament, and the postseason prospects of every single team in the conference.

Final standings:
UC Davis 14-2
UC Santa Barbara 11-5
UC Irvine 11-5
Long Beach St 10-6
Hawaii 8-8
UC Riverside 7-9
Cal Poly 6-10
Cal St-Northridge 4-12
Cal St-Fullerton 1-15

Conference tournament format:  Thursday March 12 to Saturday March 14.  Top 8 only (get out, CSUF).

1) UC Davis vs. 8) Cal St-Northridge
4) Long Beach St vs. 5) Hawaii
2) UC Santa Barbara vs. 7) Cal Poly
3) UC Irvine vs. 6) UC Riverside

The stakes:
We've reached the final conference tournament to recap, whee!  Good thing, because I've just about run out of analysis juice.

Davis's non-con SoS is 330.  That's why they're a 14 seed (maybe 13 with enough upsets elsewhere).  To me, they almost exist as a tier-separater between the legitimately good mid-major profiles and the bad ones.  The bad ones (not winning the regular season in their conference, poor RPI/SoSs, and the like) are clearly below Davis.  The good ones (RPIs well under 100, good SoSs, champions of good mid-major conferences) are clearly above Davis.  Davis is the separator.

UCSB is the next best profile but can't make the NIT.  They can have the CBI/CIT.  Next.  Irvine is also an obvious candidate for such tournaments.  Hawaii has a gaudy record, so maybe them too.  Long Beach St is right at .500, so with one win their insane non-con SoS should get them an invite somewhere.  So that could be 3 or 4 western teams for the CBI/CIT.  With the general lack of western teams available for these tournaments, it's quite possible one gets left out just based on geography.  It's a bit of a roulette situation, so we'll see.

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