The 2016 Big West Tournament gets underway on Thursday from the Honda Center in Anaheim, with the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament on the line.
Hawaii comes into the conference tournament as the top seed, and is led by conference player of the year Stefan Jankovic. The 6'11 Serbian came to Hawaii after transferring out of Missouri, and averaged 15.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game this year while also averaging over a block per game. Each of the top four seeds should be a threat, though, after all of them finished within two games of each other in the standings.
Cal State Northridge was not eligible for the conference tournament -- the school self-imposed a postseason ban back in January related to an academic fraud scandal involving several players and a member of the coaching staff.
The format is pretty straightforward. Each of the eight teams in the tournament plays in the quarterfinals on Thursday, starting with No. 4 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 5 UC Davis. No. 1 Hawaii plays No. 8 Cal State Fullerton after that, followed by No. 2 UC Irvine vs. No. 7 Cal Poly and No. 3 Long Beach State vs. No. 6 UC Riverside. The top remaining seed will play the lowest remaining seed in the semifinals, with the middle two seeds meeting in the other semi. The winners of those two semifinals meet in the championship game on Saturday night.
2. UC Irvine
3. Long Beach State
4. UC Santa Barbara
5. UC Davis
6. UC Riverside
7. Cal Poly
8. Cal State Fullerton
Schedule and results (all times Eastern)
Thursday, March 10 (Quarterfinals)
Game 1: No. 4 UC Santa Barbara 87, No. 5 UC Davis 61
Game 2: No. 1 Hawaii 75 vs. No. 8 Cal State Fullerton 44
Game 3: No. 2 UC Irvine 84, No. 7 Cal Poly 64
Game 4: No. 3 Long Beach State 82, No. 6 UC Riverside 74
Friday, March 11 (Semifinals)
Game 5: No. 1 Hawaii 88, No. 4 UC Santa Barbara 76
Game 6: No. 3 Long Beach State 77, No. 2 UC Irvine 72
Saturday, March 12 (Championship)
Game 7: No. 1 Hawaii vs. No. 2 Long Beach State (11:30 p.m., ESPN2)
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