For the second straight season, your humble correspondent is coming to you live courtside from Long Beach State’s Walter Pyramid to cap the Big West regular season.
That’s thanks to the NCAA’s decision on Friday to lift UH’s postseason ban, suddenly clearing the Rainbow Warriors for the Big West tournament next week in Anaheim. I’ll be staying for the duration; who knows, maybe there will be a protracted stay like 2016. (With this year’s Big West field, there’s a lot that could happen.)
Long Beach got to the free-throw line repeatedly (and got the benefit of some questionable calls) in coming back for a 74-72 win on their senior night last March. That cost UH a very unprecedented chance to sweep the Big West road.
A win tonight would give UH a .500 road record — still respectable — at 4-4.
UH (14-14, 8-7 BWC) is coming off a deflating nine-point loss at UC Davis on Thursday but an uplifting transit day Friday, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of energy they come out with. LBSU (13-18, 8-7) has been inconsistent all year and isn’t exactly known for its D, as UH’s 114-107 overtime win in Honolulu in January attested.
The 49ers are favored by 5.0 in the rematch. The game is being streamed on ESPN3.
Meanwhile, UC Irvine is in the process of pounding UC Davis in a matchup of first-place teams for the Big West regular-season title. The Anteaters will be the No. 1 seed in the tournament, with Davis 2, Cal State Fullerton 3, and the next bit settled with UH-LBSU.
If UH wins tonight and Cal State Northridge beats Fullerton, UH will face CSUN in the first round. But if either LBSU wins tonight, or UH wins and Fullerton beats CSUN, it’ll be UH vs. LBSU again on Thursday.