The Big West is providing college hoops fans along the left coast with some thrilling action, and it's only going to get better as the season comes to a close. The stretch run of the season always increases the intensity of the games, and the fact that nearly every matchup is within the confines of the Big West Conference means that old rivalries will be put on full display.
Which one of these remarkable teams will win the Big West Conference Tournament and make it all the way to the NCAA Tournament? Let's take a look at a few of the front runners. If your favorite teams gets into March Madness, make sure you get over to StubHub.com to purchase some NCAA Tournament tickets to see their tourney games.
UC Santa Barbara – Even though the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos are known for their hot three-point shooting, they're actually a better defensive team than they are an offensive team, at least according to the stats coming out from the season as of Feb. 21, 2010. In particular the Gaucho guards and wings are adept at causing turnovers and contesting shots, something that has helped them earn a top spot in the Big West standings. Right now they're atop the league with a 16-8 overall record and a 10-3 conference mark. Santa Barbara has also beaten their main rivals this year, Pacific, twice. One thing that's troublesome for people wanting to pick Santa Barbara in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament—assuming they make it—is that they've only faced a couple of big conference teams, San Diego State and Arizona State, and they lost both of those games.
Pacific – University of the Pacific is no stranger to The Dance. We've all seen UOP on our brackets before, and we might just see them up there again this year—if only they can overcome UCSB. While the UOP Tigers have lost both of their matchups with UCSB this season, we should recall that their first meeting was decided by just one point. Pacific is a balanced team, but there are holes in the armor. Can they patch them up by Tourney time?
Cal State Fullerton – Fullerton seems to have peaked in the opening couple of weeks of the season. They beat UCLA in a double overtime shocker on Nov. 16, and then beat New Mexico State at home, and everyone thought the Titans had legs. However, they were tugged back down to earth and haven't lived up to their potential. Will the Titans regain their swagger and enter the NCAA Tournament with momentum? Fullerton can shoot well from deep, and if they get hot from downtown, they're a dangerous squad.
The conference title could go to any number of teams, and the end-of-season league tournament is sure to produce a few surprises. If you'd like to be on hand to see it all go down, make your way over to the Anaheim Convention Center from March 10 through March 13. See you there, hoops fans!