Home » Conference Notes » Currently Reading:

Big West Offseason Update

October 14, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Big West Offseason News Update

by Dean Austin

You know, when one of the biggest pieces of news during the off season is one school putting in a new scoreboard, it might be time for a little more excitement in your conference. Certainly no conference wishes to go through the trials and tribulations of the Big 12 this off season. Roy Williams leaving Kansas, the Clemons mess in Missouri, Larry Eustachy’s departure at Iowa State would have been enough for any conference, but add in the Baylor mess and this is one off season folks will not soon forget. The Big West? Literally Cal State Fullerton putting in a new drop down scoreboard would make a Letterman top 10 list of offseason news.

But the Big West did share similar emotions with the Baylor fans, as news came last month of the death of UC-Riverside’s Kellen Dixon. Dixon, along with two teammates, Mark Ferrera and Mark Peters, were involved in a fatal accident on September 13th. The accident occurred on Interstate 15, 17 miles northeast of Baker, California. The three players, along with three other males from the Riverside area, were in a Jeep Cherokee driven by Ferrera, 21, as they were returning from a concert in Las Vegas. The car was going south on I-15 when a 18-wheel tractor trailer veered off the road, hit a guard rail, went up an embankment and careened back into the freeway, causing a four-car accident that claimed three lives, including that of Dixon. Peters and Ferrera suffered minor injuries and were taken to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas where Ferrera was released two days later. Dixon appeared in 17 games last season averaging 1.5 points and 1.2 rebounds.

Probably the biggest news was the adoption of a new format for the Big West Tournament starting with this season. This new format is heavily slanted towards the regular season performance giving the top two seeds a free ride until the semi finals of the tournament. Seeds five through eight will play a first round with the winners playing seeds three and four in the quarter finals. The winners take on the aforementioned top two seeds before a meeting in the final. Any team ranked five through eight will have to win four games on consecutive nights to advance to the NCAA Tournament, a quite ludicrous set up.

This is also the last year in the conference for Utah State and Idaho, who will leave at the end of the season for the Sun Belt conference. Obviously the ACC and Big East spat/expansion has made all the news lately but there has also been minor shuffling going on in other conferences over the past few years. The Big West will see UC Davis joining the conference as the Aggies and Vandals leave and the Big West will become an all California conference. Or Cal-eee-forn-ya conference if Governor Elect Ahnold is to be believed!

There was only one head coaching change in the Big West this off season. Ben Howland’s arrival at UCLA impacted the Titans when Coach Donny Daniels left to be his assistant. In his place arrived Bob Burton, a former Fresno State assistant who also brought fellow Bulldog assistant Andy Newman to Cal State Fullerton.

In addition to Newman a number of new assistants joined the conference. Down at UC Irvine, Terry Boesel joined the staff of Coach Pat Douglass. The opening occurred when previous assistant Mike Johnson departed for the greener pastures of USC. Meanwhile Ethan Hamilton moved to UC Riverside from Azusza Pacific University and Joel Sobotka and Carl Holmes rounded out the CS Northridge staff.

The international flavor of the game was also highlighted this off season. UC Irvine center Adam Parada played for Mexico in the Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Pacific Tiger Christian Maraker played for Sweden, his native country, at Eurobasket 2003.

One of the better pieces of news was that UC Irvine was selected to be part of ESPN’s Bracket Buster Saturday. I’d thought that was what happened to my bracket the first week of the tournament! However in fact this is an interesting piece of scheduling by ESPN on February 21st when 46 teams across the nation will play in an attempt to really confuse the selection committee, although given recent seedings (Gonzaga) and omissions (Vanderbilt) that apparently isn’t all that hard to do. The Anteaters already know that they will be one of the road teams, but will find out their opponent 3 weeks before hand.

Starting the season next month Pacific will face Duke in the opening round of the Great Alaska Shootout. Considered by many to be the number #1 team in the country, this will be an extremely tough early season match up for the Tigers.

Fans of Big West basketball will also get to see a number of high quality programs play their favorites. Cal Poly starts the season against one of the sleeper teams in the nation, California before the Buffaloes of Colorado come a calling. Cal State Fullerton sees Pac 10 stars from Arizona State and USC the latter also receiving a visit from Cal State Northridge. UC Riverside ups the ante to three Pac 10 schools with UCLA and Washington joining the Sun Devils in the mix.

Up in Moscow, Idaho has the unenviable task of opening against the continually underrated Gonzaga Bulldogs who this year just might be even better than the experts who are picking them in the Top 20! Long Beach State gets creative in scheduling Minnesota while Pacific has the previously mentioned battle with Duke. Conference eight hundred pound Gorilla UC Irvine acts like it by scheduling Stanford and Cal while UC Santa Barbara travels to both Hawaii and UCLA. Lastly Utah State also takes geography into account by playing BYU and Utah.

UC Irvine remains the biggest bet to pull an upset and get the conference some much needed ink. With the various changes still to be completed this is a conference in search of an identity. I suppose we couldn’t get them to merge with the West Coast conference to form a fascinating union?

Hoopville Staff writer Marcus Vanderberg contributed to this report.


Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – February 22, 2018

February 22, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we start with floor issues in the Big East and an important NCAA ruling that was upheld. Then we go on to the Big 12, where Wednesday night had a new twist, as well as the ACC and how it shapes up along with no team going undefeated in conference play this year.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – February 7, 2018

February 7, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a big sweep in the SEC, look back on the wild Saturday, then talk about a Big Ten showdown and some undefeated teams in conference play.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 31, 2018

January 31, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a lot of what has happened in the ACC and SEC, including the Big 12/SEC Challenge, whether or not Kentucky is turning a corner, as well as the story at Michigan State.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 26, 2018

January 26, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a wild night in the Big Ten, adversity and a quiet leader in the ACC, what to make of Kentucky and look ahead to the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about big road wins for a few teams, including a couple of bluebloods that looked destined for losses, as well as an unsettled Big Ten beyond one team, an SEC where you shouldn’t pay attention to bracketologists, and the problems with a proposed earlier start to the college basketball season.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.