|Big West Conference Semifianls Preview|
Preview by Marcus Vanderberg
No. 1 Utah State vs. No 6. Cal State Northridge
No. 1 seed Utah State will take on No. 6 Cal State Northridge Friday night in the semifinals of the Big West Tournament.
The Matadors continued the Cinderella run by upsetting No. 3 UC Santa Barbara 61-58 Thursday night.
While the Aggies had little trouble with the Matadors on the season, winning by 28 and 22 points, both games were when juniors Chris Davis and Joseph Frazier were suspended by Northridge.
Frazier, arguably the conference’s best defender, has shown off his offensive side as well, scoring 19 points against UCSB.
Davis, who was averaging in double figures in scoring before the suspensions but has not been effective since his return.
Utah State comes into the game following a victory over the Idaho Vandals last Friday which locked up a share of the regular season Big West title.
Led by three all first-team Big West recipients, Mark Brown, Nate Harris and Cardell Butler, the Aggies will use their great defensive and crisp offense to keep the weary Matadors on their toes.
Throw out the finals scores from the previous games, this one will be close from the tip. In the end though, the Aggies fresh legs should carry them into the finals of the Big West Tournament.
Prediction: Utah State 65, Cal State Northridge 56
No. 2 Pacific vs. No. 4 Idaho
Because of Utah State’s win streak during the season and their national ranking, most people forget that the Tigers were 17-1 in conference play as well.
After last night’s performance between Idaho and Riverside, Pacific should have no problem with tonight’s game. They won the first two meetings from Idaho on the season, though by only a combined seven points.
Size wise, Idaho should have trouble matching up with 6’10 Christian Maraker and 6’8 Guillaume Yango. The tallest player the Vandals usually have on the court for a majority of time is 6’8 Lionel Davis.
Vandals forward Armend Kahrimanovic was sent home on Wednesday by head coach Leonard Perry. Perry said the reason for sending the junior home was for on-court attitude manner.
Expect the Big West Player of the Year, Miah Davis to contribute his 15 points or so as he is always consistent for.
For Idaho to have any shot, they will need their three point shots to fall and not allow the Tigers to have any second chance opportunities from offensive rebounds.
Prediction: Pacific 70, Idaho 58