Matadors Begin Second Round of Big West Games Against UCSB, at Long Beach State
GAME #20 (Big West Game #9):
Northridge Matadors (6-13, 2-6 Big West) vs. UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (11-7, 6-2 Big West)
Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012 - 7:05 p.m. PST
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Bill Courtland - PBP, Alan Zinsmeister - Analyst)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012 - 7:30 p.m. PST
CSUN SEEKS SEASON SPLIT AGAINST SANTA BARBARA
All-Time Series Record Against UC Santa Barbara: Northridge trails 15-30
A CLOSER LOOK AT UC SANTA BARBARA
Cal State Northridge has won its last three home games against UC Santa Barbara, and look to extend this streak for another season when these two complete their season series inside the Matadome this Thursday. Currently in the middle of a four-game road swing, UCSB enters with wins in four of its last five games, and wins in both games played last week at Pacific, and at UC Davis. Beginning last Thursday, Santa Barbara will play seven of eight games on the road, returning to the Thunderdome on Feb. 11 to face UC Riverside, before competing in another three straight games away from campus.
Senior guards Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally lead a team that is 11-7 and sits in second place with a 6-2 conference record. Averaging 19.3 and 14.9 points per game respectively, the two each average 5.9 rebounds per game. Freshman center Alan Williams leads the team with 6.4 rpg, pulling down one more board in one less game played in comparison to the senior duo. Senior forward Jaime Serna is averaging 9.4 ppg and 4.8 rpg; named Big West Player of the Week after making 76.5 percent of his shots last week, Serna nearly averaged a double-double in UCSB's two road wins.
Facing a Northridge offense that is averaging 67.1 ppg, UC Santa Barbara has allowed opponents to score an average of 67.3 ppg. Thursday's game will also feature three of the Big West's top ten scorers in Johnson (1st), CSUN swingman Stephan Hicks (4th/16.5 ppg), and Nunnally (8th).
WHAT'S NEXT FOR NORTHRIDGE - AT LONG BEACH STATE
Cal State Northridge will face the 49ers for the final time this season when the Matadors travel to Long Beach this Saturday evening. Northridge will make its second appearance of the season on a Fox Sports network as the Matadors-49ers return matchup will be televised on Fox Sports West starting at 7:30 p.m. Long Beach State has won 18 straight games in the Walter Pyramid, including all eight games this season. The last loss that occurred inside the facility, one of only three true pyramids in the United States, took place on Nov. 27, 2010, against Loyola Marymount. Long Beach has also won its last 16 straight Big West regular season games, with their last loss coming on Jan. 22, 2011, at UC Irvine. The 49ers need one more win to tie their second-best start in conference history.
In the first meeting of the season that took place inside the Matadome on Jan. 7, the Matadors held their own against one of the most experienced teams in the conference before the 49ers pulled away in the latter moments to earn the win. In comparison to Northridge, the youngest Division I team in the nation, Long Beach State's starting five features four seniors, is completely comprised of upperclassmen, and has started every game this season. Led by senior guard Casper Ware (16.8 ppg), four 49ers are averaging 10 or more points this season. Also averaging double-digit points are senior guard Larry Anderson (15.2 ppg), senior forward T.J. Robinson (12.1), and junior swingman James Ennis (10.3). Ranked No. 5 on the team, and rounding out the Long Beach State starting lineup is senior forward Eugene Phelps (9.0 ppg).
In addition to the five previously mentioned players, Mike Caffey is the only other player to compete in all 22 games this season. Head coach Dan Monson will primarily utilize this six-man lineup, and call upon Edis Dervisevic when necessary.
In their last head-to-head meeting, then-Big West No. 2 leading scorer Casper Ware was held to his third-lowest scoring total of the season (at that time with 12 points) by Northridge guard Josh Greene.
All-Time Series Record Against Long Beach State: Northridge trails 20-31
WILD WILD (FOX SPORTS) WEST
Fox Sports West has made its "Wild Card" selection for the round of Big West games scheduled to take place on Saturday, Feb. 4, and will televise the Matadors' series finale against Long Beach State. Matador basketball fans are encouraged to check their cable/satellite listings to watch CSUN face the 49ers in the return match-up at Walter Pyramid. Saturday's broadcast will start at 7:30 p.m. with Paul Sunderland (play-by-play), Michael Cage (analyst) and Crystina Poncher (sideline) on the call.
REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS
Currently shooting 75.9 percent from the free throw line this season, this year's Matador team is on pace to record the highest percentage in the program's history. The 1961-62 Matadors occupy first place all-time with its 73.6 mark (454-for-617) from the line.
NOTHING BUT NET
At Cal State Bakersfield last Saturday, the Matadors shot a season-high 61.0 percent by making made 25-of-41 shots against the Roadrunners. This is the highest field goal percentage recorded by Northridge since its appearance at the 2010 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif. In CSUN's 88-66 victory over DePaul, the Matadors made 34 of their 56 shots, and finished with a 60.7 field goal percentage.
MATADORS DRAW FRESNO STATE IN BRACKETBUSTERS MATCHUP
Northridge men's basketball will face Fresno State from the Western Athletic Conference in this year's Sears BracketBusters matchup as announced last Monday. The Matadors will host the Bulldogs for the first time in over 38 years on Saturday, Feb. 18, tipoff will take place at 7:05 p.m. This will be the sixth BracketBusters appearance for the Matadors, who are 2-3 in previous matchups. Last season, CSUN earned a 68-59 victory at Eastern Washington.
Cal State Northridge and Fresno State have previously faced one another on 30 occasions, with the Bulldogs holding a 25-5 advantage. The last meeting between the teams took place on Dec. 7, 2005 in Fresno, Calif.
A record total of 142 teams, representing 16 collegiate athletic conferences, are competing in the 10th annual event. All nine Big West teams are participating in this year's event, other pairings include Long Beach State at No. 12 Creighton (Feb. 18, 7 p.m., ESPN2/ESPN3), Cal Poly at Northern Colorado, UC Davis at Northern Arizona, UC Santa Barbara at Utah State, Montana State at Cal State Fullerton, Eastern Washington at UC Irvine, Southern Utah at UC Riverside, and Idaho State at Pacific.
THEIR NAME IS ON THE LIST
In addition to earning a split of their season series against Cal State Bakersfield with their 76-68 win, the Matadors handed the Roadrunners' men's basketball team the 17th loss in their program's history at the Icardo Center. Completed in 1989, Bakersfield possesses a 172-17 all-time record at the Icardo Center as of Jan. 29, 2012. Including their most recent victory over the Roadrunners, the Matadors are responsible for two of those 17 losses suffered by Bakersfield in its on-campus facility.
CSUN ADDS LATE-SEASON GAME AGAINST SAINT MARY'S
Cal State Northridge men's basketball has added a late-season game, and will now end its 2011-12 schedule on the road against Saint Mary's. The Matadors-Gaels 7 p.m. matchup will take place on Friday, March 9, at McKeon Pavilion, and marks the final appearance in a CSUN uniform for seniors Ari Feldman, John Hayward-Mayhew, Michael Lizarraga, and Vinnie McGhee.
Saint Mary's is the third West Coast Conference school the Matadors will face this season. Defeated by 13 points at Santa Clara last December, Northridge rebounded the following week at Pepperdine with a three-point victory against the Waves. This is CSUN's first trip to Moraga, Calif. since Dec. 22, 1995.
NORTHRIDGE VS. THE NATION
Even though this year's team features numerous underclassmen, the Matadors find themselves amongst the some of the most well-known and respected programs in the nation in two statistical categories. The most successful Big West team at the free throw line this season, Northridge is ranked No. 14 in the nation with its 75.9 free throw percentage. Converting on 79.9 percent of its free throws taken this season, Weber St. is ranked No. 1 in this category.
Also leading the Big West with its +2.68 turnover margin, the Matadors find themselves ranked No. 41 in the nation. Syracuse leads all Division I teams with its +7.2 figure.
YOU CAN'T STOP THEM FROM EITHER SIDE OF THE LINE
In addition to setting a new season-high against the Roadrunners last Saturday with its 61.0 field goal percentage, Northridge also shot a season-high 53.3 percent from behind the three point line. Led by Josh Greene who made all three of his shots from three, the Matadors were 8-of-15 from behind the arc.
A BIG FAN OF BAKERSFIELD
In his inaugural game as a Matador, Stephen Maxwell earned his first ever collegiate double-double by finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds, at home, against Cal State Bakersfield (11/30/11). In last Saturday's return matchup, Maxwell scored 12 points to finish with his fourth double-digit scoring effort of the season. In addition to his efforts in both games against Bakersfield, the freshman forward scored 12 points versus Pacifica (12/17/11) and 10 points against UC Davis (1/14/12).
MARK YOUR CALENDARS ACCORDINGLY
In an effort to accommodate Comcast SportsNet California and its broadcast of CSUN's road game at UC Davis on Feb. 9, tip-off will now take place at 8:00 p.m. Basketball fans interested in watching the final regular season meeting between the two are encouraged to check their satellite/cable listings, or visit www.bigwest.org/tv to watch a live stream of this game on BigWest TV.
NOW YOU SEE IT... NOW YOU DON'T
Led by Vinnie McGhee with 25, Cal State Northridge has six players who have earned 10 or more steals this season. Other Matadors with double-digit steals include Stephan Hicks (18), Josh Greene (17), Aqeel Quinn (13), Allan Guei (12), and Stephen Maxwell (10).
FOLLOW THE LEADER
In addition to leading all Big West freshman with four double-doubles, Stephan Hicks also leads all first-year players with four 20-point games, and is tied with UC Santa Barbara's freshman Alan Williams for the most 10-rebound games with four.
Recording 134 steals this season throughout their first 19 games, the Matadors are ranked No. 2 in the Big West averaging 7.05 steals per game. Even though Northridge is third in the conference behind Cal Poly's 137 steals and Long Beach State's 161, the Matadors have competed in three fewer games than both teams ranked ahead of them.
A PERFECT 10
Successful in all four of his field goal attempts at Cal State Bakersfield last Saturday, Ari Feldman tied his season and career high with 10 points scored against the Roadrunners. Feldman also finished with 10 points for CSUN at Hawai'i (11/14/11) and against San Diego Christian (11/22/11).
BIG WEST BREAKTHROUGH
Defeating Cal State Bakersfield last Saturday 76-68, Northridge was the first Big West team in seven attempts to defeat Cal State Bakersfield this season. Prior to Saturday night's meeting, the Roadrunners were victorious in all six previously played games against teams from the Big West. In addition to defeating the Matadors earlier this season, Bakersfield also earned in a win in its one game played against Cal Poly, and both contests against Cal State Fullerton and Pacific.
Michael Lizarraga earned his second career double-double on Saturday, Jan. 21, at Cal Poly, when he finished with a team-high 11 points and 10 rebounds. Lizarraga's performance was the first of back-to-back double-double efforts by a Matador, as Stephan Hicks recorded 18 points and 10 assists the very next game versus Cal State Fullerton (1/26/12).
This is the fourth time this season that Hicks has finished with a double-double as he also recorded identical totals against Pacific (1/12/12) and Pacifica (12/17/11). His first-ever double-double took place in his second game as a Matador when he finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds at Hawai'i (11/14/11).
Josh Greene and freshman forward Stephen Maxwell are responsible for the remaining Northridge double-double efforts; Greene scored 15 points, and recorded 11 assists against Pacifica to record his first of the season, with Maxwell recording his first in his inaugural college basketball game versus Cal State Bakersfield (11/30/11). In his first appearance in Northridge colors, Maxwell scored 20 points and collected 11 rebounds. Five of the seven Northridge double-doubles earned this season were earned inside the Matadome, with Hicks' performance at Hawai'i and Lizarraga's effort at Cal Poly serving as the lone exceptions.
Greene's double-double versus Pacific was the second of his career, the sophomore guard's inaugural effort took place last season on Nov. 20, 2010, when he scored 17 points, and grabbed 11 rebounds versus Vanguard. Lizarraga's first-ever double-double also took place during the 2010-11 season when he finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds against Long Beach State (2/12/2011).
DOUBLE YOUR DOUBLE-DOUBLE INFORMATION
Of the 59 double-doubles recorded this season by Big West players, nine have been earned by four different freshman. In addition to Matador swingman Stephan Hicks who leads all freshmen with four, UC Irvine's Will Davis III and UC Santa Barbara's Alan Williams have each recorded two double-double apiece. CSUN forward Stephen Maxwell completes the list with one double-double to his credit this season.
ANYTHING BUT GREEN(E)
After a slow start in which he combined for 16 points through the first three games, Greene's production has picked up drastically as he has reached double figures in points in 10 of his 19 appearances this season. In last week's games versus Cal State Fullerton, and at Cal State Bakersfield, Greene finished with 14 and 16 points respectively. On Saturday, Jan. 7 against preseason favorite Long Beach State, Greene tallied a team-high 15 points. He also drew the defensive assignment of the Big West No. 2 leading scorer, Casper Ware, and held Ware to his third-lowest scoring total of the season at that time with 12 points. Greene's 9.5 ppg average is the second-highest on the team.
CSUN SCORING STREAKS
Prior to his game on Saturday, Jan. 21, at Cal Poly (CSUN's 17th of the season), redshirt freshman Stephan Hicks recorded double-digit point totals in all 16 previously played games. This is the third-longest, regular season, double-digit scoring streak by a Matador during Bobby Braswell's 16-year tenure as head coach.
Scoring double figures in the last two games of the 1999-2000 season, Brian Heinle scored 10 or more points in all 32 regular season games the following season to end his Northridge career with double-digit point totals in his final 34 games played. After Heinle, Ian Boylan (2002-03 season) is second with 18, followed by Hicks, Lenny Daniel and Rashaun McLemore. Daniel and McLemore each finished with double-digit totals in 14 straight games during the 2010-11 campaign.
PROTECT AND SERVE
With 57 assists to his credit, against 36 turnovers, sophomore guard Josh Greene is ranked No. 3 in the Big West with his 1.58 assist-to-turnover ratio.
FOUL THEM IF YOU DARE
Ranked second and seventh the Big West respectively with their 82.5 and 79.5 percent efforts from the free throw line this season, Stephen Hicks and Aqeel Quinn lead a Northridge team that is on pace to set a new all-time record. Pacific sophomore Ross Rivera (3rd, 81.7 percent) and UC Davis freshman Tyrell Corbin (8th, 79.1 percent) are the only other underclassmen who currently occupy a top ten conference ranking in this category.
SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE
In the eight Big West games played this season by CSUN, Vinnie McGhee has crafted a 2.18 assist-to-turnover ratio. Recording 24 assists, while committing only 11 turnovers, McGhee's ratio is the highest in the Big West (conference games only).
YOU NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION
Stephan Hicks has provided a consistent level of production for Cal State Northridge as a redshirt freshman. This season, he had a torrid start to his career with three 20-point efforts in the first four games, and most recently poured in a career-best 26 points against Cal State Bakersfield last Saturday.
Hicks has scored in double figures in 18 of 19 games, and has led the Matadors in scoring on 15 occasions. The 6-5 swingman ranks fourth in the Big West in both scoring (16.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg), and leads all freshmen with four double-doubles. Hicks is also the Big West's second-most accurate free throw shooter, hitting 82.5 percent (104-of-126) from the charity stripe.
CSUN'S BLOCK PARTY
Led by Frankie Eteuati and his team-high 17 blocks, the Matadors enter Saturday's game with an average of 2.58 blocks per game. Single-handedly responsible for more than one-third of his team's 49 blocked shots, Eteuati set a new career high on Monday, Jan. 2, at UC Riverside, by earning four of CSUN's five blocks in his team's 11-point victory over the Highlanders.
THAT'S THE GUEI TO GET YOUR TEAMMATES INVOLVED
One of four Matadors to see action in all 19 games this season, Allan Guei enters Thursday's game ranked No. 3 on the team with 48 assists, trailing only Vinnie McGhee and Josh Greene for the team's top spot. McGhee is ranked No. 2 with 54 assists, with Greene pacing the Matadors with 57 assists.
AND THEN THERE WERE NONE
CSUN's Stephan Hicks and UC Santa Barbara's James Nunnally both had their double-digit scoring streaks stopped in their respective games on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Cal Poly, and at home against Long Beach State. The only players to score 10 or more points in every game this season prior to the round of games scheduled to take place on Jan. 21, Hicks ended that day's action with eight points scored against the Mustangs, with Nunnally recording only five against the 49ers.
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE
Northridge has taken full advantage of its free throw opportunities throughout the season as the team possesses a conference-high 75.9 free throw percentage (311-for-410). Led by Allan Guei (24-for-29, 82.8 percent), Stephan Hicks (104-for-126, 82.5 percent), Josh Greene (26-for-32, 81.2 percent), and Vinnie McGhee (29-for-36, 80.6 percent) are the four Matadors who have earned at least 10 free throw opportunities, and are shooting 80 percent or higher this season from the charity stripe. If successful in his next two attempts, Davon Potts will join that group as he enters Thursday's game a perfect 8-for-8 from the line.
THAT'S THE (PRIME) TICKET
Cal State Northridge made the first of its two appearances on Fox Sports Prime Ticket on Saturday, Jan. 12, against the Cal Poly Mustangs. Even though the end result did not fall in CSUN's favor, the Matadors will have another opportunity to earn a win in front of a televised audience in their return matchup against the UC Irvine Anteaters. Taking place at the Bren Events Center, that game will also serve as the last of five scheduled television appearances for the Matadors this season.
JUST GIVE HIM THE POINTS
Successful in all but five of his 29 trips to the free throw line this season, Allan Guei leads the team (min. 10 attempts) with his 82.8 free throw percentage. If Guei were to meet the minimum requirement, his free throw percentage would be tied with UC Riverside's Phil Martin for the highest percentage in the Big West. In order to earn a Big West ranking, a player must make a minimum of four free throws per game.
DANGEROUS FROM DOWNTOWN
Responsible for the final three of his team's points during its 16-0 second-half scoring run against UC Davis on Saturday, Jan. 14, Ari Feldman's three-point shot all but officially earned the win for the Matadors as the Aggies were unable to regain the lead for the remainder of the game. Even though he has only attempted 10 3-pt. feld goals in the seven Big West games he has appeared in, Feldman has been extremely successful from long range. Connecting on six of those shots. Feldman's 60 percent success rate would be the highest 3-pt. percentage in the conference (Big West games only) if Feldman met the Big West's minimum average of 1.0 made 3-pt. field goals per game.
CLEANING THE GLASS
Averaging 33.9 rebounds per game, CSUN leads all Big West teams with its 13.58 offensive rebounds per game average. Freshman Stephan Hicks leads all Matadors, and is fourth in the conference with 2.74 o/rpg.
IT'S BETTER TO RECEIVE THAN GIVE ...
Eighteen games into the season, the Matadors are forcing their opponents to commit a conference-high 16.7 turnovers per game. Leading the Big West with a +2.68 turnover margin, CSUN's turnover differential is more than one forced turnover higher than the +1.55 figure possessed by the conference's second-ranked team, Long Beach State. The Matadors have forced their opponents to commit 318 turnovers, the second-highest amount in the conference behind Long Beach State's 334. Aiding to the 49ers' forced turnover total is the fact that they have competed in 21 games compared to the Matadors' 18.
... OR IS IT BETTER TO GIVE THAN RECEIVE?
Tying his season high with six assists earned against Long Beach State on Jan. 7, Allan Guei was responsible for nearly half of the 13 assists the Matadors recorded that game. This was the second time in his brief collegiate carer that Guei collected six assists, the first occasion also took place inside the Matadome in his first-ever collegiate home game against San Diego Christian (11/22/11).
THREE TIMES THE TROUBLE
Competing in only his second season as a Matador, Josh Greene is building a reputation as one of the most dangerous three-point threats in the Big West. Leading this team with his 31.4 3-pt. shooting percentage (33-for-105) , Greene and Vinnie McGhee are the only two Matadors who have made 30 or more baskets from behind the arc this season. McGhee's 27.3 3-pt. percentage (30-for-110) is the third-highest on the team, trailing only Green and Aqeel Quinn's 31.0 percent figure. Connecting on 18-of-58 3-pt. shots, Quinn rounds out CSUN's top three (min. 10 3-pt. FG made) from three.
The trio's shooting prowess helped Northridge earn its first Big West victory of the year on Jan. 2, at UC Riverside, as Greene, McGhee, and Quinn were collectively responsible for seven of the team's 11 3-pt. field goals made in CSUN's 11-point victory.
ROOM FOR ONE MORE?
As previously mentioned, Josh Greene, Aqeel Quinn, and Vinnie McGhee are CSUN's top three-point shooters who have made a minimum of 10 field goals this season. Successful in eight of his 13 attempts (61.5 percent) from behind the arc, Ari Feldman is only two field goals shy of joining CSUN's long-range trio.
The Cal State Northridge men's basketball program announced that Michael Lizarraga has been granted a season of competition waiver by the NCAA and will be eligible to play for the Matadors for the final 20 games of the 2011-12 season beginning Saturday, Dec. 17 against Pacifica College.
Lizarraga, a 6-7 forward from Dixon, Calif., averaged 3.5 points and 2.7 rebounds while playing in 79 games during his Matador career which began in 2007-08. As a senior in 2010-11, he appeared in a career-high 32 games, starting 10, while averaging a career-high 5.9 points per game and shooting 52.2% from the floor. He finished the season as the teams' second leading rebounder at 4.2 rebounds per game as the Matadors advanced to the Big West Tournament semifinals.
Lizarraga was awarded a special Inspirational Award by the Big West Conference head coaches as the nation's only deaf NCAA Division I men's basketball student-athlete following the 2010-11 season.
A YOUNG MAN'S GAME
The youngest Division I team in the nation, the 19 players on CSUN's roster possess a combined 13 years of previous collegiate experience for an average of 0.68 years per player. Another Big West counterpart, UC Irvine, ranks second with 0.69 years of average experience, with Navy completing the top three with an average of 0.70 years. These statistics factor in the team's total years of previous collegiate experience with the number of players on the roster. The 19-man Matador roster has only four seniors, and zero juniors, with the remaining positions filled by seven freshmen, six sophomores, and two redshirt freshmen.
EARLY SIGNING SUCCESS
During the early signing period in November, Brandon Perry and Donovan Johnson signed national letters of intent and are committed to playing for Cal State Northridge next season. Perry, a 6-6 forward, played a pivotal role in helping Taft High School earn its spot in the Los Angeles City championships during the 2010-11 season. Ranked by many publications as one of the top 150 players in the country, Perry helped Taft earn a 29-3 record and a perfect 10-0 mark in the West Valley League as a junior last season.
A 6-3 guard hailing from Palisades High School, Johnson averaged 16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and steals per game throughout the 2010-11 season to gain Los Angeles All-City and Western League Most Valuable Player accolades. As a junior, Johnson scored in double figures in 28 of the team's 32 games, highlighted by his season-high 30-point effort against Westchester High School.
CHEER FOR THE MATADORS AT HOME, EVEN IF THE TEAM IS ON THE ROAD
During the past four seasons, 29 games involving CSUN basketball have been featured prominently on CBS, Fox Sports Net and ESPN. During CSUN's march to the NCAA Tournament during the 2008-09 season, Matador games were televised a school record nine times. Northridge basketball fans will have the opportunity to see their team compete in five televised broadcasts, on four different networks, throughout the 2011-12 season.
Already featured nationally by ESPN on Nov. 15, 2011, at Hawai'i, and most recently on Fox Sports Prime Ticket last Saturday at Cal Poly, the Matadors' next television appearance will take place on Saturday, Feb. 4, against Big West preseason favorite Long Beach State. Fox Sports West will broadcast the return matchup between the Matadors and 49ers beginning at 7:30 p.m. from the Walter Pyramid. CSUN's final Fox broadcast of the season is scheduled for Feb. 25, at UC Irvine, on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
CSUN will also make an appearance on Comcast SportsNet California on Feb. 9, beginning its annual Northern California Big West road trip with a televised contest against UC Davis. Northridge basketball fans are encouraged to check their local listings to find the exact channel listings for ESPN, Fox Sports Prime Ticket, Fox Sports West, and Comcast SportsNet California.
Predicted to finish in eighth place last season as announced in the Big West Conference's annual preseason poll, the Matadors proved the experts wrong, eventually finishing the 2010-11 season in third place with a 9-7 conference record en route to their berth in the semifinals of the Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
This year, the pre-season results are exactly the same as CSUN tallied 61 points to earn another eighth-place finish, just two points behind a UC Davis squad that finished seventh, and six points ahead of ninth-place UC Irvine (55 points). Collecting 20 first-place votes from the 24-member voting panel for a total of 212 points, Long Beach State was selected the favorite to claim the 2011-12 Big West men's basketball title. UC Santa Barbara was picked to finish second in this year's media poll, receiving the four remaining first-place votes and 196 points, with Cal Poly rounding out the top three with 158 points. Cal State Fullerton finished fourth with 131 points, with UC Riverside and Pacific completing the poll in fifth and sixth place with 114 and 91 points.