Round and round the Big West free for all goes.
The BWC remains as tight as ever near the conference midpoint, with six teams at or within a half game of first place — UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, Hawaii, Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine. Irvine helped muddle an already congested race on Wednesday, winning at the Pyramid.
UH (13-6, 4-2) is tied in for fewest losses with Davis and UCSB heading into today’s 5 p.m. (HST) matchup at the Thunderdome. But the Rainbow Warriors, who haven’t dropped back-to-back games all year, have their work cut out for them to keep that distinction alive. UCSB, with its potent starting five, is favored by six against a team that hasn’t been on the mainland in a month. That’s down from 8.5 yesterday.
The live stream is here.
Guard Brocke Stepteau, who’s missed the last two games with the right finger injury he suffered in UH’s 77-76 home win over the Gauchos a couple weeks ago, will likely play, perhaps off the bench.
The ‘Bows can make a statement that they’re there to stay for the rest of the race if they can pull off the upset today. If not, they’ll be looking for a split at Cal Poly on Saturday.
Containing Max Heidegger, the BWC’s leading scorer, is a challenge, but not impossible. UH did an admirable job of that in the first half in Honolulu, although he finished with 22 thanks to an explosive second half. Gibson Johnson led UH last time around with 18 points, while Stepteau was key with 12 before he went out hurt (and later returned to help his team close out the game).
UH is 2-3 at the Thunderdome in Big West games, last winning there in 2016. UCSB (16-5, 5-2) is unbeaten there this year at 9-0.
Meanwhile, the Rainbow Wahine basketball team (9-12, 2-6) tips off at Cal Poly (11-8, 5-2) looking to make it two in a row, and extend their winning streak over the Mustangs to seven games. You can watch their live stream here.