UC Davis is in contention for a Big West regular-season title for two reasons.
The Aggies have been dynamite at home; until recently they had a 19-game winning streak at the Pavilion, one of the longest in the country at the time.
And they’ve been effective without their star, the suspended Chima Moneke, who’s expected to miss a seventh straight game tonight because of a team suspension.
Per the Sacramento Bee, Chima Moneke will participate in UC Davis’ senior ceremonies tonight against #HawaiiMBB but will not play. That would be his seventh straight game missed due to team suspension.https://t.co/Iq0Yb7GvXz
— Brian McInnis (@Brian_McInnis) March 1, 2018
The Aggies (19-9, 10-4 BWC) seek a fourth straight win and are 5.5-point favorites over the visiting Rainbow Warriors (16-11, 7-7). Point guard T.J. Shorts II has emerged as a very real Big West player of the year candidate, having hit two game-winners in Davis’ 4-2 stretch without Moneke.
Tipoff is 5 p.m. (HST). The BigWest.TV streaming link is here.
UH enters the day tied with Long Beach State for fifth place. Because of Cal State Fullerton’s resounding win at Cal State Northridge on Wednesday night, the best the Rainbows and Beach can finish is fifth (while CSUN sealed a last-place finish and will miss the Big West tournament). So basically, tonight at Saturday at CSUF will settle whether UH lands in the 4-5 or 3-6 brackets in the Big West first round.
Because of that, LBSU will not be a first-round opponent. It’s down to UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, Davis and Fullerton as possibilities.
But first, UH must deal with Davis’ new spread-you-out style on their home finale. They bested the ‘Bows by nine on senior night last year.
Mike Thomas and Gibson Johnson seek bounce-back games from their own senior night disappointment against UC Irvine, and can give UH its first sweep of the conference season; UH won the first matchup 77-72 on Jan. 20, in which Moneke committed a career-worst nine turnovers.