Event: Big West Conference Tournament
Teams: No. 8 UC Davis vs. No. 5 UC Irvine
Records: Aggies, 12-18 (7-9); Anteaters, 12-18 (8-8)
Where: Anaheim Convention Center – Anaheim, Calif.
When: Today at 6 p.m.
Radio: KFSG (1690-AM)
Who to watch: Vince Oliver has been waiting four years for today.
For the first time in program history, the Aggies are playing a Division I postseason game.
“It’s what I came here for,” Oliver said. “This is the most exciting time of the year. It’s fun to finally get a chance to play in the conference tournament and get a chance to get to the Big Dance.“
Oliver was named to the all-Big West first team on Monday. He ranked second in the conference with 18.8 points per league game and shot 50.5 percent from the field in Big West regular season play.
Did you know? The Aggies couldn’t have asked for a better first-round matchup.
UC Irvine is the only team in the conference that UC Davis swept in the regular season. The Aggies topped the Anteaters 88-85 on Jan. 17 before winning 85-76 on Feb. 12 at the Pavilion.
Preview: Four games in four days are all that stand between UC Davis and the NCAA Tournament.
A tourney berth has been the Aggies‘ main goal this season, but coach Gary Stewart said it should be the last thing on his team’s mind heading into tonight.
“I don’t think you can look like it as four straight wins,” Stewart said. “Nothing’s promised to us but the game we’re about to play, so we’re expending all of our energy [on UC Irvine].… There’s no sense of entitlement.“
The Aggies enter their first-round game carrying a four-game losing streak. Led by Eric Wise, the Anteaters have won two straight and four of their past five.
Over that stretch, Wise has averaged 18.6 points and seven rebounds per game. The freshman power forward was named to the all-Big West second team alongside UC Davis‘ Joe Harden and Mark Payne.
– Michael Gehlken