The Long Beach State 49ers open The Big West Tournament on Thursday evening at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The 49ers are the top seed in the tournament and have had a fine season with 22 wins and the toughest non-conference schedule in the country. But the question remains, does Long Beach State need to win the Big West Tournament to get into the NCAA Tournament?
The 49ers are predicted to be an 11 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament in the latest bracket projection by Chris Dobbertean of SB Nation. He has Long Beach State playing No. 6 seed Wichita State in the first round in Nashville, with a possible second-round matchup with No. 3 seed Michigan looming.
That Long Beach State has that No. 11 seed in the projection suggests they might not get in to the NCAA Tournament without an automatic berth. The 49ers have lost the conference tournament final to UC Santa Barbara in each of the last two seasons.
The 49ers will likely be without guard Larry Anderson for the Big West Tournament. The Big West Defensive Player of the Year sprained his right knee in Saturday's loss at Cal State Fullerton and is listed as doubtful for playing any games in Anaheim this weekend. Long Beach State hopes to have Anderson back for the NCAA Tournament. The only question is, will they be playing in it?