Perhaps it is fitting that on Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, the 2012 Big West Men's Basketball Tournament final will feature the same matchup for the third year in a row. The No. 1 seed Long Beach St. 49ers ruled the regular season in the conference for the second year in a row, but has lost each of the last two Big West Tournament finals to the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, this year the No. 3 seed.
|Big West Tournament Final|
|No. 1 Long Beach St
vs. No. 3 UC Santa Barbara
|Time:||7 p.m. PST|
Mark Jones & Miles Simon
Long Beach State (24-8) beat the No. 8 seed UC Davis 80-46 on Thursday night, then beat No. 7 UC Irvine 68-57 on Friday night to advance to the final. The 49ers have been without senior guard Larry Anderson for the tournament after he sprained his right knee one week ago Saturday. The 49ers hope to have Anderson back for the NCAA Tournament, provided they get there.
UCSB (20-9) beat No. 6 seed Pacific 72-52 in the opening game of the tournament, then dispatched No. 4 seed Cal Poly 64-52 on Friday night.
The 49ers were the top seed in last year's Big West Tournament, but lost to the No. 5 seed Gauchos 64-56 in the tournament final. UCSB made the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year with a win over Long Beach State, who is looking for its first NCAA berth since 2007.
Long Beach State exacted some small measure of revenge this season on the Guachos, with a 71-48 win in Santa Barbara on January 21 and a 70-58 home win over UCSB on February 22.