May 29, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

UC Irvine men’s basketball team picked once again to capture Big West title

Senior center Brad Greene, left, leads UC Irvine. (Graphic courtesy Big West Conference)

UC Irvine’s men’s basketball team has been selected by the media to repeat as Big West Conference regular season champions.

It’s the fourth consecutive season and seventh time in the last eight seasons Coach Russell Turner’s team has been selected by the media to win the league’s regular season title.

In the poll released Thursday, UCI received 18 first-place votes from the 28-member media panel to top the annual preseason poll with 270 points.

The Anteaters were 21-11 last year and won the regular season crown with a 13-3 record. The Big West Tournament was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

UCI is led by 6-9 junior forward Collin Welp, who was the Big West sixth player of the year and first team all-conference. He averaged 13 points and 5.9 rebounds. Senior Brad Greene (6-11) also returns.

Greene averaged 9 points and 7.7 rebounds. He led the Big West in rebounding.

UC Santa Barbara finished second in the Big West poll with 254 points, earning ning nine first-place votes.

The remaining first-place nod went to UC Davis, which came in third with 182 points. Hawaii placed fourth with 165 points, followed by UC Riverside in fifth (160) and Long Beach State sixth (141).

First-year Big West member Cal State Bakersfield was seventh. Rounding out the poll was Cal State Northridge (102 points), Cal State Fullerton (95) and Cal Poly (54).

UC San Diego, in its inaugural season as a Big West member, has begun a four-year reclassification period from Division II to Division 1. The Tritons will not be recognized in the standings and were not included in the poll.

MEDIA POLL:

  1. UC Irvine, 270, (18 first place votes)
  2. UC Santa Barbara, 254, (9)
  3. UC Davis, 182, (1)
  4. Hawaii, 165
  5. UC Riverside, 160
  6. Long Beach State, 141
  7. Cal State Bakersfield, 117
  8. Cal State Northridge, 102
  9. Cal State Fullerton, 95
  10. Cal Poly, 54