It’s win or no postseason for Aggie men Thursday

By From page B1 | March 05, 2014

You know about those certainties in life …

Death, taxes.

Add to those the end of the line for whichever team loses Thursday’s UC Davis-UC Riverside men’s basketball game.

Tied in the Big West Conference basement with the Highlanders at 4-10, the Aggies will miss the postseason if they lose. If they win, a playoff spot is assured.

Only eight of the nine BWC squads are invited to the Little Dance March 13-15 at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

Here’s how conference officials say the battle for that final berth plays out:

* “The winner of the two-game series between the tied teams shall be declared the higher-seeded team in the championship tournament.”

Translation: If UCR beats UCD, the best that can happen is the two teams tie for last and the Highlanders would hold a 2-0 tie-breaking edge in head-to-head matchups. Riverside defeated the Aggies, 81-69, at The Pavilion in January.

* “If still tied, the team with the best win-loss record in conference games against common opponents, beginning at the top of the standings and working down the standings until the tie is broken shall be declared the winner.”

Translation: If Riverside and UCD finish tied at 5-11 but the Aggies beat the Highlanders Thursday, the locals move on because they went 2-0 against seventh-place Cal Poly while UCR split with the Mustangs.

Collectively, UCD and Riverside went 0-8 against the current top four teams then each split with Fullerton and Northridge.

On Saturday, the Aggies go to front-running UC Irvine (20-10, 11-3), while the Highlanders (9-19 overall) play Long Beach State (13-15, 9-5) at home.

“Every game is big closing out the season,” said UCD coach Jim Les, adding that his men got the day off Sunday but have been hard at work since.

“We’re excited to go down to Riverside and play well.”

The Highlanders just beat Northridge, 106-105, in double overtime. With a 4-11 record in games decided by five points or less, UCR squeezed past the Matadors for what one Big West official called “its most meaningful win of the season.”

Senior Chris Patton contributed a season-high 30 points to lead Riverside to the victory.

One other possibility: If it sweeps its two games this week and the three teams in front of it start losing, UCD could finish farther up the ladder. But that’s another story — and first things first.

Notes: Junior guard Corey Hawkins led the Aggies with 16 points in Saturday’s 67-54 loss to Santa Barbara in the packed Pavilion. It was the 18th time Hawkins has paced the locals in scoring this year. … UCD has lost five of its last six, but is playing much-improved defense. Its 73 ppg allowed in those games represents an 8-point improvement from one point earlier in the year. … The UCR game is on ESPN3 and the game at Irvine will be broadcast on Fox Prime Ticket TV. … Last week, senior Ryan Sypkens hit seven 3-pointers, increasing his career total to 310. He’s within two treys of breaking the Big West record of 311 held by Pacific’s Adam Jacobsen (1993-98). Sypkens is the conference leader with 90 long balls and is fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (.407).

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.

Bruce Gallaudet

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