Big West picks Matadors No. 1

Alonso Tacanga

Old news: CSUN selected to finish No. 1. Again. Twice in the same day
Big West Conference coaches and media members picked CSUN to finish first in the conference during Media Day Wednesday at Irvine.

Northridge received eight of nine first-place votes cast by Big West coaches. Media gave CSUN 14 of 20 first-placers.

The coaches’ poll awarded the Matadors with 64 points. UC Santa Barbara, which got the other first-place vote, finished second with 56 points.

Pacific was picked third with 48 points and Cal State Fullerton, which eliminated Northridge in 2007-08, was fourth with 42 points. UC Davis (28), Cal Poly and UC Irvine (23) Long Beach State (21) and UC Riverside (19) followed.

Last season, the Matadors were picked to finish sixth in this same event. They ended up winning 20 games, a share of the Big West title and a No. 2 seed in the conference’s tournament.

In 2008-09, CSUN has won four magazines polls and a whole lot of hype. The Matadors play their first exhibition game tonight.

‘This year is completely different,’ said Braswell, the 2007-08 Big West Coach of the Year.

‘Last year, we were the hunters. This year, we are the hunted. We have a target on our back. The players understand the situation. We have to be prepared to play good basketball every time we hit the court. We don’t have any illusions that this is going to be easy.’

The media voting gave Northridge a total of 173 points. The Gauchos were second with 156 followed by Pacific with 127. The Titans were fourth (107). Long Beach State (96), UC Irvine (73), UC Davis (65), Cal Poly (54) and UC Riverside (49) rounded up the conference selections.