The latest challenger to Long Beach State both nationally and in the Big West fell short as UC Irvine came close but couldn’t put the first mark in the 49ers’ loss column. That pushes LBSU way above a pack of 3-3 teams looking for separation in the league, which all have hopes in finishing higher both in the Big West and nationally. But with the carnage occurring in the middle and no one able to stop LBSU yet, the 49ers can clinch the regular season league title outright this week, which headlines the week ahead for the conference.
With new story-lines emerging and a new season of sorts in league play commencing, VolleyMob will be giving conference updates. Below is analysis as well as the weekly Big West table, awards, matches of the week and power rankings:
BIG WEST TABLE:
|#4 UC Irvine
|UC San Diego
MATCHES OF THE WEEK:
- April 6: #1 LBSU at UC San Diego
- April 6: #8 CSUN at #4 UC Irvine
- April 6: #9 Hawaii at #11 UCSB
- April 7: #4 UC Irvine at #8 CSUN
- April 7: #9 Hawaii at #11 UCSB
VOLLEYMOB BIG WEST POWER RANKINGS:
- UC Irvine
WRAPPING THINGS UP
- Long Beach State 49ers
The 49ers are just one victory from earning at least a share of the Big West regular season title, with two victories or one victory and the four 3-3 teams splitting this week from winning the league outright. It looks good for that goal too, as they have a pair of matches with the league’s bottom team in UC San Diego, and with nobody able to slow the LBSU attack or down them this season, it seems likely that gets wrapped up this week. From there, the goal will move to finishing the regular season undefeated, winning the Big West Tournament and continuing their dominance into the NCAA Tournament. Speaking of the NCAA postseason, it seems like even if LBSU were to lose their final four matches and once in the Big West tournament, they’d still have a case in making it as an at-large, though winning twice this week would all but officially secure they make it in no matter what – which is an amazing testament to their greatness to this point.
CAN SOMEONE SEPARATE
- UC Irvine, CSUN, Hawaii, UC Santa Barbara
All four of these teams are even at 3-3, and if they all split with each other this week the same could be said in seven days at 4-4. But, can someone avoid that and separate themselves from the pack as the clear #2 in the Big West? Not only would getting the second – or even third seed – be beneficial to avoiding LBSU in the Big West Semifinals, but every team in that 3-3 grouping still has a chance at making the NCAA Tournament via at-large bid. It’s not as good of a case and will take some things going the way of UCSB and maybe even CSUN and Hawaii to an extent, but all could really affirm themselves in the conversation with a strong finish. At the same point in time, they could all bog each other down with split after split coming against one another. Henceforth if someone can rise above the pack, they could be right on par for the NCAA Tournament, otherwise it could spell disaster.