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Inside College Basketball

Tonight

February 27, 2003|Paul McLeod; Mike Terry

MEN

Long Beach State (5-19, 4-11) at UC Santa Barbara (13-12, 10-4), 5, Fox Sports West 2, KRLH (590), KEYT (1250) -- Several Big West Conference tournament scenarios hinge on what last-place Long Beach does in its final three games -- all on the road, where the 49ers are 0-11. A loss tonight, coupled with a victory by Cal State Northridge, eliminates the 49ers. A win keeps fifth-place Idaho, which is idle, on hold. Long Beach upset Santa Barbara, 68-67, Feb. 1. The Gauchos have clinched a tournament spot but have lost two in a row and have fallen into second place, a half-game behind UC Irvine.

Cal State Fullerton (8-16, 6-8) at Pacific (11-12, 6-8), 7 -- If Long Beach loses and Fullerton beats floundering Pacific, Fullerton clinches a spot in the Big West tournament. Pacific has lost five in a row. The Tigers took a 62-61 win at Fullerton.

UC Riverside (5-9, 6-14) at Cal State Northridge (11-13, 5-9), 7, KPRO (1570) -- Riverside moved up from Division II three years ago and is not eligible for postseason play until next season. But the Highlanders play a major role in determining the seeding for the Big West tournament. Last Saturday, they knocked Utah State out of first place with a 72-65 win. Northridge can clinch a spot in the tournament with a victory tonight if Santa Barbara beats Long Beach.

UC Irvine (17-7, 11-4) at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (12-11, 8-6), 7, KUCI-FM (88.9) -- Both have clinched tournament berths. Irvine has won six in a row and is 7-4 on the road, best among Big West teams. However, the Anteaters were stunned by Cal Poly, 74-68, earlier this season. The Mustangs have a three-game winning streak. Freshman guard Jeff Gloger has tied an Irvine single-season record with 66 steals.

-- Paul McLeod

*

WOMEN

Oregon (11-14, 7-9) at USC (12-15, 7-9), Sports Arena, 7 -- The Pacific 10 Conference tournament doesn't start until next week, but as Oregon Coach Bev Smith said, "the playoffs start [tonight]." The Trojans and Ducks, tied for sixth, both wish to avoid falling to seventh place or lower, which would give them an extra game. If the Ducks win, they sweep the season series and own the tiebreaker.

Oregon State (14-11, 8-8) at UCLA (15-10, 10-6), Pauley Pavilion, 7, KTDD (1350), KBET (850), XTRA (690, delayed until 8:30) -- UCLA is pursuing its best conference record and highest Pac-10 finish since the 1999-00 season, when the Bruins finished fourth with a 12-6 record. Tonight's game could also be a preview of next week's conference tournament clash; as things stand now, the Bruins and Beavers -- who are fifth in the conference -- would meet in the quarterfinals. Oregon State should have UCLA's attention after beating No. 25 Washington last week.

-- Mike Terry

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