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Big West Men's Quarterfinals

Today at the Anaheim Convention Center

March 13, 2003|Eric Stephens

Idaho (13-14) vs. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (14-13), noon -- The Cal Poly Mustangs have won five of seven, led by junior forward Varnie Dennis. Dennis was second in the conference in scoring (17.3) and led in rebounding (7.3) and blocked shots (50). Idaho Coach Leonard Perry has done a great job with the Vandals in his second season. Their only two losses in the last five games have come in double overtime.

Pacific (12-15) vs. UC Santa Barbara (17-12), 2:30 p.m., KEYT (1250) -- After a slow start, the top-seeded Gauchos won their first outright league title and enter as the favorites to win a second consecutive tournament. Mark Hull and Branduinn Fullove are their stars. Pacific guard Demetrius Johnson is doubtful because of a sprained ankle and freshman forward Christian Maraker is bothered by a sore foot.

Cal State Northridge (14-14) vs. UC Irvine (19-8), 6 p.m., KDOC (Ch. 56), KUCI-FM (88.9) -- This is the most intriguing first-round matchup. Irvine hasn't been able to parlay great regular seasons into tournament success the last two years, losing in the semifinals each time. Irvine and Northridge split two meetings this season. Ian Boylan, Northridge's leading scorer, will play despite a broken nose suffered Saturday at Idaho. Point guard Curtis Slaughter has been the go-to guy lately, having averaged 18.6 points in the last five games. He had a career-high 26 points in the double-overtime victory Saturday.

Cal State Fullerton (10-18) vs. Utah State (21-8), 8:30 p.m., KDOC (Ch. 56), KWRM (1370) -- The Titans are the tournament's wild card. Fullerton nearly won at Logan, Utah, in January and has beaten Santa Barbara and Irvine this season. The Titans have persisted despite numerous injuries and the suspension of forward Pape Sow. Utah State has set the conference standard in recent seasons, but it appears to be vulnerable, losing to UC Riverside and Idaho late in the season. The Aggies won't want to go into overtime: Fullerton is 5-0 this season in overtimes.

-- Eric Stephens

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