Head Coach: Dan Monson
Overall Record: 20-10
Conference Record 14-2
Points per game: Casper Ware 16.9
Rebounds per game: T.J. Robinson 10.1
Assists per game: Casper Ware 4.7
Long Beach State is experiencing a resurgence of some sorts, a renaissance of playing winning basketball. The 49ers come into Honda Center as the only Big West team with 20 wins, riding a nine-game winning streak.
Junior Casper Ware is the Beach's go-to guy. Ware, a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, averages 16.9 points per game and 4.7 assists per game and is a legit candidate for Big West Player of the Year.
While Ware and T.J. Robinson do a good deal of the dirty work, Greg Plater, Eugene Phelps and Larry Anderson form one of the most potent front fives in the conference, boasting a 17-6 record with five in the starting rotation.
Phelps averages 6.7 rebounds a contest and Anderson averages 14.3 points a game. Anderson averages 1.9 steals a contest to lead all players in the Big West. Plater can shoot the long ball, and leads in 3-point field goals made with 85.
Off the bench, huge contributions from Edis Dervisevic, Brandon Nevens and Tristan Wilson will be key to Long Beach's success. Of course, an emphasis on sound defending will help, too.
Long Beach State played San Diego State tough early in the first half before fading away to start the year and also tested North Carolina on the road in a gallant 96-91 defeat in December.
One of the biggest hexes this season for the Beach is their inability to win in Orange County. They had previously tasted defeat at Honda Center in a 82-74 defeat to Saint Mary's and lost to Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine on the road.
A perfect tournament run will more than offset the futility the 49ers have been suffering in the OC this year.