UC Irvine (3-9) vs. Cal State Northridge (3-7) at 7:05 p.m. in Northridge, CA

It’s time for some wild Big West Conference action! Luckily for our Anteaters, they start off with a fellow inexperienced Big West non-contender in Cal State Northridge. A more thorough breakdown of Thursday night’s action after the jump.

The road to a decent run in the Big West Tournament begins now. As farfetched as it seems for a 3-9 team, I feel like UCI has at least a fighting chance in the postseason if they can avoid Long Beach State. Meanwhile, the Matadors postseason chances are null, as they were banned from postseason play this season for their low APR.

Matadors freshman Stephan Hicks is the only player to start all 10 games thus far for CSUN this year. Although only listed at 6’5″ and 190, the guard/forward manages to compliment his team-leading 17.1 PPG with a team-high 8.4 RPG. Another potential impact freshman is forward Stephen Maxwell, another tweener at 6’5″. It will be interesting to see how UCI’s young bigs match-up with CSUN’s young bigs.

Erratic guard play has been the common theme this year for CSUN’s back court. Josh Greene and Vinnie McGhee both average nearly double digit points, but both are shooting around a dismal 31 percent from the field. Point guard Aqeel Quinn is even worse, currently under 30 percent on the year.

Fifth-year senior Michael Lizarraga recently received NCAA eligibility for the season, and provides a boost to the Matador post. He is kind of their version of Adam Folker. The two teams match-up evenly in size, which is a welcome breather. In any case, road games are hard to pull out, especially for young teams like UCI (currently 0-8 on the road), but they have a solid chance tonight.