Alex Young, Sr, G, 9.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg
Three starters return from last season's NCAA Tournament squad, in where defense, size, and a special 7'6 player returns for another Big West Title run. Mamadou Ndiaye is the main attraction in the Sun Bowl Tournament. The 7'6 future NBA prospect has blocked 33 shots on the season, and is UC Irvine's leading scorer and rebounder. Teams are shooting just 39 percent from the field as their defense and ability to protect the paint keeps them in ball games, but their offense hasn't been consistent enough against the tougher opponents on their schedule. Turnovers seem to be their biggest offensive issue, but an impressive offensive mark is the 50-plus assists each Luke Nelson, and Alex Young have dished out this season. Ndiaye's scoring, and shooting percentage benefits from their ability to distribute as he shoots 65 percent from the paint, but he can also create his own shot on the block. Recently they started the tallest lineup in college basketball history, showing the depth and size they posses (attn. UTEP). The clear Big West favorite is the Sun Bowl Invitational favorite. Another team who is coming in off a loss, and the response is the most interesting thing to watch.