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Big West Conference basketball: Long Beach is favorite

October 29, 2009 |  2:52 pm

Cal State Long Beach was chosen as the overwhelming favorite in Big West Conference men's basketball in a poll of 24 media members released today.

The 49ers, who return four starters, received 17 first-place votes. They were followed in the poll by UC Santa Barbara, which got six first-place votes; Cal State Northridge, which has won or shared the last two Big West titles; UC Riverside; and Pacific, which got the other first-place vote.

UC Davis, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo rounded out the poll.

Long Beach returns three players off the 2009 Big West All-Freshman team. Larry Anderson, Casper Ware and T.J. Robinson combined for 44% of the 49ers' scoring last season. Anderson, who averaged 10.8 points and 4.0 rebounds, was only the second freshman in the history of the conference to be a first-team all-conference selection.

Santa Barbara returns James Powell, whose 9.0 scoring average led the Gauchos last season, and also has Orlando Johnson, who averaged 12.4 points and was the top rebounder for Loyola Marymount two years ago. He sat out last season after transferring in accordance with NCAA rules.

--Mike Hiserman