UC Irvine has been selected first in the Big West Conference preseason media poll released Thursday by the league office.
Coach Russell Turner's Anteaters earned a total of 183 points and nine first-place votes in the media poll. UC Santa Barbara was second with 167 points, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo third with 165 and Long Beach State fourth with 164. UCI has been picked to win the Big West this season by multiple preseason publications.
This is the first time in 12 years that UCI has been chosen No. 1 in the Big West preseason media poll. The last time was prior to the 2001-02 season when the Jerry Green-led 'Eaters went on to win their second straight conference regular-season title.
Junior forward Will Davis II was named to the six-member, 2013-14 preseason all-conference team voted on by the media.
He broke his own single-season record last year with 88 blocked shots as he earned the Big West Conference's "Best Defensive Player" Award. Davis, who averaged 9.7 points and a team-leading 6.8 rebounds, was named to the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Defensive All-America team.
Davis averaged 14.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.1 blocks in the final 11 games of last season. He was named to the All-Big West Tournament team after averaging 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in UCI's three games.
Davis scored a career-high 32 points, hitting 13 of 18 shots, in the 80-71 victory over High Point in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) last March 20.
UCI finished 21-16 overall last season, tying the program's third-most victories for a season. The 'Eaters were 11-7 (9-0 at home) in the Big West for the program's most conference victories in 10 years. UCI advanced to the championship game of the Big West Conference Tournament last March for the fourth time in history and the first time in the last five years.
The 'Eaters made the program's first postseason appearance in 11 years, defeating High Point in the CIT first round before falling at Oral Roberts in the second round. The victory over High Point was UCI's first postseason win in 27 years.
UCI opens its 2013-14 schedule Nov. 2 hosting Chapman in an exhibition game at 7:00 p.m. The 'Eaters face Fresno State in the regular-season opener Nov. 8, also at 7 p.m. in the Bren Center.
— UCI Athletics
Big West Preseason Media Poll
1. UC Irvine (9 first-place votes)
2. UC Santa Barbara
3. Cal Poly
4. Long Beach State
5. UC Davis
7. Cal State Northridge
8. Cal State Fullerton
9. UC Riverside
Preseason Media All-Conference Team
Will Davis II, Jr., F, UC Irvine
Mike Caffey, Jr., G, Long Beach State
Chris Eversley, Sr., F, Cal Poly
Corey Hawkins, Jr., G, UC Davis
Christian Standhardinger, Sr., F, Hawaii
Alan Williams, Jr., C, UC Santa Barbara