Cal State Northridge has one of the best big men in the country in Lamine Diane. Is he a lock to win Big West Player of the Year once again?
The California State Northridge Matadors are a team who has been in a rebuilding phase since their last NCAA tournament in 2009. The Matadors have only been a Division 1 program since the 1990 season. Since that point they have had middling success. They have been able to qualify for the NCAA tournament twice in that span, which is impressive considering the limitations the Big West program have on the recruiting front, especially in their own state.
Northridge, like any team wants to become relevant in the state again. That is why when former NC State head coach Mark Gottfried was available the Matadors jumped at the chance. Since Gottfried has been in Northridge the talent has undergone a tremendous overhaul. The Matadors boast one of the best players in country and by far the best player in the Big West Conference. Lamine Diane the redshirt sophomore is turning into a legitimate NBA prospect.
The Big West runs through Irvine, California, as they are the defending champs. However, the league should be far more competitive at the top this season as UC Santa Barbara, Hawaii and the Matadors all have a large amount of their production returning. The league is going to be a battle every night especially when the top teams meet. Coach Gottfried in only his second year has the Matadors playing with confidence and with Diane in the fold has a great chance to finish near the top of the conference. The Matadors appear to be quickly on the road to relevancy in the Big West conference.