THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Cal Lutheran men's and women's basketball teams will have a chance to ease into the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play this week.
Both squads begin SCIAC play against Caltech on Saturday at Gilbert Arena. The women play at 5 p.m., followed by the men at 7.
Caltech hasn't had much success in the SCIAC, to put it mildly
The men's team had its 310-game conference losing streak snapped in 2011 with a one-point victory over Occidental.
The Beavers haven't won a SCIAC game since, and have lost 336 of their last 337 conference games.
But CLU knows it still can't overlook Caltech. The Kingsmen beat the Beavers by only five points in their second meeting last season.
Even if Caltech engineers a tremendous turnaround this season, the Beavers are banned from the postseason.
The NCAA placed Caltech on probation earlier this year for "lack of institutional control."
The violations stemmed from Caltech's unique academic policy that allows students to shop for courses during a three-week period before finalizing their class schedules. Because they are not actually registered during those three weeks, some students are not technically enrolled on a full-time basis and therefore are not eligible for athletics. One of the programs cited was the men's basketball team.
The Caltech women's team is eligible for postseason play, but has never won more than two games in conference. The Beavers are only 6-148 overall since joining the SCIAC.
The CLU women swept Caltech last season by an average of 38 points.
The Regals finished tied for third in the SCIAC, and won the SCIAC Tournament to clinch the conference's automatic NCAA bid.
The Regals expect to be contenders once again.
"I think the SCIAC is wide open and we should have every reason to believe we are going to win the conference and we are going to win the tournament," CLU coach Roy Dow said. "But I think all the players understand that they need to learn their lessons and have to commit to each other and have to play good basketball."
The Cal Lutheran men finished fifth in the conference last season and failed to earn a spot in the SCIAC Tournament.
The Kingsmen are hoping two local recruits can help improve their standing this season. Oxnard High graduate Dan Wade and Ventura High graduate Corey Quintana have been making early contributions off the bench for CLU.
Senior guard Eric Whitley, a St. Bonaventure graduate, knows she's down to her final season to capture a SCIAC regular-season title.
"I am excited to open conference," Whitley said. "It is really easy for all of us seniors to help the new girls because we have such a core group who know what to expect when it comes to SCIAC."