The Argument for the I-5 Block.

We were reading an article about how airports are a dangerous place to be, because even if planes have mask requirements and a given locale is strict about mask usage and staying apart, people in airports aren’t from those particular locales, and so… Say you’re at SeaTac, the risk is still high because SeaTac contains a lot of people not from Seattle and that aren’t wearing masks and staying socially distant.

As such… The Ivy League just cancelled winter sports, and there’s an argument that a GNAC basketball season could be played much more safely and reasonably by only including schools within driving distance of each other. While we personally consider MSUB within driving distance from us in Seattle, almost no one else does.

There’s also the issue that we’re not sure that SFU would be allowed to host American teams, let alone even want to play them against such a contaminated group, but… Here are the numbers for schools in the block as it comes to cases for the first two weeks of November, according to google and divided by their respective populations:

  • In Vancouver BC, 1 in 750 people has COVID.
  • In Whatcom County (Bellingham) 1 in 830 people has COVID.
  • In Seattle, 1 in 583 people has COVID.
  • In Kittitas County (Ellensburg) 1 in 1500 people has COVID.
  • In the Boise/Nampa metropolitan area 1 in 115 people has COVID.
  • In Thurston County (Lacey) 1 in 495 people has COVID.
  • In the Salem metropolitan area 1 in 277 people has COVID.

Portland is 1 in 233, for those that are curious.

If you’re looking at things from the perspective of Simon Fraser contemplating going into a virus-ridden 3rd world country, those numbers aren’t awful, with the exception of Nampa, and… There’s a legit argument for excluding NNU because it is definitely outside the block, but seven schools still seems like a conference, while six would be pushing it. Then again, GNAC football has four, so… Bye Nighthawks, you’re getting moved to below:

The locales outside of that block…

  • In Fairbanks, 1 in 55 people has COVID.
  • In Anchorage, 1 in 75 people has COVID.
  • In Billings 1 in 55 people has COVID.
  • In the Boise/Nampa metropolitan area 1 in 115 people has COVID.

Now Nampa looks all shiny.

You also have a pretty darn perfect schedule with six conference teams. Going by the conference’s current official start date of January 7th, that gives you eight weeks to play six home-and-homes. While we hope no games will need to be moved because of COVID, hope doesn’t prevent you getting the ‘Rona: Masks, social distancing, and quarantining prevents you from getting the ‘Rona.

The travel pairings also work just fine. SPU and CWU are a reasonable pair, and we were going to say you get a good team for one game and a good atmosphere for the other, but this is COVID 😭😭

We could also totally see the MST schools flying up to the Alaskas and having some type of COVID-is-a-Hoax tourney. We would be good with that, we just want to be nowhere near it. We would totes blog about it from afar though! Alaska is seriously so contaminated right now, we might still wear a mask while sitting at home watching that tournament on our computer, yikes.

Reminder: masks, social distancing, and quarantining works, and the fastest way for life to return to normal is in fact for everyone to adhere to it. If everyone had started wearing masks back in April, the restrictions would largely be over by now, see: Rugby in Brisbane, Australia.

Do we think the conference will actually do what we suggested above? Absolutely not, because it would be seen as incredibly offensive, but… We find the people that refuse to have good mask compliance really offensive. Wear a friggin’ mask if you’re around people you don’t live with! It’s not that hard. We have asthma that we take horrible care of (like we score 150/500) and yet even wearing an N-95 mask is no big deal and we can breathe just fine, so… No excuses.

It’s surreal that this year’s NBA Draft is finally happening tonight, and we have no idea what we’re expecting out of the impending college basketball season as a whole… Just wait and see, like everything else has been. College basketball would be great, but it’s not worth guys getting sick. At this point it’s only a year and with the vaccine news that’s come out of as of late, we’re cautiously optimistic that it will in fact only affect us for this one season, and so… Necessary sacrifice. You all know how hard we fight for GNAC players and we put a huge emphasis on the fact that the opportunity to play college basketball is such a finite window, but it’s one year, a COVID redshirt has already been granted, and it’s a freaking pandemic.

Stay home, stay safe, wear a mask, and as always: Go GNAC!!

The Economic Impact on GNAC Cities.

The GNAC has announced the cancellation of all Fall sports this year, and we expect it’s simply the first domino. If the GNAC isn’t playing football, it seems highly unlikely that any conference, D1 or otherwise, will in fact play football.

The GNAC (which in this case is SFU, CWU, WOU, and Azusa) plays a home-and-home football schedule even in non-COVID years. There are rumblings that D1 conferences have discussed switching to a home-and-home as a way to reduce the number of teams involved, but… Here you have the GNAC, with this as our standard schedule, and football isn’t happening.

We’ve seen a lot of talk about “Wow, college towns are going to suffer, big time,” and so…

Let’s talk about the GNAC cities.

Fairbanks, AK: Population 31,000, with 8,000 students, also huge military presence. UAF is largely a commuter campus, and so ultimately the direct economic impact should be minimal. Athletics at UAF were already suffering and that’s a different can of worms entirely.

Anchorage, AK: Population 300,000. UAA’s 18,000 students will have minimal impact. Athletics… Like Fairbanks, athletics were already suffering. SPU eliminated their gymnastics program, and then UAA gymnastics had a complete mass exodus, so… Something’s going on. The department seems to be on shaky ground, and so while the city will be fine… The WCHA (D1 hockey) already wants to boot the Alaska schools for obvious reasons, and the current financial climate definitely isn’t going to help that. We’ll be closely keeping an eye on this situation.

Burnaby, BC: Population 230,000, but that’s the city as a whole. Burnaby Mountain, where SFU is specifically located, will likely suffer because SFU has a student population of 35,000. Maybe the most interesting thing with SFU men’s basketball and COVID-19 is they have a large number of foreign players that we assume went home, and… We’ll see what happens. If they’re like us and currently live in a third world country, it could be a problem. And yes, we live in the USA, it’s a third world country.

Bellingham, WA: Population 90,000. WWU has a student population of 16,000, but the closure shouldn’t have a huge impact; the big suffering will likely come because of a lack of tourism. Currently they’re still getting plenty of tourists, but it’s inevitably going to get shut down once again because people are being dumb. Wear a mask, y’all.

Seattle, WA: Yes. Not having 5,000 Seattle Pacific students in a metro of 4 million is definitely going to make an impact /sarcasm.

Billings, MT: Welcome back to this spot, Yellowjackets! The Billings metropolitan area has a population of right around 175,000, so the 4,000 MSUB students have minimal impact. We’re actually assuming that Billings is relatively booming right now, because they’re the healthcare hotspot for eastern Montana, so… Once again: Wear a mask, y’all.

Ellensburg, WA: This is the big one. Ellensburg is in fact a college town. They have a population of 20,000, with a student population of 12,000, and a faculty population of approximately 500. Their main drag is your classic college-town treasure trove of great dive bars, and so… It’s going to be difficult.

Nampa, ID: In Nampa alone they have approximately 95,000 people, so the 2,000 students of NNU being gone will be moot. If you include the entire Boise metro, the population jumps up to 750,000, so yeah, moot. Fun fact: Nampa is the second largest city in the state of Idaho; you learn something new every day.

Lacey, WA: They fall into the Olympia metro and as such, 1200 students will have minimal effect on a population of 300,000. Lacey itself has a population of 50,000, so… Not much impact there, either.

Monmouth, OR: This is the other big one. Monmouth is a city of 10,000, while WOU has a student population of 5,000. While Monmouth is considered to be in the Salem metro, they’re definitely a remote island from Salem; there’s no urban sprawl going on, you drive through a bunch of farmland to get to Monmouth. Fun fact: Monmouth was a dry town until a referendum in 2002. So yeah, not having the students will be brutal.

Obviously, we’re most concerned about Ellensburg, but we have a sneaking suspicion that Ellensburg wasn’t concerned about Ellensburg. Europe is returning to normal because everyone locked down and was willing to wear masks; not the case here.

We’re lucky that Jay Inslee kept things more locked down here than Gavin Newsom did in California, but… From what we’ve read, outside of the Seattle metro, the rules are being flaunted pretty blatantly. At this point we’re not expecting to have a college basketball season, but it is what it is.

We’re honestly less concerned about the collegians than we are about the high school rising seniors. Summer before senior year is by far the biggest recruiting period for mid-major D1 and D2 prospects, and so… We’ll see what happens, and maybe more importantly how it happens.

The other big thought right now is only semi-related to basketball, but… The Portland Secret Police. Things are getting scary.

Depending on your complexion you may not think the protests and the secret police directly affect you, but they absolutely do.

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

“Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

“Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

-Rev. Martin Niemöller

Our favorite journalist to follow right now is Robert Evans. He’s based out of Portland, he covered the toppling of Mosul in Iraq and the current situation is scaring even him.

All that said…

Stay home, stay safe, and as always: Go GNAC!

Contemplating the Regional Attendance.

The official guidelines say families and media only, but… We’ve been to a lot of Regionals and so we’re wondering if and how the numbers will differ from other years.

Because the students are gone, it’s harder to say for UCSD, but here are the numbers from when UCSD hosted the tournament in 2017:

Round of 64

12pm: #3 Western Washington vs. #6 Chico State
Result: WWU 83, Chico 96
Attendance: 117

2:30pm: #2 Hawaii Pacific vs. #7 Sonoma State
Result: HPU 73, Sonoma 61
Attendance: 174

5pm: #4 Cal Baptist vs. #5 San Francisco State
Result: CBU 71, SFSU 50
Attendance: 261

7:30pm: #1 UCSD vs. #8 Dixie State
Result: UCSD 94, Dixie 68
Attendance: 895

Round of 32

5pm: #2 Hawaii Pacific vs. #6 Chico State
Result: HPU 74, Chico 77
Attendance: 236

7:30pm: #1 UCSD vs. #4 Cal Baptist
Result: UCSD 84, CBU 80
Attendance: 710

Round of 16

7pm: #1 UCSD vs. #6 Chico State
Result: UCSD 86, Chico 95.
Attendance: 1004

Those numbers for the non-UCSD schools… We’ve been to a lot of Regionals. We’ve seen the types of people that travel to the Regionals, and… It’s mostly parents and grandparents. And the numbers add up:

13 guys per team.
4 relatives per guy.
26 x 4 = 104.

Throw in a few friends and random smattering of alums of any given school that happen to live in San Diego… You get your totals.

And according to the state of Washington’s restrictions (events that attract more than 250) only the games that involve UCSD need to be closed to the general public. Are they going to do that? Probably more or less. Will UCSD suffer for it? Probably not.

Last time they got upset by a #6 seed, despite 1000 fans, and so… No. The attendance won’t make a difference.

Oh and for those wondering: No, we’re not attending. Logistically Seattle to San Diego sucks and we went last year, so… Sitting this one out. We will be watching on the couch all day at home though, so by all means: Hit us up for some cyber tailgating!

Game previews’ll be up Friday morning.

Wash your hands, have fun, and as always: West coast is best coast!

Let’s Talk About the Bracket.

This is as wrong as we’ve ever been about a D2West bracket and yet we still like it better than last year’s?

As much as we dislike some of the match-ups, it does match our core feelings really well in that GNAC was bad and the Committee took that into account way more than we thought they would.

1 – UCSD – Duh.
2 – APU – Stand by it.
3 – CPP – Yup.
4 – SPU – You really had to go and do this, huh?
5 – Chico – Yup.
6 – PLNU – Yup.
7 – CSUSB – We’re guessing East Bay keeping it close against UCSD made this possible.

Basically what this bracket does is say that the GNAC is terrible, and mathematically it was. We’ve said it all year. We said it in the bracketology post. We just didn’t think they would actually seed a tournament winner that finished 2nd in their conference, 8th.

Is it bad that we’re kind of in love with this bracket? We usually never have any idea who’s going to win any given game, and yet the first rounds should be pretty low-key, with the exception of Cal Poly Pomona vs. Point Loma.

UCSD will beat WWU.
Chico will beat SPU.
APU will beat CSUSB.

And thus…

UCSD vs. Chico

It seems like this bracket was geared toward the second round match-ups way more than the first. All the first does is get the bad teams out without any upset potential. Chico vs. SPU does not count as an upset because SPU is blatantly seeded too high. And no, we don’t feel that way about APU because APU proved themselves in non-con and then Biola gave PLNU all the Sea Lions could handle as well.

With our preferred bracket:

UCSD beats Chaminade (or CSUSB; doesn’t matter.)
APU and WWU takes it to the wire, more likely than not.
CPP and SPU takes it to the wire, more likely than not.
Chico and PLNU takes it to the wire, more likely than not.

And then in the second round, you either have:

UCSD vs. PLNU or Chico State
APU vs. SPU or Cal Poly Pomona

And we’ve found the reason they seeded the bracket as they did. Had they seeded it as it arguably should have been, it would have been widely considered that the Pac-West and GNAC had the advantages, despite the CCAA being definitively the best conference.

We get the arguments for San Bernardino over Chaminade, namely that the Pac-West was extremely top-heavy with APU and PLNU, while the CCAA was definitely the strongest and so they deserve four teams, but… We also think it’s a product of the seeding. San Bernardino being a 7th seed when they got bounced in the first round seems highly questionable. And it’s not like they were upset by a 7th seed; a 4/5 match-up is wholly legit and they lost that battle. Go Pioneers!

On the whole, we’re 100% good with this bracket. This year is a throwaway because of UCSD and so…

We look forward to watching UCSD hopefully tear through the bracket (or be upset by Chico State) and then getting down to business contemplating whether next year’s GNAC will be as chaotic as this year’s.

Game previews’ll be up on Friday morning.

Be safe, have fun, and as always: West coast is best coast!

The GNAC Championship Game + Final Bracketology.

Goood Evening.

Let’s jump right in with discussing the conference championship game and then we’ll get into the final bracketology.

#5 UAA 78 vs. #2 WWU 81

We thought UAA was out of it and then they worked their way back in, managed to stay there, and just couldn’t close the deal. Kudos to WWU managing to close said deal and win the championship; guaranteed autobid and likely no bubbles were really burst because for the most part the tournaments weren’t super wacky.

Seawolf highlights: Tyrus Hosley had 16 points; Tobin Karlberg shot well and had 22 points; and Oggie Pantovic had another good game with 20 points, six boards, and five fouls. No real bench play.

Viking highlights: Siaan Rojas stepped up and had 16 points; Logan Schilder had 10 points, five fouls, and six boards; Trevor Jasinsky went 7-8 from the line; Cameron Retherford had nine boards; and off the bench LEIF ANDERSON had 16 points going 5-6 from three. That’s exciting, Leif had fallen off a cliff this year and so it’s awesome to see him have another great game, finally.

Leif Anderson getting hot going into March at the right time, they’re San Diego-bound provided travel restrictions don’t go into place, and so… Let’s talk about what the Committee might have decided.

The Final Bracketology

First, let’s look at the final standings for the respective conferences:


UCSD is 21-1; we know they’re the #1 seed, they won their tournament, it’s all moot.

Cal Poly Pomona is 17-5
Chico State is 17-5

They should both be in; the CCAA was pretty strong this year, although not nearly as much parity as the GNAC and we’re not sure if that means they were better or worse? In a sense, better because UCSD, but let’s be real here: the top three CCAA teams beat the top two GNAC teams, and while we’ll be the first to remind you that SPU was breaking in a brand new team… WWU wasn’t. And WWU still finished way below SPU in the conference standings. Is what it is.

The Pac-West:

Azusa Pacific is 20-2
Point Loma is 18-4 and holds the Pac-West autobid.
Chaminade is 17-5 with a win in the conference tournament before being slaughtered by Point Loma.

Very top heavy conference. While we like that Biola made the championship game and think they’re on a great track, they were 5th in their conference below a CU-Irvine team that was beat by said bad SPU team and good WWU team at home in non-con. Biola, provided you return almost everything, let’s schedule this year.


Seattle Pacific is 18-2
WWU is 13-7 and holds the GNAC autobid.

Our beautiful, chaotic mess of a conference. We love it. We would take WOU over Chaminade but in the whole “what have you done for me lately?” WOU got GNAC’d. Make no mistake: this year’s WOU team was good, regardless of ‘oh they have a new coach’ they’re a genuinely good team. But they would have had to win at least two games in the conference tournament and lose to WWU in the championship game in order to get an at-large bid and that didn’t happen.

The D2West Overall

Is not a complicated bracket this year. We were curious about some of the CCAA teams playing their way into an at-large bid; it seemed like San Bernardino was a big threat and at 16-6 had they made the championship game and looked even slightly respectable against UCSD, we would have made a big argument that the CCAA should get four teams, but… That didn’t happen.

So the eight teams pretty obviously are:

Cal Poly Pomona
Chico State
Azusa Pacific
Point Loma
Seattle Pacific
Western Washington

That’s just done in the order of conference standings and so… What does the seeding look like?

That’s a good question. WWU dodges the 8th seed by winning the conference tournament, so bless you Vikings.

1 – UCSD
8 – Chaminade

Those are the obvious ones.

The rest… Here’s our initial instinct/reasoning before we look at the latest and final “poll” before it goes up:

2 – Azusa Pacific -Beat Chico State, Cal Poly Pomona, and SPU in non-con, as well as won the regular season Pac-West title.
3 – Cal Poly Pomona -Tied Chico in the regular season and beat the pants off of Chico on Friday. What have you done for me lately? That. Nicely done Broncos.
4 – Chico State -Tied with CPP in the regular season, got blown out by them on Friday, but killed SPU in conference play.
5 – Point Loma -We know it’s a far fall, but they almost got beat by the 5th seed in the conference tournament, so while they won… Not as impressive as it would have been had they beat APU.
6 – Seattle Pacific -Yes, they beat PLNU in non-con, yes they won their conference, but the GNAC was a mess this year and nothing epitomizes it more than a team that managed to go 18-2 despite losing one of their two returning starters to a season-ending injury.
7 – Western Washington -Yes, they won their conference tournament, but they lost their conference regular season title by five games, despite returning everything; they also finally scheduled a decent non-con and yet got the same results as that nothing-returning team that beat their regular season record by five games.

And so that full bracket is:

1 – UCSD
2 – Azusa Pacific
3 – Cal Poly Pomona
4 – Chico State
5 – Point Loma
6 – Seattle Pacific
7 – Western Washington
8 – Chaminade

There are lots of arguments you could make; PLNU and WWU won their tournaments, why are they still lower than CPP and Chico that didn’t win theirs, blah blah blah, but some of it does have to do with match-ups.

While yeah, a lot of these teams have met before… That’s ideal. That happens when the good teams actually schedule well. They’ve now all made it and get to match-up yet again after a season more of experience.

UCSD vs. Chaminade, if Chaminade gets the upset… We’ll rush the court in our head, promise. And we hate court rushing. Don’t give your opponent so much credit, unless they’re a D2 team currently about to jump up to D1 and thus playing with D1 talent.

APU vs. WWU, they played way early and APU won by 10, WWU just won their conference tournament, should be a good game and yet APU has really good odds of winning again.

CPP vs. SPU, they met earlier in the year and it went to OT, now SPU finished 1st while CPP finished 2nd (which is essentially first ’cause UCSD outlier), and we’d like to see the rematch.

Chico vs. PLNU, they actually didn’t meet but it would be such a good match-up! Especially now that PLNU has truly gotten in gear. We think the Sea Lions have gotten better as the year’s gone on and they’ve adjusted to Logie and Chico is going to be trying to bounce back after the 25 point loss… This would be a great game.

Overall, we feel like we’ve gotten the teams right and the match-ups should be right, if the Committee follows our thought process on entertaining games with upset potential. You could do SPU vs. Chico but SPU has no post presence, so that would be boring; we trust PLNU’s post way more. If you did that, you would also end up doing WWU vs. PLNU and… Stylistically that’s not fun. WWU vs. APU and PLNU vs. Chico is way more entertaining.

Writing that wasn’t nearly as consternating as we were expecting, and so… Let’s now see what the experts were saying after the regular season ended, but before the conference tournaments:

As of March 1st, the Regional ranking was:

1 – UCSD
2 – APU
3 – CPP
4 – SPU
5 – Chico
6 – PLNU
7 – San Bernardino
8 – Western Oregon
9 – Western Washington
10 – Chaminade

Okay, that does largely make sense as of that date; WWU had gotten beaten by SFU, while WOU had swept the Alaska schools, and San Bernardino was right in it, which we noted above. We’re on the same page. Good.

1300 words later…

COMMITTEE, WE HOPE YOU REALIZE IT MAKES NO SENSE TO HAVE SPU GET SLAUGHTERED BY CHICO IN THE FIRST GAME. They can get beat by Cal Poly Pomona, that’s fine, but c’mon, the Falcons have no post, that won’t be entertaining. And it looks like by the time the first game is played in five days, we could all be in quarantine, so… If they’re playing these games in an empty RIMAC Arena and we’re all going stir crazy at home, MAKE THE GAMES ENTERTAINING.

The GNAC Men’s Basketblog

Previewing Today’s Championship Game!!

We’ll get the posts were supposed to put up yesterday, up later tonight. We’ve acted as an older sibling to this SPU team all year and so as much as we were excited with both Tobin and Oggie’s play and really proud of the Anchorage guys, the loss was brutal.

As such, we have zero opinion on who should win tonight, but… The good news is, Azusa Pacific lost to Biola last night, and thus SPU should still be headed to San Diego next week.

#5 UAA vs. #2 WWU @ 5pm

UAA had a somewhat major upset of SPU last night? Somewhat just because UAA gave the Falcons all they could handle when SPU visited Anchorage, and so… The Seawolves got their revenge in a HUGE way. Fairbanks hung around WWU for a while, but really couldn’t do much. While the instinct would be “Oh, WWU is gonna kill UAA,” it really depends. That definitely could happen, but this is the GNAC and the GNAC is gonna GNAC and so… Anchorage could get the win. And if they do, there could be three GNAC teams in the Regional, because Chico state got murdered last night by Cal Poly Pomona, we’re talking a 35 point loss. And so with this GNAC game… Anchorage isn’t getting an at-large bid, but they could get the auto with a win and so we shall see.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

We’re shockingly not going to this game; figure we best save our hearing because WWU fans are loud, but we’ll be watching the stream and tweeting along.

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!

Previewing Today’s Games!

Gooood morning, and welcome once again to the GNAC Tournament, hosted in the COVID19 ridden enclave that is the Peoples Republic of Seattle.

There’s a major theory going around that the vast majority of people only have mild symptoms and have largely been unaffected despite being infected, but… The CDC won’t give Seattle adequate numbers of test kits, so who the heck knows? Personally we have asthma and are immunocompromised and yet… Yeah. Still not concerned.

What we are concerned about is the fact that this is the conference of chaos and we’ve got another two games on our hands today, and so… Let’s talk about them.

All times pacific.

#6 UAF vs. #2 WWU @ 12pm

The Nooks got what could be considered a pretty darn big upset, and they’ll be looking to do the same thing today. The thing about this UAF team is that back in January, we said they could miss the conference tournament entirely, or they could win the whole thing. While the Nooks don’t have much, what they do have is so good at teamwork and with that they can compete with the best of the best. WWU’s teamwork isn’t at that level, but admittedly they do have a lot bigger spread of talent. While Trevor is great, he’s not head-and-shoulders above everyone else the way Shadeed is, and so… If both teams successfully teamwork it, WWU will likely win; if UAF teamworks it and WWU doesn’t, UAF will likely win. The teams split during the season, each getting a win on the other’s home court, and we see this as being a game that could go three ways: WWU wins a close one, UAF wins a close one, or WWU wins a blow-out; it seems unlikely that UAF will win a blow-out.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

#5 UAA vs. #1 SPU @ 2:15pm

We’re beyond excited about this game, it seemed like UAA was really only getting warmed up yesterday and yet they still got the ‘W’ and so today they should come out swinging even harder. Yesterday Tyler Brimhall was back in a big way, and so looking for that to continue; Tobin Karlberg had a pretty off day and so he’ll be looking to get back on track. UAF defended Oggie Pantovic as well as we’ve seen, and so we’re curious to see SPU respond; we assume it’ll largely be a by-committee approach, but who knows. The Falcons have been off for five days, but we really liked the way they ended their season against CWU; the game was long and strong and they were grinding, their fitness looked great, and so while the intensity will likely ramp up quite a bit today, they’ll want to carry on that “in control” mindset.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

The big question today is will we get an all-Alaska final? We shall see. It’s going to be amazing. We’ll be in our usual spot, so come say ‘hi.’

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!

Pac-West Tournament Day #1.

Mostly just writing this for the GNAC context and so we know what we’re looking at next week going into the NCAA tournament.

#6 Art U. 64 vs. #3 Chaminade 90

As far as we saw, this was never really a game. Art U. is typically among the really bad Pac-West schools and so we’re starting to think that them making it to the conference tournament and then getting blown out is a signal that the conference is even more top-heavy than normal.

Knights highlights: Josh Hill had 23 points and 14 rebounds for the double-double; Victor Ruiz de Carranza had five boards; and off the bench Dante Williams had nine points and six boards among a full house of stats.

Silverswords highlights: Andre Arissol had 24 points; Elet Donley had 15 points and six boards; Bil Awet had 15 points in 20 minutes on perfect shooting; and Kendall Small had six boards, 10 assists, and 12 points for the double-double, wow. Off the bench Isaac Amaral-Arathree had 16 points; and Kevin Kremer had nine boards.

Honestly? Academy of Art’s numbers were so bad and Chaminade’s were so good, that we’re kind of thinking Chaminade isn’t quite as good as we were thinking/hoping they were? It’s too big of a discrepancy, meanwhile Chaminade still has some puzzling losses and a 15-7 record in conference play, in a conference that sent a 10-12 team to the six team conference tournament.

GNAC context: It’s a bit too soon to say, but… We like NNU and WOU’s odds against Chaminade, despite the fact that both teams lost today.

#5 Biola 86 vs. #4 CU-Irvine 77

This game actually matched the UAA/NNU game really well. We felt like CU-I was in control most of the way and yet then at the end Biola got it back and got the win. Biola has a 13-9 conference record and we’ll be honest: We don’t know nearly as much about them as we do CU-I, but… All the better to burst bubbles?

Biola Eagle highlights: Chris Rossow had 31 points and six steals on solid shooting and while going 6-6 from the line; Michael Bagatourian had 18 points, six boards, and six assists; Whitten Dominguez had 17 points and five fouls while going 5-6 from three; Jesse Elrod had 12 points and seen boards; and Alex Right had eight boards among a full house of stats in 40 full minutes. No real bench play.

CU-I Eagle highlights: Kayle Knuckles had 21 points; Robert McCoy had 16 points; Andre Green had 14 points; and Jamel White had six assists. Off the bench Kyle Gray had seven points; Cameron English had seven points and four rebounds in just 11 minutes; and Austin Clark had six points.

Interesting, so while CU-I was deeper, Biola got way more out of their starters. Biola out-rebounded CU-I 32-24, so that’s an interesting number. As noted on twitter: CU-Irvine would like to say that this burst their bubble, but… We don’t think it really did. We think the losses to WWU and SPU early meant that the Eagles of Concordia-Irvine were going to have to have a pretty darn amazing conference record in order to undo it, and… They finished fourth. They were going to have to win the tournament to get a bid this year; the CCAA is just too good, as are PLNU, APU, and Chaminade.

Let’s be real here: the only interesting thing about tonight’s Pac-West games was the Biola upset, and even that’s paltry because when SPU was busy looking like a mess early in the year, they still beat CU-Ivine, so… Congrats Biola? Sincerely looking forward to seeing what you do against Azusa Pacific tomorrow.

Our GNAC Tournament Day #2 preview will be up in the AM.

Be safe, have fun, and as always: West Coast is best coast!

Conference Tournament Day #1!

Hooooo boy, today was everything we wanted and more in terms of great play, great games, and a great place to watch the tournament.

We were hesitant about SPU hosting it because of the parking situation, but at least today the parking was fine -not sure how COVID19 is affecting things attendance-wise, but for midday games on a Thursday, they felt pretty well attended? It seemed like each school had about 50 or so people in attendance, so some good noise was made. The games were intense and amazing and so… Let’s talk about them.

#6 UAF 91 @ #3 WOU 88

HOLY OH GEE OH MY. WOU was up 15 at the half, but the general buzz in the gym was that this is the GNAC and UAF has Shadeed Shabazz and so 15? Please. Turns out everyone was right, because UAF made great halftime adjustments and then it was back and forth the whole way. Absolutely amazing. Ridiculously fun game. We had a fun time watching the SPU guys watch the game -it’s the opposite side of the bracket, and so they didn’t really have a horse in the race and yet they were into it big time. Super fun.

Nook highlights: SHADEED SHABAZZ had a whopping 42 points along with five assists and five fouls; Spencer Sweet had a full house; KOBY HUERTA was everywhere and had 18 points on good shooting; and Mawich Kachjaani had 10 boards. Off the bench Keshaun Howard had six points; and Alex Sommerfield had 10 points.

Wolf highlights: Cameron Cranston had 17 points; Dalven Brushier had 21 points; Darius Lubom had 24 points and five boards; and off the bench Emanuel Gant had 16 poing, eight boards, seven assists, six steals, and three blocks among quite the impressive full house.

Yes, the defense was lacking overall, but… Ridiculously fun game to watch. There was a weird technical called on Shadeed that amazingly neither fanbase thought was necessary and it looks like it ultimately was rescinded post-game? Overall the reffing wasn’t as atrocious as we’ve often seen. Great game by both teams, big congrats to the Wolves on an intense and better-than-expected season, and congrats to the Nooks on living to see another day. Good luck against WWU.

#5 UAA 85 @ #4 NNU 76

Is it really a true upset when the #5 team upsets the #4? Maybe in this case, considering WWU/NNU/WOU were all essentially tied, with Anchorage one step below and yet Anchorage got the upset, so that’s impressive? Good for Anchorage. NNU has some ridiculously good players, but unfortunately they didn’t schedule their non-con to be a bubble team, and as such with this first round loss, their season is over.

Seawolf highlights: Niko Bevens had 12 points; Tyrus Hosley had 15 points and five boards; Jack Macdonald had 11 points and five boards; and Oggie Pantovic was held to 12 points and only 20 minutes played via foul trouble. Off the bench DeAndre Osuigwe had nine points; and Tyler Brimhall had 17 points.

Nighthawk highlights: Sam Roth had seven boards; Beto Diaz had 10 points; George Reidy had a good game with 17 points; Jayden Bezzant had five fouls; Spider Adetunji had 10 points and 11 boards among a full house of stats; and off the bench Jaylen Fox had 12 points.

It’s funny. This is another one of those games where we look at the stats and go “How did NNU lose?” and yet they did. It’s a head scratcher. They started off slow, caught on fire throughout January and most of February, and then in their last three games were insanely competitive and yet couldn’t get it done against a wide range of conference teams. There’s something almost poetic in losing to the #1 team, the #5 team, and the #11 team. Still -congrats to the NNU seniors on a heck of ride, and congrats to the Seawolves on getting the upset; good luck against SPU.

Today’s games were so insane we still feel mildly dazed, it’s so weird that we’re finally entering post-season play after a conference season that seemed to last forever in the best way possible. Because all of the GNAC teams were so well matched, the beginning of February felt like the end of February and every week would ramp up to a new level of intensity you didn’t know was possible, and then yup: The first day of the conference tournament took it up yet another notch that no one knew existed. So insane. So much fun.

It came up a couple of times that the Alaska schools are on opposite sides of the bracket and thus we could have an all-Alaska final. Obviously there are miles to go before that happens, but… It is a possibility, which is cool.

We had a blast at the first day of the conference tournament, SPU is doing a great job and has taken great steps in terms of making hand washing more easily accessible in light of COVID19, so… 10/10 Day One Logistics, Birdies.

Game previews’ll be up in the AM.

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!

Previewing Today’s Games!

Gooood morning and welcome to the start of the GNAC Men’s Basketball Tournament, hosted in the Peoples Republic of Seattle.

All times pacific.

#3 WOU vs. #6 UAF @ 12pm

Yes, these teams just met and it was a BARN BURNER, but that was in Monmouth, and Seattle is oddly a way more neutral site. Greg Sparling has his contingent of Ellensburg peeps, and then Seattle is the “Gateway to the Alaskan Frontier,” and so there should actually be a decent number of Alaskans in attendance. The thing is, we could see this game going three ways: WOU wins a blow-out, WOU wins a close one, or UAF wins a close one. We don’t see UAF winning in blow-out fashion. In the regular season both games were close and WOU won both, but as Coach Wes reminded us… Teams are incredibly unlikely to win three in a row.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

#4 UAA vs. #5 NNU @ 2:15pm

Honestly… We think NNU is under-seeded. They went on a craaaazy long winning streak between January and February, they have super talented guys that seemingly largely peaked as juniors but have finally found some of the magic once again (looking at you, Beto Diaz). Both teams are currently on a two-game skid in similar situations; losing agonizingly to a good team and a bad team, respectively, and so… We’ll see. It’s the GNAC, and so as much as we have a feeling about NNU…

Prediction: Pick ’em.

This tournament should be great. We’re curious to see how SPU handles the parking logistics. We’re expecting every game to be well-attended by opposing fanbases because it is admittedly by far the most centrally located and convenient location for all involved, and so… It should be a good tournament.

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!