NNU plays Hawaii-Hilo, Notre Dame de Namur, and @ Dominican.
SMU plays Fresno Pacific, Point Loma, Azusa Pacific, and @ Dixie State.
WOU plays @ Point Loma, Fresno Pacific, Azusa Pacific, and @ Dixie State.
SPU plays Academy of Art, @ Hawaii Pacific, @ BYU-Hawaii, @ Hawaii-Hilo, and @ Dixie State.
CWU plays Academy of Art, @ BYU-Hawaii, and @ Hawaii Pacific.
WWU plays Notre Dame de Namur and Hawaii-Hilo.
MSUB plays @ Dixie State and @ Hawaii Pacific.
SFU plays @ Academy of Art, @ Dominican, and Holy Names.
UAF plays @ Notre Dame de Namur and BYU-Hawaii.
UAA plays BYU-Hawaii.
That is a grand total of 28 games. Dixie State is the big highlight on the schedule, but I’m not a person that thinks any team should be overlooked; the Hawaii schools are always a challenge, and you never know what any given team is going to do in a year.
Maybe things finally click, maybe they luck into a transfer that you wonder how they ever lived without –CWU got Mark McLaughlin at the last second, SPU got Jobi Wall a few years ago- maybe a player that had been buried by experience moves into the starting line-up ala Austin Bragg at WWU.
With the Pac-West, as much as I have an instinct to look at some of who we’re playing and go “Meh, that won’t tell us much,” that’s not true. Because we don’t know what those teams are going to be like and even if they’re not up at the top of the conference pecking order, it can give us a chance to figure out who we are.
CWU had a pretty bad moment with that last year playing Hawaii Pacific; it wasn’t a matter of HPU winning, it was a matter of CWU losing because of a raging case of apathy in the final 10 minutes of game play.
You may note that SPU plays more Pac-West teams than anyone else -this is likely a mix of tradition, not having as many tiny school obligations nearby, and the coaching staff feeling the need to know what they’re dealing with on a more tangible level.
Do I wish we as a conference played more within the West Region? Yeah, after all, it is an official listing on the NCAA Rankings: Overall Record and Region Record. It’s also fun to see the schools match up and have November be potentially a March preview. There’s so much growth and development that goes on during conference play and in years like last when it was parity central… it teaches us to embrace the head scratching.
Currently I’d like to see way more games with the CCAA because my history with D1 says I’m all about strength of schedule, but…
Going into last year, we didn’t necessarily know that the CCAA would be the strength of schedule in the West; the GNAC just as often has that role. In the Pac-West, Cal Baptist made a HUGE splash in making their conference more challenging. That was great. And then the West Region on the whole was weak, which was fairly obvious from the beginning but… you never know.
With that… up next is the Pac-West vs. the CCAA.