We’re starting to get real news interrupting the planned posting! This is coming a couple of days late; right now we’re going for regular, rather than up-to-the-minute, but… that will change in the next few weeks.
Two days ago The DII Bulletin Pre-Season Top 25 list came out. On it also included their Pre-Season Sweet 16 Players to Watch. Notably it included Alaska-Anchorage’s Travis Thompson, which makes sense considering he’s pretty much the only returning major scoring threat on a a top half team.
As for the rankings…
9. Western Washington
10. Tarleton State
15. Chico State
19. Cal Poly Pomona
21. Seattle Pacific
On their others to watch list:
First of all: pre-season rankings mean NOTHING. Seattle Pacific started off at #1 last year and oh how far they fell, getting bounced in the first round and seeing only one GNAC team make the tourney.
Second of all: whenever you read “WWU” on this blog, it should mentally sound like “Dub-Dub-You;” not “Double You, Double You, You,” because that’s obnoxious.
All that to say: if they want to rank Western that highly, we’ll take it. Western is getting to be like Oregon, ‘scuse the cross reference. People will rank them highly until proven otherwise, and it seems deserved. There’s rationality that goes “they just lost Austin Bragg,” but rationality also goes, “Anye Turner should have a massive year and that team is always so deep.”
The only reason they didn’t make a run in the tourney last year is because of their failure to win the conference tournament mixed with two other non-bid receiving teams doing exactly that. If one of those other teams had lost, WWU would’ve been in.
Tarleton State is highlighted because they play WWU and NNU, respectively. The WWU/Tarleton game is gonna be so good. Haha, no way to lose: WWU blows them out, “YEAH, GNAC POWER!!” it’s a close game? “THAT WAS CRAZY!!” WWU gets blown out? Well, actually, I’ll be livid; the only time I ever root for WWU to lose is when they play SPU. They’re Portland, not the Oklahoma City Cloud Flatulence.
Chico State, mmm, they’re a returning Elite Eight team, so makes enough sense. Cal Poly Pomona we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, even though they got bounced in the round of 32 two years in a row. They have program depth; sure. Interesting that San Bernardino State isn’t listed at all; they must’ve lost almost everybody.
Seattle Pacific… I know too much. In that knowledge, I know not to care about rankings. If their final game of the season showed us anything, it’s that their underclassmen (and this year’s seniors) are ready and capable of taking on a much bigger scoring load.
Anchorage is a really good team to watch simply because of Travis Thompson, the potential support around him, and their notorious home court advantage. It’ll be interesting to watch it play out. The team is also likely to be playing with a chip on their shoulder the size of a glacier, so… could be good.
Tentatively, tomorrow will be the Pac-West vs. the Rest of D2.