Good morning and welcome to the very first REAL day of GNAC men’s basketball! All of the festivities begin at 3pm PST.
To get things started off on the right foot… here is the much anticipated post of the GNAC Men’s Basketblog’s official non-conference tournament attendance recommendations.
GNAC teams play in a lot of tournaments during the months of November and December. The big question is on the whole, which ones are worth attending if you don’t live near the host school?
Alaska-Anchorage is playing in The Ron Logsdon Basketball Classic, hosted by Sonoma State on November 14th & 15th. In the tournament, they’ll play both Sonoma State and Chico State. The Chico game is worth it, the Sonoma game… meh. If you’re looking for an excuse to go to California, sure, but… we’ll pass.
Alaska Anchorage hosts to The Great Alaska Shootout in their brand new arena during Thanksgiving week. If you’ve never been to The Great Alaska Shootout, the experience is highly recommended. It’s primarily a division one tournament, they get some really good teams, the teams this year aren’t as marquee as they have been at times in the past, but again: it’s a fun tourney to attend.
Alaska-Anchorage hosts a third tournament and this is where our recommendation lies: They are hosting the Seawolf Jamboree on December 12th and 13th and it’s going to be a great opportunity to watch Humboldt State, BYU-Hawaii, and then both Alaska-Fairbanks and UAA itself.
Alaska-Fairbanks hosts the Alaska Invitational from November 20 through November 22. The tournament features UAF, Minnesota-Moorhead, West Alabama, and Black Hills State. It’s a solid division two tournament at the top of the world, but none of the teams are ranked nor within the west region, and so… pass.
UAF attends the Notre Dame de Namur tournament over Thanksgiving weekend. Thanksgiving weekend tournaments are great, so much better than Christmas, and California is a great location. The Nooks will be playing Holy Names and ND de Namur and while the teams aren’t fantastic, they match-up with UAF pretty well and are within the west region. This is definitely a good tournament to attend.
As noted, UAF also attends the Seawolf Jamboree which is a recommended tournament.
Like UAF, Simon Fraser attends the Notre Dame de Namur tournament and if you’re an SFU fan -bless your heart. This is a great tournament to attend and could be a good place for the Clan to pick up a win. Highly recommended tournament.
Western Washington plays host to the Chuck Randall Classic on November 14th and 15th. Teams involved include the Vikings, Hawaii-Hilo, Notre Dame de Namur, and Northwest Nazarene. It’s a good inter region match-up, it should be a fun time. Is it worth it to make the drive from Nampa? Probably not. But if you’re an NNU fan from anywhere in western Washington or BC, definitely worth it.
Western also plays a series of games in Puerto Rico; it is to my understanding that it’s not a tournament, but we’ll include it here because they’re all in PR. That’s what this trip is about -WWU expanding their recruiting footprint. Good for them. Not worth it; the teams from there do not look particularly challenging and you’ll have plenty of chances to see the Vikings whoop some below-conference-level booty at home.
WWU heads to Vegas for the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic on December 18th and 19th. This is a highly recommended tournament; they’re playing Tarleton State and San Bernardino State. Both teams made the tournament last year, last year’s game vs. San Bernardino State was a barn burner. GO TO THIS TOURNAMENT.
Seattle Pacific plays host to the Sodexo Tip-Off Classic. It’s great because so many GNAC fans live relatively close to SPU (within five hours), but unfortunately the Sodexo Tournament this year is really boring. It features SPU and CWU playing the Academy of Art and Minnesota-Crookston. MN-Crookston was the school that went a whopping 4-23 last year. As much as a couple of these games are inter-region… I’m not even sure if they’ll be worthwhile to watch on the computer. Pass.
Seattle Pacific spends five games in Hawaii from November 21-26. First they’ll play BYU-Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific; both of those games are worthwhile. Next they’ll head over to Hilo and play Northwest Indian College, Washburn, and Hawaii-Hilo. The main problem with this schedule is that three of the games are really intriguing but two of the games in the middle aren’t. Overall, it’s a recommended tournament from a Seattle Pacific standpoint, but from a general GNAC standpoint not so much.
Seattle Pacific finally plays in the Las Vegas Challenge on December 17th and 18th. They’ll face Rollins College from the Sunshine State Conference and then Dixie State from our friend, the Pac-West. This is another recommended tournament, particularly because it overlaps with the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic (also in Las Vegas) and it is totally possible to attend both SPU/Dixie State game and the WWU/Tarleton State game on back-to-back days.
Central Washington attends the Sodexo Tip-off hosted by Seattle Pacific. They’ll too be playing Minnesota-Crookston and Academy of Art. Unlike for the Falcons, these games should be actually pretty interesting because CWU has so much more of an identity that it needs to develop. It’s again, kind of a wash. If you’re a Central fan, it’s great to get to because it’s nearby, but if you’re not a fan of either team… pass. The Chuck Randall Classic and taking a look at Hawaii-Hilo is going to be a better option for this weekend.
CWU also is playing in the tournament hosted by BYU-Hawaii and will similarly play both BYU-H and HPU, but not in the second tournament over in Hilo. This is a tournament that’s more 50/50. The schools are great, they’re within the region, it’s in Hawaii, but… you’re looking at easily 14 hours of airport travel for two games that’ll be broadcast online. That’s a little more iffy. If you’re a local and want a look at the GNAC, by all means go. Otherwise, pass. All of these schools will play on the mainland and a trip to California is far more worth it.
MSUB is playing in the GNAC/Pac-West Challenge on November 14th and 15th, hosted by Domincan University. In the tournament, they’ll play CSU Stanislaus and CSU East Bay. This is a great tournament to go to if you’re looking to go to California.
MSUB also is playing three games in Hawaii from December 15-20th. The teams are HPU, Chaminade, and Ottawa of Kansas; not a recommended trip but that has more to do with what MSUB has done early this year than the teams they’re playing. Hold out until they prove something.
As noted, NNU is playing in the Chuck Randall Classic and will face UH-Hilo and ND de Namur. Not recommended for Boise NNU fans, but recommended if you’re in western Washington. WWU is always a good team to watch, so buying the full tournament tickets does make it worth it.
NNU is also playing in a tournament hosted by Tarleton State over Thanksgiving weekend, in which they’ll play both Texas A&M Int’l and Tarleton State. This is a recommended tournament because Thanksgiving weekend tournaments generally are always recommended, it’s in Texas, and high school football finals are going on, so… go to Texas, watch your team, and GO TO A HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL GAME.
Saint Martin’s is also playing in a different incarnation of the GNAC/Pac-West Challenge on Nov. 14 & 15th; they’ll face Fresno Pacific and Point Loma while in San Diego. Recommended tournament because it’s in California and the games should be competitive.
The following weekend, the Saints will head to Monmouth for the Western Oregon Shootout where they’ll take on Azusa Pacific and Colorado Christian, respectively. Another recommended tournament. Yes, it’s two in a row for SMU fans, but they’re both good, the WOU one is relatively close, and all four games should be interesting.
Like Saint Martin’s, WOU faces PLNU and FPU in San Diego on Nov. 14th & 15th. Recommended tournament, WOU should actually win these games by a decent margin, so really, really good to go to.
They come home the following weekend and host their own Shootout. The APU game should be a good one for WOU, and then the Colorado Christian game should be super competitive… tentatively expect the Wolves to pull it out.
Overall, our most recommended tournaments:
- Chuck Randall Classic in Bellingham, November 14th & 15th.
- Tarleton State tournament over Thanksgiving weekend.
- The Seawolf Jamboree, hosted by UAA on Dec. 12th & 13th.
- Vegas general; Southpoint Holiday Classic & the Las Vegas Challenge. Pick your games, split your games, and go.
Once again, welcome to Division II play!