More Conference Play Impressions

First weekend of conference play. These are some more general observations now that there’s been more time to go over it.

  • First and foremost: Another huge congrats to SFU on beating Western for the FIRST TIME EVER. It almost happened last year and the Clan were able to seal the deal this year. Fantastic.
  • SPU and Western have actually lost on the same night not regularly, but not irregularly either; it’s not some massive thing to be noted -last year it would still be notable, this year not so much.
  • It’s not so much that the GNAC as a whole lacks bench play -it’s more toward the end of the bench. Each team has seven or so guys that they can consistently count on, but when they need to go deep problems arise. There are a number of guys we’ve been checking to see if they’re even still on rosters because they haven’t shown up in the stats at all.
  • SFU plays a more complex game than has been given credit -it’s not street ball, it is relatively cohesive team oriented basketball at breakneck pace.
  • There’s the idea that offensive oriented all-star game basketball makes a mockery of the sport, but the sport itself kind of makes a mockery of humanity -the whole overgrown humans with evolutionarily (now) surplus testosterone, chasing an orange ball around, and putting it in a peach basket, weird.
  • Did you see the comment about Kevin Rima? Played the whole weekend with the flu. When big men get sick… it’s bad. It’s really bad. When anyone gets sick it’s bad, but when the 6’7/250 guys do… ugh. Yikes. It’s incredibly hard on their bodies, far more so than the guards, generally speaking.
  • Player Efficiency Rating seems to be a recurring them because shooting percentages are regularly talked about, except the idea of PER exhibited on this blog is different than the “traditional” PER. The priorities here tend to be on rebounds, assists, turnovers, and knowing when to defer. How minutes per game comes into play is yet to be settled upon, what any given player, averaging more than 18 minutes, contributes on defense will be looked at more closely in January.
  • The overall tone of the game review posts indicate high expectations of everyone, not just WWU/SPU. The belief in the guys in this conference is huge and while we may be having a down year or few, the guys are still fantastic basketball players with plenty to bring to the table on any given night -hence giving guys with an already proven track record so much grief: why praise poor or mediocre performances? They know they can play better, if a blog acknowledging it sends them into a death spiral/and or makes them ragingly angry, then… bigger fish to be fried, call your local sports psychologist ASAP.

More in-depth discussions

Player of the Week

With player-of-the-week: the nominations are the fun part. It’s sublime to get to go through the stat pages and the notes taken during games and focus on these guys and why they’re great/where they can improve. Watching the progression and player development in basketball is easily one of the best things about being a part of the sport.

Respect to WOU, but Connor Halliday and Shaq Thompson both got massively snubbed in Pac-12 post-season awards because they weren’t on teams that did particularly well –that’s something that’s huge in terms of Player-of-the-Week; guys can’t help the support around them and if good guys aren’t willing to go to programs and help build them because it leads to a lack of exposure/awards and therefore a lack of or less post-graduate options, it creates a massive fallacy.

Generally speaking more fundamental basketball is prioritized in terms of our player-of-the-week award; there’s gotta be balance, it’s not just about scoring, it’s not just about the MVP of any given game, because there’s more to life than winning -there’s a huge amount of dynamics involved.

The Goliaths

It seems like SPU and WWU regularly get harped on, but full disclosure: the blog author attended a Goliath school both as a prep and an undergrad -when you’re on one of the Goliaths, you need those schools to be strong because you need to be challenged and you need the strength of schedule of having a few other Goliaths around.

It’s a change to enjoy the upsets and the ups and downs and it’s been a blast to get to be excited about every team rather than just focusing on the minutia that exists being a part of a good or elite program. That being said, as much as the Davids are embraced, there’s still the underlying support of the Goliaths -hence giving Western a ton of grief for not controlling the tempo and giving Seattle Pacific a bunch of crap for not having any type of strong back-up center play; there’s a huge expectation that these schools/guys/coaching staffs are fully capable and it’s not a matter of effort and not a matter of being unable to do these things -it’s not putting the pieces together, which is unacceptable given the tools provided.

A man was stranded on a rock and a boat comes by “no, God’ll save me;” next a ship comes by “nope, God’ll save me;” a helicopter comes by “God’ll save me;” gets up to the Pearly Gates “Why didn’t you save me?” “I sent a boat, ship, and helicopter. What were you waiting for?”

The Davids have been good at accepting the written invitation to win games and taking it upon themselves to step up -the traditional Goliaths thus far, not so much. There’s also the mindset of not necessarily wanting to provide blatant bulletin board material and knowing that SPU and WWU couldn’t care much less, whereas if something goes up about CWU or SFU it’s going to be endlessly discussed as “we were doubted, up yours, U-S-A — C-A-N-A-D-A!”

Regardless: there was a bit too much harshness toward the Falcons and the Vikings, especially with all of the parity this year, the transitions, both of those programs losing hugely critical pieces, and the pressure that comes with an expectation to do well.

Up next: Player-of-the-Week announcement and a look at the Pac-West.

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