It was thought that the rankings would be updated for this week; they’re not, and so this day of discussions is going to be fairly brief in anticipation of tomorrow, but there are still a few topics to broach: Andy Avgi -when is he coming back? Alaska Anchorage and our thoughts on them/comments we’ve gotten; Alex Duncan and his okay play; Borton/Harper/Simon II/Idowu finally bounced back; and POWs MIA.
Andy Avgi was out against WWU and SFU due to a medical issue. We’re hearing that he’s likely to be back this week against the Alaska schools, so it’s not thought to be some type of tear in his aorta or anything like that, thankfully. Interesting with him being out is that it proves if you can take him out, you’ll be fine, WOU has a very difficult time functioning without him. It was said about Seattle Pacific last year -take Pat Simon out of the game and you’ll be just fine; SPU never learned to function without Pat, they got to the tournament, Stanislaus of the CCAA managed to take Pat out, and boom the Falcons lost lickety split. Regardless as to whether or not WOU has Andy back this week -they need to start functioning without him and functioning well. We’ll see if necessity will be the mother of invention -if not: Anchorage, don’t go there: Beating WOU without Andy got WWU a giant asterisk -you and your fancy new gymnasium are no exception.
If we’re not making an exception for the Vikings, ain’t nobody gettin’ no ‘ception.
Alaska Anchorage is a team that we haven’t given too much credit but get asked about a fair bit. Beating a dead horse is one of our specialties, we’ll touch on it again: UAA doesn’t have any signature wins, but they do have a huge number of signature losses: They got beat by Humboldt State of the CCAA, killed by BYU-Hawaii of the Pac-West, swept by SPU, swept by CWU, and lost to a fading NNU team. They swept a WWU team in turmoil -yes, we know we’re biased in favor of WWU, we know SPU got swept by WWU –that doesn’t mean anything. If UAA had lost to UAF, we’d say those losses don’t count against them; anything can and will happen in a rivalry game; all that to say: find me a true blue division two signature win under UAA’s belt and we’ll talk -short of that, a sincere wish of good luck winning the conference tournament.
Alex Duncan was pointed out to be doing really well for UAF, which was interesting because his name hadn’t been highlighted around here much. The most simple reason for that is because we see guys in context of the whole conference; the easiest example is that we’ve been calling out Riley Stockton for poor play, when his “bad” numbers are usually better or equal to Alex’s “good” numbers. That’s not to say that Alex isn’t valuable to that team and hasn’t been playing well, but stick him on any other team and his production looks mediocre at best. It would be one thing if he was propelling UAF to wins, but he’s not. He’s keeping them in games, which is good, but again: conference context. This isn’t some raging attack on Alex; we love Alex, want the best for him, want to see him improve, believe in him, all of that good stuff. Thing is, right now he’s just not that productive -it’s like WOU vs WWU; Julian was the tallest mouse -that’s Alex right now.
A number of guys had fantastic bounce back games: Matt Borton of Seattle Pacific, Michael Harper of Simon Fraser, Patrick Simon II also of Simon Fraser, Tyler Idowu of Saint Martin’s, Trey Adams (to a degree) also of Saint Martin’s, are we forgetting anyone we’re not about to discuss in the next paragraph? It was good to see those guys light up the stat sheets again -we’d wondered where they’d gone and most of them got touched on during the ‘disappearing acts’ post of last week. Particularly good to see the underclassmen starting to thrive again.
Finally, the missing in action players-of-the-week. We got tagged in a tweet about Dom Williams not getting the nod; without even looking at the numbers, it’s because his shooting percentage was terrible. Maybe that’s a compliment to Anchorage/UAF, but Dom is just like Jaamon Echols in how many poor shots he takes and how selfish he plays. The main difference is that WWU could tell Jaamon Echols to take a hike and know that they had plenty of other guys that would step up -CWU doesn’t have that luxury necessarily. They’ve got a bunch of good people and a bunch of good team work, and kind of torn as to whether they should bench Dom and see what happens -WWU got much, much, MUCH better, and it very well could happen with CWU too. WWU is not quite as good as the win over WOU might make them look (although by our calculations, they would’ve likely won even if Andy had played) but they are a night and day team after getting rid of Jaamon.
We’ll also throw out a comment about other shoot-happy players like Dom: Marc Matthews took way too many shots against SPU (hence no POW nom), Riley Carel is getting better but still takes way too many shots a general rule, Derrick Fain also getting better but takes too many shots, Ashton Edwards of UAF really needs to stop shooting, Mike Wright of NNU veers into this territory and recently got benched for at least a game. There are other guys you’re probably thinking we should mention: Riley Stockton at times, Lew Thomas, Brian McGill, Travis Thompson sometimes, Rod Evans-Taylor… Riley, Lew, and Brian all do plenty of other okay to great things for their teams, Travis Thompson has earned our benefit of the doubt (fair or unfair), and Rod it’s just a matter of the offense he plays in. We’re going hands off with SFU -it’s not the type of basketball that appeals to us, but if they want to play it that’s their thing; we’ll stay out of it with our judgment.
Funny thinking back to the mid-beginning of the year when SFU was getting everyone’s hopes up and we didn’t want to condone it because of the lack of defense and yet Simon Fraser is someone you want to root for because they’re cute and Canadian and you want them to succeed like you want Chicken Little to succeed… Talk about inner conflict. It’ll be interesting to see what they do next year.
It’s worth noting that Azusa Pacific killed Cal Baptist, but we don’t know enough about the circumstances of the game to make a fair judgement; it could have been a WOU/WWU situation for all we know.
Hopefully the rankings’ll go up tomorrow which’ll really give us something to discuss.