Discussions: GNAC vs. the Rest

We have all the numbers (yes: all the numbers) but we’re not sure what you guys want, so… If you’re here, you’re probably just as basketball-geeky as we are, so we’re going to give you all the numbers. Merry Christmas.

Please keep in mind: We sorted through every schedule of every opponent a west region team plays and we ONLY counted D2 opponents in these records because that’s how it should be. The number of schools that count wins against non D2 opponents is too darn high.

Alaska Fairbanks

Home wins:
Hawaii Pacific (2-4)
Chaminade (3-3)
Dominguez Hills (2-4)
Northwest Nazarene (2-4)
Central Washington (2-2)

Road wins:
None

Neutral wins:
None.

They do have neutral site losses to Dixie State (4-4) and Dominican (5-3). Basically what this tells us is that UAF has ruled themselves out of at-large contention. Regional road wins are huge and there’s really no excuse for not picking some up if you want to be seriously considered to make the Tourney.

Current D2 Record: 5-2.
Current opponent record: 25-30
At-large bid potential: 0.

We like Fairbanks, love Bangaly and Travante and obviously Almir, and while we think they’re pretty secure in getting a bid to the conference tournament, they’re going to have to win it in order to get a berth in the Big Dance.

Alaska-Anchorage

Home wins:
Chaminade (3-3)
Hawaii Pacific (2-4)
Northwest Nazarene (2-4)
Central Washington (2-2)

Neutral wins:
Upper Iowa (5-8)

Road wins:
None.

Current D2 Record: 5-3
Current Opponent Record: 33-38
At-large bid potential: 0.

Suki drives us nuts, we can just say that. He’s not quite the cancer of Dom Williams, but no coach would green light someone to regularly go 10-21 if they had any better options at all. We consider the Seawolves to be secure in their berth to the conference tournament, but they definitely need the auto-bid in order to become one of sixty-four.

Simon Fraser

Home wins:
None

Neutral wins:
None

Road wins:
None

Honestly the opponent record doesn’t even matter because SFU’s not going anywhere without the auto-bid and the odds of them even making the conference tournament are quickly approaching zero.

Western Washington

Home wins:
Saint Martin’s
Simon Fraser

Neutral wins:
Colorado Springs (3-5)
Upper Iowa (5-8)

Road wins:
None

Current D2 record: 4-4
Opponent Record: 34-31
At-large potential: 0

We see their odds of making the conference tournament to be almost 100%. They got Evan Scholten back, he’s looked really good, the Vikings have the history. Do we see them getting the auto-bid? Too soon to say. But they will need it in order to go dancing.


We want to group SPU and WOU together, so the Falcons are being skipped right here, but you can find them farther down.


Saint Martin’s

Home wins:
Hawaii Hilo (0-6)

Neutral wins:
Monterey Bay (3-6)

Road wins:
Simon Fraser

Current D2 record: 3-3
Opponent Record: 17-31
At-large potential: 0

Making the conference tournament? 50/50. We see their odds of making the dance as being incredibly small, but the Saints will keep improving and we’ll see where we stand after the first half of the conference round robin.

MSU-Billings

Home wins:
None

Neutral wins:
None

Road wins:
Black Hills State (2-4)
U of Mary (9-2)
CU-Portland (0-6)

Current D2 record: 3-6
Opponent Record: 45-31
At-large potential: 0

They have zero at-large potential, but they did challenge themselves thoroughly, there’s no denying that, it’s a great schedule, and had they come out on top they’d have every reason to think they were heading to the Dance provided they kept winning. As it is, they’re going to fight for a bid to the conference tournament and then try and use the experience they build in non-con to get that auto-bid and make it happen.

Central Washington

Home wins:
None

Neutral wins:
Hawaii-Hilo (0-6)
BYU-Hawaii (5-3)

Road wins:
None

Current D2 record: 2-2
Opponent record: 15-14
At-large potential: 0

On the one hand, we really want to judge this CWU team, but then on the other hand we feel like we don’t have enough yet to make a pronouncement, and yet that in itself lends it to us making a pronouncement. The Wildcats returned almost everything and yet they scheduled themselves pathetically. They should be hoping they make the conference tournament, it’s far from a guarantee, and they missed out on getting two big road wins in Alaska -in both cases by a lot. Those games weren’t close. So we’ll see.

Northwest Nazarene

Home wins:
CSULA (2-7)
Dominican (6-4)

Neutral wins:
None

Road wins:
None

Current D2 record: 2-4
Opponent record: 25-26
At-large potential: 0

There’s really not much to be said. The Crusaders actually scheduled themselves pretty well but ultimately couldn’t do anything with it and then came really close to getting a few wins in Alaska but couldn’t do it. Hopefully they’ve seasoned themselves and with conference play they’ll turn around and at least make the conference tourney? Maybe. Not out of the realm of possibility.

CU-Portland

Home wins:
None

Neutral wins:
None

Road wins:
None

The Cavaliers are cold porridge at this point. If they make the conference tourney it’ll be a miracle. They had a nice mix with MSUB and WOU being their first two conference opponents, but couldn’t get it done. They also had a good chance to learn from their first loss against CU-Irvine, but couldn’t do anything with it -in fact CU-Irvine did a lot with it, beating the Cavs by considerably more. It’s gonna be a rough year, but know that we’re in your corner Baby Bro.


Alright, now let’s talk about the realistic at-larges. And yes -they both are, which is GREAT news for everyone else.

Seattle Pacific

Home wins:
BYU-Hawaii (5-3)
Hawaii-Hilo (0-6)
Azusa Pacific (7-3)

Neutral wins:
East Bay (2-5)

Road wins:
Dixie State (4-5)
Chico State (7-2)
SFU (0-7)
Azusa Pacific (7-3)

Current D2 record: 8-1
Opponent record: 36-35
At-large potential: high

We’re obsessed with the Falcons schedule, we’ll just say that straight up. We know it didn’t end up as quality as they were hoping it would, but they genuinely attempted to schedule really well and regardless as to how it worked out: they won. They have one loss to a 7-1 CU-Irvine team, they have road wins, they have a neutral win, they have home wins.

Their road win against WWU isn’t as quality as it might be but that game always has a lot of emotion and they came in and did what they needed to do, and it seems like it was good mental prep. Same with Azusa Pacific -there was potentially a lot of emotion riding on that game because Azusa, while a very different team this year, did make the Elite Eight last year. They got it done and did so convincingly. And that’s what we think regarding the tourney: It’s always a matter of winning, but this non-conference has indoctrinated this latest group of Falcons in what it takes to win and theoretically they’ll continue to make the statement that they know how throughout conference play.

Western Oregon

Home wins:
Monterey Bay (3-6)
MSUB (3-6)
CU-PDX (0-6)

Neutral wins:
Point Loma (5-5)
Fresno Pacific (5-3)
ND de Namur (0-9)

Road wins:
Holy Names (2-7)
UCSD (9-1)

Current D2 record: 9-0
Opponent record: 27-45
At-large potential: high

We love this Western Oregon team because they’re coming in with a new-to-them coach and getting it done. New to them, because he’s new to the current crop of guys, but he is a Western Oregon guy -so he gets it. This schedule isn’t as ideal as it might be, but they got it done and decimated it as they should have and that UCSD road win means the world. That in itself is huge, especially because we really, really, really like that UCSD team -they’re our current CCAA obsession, if you follow us on twitter- and so we think that win is going to get more and more quality as the year progresses, which is huge huge HUGE.

We’re waiting for Julian Nichols, Jordan Wiley, and Devon Alexander to really click into gear because it still feels like they haven’t, but luckily… They have the big bad beast that is Andy to make them all look better. Aside from Alex Roth, we feel like we haven’t seen much out of the new guys, but SPU demonstrated last year that you only need four + a coach or two, in order to do pretty well, and we love Julian and Devon in particular so we think they’re going to ultimately be just fine.


From a realistic standpoint: If you’re not a WOU or SPU person, you should be hoping like heck that they win against everyone that isn’t you, because now what your team needs to focus on is simply making the conference tournament. We’ll get more into the wider west region picture (and the potential Regional host) tomorrow, but the quick version is that it’s a wash outside of a few schools. There will be a potential for the GNAC to be a three-bid league, but the only way that happens is if neither SPU nor WOU claims the auto-bid from the GNAC tournament.

We used to be in the camp that “Oh, we’d rather have more teams go, so it’s fine if our team doesn’t win the conference tournament,” but that was a very different time. While we see things getting back to where there were of a couple of teams not needing that auto-bid, after 2014 (one bid year) it just seems like too much of a risk. 2014 saw the Pac-West and CCAA both qualify an auto-bid only entrant, which semi-burst WWU’s bubble. Semi, because if you want to go dancing: WIN. That’s it. WIN.

The good news is: We might get the chance to return the bubble bursting favor this year. But the only way that happens is if WOU and SPU both win, win, win, so grit your teeth and become part of the Wolfpack/Falcon Faithful, and then come conference tournament time you can go back to hating the Falcons like normal. We get the feeling that there’s not nearly so much resentment toward the Wolves, and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t get it because… We hated attending SPU and hated being a part of their athletic department in particular. Good teachers, horrible students, toxic athletic department. Some of our most vivid memories of undergrad include waking up to find that we were throwing ourselves against the wall of our dorm room in hopes of knocking ourselves out cold so we would then have a legitimate excuse to not have to deal with our day.

So yes: We get the hate, we feel it much deeper than likely almost anyone reading this, but basketball over everything and right now you need to root like heck for SPU. The rest of the year you can hate them with our wholehearted approval.

Tomorrow: Discussing the West Region as a whole, potential host sites, etc.

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