Hi West Region folks! On the agenda today: Losses in the Pac-West & CCAA, as well as the WOU/SPU game up in the GNAC, and if WOU doesn’t host then who should?
If you’ve been reading this blog since August 2015 or before, go ahead and skip to the next section; this is just the regional format of D2, provided for the new-to-D2 people.
A question was broached last night about D2 and who’s who and what’s what and we have a couple of pages up about it under “the kingdom” “other kingdoms” and “the empire,” but it’s maybe not as clear as it might be, so we’ll go over it just a bit now:
How many teams play in March? 64.
How many regions are there? Eight.
How many bids does each region get? Eight.
8 x 8 = 64. Pretty simple.
But the big difference between D1 and D2 is that we’re limited by region. We like the system better than the D1 system because we like being able to stalk the other teams we’re potentially playing all year, and have an idea of who we’re gonna match-up with, but the one drawback is that you can end up with what’s essentially three number one seeds all in the same region.
That happened to the D2 west most recently in 2013; Western Washington was ranked 2nd, Cal Poly Pomona was ranked 3rd, and Seattle Pacific was ranked 4th. Cal Poly Pomona exited in the round of 32, Seattle Pacific the round of 16, and Western Washington at made it to the Elite Eight/Final Four, although didn’t win the title.
Still: We think the geographic defined regions work well because if you want to win a national championship, you have to beat everybody; it doesn’t matter where you’re from, where you’re ranked, or how you’re seeded. When it comes down to it: Win. That’s it. That’s all you’ve gotta do. And look no further than D1 Duke’s propensity to lose in the 2nd round to see that it truly doesn’t matter who and where you play.
Pac-West games of note this past week:
HPU 83 @ APU 80
CBU 88 @ Dixie 94 in OT
Hilo 86 @ Dom. 76
Dominican is currently just edging out BYU-H for the 6th spot in the Pac-West, while Hilo is near the bottom.
Hilo lost to CWU/SPU/SMU, while Dominican lost to NNU while beating UAF & MSUB. Additionally Dominican has losses to Sonoma & Chico, and wins over Monterey Bay and Stanislaus.
Hawaii Pacific is currently 3rd in the Pac-West and has losses to both of the Alaska schools and a win over Western Washington.
Neither Hilo nor HPU played any crossover with the CCAA.
Pac-West Relevant Standings:
CU-Irvine is 14-2
APU is 10-4
HPU is 10-5
CBU is 9-5
Dixie is 8-5
Dominican is 8-6
BYU-H is 9-7
Chaminade is 8-7
And CU-Irvine isn’t eligible for the Regional and thus we assume isn’t going to the conference tournament either.
CCAA games of note this past week:
DH 62 @ CSULA 69
HSU 59 @ SFSU 85
CSULA 59 @ San Marcos 55
UCSD is 13-2
Chico is 12-2
CPP is 11-4
San Marcos is 9-5
Humboldt is 9-6
Monterey Bay is 8-7
Sonoma is 7-8
SFSU is 6-9
Humboldt lost big to SFSU and we’d say we’re surprised but we’re not. The SOS in the CCAA is minimal at best; UCSD is fine, but no one really played anyone and in conference play everyone has questionable losses.
GNAC games of note this past week:
UAA 108 @ WWU 105 in OT
UAF 78 @ WWU 64 -doesn’t mean much in regard to standings, but it was a surprisingly thorough blowout.
WOU 84 @ SPU 82 in OT
Really the GNAC isn’t that interesting at the moment because the spots in the conference tournament are theoretically completely solidified. The order of the finish isn’t, but there’s a pretty big gap between the top six and the bottom five.
That’s the gap you’re looking at. Within the groups (those in the conference tournament and those not in the conference tournament) there’s tons of parity, but is it stuff that non-GNAC people need to be concerned about? Not really.
UAA beating WWU theoretically basically affirms the fact that the Seawolves should get an at-large bid, even if they pick up a loss to WOU and/or at CWU. CWU has a pretty good home court advantage and is great about getting up for big games, so definitely something to at least look at as a potential to happen. While the Seawolves SOS isn’t great, it’s better than teams of similar records in the Pac-West and CCAA, so this year they should get the nod.
The WOU @ SPU game… It was intense. It was everything we expected and more. The Falcons went up by a lot and were up by quite a bit at half time but we didn’t buy it for a second. That’s not how these two teams play. We knew it would come down to the end and it did and the Wolves pulled out the victory and in doing so could have reserved themselves the spot of West Region host over SPU, which… Doesn’t make a ton of sense if you look at the standings, because right now UAA has a better record than SPU, and yet… UAA has a much harder remaining schedule, and no Strength of Schedule, while the Falcons have Strength of Schedule and only play two games that come in as question marks.
UAA notably has: @MSUB, vs. UAF, @CWU, and vs. WOU; four out of their remaining six games are rough. MSUB at home would be fine, but as we regularly say: It’s hard to play in Billings. MSUB on the road is brutal, doesn’t matter who you are.
SPU notably has: vs. WWU, @ CWU.
While every game each team plays is up for grabs, particularly in a year like this, at the same time you have to think rationally, weighing it all. We know that every game is losable for both teams, but we also know that every game is winnable because SPU and UAA are two very good teams, and with that: The Seawolves may very well get the win against WOU, particularly because the Wolves are playing up in Alaska and playing up in Alaska is brutal. Really brutal. They have incredible home court advantage. But the Wolves are a really, really, really good team.
Looking at “potential” West Region hosts:
CU-I isn’t eligible.
APU just lost to FPU, HPU, and Dominican.
Cal Baptist just lost to Dixie State and has a loss to UCSD in non-con.
HPU got swept by the Alaska schools + five in-conference losses.
UCSD has a couple of big losses to Humboldt and Monterey Bay, and plays Chico on Friday.
Chico has a brutally back-loaded schedule and still has to play CPP, UCSD, Humboldt, and DH.
CPP has two losses to UCSD.
In the GNAC:
WOU has a road win over UCSD, two wins over SPU, and thus far: Only one in-conference loss and it’s on the road to a CWU team that’s for sure making the conference tournament.
SPU has two losses to WOU, but also boasts wins against Chico, APU, Dixie, BYU-H, and an overtime loss to CU-Irvine. In terms of SOS, this is the cream of the D2West crop.
UAA isn’t relevant because they have a comparable number of losses with SPU, without the strength of schedule to counterbalance.
WOU beating SPU theoretically seals the region’s fate that we’re bound for Monmouth, because even with an expected level of chaos it would be hard for WOU to lose enough and other teams to win enough that the tournament would go elsewhere. But even if it did, we see UCSD and SPU being the big schools to be considered, even with the kind of chaos that might go on, because the fact is:
THIS ISN’T THE SEC; THIS IS PAC-12 COUNTRY. PLAY DIFFICULT SCHEDULES. WIN AGAINST GOOD TEAMS.
We really don’t want SPU to host, but if chaos happens and it’s basically drawing a name out of a hat in regard to hosting: The Falcons wholly deserve it because they schedule fearlessly, and they always have -even before SOS was counted. While WOU went down and played at UCSD, it was only one game and we don’t buy that the Wolves thought it would be a tough game. We’d been preaching how much we liked the Tritons all year, but no one really started taking them seriously until late November, early December.
SPU? The Falcons scheduled Elite Eight participant Azusa, perennial powers Chico State, Dixie State, and BYU-Hawaii, and a CU-Irvine team that was seen as a huge threat to pull a Cal Baptist/Azusa Pacific and come in and immediately dominate (which they have). And they won every game except the one against CU-Irvine. No one matches the Falcons strength of schedule. No one. The Falcons played a more difficult non-con than most of the other potential at-large teams combined. Ryan Looney scheduled his guys a death march of non-con and especially in this first year of SOS being official criterium: if WOU doesn’t get the bid to host, SPU should. Not because they’re the team most likely to make it to the Elite Eight -honestly we have no clue, because we’d place our bets on ineligible CU-Irvine- but because the region-wide pathetic non-conference scheduling has got to stop.
Sorry to the teams that played the top schools and are now being insinuated as “pathetic non-conference opponents.”
POW Noms & Winner’ll go up at 10 and 11am, respectively.