On the agenda today: SPU @ Saint Martin’s, SPU’s bubble, State of the West/Rankings, the GNAC race, and GNAC frosh of the year.
SPU 64 @ SMU 68
Well, that happened. Coming into this game we called it; we’ve liked SMU all year and now that Fred finally isn’t starting the Saints have been running and it’s good. And it was a good game. It was fun to watch Gilles and Fred face off. We tend to think Fred is a better defender but Gilles is less problematic with cohesion considering he can actually run. Really interesting to see two drastically different 7’0 European bodies. Gilles looks like a ballet dancer next to Fred’s brontosaurus.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a double-double including 11 rebounds; Brendan Carroll had five boards; Gilles Dierickx had a double double with 11 boards and 10 points; Mitch Penner had five boards. Off the bench Garrett Swanson had 11 points on 7/8 shooting from the line.
Saint highlights: Cole Preston had five boards; Rhett Baerlocher had nine boards and 16 points; Tyler Copp had 12 points. Great play off the bench with Trey Ingram having 21 points; and Brandon Kenilvort having four boards and seven points. We said this on twitter, but: Brandon Kenilvort needs a smaller pair of shorts; the ones he currently wears are limiting his range of motion and impacting his game negatively.
Again: Very good game played by the Saints, shots were on fire, very deserved and earned win. Two incredibly young teams facing off and the Saints got it done, so lots of hope for the future. With SPU, Gabe (their new point guard) is learning and he needs to be broken in and he’s fine. It happens. He’s a frosh and the learning curve is better right now than early next year.
Did SPU’s bubble just burst?
Shockingly no. They have a lot of non-conference and strength of schedule credit. They’re slumping and it’s frustrating, we know that more than anyone outside of their coaching staff, but we trust the process because we haven’t been given any reason to doubt it. In terms of strength of schedule, here’s what the Falcons have:
- OT loss to CU-Irvine (would be 100% in the tournament)
- Win at Dixie State
- Win against BYU-Hawaii
- Win at Chico State (is 100% in the tournament)
- Win against Azusa Pacific
- Win at Alaska-Anchorage
- Two close losses WOU
- All in-conference losses have been within a possession or so.
They need a bounce-back game against Billings on Saturday. It’s going to be rough because MSUB loves to win in the SPU gym (and we support them wholeheartedly in it) and they’re coming on strong at the right time. Hopefully SPU gets it together and takes the Yellowjackets seriously because if they don’t: It could be a very long night.
The State of the West
Is its usual mess, but here’s a compilation of regionally notable results from the last week:
Alaska-Anchorage lost to MSU-Billings
Seattle Pacific lost to Central Washington + Saint Martin’s
Western Washington lost to CU-Portland
Cal Poly Pomona lost to Monterey Bay
San Marcos lost to San Fran State + got killed by Sonoma
UC San Diego lost to Chico State
Dominican lost to Point Loma
CU-Irvine lost to Cal Baptist
1. Western Oregon
8. Chico State
10. MSU Moorhead
13. UC San Diego
20. Cal Poly Pomona
25. Seattle Pacific
Others receiving votes: Cal Baptist (11), Azusa Pacific (5), CO Mines (5), Alaska-Anchorage (1).
No clue what to say about any of that, except maybe we’re surprised that Anchorage getting killed by MSUB managed to still get them a vote? We don’t expect SPU to remain in the rankings after their loss to SMU. CWU it was somewhat justified because WOU’s loss comes from playing at CWU, but… We’re not sure MSUB is seen as good enough to keep SPU in the rankings, even if the Falcons kill them on Saturday -and that’s a big if in regard to winning, much less killing.
The GNAC Tourney Race
The state of the GNAC is getting interesting because of course it is. We thought we had our six teams for the conference locked up but of course we don’t because West Region 2015-2016. You cannot get off Mr. West Region’s Wild Ride. Actually, four spots are locked up; it’s the final two that are going to be brutal, particularly for CWU because they were — that close and then lost to SMU.
We know officially that: Alaska-Fairbanks, Alaska-Anchorage, Seattle Pacific, and Western Oregon are all in the tournament. The Alaskas and WOU still play each other one more time, so we don’t know the order yet, just that they’re in.
The final two bids…
Central Washington is 10-6 and has games at SFU & WWU this weekend before playing host to the Alaska schools next weekend.
Western Washington is 8-8 and plays host to CWU & NNU this weekend before going to Seattle Pacific & Saint Martin’s next weekend.
Saint Martin’s is 7-10, just beat SPU, hosts MSUB on Thursday, and then hosts WWU/SFU next weekend.
MSU-Billings is 6-10, is at SMU on Thursday and SPU on Saturday, before playing host to CU-Portland and Western Oregon next weekend. Good luck with that.
There’s nothing we can even say about any of that. The teams playing WOU… Complete whatever voo-doo you’ve got because you’re gonna need all the help you can get?
Finally: GNAC frosh of the year. We’re going to put up a poll on twitter as well, but here’s what we’re thinking in a non-140 character mandate:
Riley Hawken of CU-Portland. Love his game, he gets boards, he makes his teammates better, love his motor. He’s had a number of really good games and player-of-the-week noms and we’re thrilled he’s starting because we were pushing for it long before he got the nod. Totally believe in the kid and are really excited to watch the rest of his GNAC career.
Trey Drechsel of WWU. Came off of injury in January but up until that point there wasn’t a ton of frosh play and so not too concerned that he missed non-conference; it’s not really going to affect the numbers because Riley didn’t really turn on until conference play either. He’s been starting, he’s great, another high motor guy, we definitely think WWU would be substantially worse without him, love his attitude. Great candidate.
Rhett Baerlocher of SMU. Maybe not as notable of numbers as the other two guys, but we were seriously impressed with his play last night and he’s been coming on strong the longer the season goes and he could very well be the key piece in SMU’s push to make the conference tourney. Very good stuff.
Alright. Good talk, blog. We’ll see you tomorrow at 10am for Game Day Previews.