Lots to talk about today, including: CU-Portland @ Western Oregon, WOU losing to UAF, SPU losing to SMU, the point of the conference champion auto bid and why Western Oregon still gets to play in the tournament, the GNAC’s ever changing start line-ups, our usual check-ins with the Pac-West and CCAA, national rankings, and regional rankings.
Concordia 74 @ Western Oregon 81
Concordia was in it the whole time but couldn’t pull it out, granted WOU was going deep into their line-up and really rotating guys. Still, Andy Avgi had a less than stellar game, which… Maybe that means teams are finding out how to contain him? Maybe.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had a full house including nine boards and no turnovers; Latrell Wilson had five boards; Jarrett Gray had 9 points; and Riley Hawken had 17 points. Off the bench Davis Nuaimi had 12 points; and James Phillips had six points.
Wolf highlights: Julian Nichols had a fantastic game with 11 boards, five assists, and 14 points on near-perfect shooting; Jordan Wiley had 18 points and five boards; and Andy Avgi had five assists. Off the bench Alex Roth had five points and five boards; and Tanner Omlid didn’t start due to senior night and had 15 points and four boards.
Pretty good stuff all around. Pleased with the Wolves performance. Laughing at the Cavalier one, just ’cause. Good luck with MSUB y’all.
WOU lost to UAF, what does it mean?
Nothing. The Wolves are so far ahead of everyone in the west region that they could have lost last night’s game, lose the game at MSUB, and lose in their first game of the conference tournament and still host. They lost their #1 ranking but that doesn’t matter in any real sense of anything except maybe taking the target off of their backs just slightly.
SPU lost to SMU, what does it mean?
Nothing. Well, it may ultimately have seeding implications but in the D2 tournament seeding matters a heck of a lot less than in the D1 tournament because it has nothing to do with where you’re sent. Your region only has eight teams and the west region has repeatedly proven that the seeds don’t matter -whether it’s because lower seeds are likely to upset higher seeds or because by virtue of having so few teams, really good games get played really early and thus awesome teams get bounced early by other awesome teams as often as not.
Why is WOU still playing in the conference tournament when they have a bid locked up?
Isn’t the point of the auto bid to get more conference teams into the tournament? Doesn’t WOU going waste that spot? The basic reason is that this year we’re getting lucky in the sense that the GNAC is fully locked into likely at least two teams going to the tournament 100%. That doesn’t always happen. The only guaranteed bid in any given year is the autobid spot. And sometimes it’s impossible to tell whether or not the team that won the regular season title would get an at-large bid.
The easiest example is Seattle Pacific vs. Western Washington in 2014. That year WWU had little strength of schedule, SPU had plenty, won the conference regular season title, and had a good resume overall but the GNAC was viewed (rightfully) as the weakest conference in the West by far. Ultimately Seattle Pacific won the tournament and procured the autobid, the CCAA and Pac-West had auto-bid only teams punch their tickets to the Dance, and WWU’s bubble burst. But would the Falcons have made it regardless of winning the conference tournament? Maybe. Not guaranteed. By placing the autobid with the conference tournament winner rather than the regular season champion, you’re betting that your conference is good enough to receive more than one bid. It doesn’t always happen and there needs to be consistency, thus WOU is still in play for winning the conference tournament.
Non-solidified starting line-ups?
Yup. A ton of teams in the GNAC are still shifting their starting line-ups and their rotations even when injury has nothing to do with it.
–UAF is solid.
–UAA is being affected by injury (get better soon Diante!).
–SFU yes, but whatever.
–WWU didn’t quite implode their line-up, but they finally took their do-nothing big out and put in a guy that actually plays with effort and we’re suuuper happy about it. They also only went seven deep against NNU even while being up by 30, which again we’re super happy about because their chemistry has been off and now it appears that they’re only really playing guys who give a crap, which helps a lot.
–SPU, it’s complicated. It appears they’re planning for next year as much as they’re trying to win this year.
–SMU finally took Fred out of the starting line-up, thank God.
–MSUB has line-up movement, but we’re 50/50 on it -we trust their coaches, but 50/50 on its effectiveness and whether or not you could even tell if it did in fact affect things because they’ve been so all over the place in terms of results on any given night.
–CWU is solid and we love their line-up.
–NNU yes, like SFU, that team is such a mess that it’s not super relevant.
–CU-Portland see NNU.
–WOU is solidified and again: We really like their starting five and adore Alex Roth as the sixth man.
Checking in with the Pac-West & CCAA
And boy was this weekend a doozy.
UC San Diego lost to San Marcos by six.
Chico State lost to Cal Poly Pomona by six.
Humboldt State lost to Stanislaus eight.
Cal Poly Pomona lost to Stanislaus by 12.
Humboldt State lost to Chico State by eight.
Chico State is now in first place with a record of 15-3, while UCSD moves into second with a record of 14-4, Cal Poly Pomona is third at 13-6, San Marcos fourth at 11-7, and Humboldt State and Monterey Bay are tied for fifth at 11-8.
Interesting games coming this weekend:
San Marcos @ Humboldt State
San Marcos @ Cal Poly Pomona
Dominguez Hills @ Chico -this is a big game simply because DH has been giving some of the top schools a lot of problems this year and we think that’s a good thing.
CU-Irvine lost to Azusa by 9
BYUH was killed by Chaminade, 86-115
Azusa was killed by BYUH, 61-84
Dominican lost to Dixie State by 10.
CU-Irvine is currently holding onto first at 15-4, Cal Baptist, Azusa Pacific, and Dixie State are all tied for second at 13-5, Hawaii Pacific is fifth at 12-6, and BYU-Hawaii is sixth at 11-8.
Interesting games coming up this weekend:
Point Loma @ Hawaii Pacific
Concordia @ Dixie State
There are a few more potential interesting games involving Hilo, but we’ll see how it plays out.
WHEELING JESUIT IS IN FIRST. Sorry, we’re not right often thus when we are, we enjoy it for all it’s worth.
6. Western Oregon
7. MSU Moorhead
13. Chico State
19. UC San Diego
24. Cal Baptist
25. Cal Poly Pomona
Others receiving votes: Colorado School of Mines (18), Seattle Pacific (13), Azusa Pacific (8), Alaska-Fairbanks (2), Alaska-Anchorage (1).
So lots of west region teams being looked at and valued. We’re not sure about Cal Baptist at 24, but at this point the regions are now off dealing with our own issues and so the national rankings start looking a little odd.
We were going to make our ranking before looking at the one that people smarter than us had come up with, and then we realized we really have no effing clue and are a little bit too close to things at this point, so here’s the official one with us providing color commentary:
1. Western Oregon -wholly 100%, love it, agree, go Wolves, can’t wait to see you guys in Monmouth.
2. Seattle Pacific -WE WANTED TO DO THIS BUT THEN FELT LIKE WE WERE BEING HOMERS AND CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT ALL OF THE ISSUES THE FALCONS HAVE AND… We agree with the placement, but feel uncomfortable.
3. Chico State -They’re coming on at the right time and a part of us feels like they should be ranked ahead of the Falcons because the early season loss was early and the Wildcats have come so far; the lost to CPP doesn’t feel relevant either because we still feel like the Broncos are a really, really good team.
4. UC San Diego -completely agree.
5. Cal Baptist -absolutely -making their moves at the right time.
6. Cal Poly Pomona -definitely.
7. Azusa Pacific -yeah?
8. Alaska-Anchorage -YESSSS.
9. Humboldt State
10. Dixie State
Interesting that UAF isn’t in that conversation. We neither agree nor disagree. On the one hand they did nothing in non-conference. On the other hand, they really don’t have a bad loss in conference play; they’ve lost twice to Anchorage and then split with WOU and SPU. We’re 50/50 on whether or not they have a better resume than Humboldt.
We’ll probably discuss this more on Sunday morning after conference play essentially finishes up (there’s one more game, but neither team is conference tournament bound) and at that point we’ll visit our friend BitoBaca who’s putting up his rankings today at 1pm.
We’ve said before that this is the weird year when we feel like the committee can’t really be wrong, hence why we’re probably both so hesitant to write anything. Because if wanting to predict the bracket completely right is your thing, this year you’re screwed. But the good part is that almost whoever you put (within the 18 teams making their respective conference tournaments) you probably have a pretty legitimate argument. We like the 10 teams above a whole lot and feel really good about the eight and where rankings are and all of that stuff, but again…
At this point we feel like we’ve let ourselves get a bit too close to the situation in terms of wanting the Pac-West to be a one bid conference after doing it to us a couple years ago. Even though we KNOW that WWU should have won more in order not to rely on the autobid. And we don’t regret the end of that game. At all. That’s where we’re at with that, which is why we’re siding with the official poll, because there are just as many arguments saying that ‘No, Cal Baptist is coming on strong at the right time and Azusa is completely legitimate and if you discredit them you also discredit SPU which discredits WOU which discredits UCSD which…’ Rabbit hole. We will say that we don’t think the Pac-West should be a three bid league and so if neither Azusa nor Cal Baptist wins the conference tournament, then things could be more interesting. With the other two conferences: UCSD, Chico State, Western Oregon, and Seattle Pacific all should be in regardless, so if two of those teams win their conference tournaments great, but if they don’t that’s great too.
Alright. Good talk. Chime in with your bracketology thoughts in the comments or on twitter, and we’ll see you tomorrow morning for GNAC game day previews.