First and foremost: We do not count transfers before they hatch. See the ‘Jake Ehlers’ Rule under our Table of Contents.
That being said: Are you ready? Hold onto your shorts ’cause it’s about to look ridiculous, but we promise with what we currently have to go on -it’s not. We like our justifications, which says something because often times we don’t.
1. Alaska-Anchorage. It’s not close. They’ve proven so much more with the guys they return than any other team in the conference that we’re already anticipating booking our tickets to Anchorage for the NCAA tournament. They are deep. And well-tested. Other teams return a lot, but most of them were really bad. The Seawolves basically return everyone they need. It’s fantastic. Go UAA.
Key Returners: Suki Wiggs, Corey Hammell, Sjur Berg, Spencer Svejcar, Diante Mitchell, + more.
2. Western Oregon. Again it’s not close. They return a lot. They lose a lot, but they return a lot. It’s reminiscent of SPU two years ago; yeah, they lost a few major guys but they have guys that have been in waiting that we think aren’t going to miss a beat. With their success, we anticipate them getting the right transfers. They should also procure a trip back to the Regional without much issue.
Key Returners: Tanner Omlid, Alex Roth, Janvier Alaby.
3. Saint Martin’s. This is where it gets to be a complete mess. We ultimately picked SMU because they have a for sure proven center -you gotta have someone that can bang down low. They return plenty of other stuff too and then also proved that this team, keyword team, can dig in and win when it matters down the stretch.
Key Returners: Fred Jorg, Tyler Copp, Trey Ingram, Rhett Baerlocher, and Jordan Kitchen, + more.
4. Western Washington. They return just about everybody needed on a team that was a major disappointment. We think this team is addition by subtraction. They return a core of guys that all try really freaking hard every single second they’re in the game. Do they lose height? Yes. Does it matter? Not necessarily. You can play short as long as every single guy is committed to playing hard 110% of the time.
Key Returners: Trey Drechsel, Jeffrey Parker, Brad Wallace, Isom Brown, Evan Scholten, Brett Kingma.
5. MSU-Billings. Another team that returns a ton but did very little last year. We think that’s going to change because all of the guys have a year in the system and with MSUB it seems to be feast or famine; either they’re playing cohesively and are a good team, or they are a flaming pile of …. fill in the blank. We think this year is going to be an up year.
Key Returners: Kendall Denham, Marc Matthews, Jace Anderson, Emmanuel Olufemi, Preston Beverly.
6. Alaska-Fairbanks. The Nanooks owe this spot purely to Bangaly. Never underestimate a good power forward. The Nooks also have a good home [tundra] advantage. They don’t return much, but Bangaly was able to create like Elsa (from ‘Frozen’) last year and brought tons of energy. They were surprisingly good and we think he’s going to give them a lot to work with once again.
Key Returners: Bangaly Kaba, Zach Pederson, Brandon Davis.
7. Central Washington. They don’t return much, but they do have a good home court advantage. We also really do believe in Terry Dawn.
Key Returners: Terry Dawn, Naim Ladd, Drake Rademacher.
8. Northwest Nazarene. Prime example of a bad team that returns a lot, so they have to be a little better, right?
Key Returners: Nikola Prvulj, Bouna N’Diaye, Pol Olivier, Marko Lepovic.
9. CU-Portland. This is mostly our faith in their coaching staff. They won a lot on the NAIA level so at some point it will start transferring to the D2 level, we hope. They don’t return much, but maybe?
Key Returners: Drew Martin, Tyler Gutierrez, Davis Nuaimi.
10. Simon Fraser. We were going to put them last per usual and then we realized if you made us pick between facing Hidde Vos and JJ Pankratz or Joe Rasmussen and Will Parker, we’d pick the latter two; thus, SFU gets the nod. Their culture desperately needs a re-haul, and honestly we’re starting to kind of feel bad for them. We know they wouldn’t eliminate men’s football and basketball, but seriously: they have so many other sports that are actually good, that we feel like those two sports are just a big money sink.
Key Returners: JJ Pankratz, Hidde Vos.
11. Seattle Pacific. Someone asked us about our projected starters and we intentionally left out Will Parker because we refuse to accept that he has any business still playing for SPU, much less starting for the Falcons. Joe Rasmussen is in that same boat, but 6’8 guys are far less expendable than 5’10 ones. This is going to be a mess and only partly because of the coaching change.
Key Returners: [former assistant, now Head Coach] Grant Leep.
If anyone wants to talk us off the ledge, commiserate, or jump for joy with us (we are genuinely excited for the Seawolves and very curious about the land Wolves), leave a comment!