WE INADVERTENTLY WROTE A BRACKETOLOGY POST!!!!!
And so we’re putting this up and then we’ll put up week 7’s POW stuff, and then Conference Game Day #16, and then this week’s POW.
Anyway, Bracketology, let’s go now!
Basically, as much as we consider the GNAC to be having a down year, the Pac-West is further down, and the CCAA further down than that.
In regard to the Pac-West: Point Loma is their best team, CU-Irvine is their second best team, and Azusa Pacific is their third.
Point Loma’s record in non-con includes a loss at home to SMU. Point Loma’s conference record is currently 17-2.
CU-Irvine’s record in non-con includes a blow-out loss at home to a heavily depleted SPU team. CU-I’s conference record is currently 15-3 and includes a win over Point Loma as one more game with them, as well as a split with Azusa.
Azusa Pacific’s record in non-con includes a blow-out road loss to SPU. APU’s conference record is currently 13-5 and includes two losses to Point Loma and a split with Concordia.
The GNAC owns all tiebreakers against those schools.
In regard to the CCAA… They have three top teams which consist of East Bay, Cal Poly Pomona, and UCSD. Right now East Bay is in the lead. On the one hand, that’s great; they were second to last a year ago and now they’re leading, but… No one legitimately makes that much progress in year two. From the bottom to the middle? Yes. From the bottom to the top, no.
We’ll also clarify: The East Bay coach was our graduate school coach. We adore him. He was fantastic on an NAIA level and we’re thrilled that he’s having success on a D2 level, but as good as he is… There’s no way they should be winning as many games as they are. They played non-con against the classic Pac-West doormats (and admittedly won all of them) but that suggests a middle-of-the-pack finish in normal years. Against the one middle-of-the-pack Pac-West opponent they played, they lost.
Cal Poly Pomona was supposed to play against SPU and Azusa, but instead ended up merely taking on Dixie State because of the Camp Creek Fire. Dixie is top-3 in the RMAC (and we have no idea what that implies), but it’s ultimately moot because SMU has a blow-out win over Dixie.
UCSD… Our prediction has long been that the Regional would be hosted in San Diego because UCSD owned the tiebreakers with the GNAC including a blow-out win over SMU, a close loss to Point Loma, and were killing their way through conference play. Killing their way through conference play is no more; they’ve lost four of their last six and one of the wins came in overtime to a middle-of-the-pack opponent.
The fact that UCSD lost to Point Loma now matters.
The fact that UCSD beat four GNAC teams no longer really does them any favors because three of the teams include a downward spiraling WWU team, an upper-middle-of-the-pack Western Oregon team, and a better-than-normal-but-still-bad Simon Fraser team.
The blow-out win over SMU now seems moot because SMU has proved their salt in conference play, and because of USCD spiraling, it means the Saints are all of a sudden looking prime to host the Regional.
Honestly, we think basketball on the west coast is down right now. We think there are good players on many teams, even great players on some, but we don’t think there are any teams that are especially “stacked.” The vast majority seem to get good games out of about four guys on any given team on any given night, with maybe one of those guys having a great game, but more frequently all four guys are playing okay-to-good.
It does bug us that bad or good, it’s always eight spots, because in 2013 the West had legitimately 10 good teams and yet only eight got bids. We had the #1, 2, and 4 ranked teams in the country and yet they all met in the first three rounds. Last year it was consensus that only seven teams deserved spots, despite the fact that eight got them.
This year we would argue that at this point only five teams deserve spots:
- Point Loma
- St. Martin’s
We put up that list meanwhile we’ve been noting all year how down the GNAC is.
Our prediction right now for who’ll make it based on the included receiving the auto bids for their respective conferences is this:
- Point Loma
- East Bay
- Cal Poly Pomona
- Saint Martin’s
- Northwest Nazarene
- Seattle Pacific
- One of WOU/
That’s not seeded and obviously a lot can and will likely change in these last two weeks and then in the respective conference tournaments, but… That’s who we’ve got right now.
Point Loma -Best team in the Pac-West.
CU-Irvine -Doesn’t deserve a spot, but provided massive upsets don’t rattle the conference tournament brackets, they should make it because it seems like the committee tries to give each conference at least two bids.
East Bay -While their non-con was weak, they’ve proven themselves in conference play and deserve a nod; they feel similar to SMU last year.
Cal Poly Pomona -Their schedule was burned by the Camp Creek Fire and they literally played no one outside of it. That said, they are on a huge winning streak, they’ve only lost five conference games and most of them were back in late December/early January. They have a nice recent win over both East Bay AND UCSD, and when you factor in the “minimum two per conference,” as long as the last two weeks go decently well (which the trajectory suggests they should) and they win one game and merely lose competitively in another in their conference tournament, they should be Regional-bound.
SMU -Good non-con, leading the GNAC, seven reliable players.
SPU -Their non-con was meh, but the intention of a good schedule was there, and in the “what have you done for me lately” category, they seem to be on the right track with a six game winning streak. Even if they lose a couple, as long as they make it to the second round in the conference tournament they should get a bid.
NNU -As of right now they deserve it, they’ve done relatively well in conference play, they’re in arguably the strongest conference, but they still have to play SPU, @ WOU, SMU, and at what’s been a dangerous Concordia-Portland team.
And the big question is: what have you done for me lately?
Azusa -Another schedule burned by the Camp Creek Fire; it was somewhere between ‘terrible’ and ‘cancelled’ but regardless: They have a loss to San Marcos, a loss to CWU, and a blow-out loss to SPU in non-con, along with two losses to PLNU by 10-15 and a split with CU-Irvine. There’s nothing that would really make us think they’d get the nod over UCSD, but their non-con was far better than WOU and UAA, so… We’ll see.
UCSD -The game is “What have you done for me lately?” and the answer is “not much.” Their bubble will likely burst quickly if upsets happen and/or they don’t win three or so out of their last four games and then at least a game or two in their conference tournament. That said: Because of how they scheduled non-con, if it comes down to them vs. UAA or them vs. WOU, they should win because both UAA and WOU have been on downward spirals as well but without the legitimate non-con to back them up.
WOU -They had a bad non-con, got swept by the Puget Sound schools (and the games weren’t super close), beat by Concordia, and killed a who-knows-what’s-going-on MSU-Billings team. They still have to play NNU, what’s likely an ornery WWU team, and an SFU team that’s upset two of the top three.
UAA -They had an intentionally poorly-scheduled non-con, and they have zero depth. Zero. They have four players. They got killed by WOU, barely escaped CU-Portland, swept by the Puget Sound schools, lost to NNU, came close to losing to CWU, and now are at home for the remainder of the season against the low-standing North schools, a low-standing rival in UAF, and a low standing but incredibly dangerous MSU-Billings team. In the “What have you done for me lately?” category, there’s literally no way for them to win despite the fact that they’ll be favored in all four of the remaining games.
And by writing that out, we realize UAA’s at-large bubble has burst. Because NNU/SPU/SMU all play each other in these coming two weeks with NNU having an additional quality game @ WOU, and so as long as those teams all play close, it’ll be seen as fine and “wait for the conference tournament.” As much as it was a long time ago: UCSD has a way better non-con than UAA. APU at least had the intention of a good non-con.
If you want to play with the big boys, schedule big boy teams in non-con. This year, the implications of scheduling matter more than ever because of the Camp Creek Fire cancelling Mac Martin. Mac Martin was four traditionally heavyweight West Region teams all intending to play each other.
And now it is what it is. We’ll check back in regarding bracketology once conference play has finished but hopefully before the conference tournaments start.
Be safe, have fun, and always remember: West Coast is Best Coast!