The GNAC Championship Game + Final Bracketology.

Goood Evening.

Let’s jump right in with discussing the conference championship game and then we’ll get into the final bracketology.

#5 UAA 78 vs. #2 WWU 81

We thought UAA was out of it and then they worked their way back in, managed to stay there, and just couldn’t close the deal. Kudos to WWU managing to close said deal and win the championship; guaranteed autobid and likely no bubbles were really burst because for the most part the tournaments weren’t super wacky.

Seawolf highlights: Tyrus Hosley had 16 points; Tobin Karlberg shot well and had 22 points; and Oggie Pantovic had another good game with 20 points, six boards, and five fouls. No real bench play.

Viking highlights: Siaan Rojas stepped up and had 16 points; Logan Schilder had 10 points, five fouls, and six boards; Trevor Jasinsky went 7-8 from the line; Cameron Retherford had nine boards; and off the bench LEIF ANDERSON had 16 points going 5-6 from three. That’s exciting, Leif had fallen off a cliff this year and so it’s awesome to see him have another great game, finally.

Leif Anderson getting hot going into March at the right time, they’re San Diego-bound provided travel restrictions don’t go into place, and so… Let’s talk about what the Committee might have decided.


The Final Bracketology

First, let’s look at the final standings for the respective conferences:

The CCAA:

UCSD is 21-1; we know they’re the #1 seed, they won their tournament, it’s all moot.

Cal Poly Pomona is 17-5
Chico State is 17-5

They should both be in; the CCAA was pretty strong this year, although not nearly as much parity as the GNAC and we’re not sure if that means they were better or worse? In a sense, better because UCSD, but let’s be real here: the top three CCAA teams beat the top two GNAC teams, and while we’ll be the first to remind you that SPU was breaking in a brand new team… WWU wasn’t. And WWU still finished way below SPU in the conference standings. Is what it is.

The Pac-West:

Azusa Pacific is 20-2
Point Loma is 18-4 and holds the Pac-West autobid.
Chaminade is 17-5 with a win in the conference tournament before being slaughtered by Point Loma.

Very top heavy conference. While we like that Biola made the championship game and think they’re on a great track, they were 5th in their conference below a CU-Irvine team that was beat by said bad SPU team and good WWU team at home in non-con. Biola, provided you return almost everything, let’s schedule this year.

The GNAC:

Seattle Pacific is 18-2
WWU is 13-7 and holds the GNAC autobid.

Our beautiful, chaotic mess of a conference. We love it. We would take WOU over Chaminade but in the whole “what have you done for me lately?” WOU got GNAC’d. Make no mistake: this year’s WOU team was good, regardless of ‘oh they have a new coach’ they’re a genuinely good team. But they would have had to win at least two games in the conference tournament and lose to WWU in the championship game in order to get an at-large bid and that didn’t happen.

The D2West Overall

Is not a complicated bracket this year. We were curious about some of the CCAA teams playing their way into an at-large bid; it seemed like San Bernardino was a big threat and at 16-6 had they made the championship game and looked even slightly respectable against UCSD, we would have made a big argument that the CCAA should get four teams, but… That didn’t happen.

So the eight teams pretty obviously are:

UCSD
Cal Poly Pomona
Chico State
Azusa Pacific
Point Loma
Chaminade
Seattle Pacific
Western Washington

That’s just done in the order of conference standings and so… What does the seeding look like?

That’s a good question. WWU dodges the 8th seed by winning the conference tournament, so bless you Vikings.

1 – UCSD
8 – Chaminade

Those are the obvious ones.

The rest… Here’s our initial instinct/reasoning before we look at the latest and final “poll” before it goes up:

2 – Azusa Pacific -Beat Chico State, Cal Poly Pomona, and SPU in non-con, as well as won the regular season Pac-West title.
3 – Cal Poly Pomona -Tied Chico in the regular season and beat the pants off of Chico on Friday. What have you done for me lately? That. Nicely done Broncos.
4 – Chico State -Tied with CPP in the regular season, got blown out by them on Friday, but killed SPU in conference play.
5 – Point Loma -We know it’s a far fall, but they almost got beat by the 5th seed in the conference tournament, so while they won… Not as impressive as it would have been had they beat APU.
6 – Seattle Pacific -Yes, they beat PLNU in non-con, yes they won their conference, but the GNAC was a mess this year and nothing epitomizes it more than a team that managed to go 18-2 despite losing one of their two returning starters to a season-ending injury.
7 – Western Washington -Yes, they won their conference tournament, but they lost their conference regular season title by five games, despite returning everything; they also finally scheduled a decent non-con and yet got the same results as that nothing-returning team that beat their regular season record by five games.

And so that full bracket is:

1 – UCSD
2 – Azusa Pacific
3 – Cal Poly Pomona
4 – Chico State
5 – Point Loma
6 – Seattle Pacific
7 – Western Washington
8 – Chaminade

There are lots of arguments you could make; PLNU and WWU won their tournaments, why are they still lower than CPP and Chico that didn’t win theirs, blah blah blah, but some of it does have to do with match-ups.

While yeah, a lot of these teams have met before… That’s ideal. That happens when the good teams actually schedule well. They’ve now all made it and get to match-up yet again after a season more of experience.

UCSD vs. Chaminade, if Chaminade gets the upset… We’ll rush the court in our head, promise. And we hate court rushing. Don’t give your opponent so much credit, unless they’re a D2 team currently about to jump up to D1 and thus playing with D1 talent.

APU vs. WWU, they played way early and APU won by 10, WWU just won their conference tournament, should be a good game and yet APU has really good odds of winning again.

CPP vs. SPU, they met earlier in the year and it went to OT, now SPU finished 1st while CPP finished 2nd (which is essentially first ’cause UCSD outlier), and we’d like to see the rematch.

Chico vs. PLNU, they actually didn’t meet but it would be such a good match-up! Especially now that PLNU has truly gotten in gear. We think the Sea Lions have gotten better as the year’s gone on and they’ve adjusted to Logie and Chico is going to be trying to bounce back after the 25 point loss… This would be a great game.

Overall, we feel like we’ve gotten the teams right and the match-ups should be right, if the Committee follows our thought process on entertaining games with upset potential. You could do SPU vs. Chico but SPU has no post presence, so that would be boring; we trust PLNU’s post way more. If you did that, you would also end up doing WWU vs. PLNU and… Stylistically that’s not fun. WWU vs. APU and PLNU vs. Chico is way more entertaining.


Writing that wasn’t nearly as consternating as we were expecting, and so… Let’s now see what the experts were saying after the regular season ended, but before the conference tournaments:

As of March 1st, the Regional ranking was:

1 – UCSD
2 – APU
3 – CPP
4 – SPU
5 – Chico
6 – PLNU
7 – San Bernardino
8 – Western Oregon
9 – Western Washington
10 – Chaminade

Okay, that does largely make sense as of that date; WWU had gotten beaten by SFU, while WOU had swept the Alaska schools, and San Bernardino was right in it, which we noted above. We’re on the same page. Good.


1300 words later…

COMMITTEE, WE HOPE YOU REALIZE IT MAKES NO SENSE TO HAVE SPU GET SLAUGHTERED BY CHICO IN THE FIRST GAME. They can get beat by Cal Poly Pomona, that’s fine, but c’mon, the Falcons have no post, that won’t be entertaining. And it looks like by the time the first game is played in five days, we could all be in quarantine, so… If they’re playing these games in an empty RIMAC Arena and we’re all going stir crazy at home, MAKE THE GAMES ENTERTAINING.

Kthxbai,
The GNAC Men’s Basketblog