We’re going to go ahead and do the UAF/UAA preview first to get it out of the way:
Anything can happen in a rivalry game and neither team has looked particularly impressive thus far, although Anchorage definitely more so than Fairbanks. We’re curious to see what Jacob Lampkin does against the Nooks, but that’s pretty much it.
Now, for the Bracketology:
Teams that we think have a legit shot at an at-large bid even if they lose several games during conference play:
Cal State LA -they got killed by Cal Baptist, but it was on the road and they played non-con largely within the region with a solid mix of A-B-C teams.
UCSD -While they have three losses, those three losses come from Azusa Pacific, Cal Baptist, and Dixie State; all traditionally strong teams. They also have a win against WWU -another team that projects to be strong.
San Marcos -Solid non-con; only loss was a blowout against CU-Irvine, and they have wins against both Azusa Pacific and CU-Portland, both of whom project as middle-of-the-pack teams in their respective conferences. They’re honestly the epitome of a bubble team in regard to how non-con looks.
Cal Baptist -Only loss comes from a surprisingly good SMU team.
CU-Irvine -Only loss is to Seattle Pacific, has wins against San Marcos (A), Central Washington (B-), and Chico (B+).
Point Loma -They have wins against an SMU team that beat Cal Baptist, and a Simon Fraser team that doesn’t look as bad as it usually does. Their losses come from GNAC-leading WOU and a good UCSD team.
Western Oregon -Our choice for now to host the regional; they got through a quality non-con schedule completely unscathed and then their formal travel partner upset Cal Baptist for them.
Saint Martin’s -Stellar non-con, only loss is to Point Loma, and they have a win over Cal Baptist. Love it.
Seattle Pacific -We’re not thrilled with how the Falcons have looked as of late, but the fact is: They have wins over CU-Irvine and Dixie State, one of their losses was on the road in 2OT, and then the other loss was D2 but non-west region on the road.
MSUB -isn’t on this list because while undefeated, they play the bulk of their non-con schedule in a few weeks.
Teams to keep an eye on despite a meh non-con:
Cal Poly Pomona -Lost to Azusa Pacific, beat Dixie State, but both were home games and that was the entirety of their D2 non-con.
Chico State -Lost a close one on a neutral court to CU-Irvine, killed Biola and Dominican; this is a terrible non-con schedule, just saying.
San Fran State -Lost to CU-Portland on a neutral court, beat NNU in OT on the road, barely beat Academy of Art & Dominican. All four teams project to be B & C teams in their respective conferences, so while SFSU has an okay record right now, we’re not impressed.
Dixie State -They went through a positively brutal non-con, with losses coming via Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State LA, Western Oregon, and Seattle Pacific, and then their one win was against UCSD. Do they need to have a great regular season? Yes. Should they be able to do it? Absolutely. Dixie usually gets better as the year goes on, and again: they couldn’t have tested themselves any more in non-con.
Azusa Pacific -Another brutal non-con, and they have wins against UCSD, Cal Poly Pomona, and an SFU team that isn’t as bad as it normally is. Their losses come via WOU and San Marcos, so completely legitimate.
Chaminade -We want to see them win on the mainland. They barely beat Dominguez Hills, and while they beat the Alaska schools in Alaska, the Alaska schools are worse than normal this year.
Shockingly, we’re going to do the GNAC differently, because despite a meh non-con, almost every team is still in contention. Here are the teams that we think could only lose one or two games in conference, otherwise they’ll rely entirely on the auto-bid:
UAF -They barely played anyone and they only beat Hawaii Pacific.
UAA -Playing Holy Names is subtraction by addition. We get that they didn’t return anything, but they were projected to be wayyy better than they’ve proven thus far.
CWU -Played no one except CU-I and Hilo in non-con and they lost to CU-I at that. Sorry, but seriously two schools? Nope.
The good news for the three schools above is that CWU is a notoriously hard place to play, as are the Alaska schools, and then the conference tournament is hosted in Alaska. The bad news is that if everybody beats everybody and everyone ends up with four or five losses, they’re not going to deserve nor should they get the benefit of the doubt.
Is there quite a bit of the benefit of the doubt being given by teams that have proven themselves in the past, particularly in the Pac-West? Yes. But regeneration is much easier than starting from the bottom, and it’s such a big everybody’s-beaten-everbody-except-WOU that it’s what we’re going with. It’s awesome. It should be a really fun regular season.
And yes: the GNAC came out looking fantastic in non-con. Congrats in particular to CU-Portland, Northwest Nazarene, and Simon Fraser for still being in contention for at-large bids!
One question we’re now contemplating… If by February 1st it looks like neither Alaska school is going to make the conference tournament, is there any way we can send it back to Lacey instead? Just thinking out loud here.
Have fun, be safe, go GNAC!
And our bracket. In D2 it’s funny -predicting the bracket is the real game to win; forget the games, the games you’re invested in because you want your team to win. Right now we’ve been procrastinating on posting a bracket all day because the idea of being wrong kills us, even though… It’s D2 basketball. Why does being right in predicting a bracket matter? Yeah, yeah, yeah, pale blue dot, giant universe among some insane multiverse, are we a computer sim? Nothing really matters, blah blah blah, insert existential crisis here.
Instead, let’s talk about the GNAC championship game:
#4 WOU 69 @ #1 WWU 71
First and foremost: We were wrong. Taylor Stafford is the real deal, especially when you watch him in person. Now, how well that’ll translate to anything else, we have no idea. But for D2 basketball, dude is legit. The game itself was frustrating, exactly as WOU intended. WOU as these games have depicted epitomizes the defensive grind it out games that are amazing to watch in person and at the time they’re being played, but that seem useless to re-watch because there are too many variables and “how do they get this stuff to even work?” because some of it is dumb luck and some of it is incredibly calculated. Big props to WOU for almost taking down what is a very good WWU team.
How good is this WWU team? Naturally we’re not sure. This entire year has felt like an episode of the Twilight Zone. The numbers they put up are mediocre, which speaks to WOU, but also doesn’t speak well of WOU, because WOU’s entire game is treading water. There’s a joke about the BYU-Hawaii admissions decision comes from throwing all of the applications in the air and picking the ones that land in particular places -that is the WWU vs. WOU game. Even in hindsight, now that we know who won (congrats Viks) we still don’t know who we’d pick to win because on paper WWU should win about 8/10 times, but paper isn’t reality.
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid went 8-10 from the line and had six boards; Ali played well and ended up with 16 points; and off the bench Demetrius Trammell lost his mind in the best way possible, scoring 33 points and being 6-6 from the line.
Viking highlights: Taylor Stafford had 33 points; Blake Fernandez had five boards; Daulton Hommes had 10 points and seven boards; and off the bench Deandre Dickson had 10 points and seven boards.
Our favorite part of the game was watching WWU’s Brad Wallace -he didn’t put up particularly interesting numbers, but the dude is a mule. He’s short, he’s sturdy, he’s stubborn, and we’re pretty annoyed he’s a senior because we’d rather keep him for another year. He really just did not give one single crap and for the 22 minutes he was in, he was basically like ‘I’M GOING TO RUN YOU OVER!!!!!!!!’ and then did it. One of those players that you can’t exactly figure out what they do, but they make life easier/more difficult, depending if they’re on your team or the opposing team. Super awesome. We had a blast watching, so thanks Brad!
Now, let’s get into D2 bracketology. At this point, the bracket is set; it just hasn’t been announced yet. We’ve been contemplating our bracket all weekend and still don’t feel confident, but whatever. This seeding is an approximation, although we have no expectation that it’ll be reality:
UCSD -not because they’re necessarily the best team in the Region overall, but because they’ve succeeded in jumping through the hoops most recently and do deserve to host. They beat the opponent with the best record in their conference Championship game and did so convincingly, which says that they’re hot right now and that’s important. Slightly worse record than HPU, but have played what we believe to be a harder schedule.
Hawaii Pacific -We have nothing against Point Loma (we loved them last year because they always schedule so well, and now they have our former coach, so what’s not to love?) but Point Loma had a bad record this year and only squeaked into the tournament by virtue of the Pac-West saying that CU-Irvine wasn’t eligible, just incase they won the tournament. That doesn’t scream “we’re so awesome,” about HPU -especially because the Sea Lions remained in the game for a long time. HPU didn’t break it open until there were about eight minutes left.
San Francisco State -We think losing to UCSD is more respectable than barely squeaking by a depleted WOU team that had played a 3OT game the night before, and only got that far because the opposing team’s (and the conference’s) best rebounder wasn’t playing.
Western Washington -This is too low and had they blown out WOU, we might suggest they host. They’re the GNAC regular season and tournament champions. Great team, good players, pleased with them, but until they make it to the Final Four we personally won’t be convinced. There was so much carnage in the GNAC this year and they still left it up to chance until about a week left, losing games in particular to MSUB (apathy) and at Anchorage. We’ll excuse @ Fairbanks because the Viks always lose at Fairbanks; they did last time they won a title too.
Cal Baptist -we love their strength of schedule in non-con, they’re a good team, their losses come via Dixie, HPU, and PLNU in the tournament (hi, try not playing apathetically) and they have a win over UCSD in non-con, but we’re not really convinced of that; so does WWU and while both CBU and WWU are good teams, there was clearly something up in December with the Tritons.
Chico State -Good non-con, good in conference, had a string of losses mid-season which we assume saw a player injured, but came back from it strong. Only losses are to tournament-bound teams, with the exception of Cal Poly Pomona, and that was a close loss, plus CPP notoriously has a good program. Probably caught the rebuilding on a good night.
Sonoma State -They have two head scratching losses (Dominguez Hills and Cal Poly Pomona) but otherwise their in-conference losses from from SFSU. They have wins over Chico State and UC San Diego, their non-con wasn’t atrocious, and if you’re looking for a trendy upset pick, you should go with the Seawolves because of that info.
Dixie State -This is actually just “who can we rule out?” Dixie scheduled themselves well in non-con, but didn’t really do anything impressive, including losing to a CWU team that didn’t even make the conference tourney. They lost in conference to the teams above and more, they lack a signature win, but we like what the other teams available bring to the table even less, so we’re going with Dixie.
Burst bubbles: UAA. Had UAA made it to the Championship game of the GNAC tourney, we would take them over Dixie State in a heartbeat. We have no idea why Corey Hammell didn’t see more minutes, but whatever the reason, we don’t trust them to have him going into the NCAA Tourney and that’s the difference in whether or not we think these Seawolves could make a run. If the committee has more info than we do and know that Corey is going to play -by all means, Alaska-Anchorage is a better option than Dixie, they should be in it. But if UAA doesn’t have him, it’s a waste of a spot in our opinion.
There’s a ton of post season blog stuff and catching up on player of the week and updating the chart and all kinds of stuff that’ll go on intermittently this month as we watch WWU, hopefully make a deep run, in the NCAA tourney. More stuff is coming -this is far from the end, there’s tons to talk about in such a weird year.
Selection show starts in five minutes……… Update: it started in 25 minutes; the GNAC website was wrong. Starts at 8pm best coast time.
#4 Western Oregon vs. #1 Western Washington…
Looks like it’ll tip right around 7:35. We’ll also be paying close attention to the CCAA championship game, which features SFSU and UCSD. We have a situation on our hands that means all of a sudden WWU is back in the discussion of hosting the Regional, which means… Rock meet hard place.
If WWU wins and UCSD loses, there’s no reason not to send the Regional to Whatcom. If WWU wins and UCSD wins, then there’s an interesting discussion to be had. Looking at UCSD’s schedule, they’ve lost three conference games: San Marcos, Chico State, and Sonoma. Chico State is in the tourney, as far as we’re concerned. So is SFSU, regardless as to whether or not they beat UCSD tonight. That implies that UCSD has greater strength of schedule than the Vikings, and that would be true.
The GNAC has been a mess this year, with the sloppy games never seemingly ending. And it was all just stupid sloppy and a lack of commitment to fundamentals by all involved -ick. If Western Washington wins this game, the GNAC should be a one bid league. WWU has conference losses to MSUB, UAF, and UAA. They have wins against everyone else. And yet UCSD has wins against Regional bound teams. While WWU absolutely killed the Tritons in non-con, that was a long time ago.
It’s all moot if WWU loses the championship game -in that case, have fun in San Diego y’all. The good news with that is it means two GNAC teams will be going. Yeah, WWU can make their own schedule look weaker by winning. Go figure.
So, to summarize:
WWU wins, UCSD loses, WWU should host.
WWU wins, UCSD wins, it’ll be a discussion that arguably should favor UCSD.
WWU loses, UCSD wins, we’ll feel comfortable sending the regional to San Diego.
WWU loses, UCSD loses, we’re going to veer on the side that UCSD should host because UCSD beat another Regional-bound team to win, whereas WWU didn’t.
Now let’s preview the WWU vs. WOU game:
Western Washington is the conference regular season champion. They’re a great rebounding team -everyone on that team rebounds. They out-rebounded their opponent 39-26 last night. Um, yeah. That being said: their defense lacks at times; that team that they massively out-rebounded was in it until the very end. They have a lot of very good players, and Taylor Stafford tends to get the glory as their best player, and while he is, there are a lot of other people on this team that do a lot of good things that make what Taylor does possible.
Western Oregon played a 3OT game last night against a UAA team that was missing their key senior post presence in Corey Hammell. Western Oregon’s best player is a guy by the name of Tanner Omlid -notable for getting at least one triple double, keeping his turnovers low, and motivating his teammates whether he’s on the court or on the bench. Tanner Omlid is the best player in the game, period. We’re excited we get to keep him for another year.
That being said: having the best player doesn’t mean you win.
WOU had an impressive number of players last night that were able to be counted on to go in, give the starters a breather, and not get behind, with their best bench player being Demetrius Trammell. He is distinctively their 6th man, so we don’t really consider him a part of their bench. If WOU has to use the bench to tread water, that’s going to be difficult against this Vikings team because the Vikings are approximately nine guys deep, even with a starter out due to injury.
WOU has the most talented player. WWU is deeper. If the Vikings allow Tanner Omlid (and to a degree Demetrius Trammell) to put the rest of the team on their back, the Wolves have a very good shot at winning. If they can eliminate most of the production of those guys, they should be fine.
We honestly don’t have a prediction because the conference has been such a mess, we know both of these teams so well, we know what both are capable of at their best, we know what both are like when they’re playing uninspiredly, and there’s just no telling which two teams out of those four options are going to actually show up tonight.
Good luck to all -we believe in y’all, play hard, be strong, be safe, go GNAC!
The season is dimming, bubbles are shifting, and it’s time to regularly take a look at what’s going on with the other two conferences.
For our new readers, a Summary:
In NCAA Division II basketball, the Big Dance is literally split up Regionally. That means we know our potential post season opponents 24/7 365.25 days a year. For us in the West Region, it includes schools in the GNAC, Pac-West, and CCAA -see the “Cast of Characters” tab if you want to know who each specific school is.
The #1 seed in the Regional, generally speaking, hosts. If the #1 seed isn’t in the main 48, then the Regional is split between a school in the main land and then the #1 seeded school.
We’ve joked that we wanted to see a year in which the seeding was:
5. Hawaii Pacific
7. Simon Fraser
Not because we hate the CCAA by any stretch, but just because those schools are the most remote and spread out locations, with the added bonus of SFU, the only metropolitan location, requiring a passport and Canada having a history of not allowing players from certain countries.
For all of y’all, remember: We’re used to knowing things. Last year we put up a prognostication, Bit-o-Baca put up a prognostication, and then the committee produced the actual Bracket, and not only were all of the teams the same for all three, all of the match-ups were the same, while all of the seedings were different. Usually we have a pretty good grasp as to what’s going on -not this year.
That being said: WE’RE GOING TO HAWAII. Maybe; and not us personally, but the Regional should be split in terms of being hosted by Hawaii Pacific and Cal Baptist.
Chico State imploded this weekend. They’re still great, their bubble didn’t burst in the slightest, but they’re no longer in contention to host after losses to both Sonoma (rivalry!) and San Francisco State. SF State is legit and we get that rivalry is as rivalry does, but there are teams that haven’t faltered. Don’t let certain trends fool you -getting the nod to specifically host the Regional is ridiculously hard. All that being said:
What’s your opinion on the #1 Seed hosting the Regional?
Honestly, we don’t think it’s fair when an LA school hosts it and other LA schools get to play in it. This year if it does get split between CBU and HPU, we’d like to see no other Hawaii school playing in Hawaii and no other SoCal school playing in SoCal, but it won’t happen because on the surface it doesn’t make financial sense. There’s a legitimate argument that even when WWU hosted the tournament, the SPU games were dead -even though SPU is only two hours away.
Our legitimate argument is that if the tournament was consistently hosted in a central location that already has good fans and good infrastructure, it would become a big thing yearly for the locals to be excited about attending. We host our conference tournament at SMU every year and it’s great. The location is central located, the facility is nice, parking is easy, and the locals actually come out and watch non-SMU teams play.
What school could/would do that on a Regional level?
Easy: Chico State.
They have a strong men’s basketball program and athletic department, they make the tournament regularly, it’s a big gymnasium, their locals genuinely care about basketball, they’ve got the best radio play-by-play guy in D2, and location wise it’s perfect:
-It’s at least an hour drive for every other NorCal school.
-It’s six to eight hours for the SoCal schools.
-It’s 10-12 hours for most of the GNAC schools.
Entirely driveable for the vast majority of teams. Alaskas, Hawaiis, and MSUB being the exception. Every other school IN THE ENTIRE REGION can drive there within 13 hours.
In D2, you have to look at your primary target demographics as to who actually is attending the games. In reality, it’s parents of players and locals. Chico State has great locals and is a good location for the vast majority of West Region parents. Literally the only knock on Chico is that there’s not a super convenient major airport, but that’s true with almost every school. The only schools that have convenient major airports are Dominican, Dominguez-Hills-ish, and Concordia-Portland. Every other location is either remote (see: Honolulu and Anchorage) and/or you need a car.
Chico hosting permanently won’t happen, and we’re honestly fine with the #1 seed hosting, but it is an interesting discussion none-the-less.
What’s your current bracket?
Ooooh, good question. We’ll be honest: We haven’t paid any attention to rankings this year, because we figure we know better than the voters. “All you’ve said for months is that you don’t know.” Exactly. Any ranking someone comes up with regarding schools in the D2 West is completely meaningless because the vast, vast, vast majority of games are pick ’ems, even when the game ends up being a blow out. MSUB beat WWU, got killed by SMU, and then blew out a very good and proven CWU at CWU. Oookay. Nothing makes any sense. Literally 10 teams are still in the running for making the conference tournament, that’s how much parity there is.
|D2 West Bracketology|
|1||CBU||HPU||Beat CBU recently.|
|2||HPU||CBU||Lost to HPU recently.|
|3||WWU||SFSU||Beat Chico State, non-con continues to look impressive.|
|4||UCSD||UCSD||Best non-con in the CCAA, even with a loss to Chico.|
|5||Chico||Sonoma||Legit wins against Chico and UCSD.|
|6||CWU||UAA||Currently up on WWU by half a game and they split in their meetings.|
|7||Dixie||Dixie||Hasn’t yet played HPU/CBU.|
|8||SFSU||WWU||Swept by the Alaska schools, Texas A&M Commerce is 7-5 in conference.|
At this point we don’t expect that bracket to hold in the slightest because there are too many games left to be played and all three conferences are clouded in parity. It’s great, eh? CWU is currently out but we don’t necessarily expect them to stay out either because one of the schools in another conference loses twice or because they procure wins at the Alaska schools or something as such. There’s still tons of variability, but it is fun to look at a snapshot of what things look like this week, and we had a blast looking at our seeding from two weeks ago simply because it’s never not a well reason argument, the arguments just change as you get more evidence.
If I’m a CWU fan, should I be freaking out right now?
No. You still get to go play the Alaskas and there are plenty of other difficult and interesting match-ups in the other two conferences as well.
If I’m a UAA fan, should I feel safe?
Absolutely not. Your bubble is a redhead’s skin after 10 hours in the sun without sunscreen. Not only do you still have to face Billings, you still have to face NNU and CWU, plus add in the fact that there are a lot of impressive games that can be won in the CCAA and Pac-West still.
Think we’re a genius? Think we’re an idiot? Have a solid argument as to why we’re slightly wrong? Tell us about it on Twitter or in the comments!
This was largely written on Wednesday 1/25.
When we last checked in with them, we had the following information:
San Fran State
Who’s still in the run to host?
Chico State -close losses to UCSD and CPP, but that’s it.
UCSD -dropped their last two games to San Marcos and Sonoma.
Hawaii Pacific -shockingly only has one loss. The region getting split is actually starting to look like a possibility.
San Fran State -out; losses to UCSD and Chico, without the SOS from non-con that those schools have.
Cal Baptist -one loss, that being to Dixie State; Dixie State is a really good team; not in the running to host due to losing to CWU, but a good team all the same.
WWU -added, because while they had a questionable non-con, they only have one in conference loss thus far, and are looking super deep.
Do we know who’s hosting?
At this point no.
Prediction: Split regional. Hawaii Pacific and either WWU or Cal Baptist.
WWU is currently playing at Whatcom Community College, and they’re eligible to bid to host the tournament, but unless the Regional gets split, we don’t support it. The gym is just too tiny. We would make the same argument with CU-Portland -the Whatcom and CU-PDX gyms only hold maybe 1200 people, which yeah the non-local rounds tend to be fairly empty, but we worry about opposing fans being able to get Sweet 16 tickets, especially if say we ended up with a WWU/CWU match-up.
100% Guaranteed making the regional as of last check:
San Fran State
Western Washington is definitely still in, but what about the other schools?
Cal Baptist = yes
WWU = yes, 100%.
Chico = yes
San Fran State -downgraded to the bubble, see below.
Hawaii Pacific = Yes; their spot is now officially safe. The only question mark they have is that they beat the Alaska schools in Hawaii; UAF has looked questionable, Anchorage has been good but not the elite team we projected them as before the season, thus non-road wins and not as quality as anticipated.
Here are the bubble teams from before, minus the guaranteeds:
UCSD -100% in provided their skid stops now.
Chico -100% in provided they stay on the trajectory they are now.
San Fran State -bubble team, but a solid bubble; losses to Chico and UCSD, as well as an okay-ish loss to WOU in 3OT in non-con on the road.
East Bay -Now 5-6 in conference.
Cal Baptist -100% in.
Hawaii Pacific -100% in.
Dixie State -true bubble team; they’re really good, their SOS is good, but bubble.
Azusa Pacific -Now 5-6 in conference; relatively good non-con schedule, thus we still see them as a threat for the autobid, but they’re not on the bubble for a bid without it.
Western Washington -100% in; only have a GNAC loss to MSUB.
Central Washington -true bubble team, they’re tied for 2nd in the GNAC right now, but their lack of non-con puts them on the bubble.
Alaska-Anchorage -true bubble team, they’re tied for 2nd in the GNAC and that loss to Hawaii Pacific is looking really good.
Seattle Pacific -we said last time it was their coaching staff; a 40 point loss and they switched it up. We don’t quite consider them turned around, but they’re theoretically no longer in free fall, which they were through the first half of conference play.
Saint Martin’s -they’re in position to make the conference tournament and they need to win it in order to get a bid. They’re good, but they’re very up and down.
MSU-Billings -We have no idea what’s going on with this team. They beat WWU in Bellingham, beat UAA and WOU in Billings, and then lost by 50 to SMU in Lacey. Zoinks. They have good and experienced players with a good and experienced coaching staff, plus super soph Preston Beverly, but………….. What’s going on??
Not sure where WOU was on that list last time, but we will note now that they’re definitely a threat to get the conference autobid. They’re finding themselves again after being rather up and down.
At half way through conference play, who are you eight teams in the tournament?
San Fran State
1. Cal Baptist co-host
2. Hawaii Pacific co-host
3. Western Washington
4. UC San Diego
5. Chico State -this feels low, but UCSD non-con + head to head.
6. Central Washington
7. Dixie State
8. San Fran State -good schedule
We went with the co-hosting, because while HPU has lost to Cal Baptist, Cal Baptist lost to Dixie, which is in the 2nd half of the seeds and has a loss to CWU, thus we feel that it could be merited to split the Regional. We’re fine with Cal Baptist hosting, we’re certainly not trekking out to Hawaii, but for now we’re going with the split -maybe just because it would be a bit exciting. West Coast Pride, split regional, unique to us because as far as we know there’s no Puerto Rico teams in a conference -they’re all independent.
What’s your crazy prediction?
That three unexpected teams get the autobids. We couldn’t tell you who in the other two conferences, but in the GNAC every single team that makes the conference tournament will be seen as a threat. Lucky for WWU, they should be safe regardless. There’s a ton of implications within the bubble teams, basically:
UCSD lost to WWU (quality)
Dixie lost to CWU (quality)
UAA lost to HPU (quality)
UCSD lost to Chico (quality)
SFSU lost to WOU (quality-ish)
And then CBU lost to Dixie, but quality loss and quality win, respectively.
The thing with that mess is we couldn’t tell you which bubbles would burst if three unexpected teams got the autobids. SFSU, Dixie, and maybe CWU? CWU has a pretty strong bubble (that’s a good thing) because they’ll have a lot of head-to-heads with a potential GNAC bubble burster that gets the autobid, and then the victory over Dixie State. If Azusa gets the autobid in the Pac-West that would speak even more to CWU not having their bubble burst. But Chico is amazing, WWU is amazing, and that doesn’t even get into CBU and HPU.
The one knock on Chico is lack of SOS, which is the same knock on HPU, which calls our prediction of CBU into hosting into question, because if Chico gets the nod it’ll only be Chico. Chico’s only black mark on their schedule is the lack of SOS. Otherwise they’re golden. Same with WWU. WWU even has a coveted in-region road victory against a most-likely tournament bound team in UCSD -and that wasn’t close; they blew the Tritons out big.
Overall, we still feel like we really don’t know anything, which is odd, but when we feel like we do know something, y’all’ll be the first to find out.
After one weekend of play, we told you teams that were still officially in the running to host the Regional:
Nine teams could’ve potentially hosted, when there are only eight bids. Here are the teams from that list still in the running, along with the reasons as to why:
Chico -still in, still definitely; they’ve only dropped one game and that was to a very good UCSD team. We think at this point, provided they don’t self implode, they’re making the Regional 100%. Hosting is the question.
UCSD? – definitely maybe; they only have losses to WWU and Cal Baptist, but now they’re in the awkward position of needing to hope that CBU does incredibly well, but still loses three or four games to knock them out of hosting.
Chaminade -No; not the convincing strength of schedule and winning numbers to split the regional. Their best win is against SPU and that win doesn’t look very good this year. They also have a lot of losses already, even with leaving out the D1 losses.
Azusa Pacific -No. Lost to SPU, beat WOU, their record is 7-7, nope.
Cal Baptist -Absolutely. Even with the mess of parity, their only loss is to Dixie State and they played both Cal Poly Pomona and UCSD in non-con. Great strength of schedule.
WWU -We’re still not sure if they’re even eligible to host because of playing at Whatcom and the logistical/infrastructure nightmare that would be, but we don’t think they’re going to host unless other teams majorly implode. The Vikings simply don’t have the West Region SOS nor the out of region wins. They have a massively good win at UCSD, but that’s literally the only amazing highlight of their non-conference.
SPU -LOL. No. But last time we didn’t want to include them; we had to.
CWU -They have a great record, with only losses to Mankato and Anchorage on their sheet, but again: they lack strength of schedule. Although we’d kill for the Regional to be hosted in Ellensburg -definitely our favorite GNAC trip.
WOU -No. Too many losses and too many other teams without losses to their big tests in non-conference.
We had Hawaii Pacific on our “ish” list and while they’ve now won out, they still don’t have the strength of schedule and we don’t see them getting through the conference season with a max of two losses, which is what they’d need, in order to split the regional. It’s true that Cal Baptist/Chico/UCSD could implode and that could shove it Hawaii Pacific’s way, but… We’d assume the selection committee would rather keep the region together and with SOS being such a new criterium, weight it heavily.
Is there anyone we want to add to the list? Yes and in a big way:
San Francisco State. They’ve won out in non-conference and are currently undefeated, although their strength of schedule is somewhat lacking; their best win is @ WOU and that went to triple OT in the first game of the season. Right now they’re our pick to host the Regional as of now, because just win baby, win!
The Regional could end up being split between SFSU and Hawaii Pacific, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but… We still feel like hosting is Cal Baptist’s to lose. Being undefeated is one thing, but being truly tested before conference play is another and Cal Baptist definitely has the latter.
What teams do we have making the Regional 100%?
San Fran State
Here’s a list of all of the teams that are currently in control of their own destiny regarding making the Regional:
San Fran State
East Bay -only two losses come via SF State and Western Washington, but they got killed by both. We’ve liked East Bay for a while -they give teams fits at Mac Martin every year.
Hawaii Pacific -they’re only a maybe, because they didn’t play any true road games in non-con.
Azusa Pacific -they’re currently 7-7, but they have wins over Dixie State and Western Oregon, as well as a couple of potentially quality losses to West Texas A&M & Seattle Pacific-ish.
The following looks excessive, but seriously: We can justify it.
Western Washington -because duh. The two teams they just lost to by a collective five points or so will likely be 1-2 in the Lonestar Conference and both are 100% in the South Central Regional.
Central Washington -why they lost to Anchorage, we don’t know, they have the most minimal of non-con, but if they win 14 games in conference, there’s no reason they wouldn’t be in the tournament.
Alaska-Anchorage -lose one more game and we say they no longer control their own destiny, but they have a good team and for right now: they are in control.
Seattle Pacific -We constantly talk crap about the Falcons, but the fact is that they have SOS, have a history of doing well, and we firmly believe that it’s the coaching staff holding this team back -not the players. When the coaching staff decides they want to win, they’ll be able to.
Saint Martin’s -they did what they needed to in non-con. Every conference team is going to lose multiple games. Non-con saves them. They’re in control right now.
MSU-Billings -they are as close to not being in control as you can possibly get, but while they lost in non-con, it was to East Bay and Cal Baptist on the road, which looks legit.
We originally had WOU on that list, but we honestly hadn’t looked at just how bad their non-conference went. They have no SOS, what-so-ever. They don’t control their own destiny -they need other teams to lose in order to make it in. When we think about it, would we take a 17-1 WOU team over a 17-1 Hawaii Pacific/Dixie/Azusa/UCSD/Chico/San Fran/East Bay? No. East Bay is the only ‘maybe’ in there, and all of that requires those teams to lose.
14 teams. Eight spots. Five at-large. We think the five at-large bids are already spoken for. This is a year when the auto-bid is going to be dire. We have no idea what’s going to happen at all. Literally, the prediction posts are going to be 100% pointless. We just don’t know.
In the GNAC, here’s what’s happened so far:
MSUB beat WOU
Concordia beat MSUB
NNU beat Anchorage
Pick ’em Games:
UAA @ CWU = UAA
UAF @ CWU = CWU
WWU @ SPU = WWU
There’ve only been 10 conference games played and three of them were upsets while three of them there was no way to pick a winner prior. It’s just going to get worse. If this blog has taught us one thing in regard to predicting basketball games: the more knowledge we have, the less we know. Darn all of these really good players that we know can completely change a game on any given night!
If you have something you want us to discuss tomorrow, tweet at us or leave in the comments -otherwise, we’ll catch you guys on Thursday for the game previews.
They started with the West and the feed didn’t even come up for us until after it was over. Oookay then. Thanks NCAA, always know we can count on you.
The first round will be played on March 11 in Monmouth, Oregon.
Match-ups as follows:
3. Cal Baptist vs. 6. Cal Poly Pomona @ 12pm
2. UC San Diego vs. 7. Chico State @ 2:30pm
4. Seattle Pacific vs. 5. Azusa Pacific @ 5pm
1. Western Oregon vs. 8. Humboldt State @ 7:30pm
So somehow both BitoBaca and I both picked different seedings, got all of the match-ups right, and got all of the seeding wrong. Oookay then, but these were the match-ups we wanted (more or less) so we’re good with it.
WOU/HSU: We’re excited for the football rivals to match-up on the basketball court, and it’s great for Humboldt because as the team (truly) smack dab in the middle of the region, it’s only about an eight hour drive but is considerably less traffic than heading to SoCal. Bonus!
UCSD/Chico State: They’ve already matched up once -Chico won 77-71 on February 12, so at least it’ll have been a month? Should be a good match-up, we’re excited.
Cal Baptist/Cal Poly Pomona: We’re kind of both excited and terrified. On the one hand we do believe in Cal Poly Pomona’s ability to beat ANYONE, they are a very good team. On the other hand, Cal Baptist is looking really, really, really scaldingly hot right now and the Lancers look in prime condition to make some glue. CPP is the Broncos, if anyone’s forgetting.
Seattle Pacific/Azusa Pacific: This is just hilarious because the first time the two teams met up this year, it was in a tournament and both tried to rest their starters and almost lost to an NAIA team and MSUB, respectively. Now they’ve both been playing kinda wonky, but obviously APU is going to want to get some revenge for the first match-up and SPU is going to have to prove they’ve snapped out of it after a massive downturn of play to end the season. We’ll see. We like APU, think they’re a really good team, and you know… Last year SPU matched up with BYU-Hawaii after losing to BYU-Hawaii in the regular season; this year maybe it’s their turn to lose the second match-up?
More thoughts as the week goes on? Sure. Also shout-out to South Central #1 seed Midwestern State -they adopted us last year, so we’re happy to see them kicking some serious booty and getting to host this year.
First and foremost: According to the official NCAA schedule, the Selection Show occurs TONIGHT at 10:30pm EASTERN, 7:30pm PACIFIC, and thus 6:30 ALASKAN. And yeah, we think it’s surprising that it would be that late too, but it is what it is.
Now, here’s what we officially know:
Western Oregon is #1 and the regional host. They have a record of 24-2, won the regular season, won their conference tournament, and the next closest west region school (Chico) has a record of 20-5 and got killed in the first round of their conference tournament by a team that would go on to get killed by the tournament winner -which actually helps their case slightly, but still.
Humboldt State received the auto bid from the CCAA but wasn’t even in contention for an at-large bid, largely because their strength of schedule was so atrocious and they lost eight conference games -way more than anyone else currently vying for an at-large spot.
Cal Baptist received the auto bid from the Pac-West in thorough dominance over Azusa Pacific, but would have likely made it regardless.
Aside from that… We get into bubble territory.
The official regional poll says this:
1. Western Oregon (24-2)
2. Chico State (20-6)
3. UC San Diego (20-7)
4. Seattle Pacific (20-8)
5. Azusa Pacific (20-8)
6. Cal Baptist (24-6)
7. Cal Poly Pomona (19-7)
8. Dixie State (18-9)
9. Alaska-Fairbanks (18-8)
10. Alaska-Anchorage (17-10)
[11. Humboldt State]
All records are updated to include the respective conference tournaments.
Now let’s go down that list again, although this time the bold simply serves to make it easier to read.
1. Western Oregon (24-2) -Won the conference tournament with a scare from Seattle Pacific and a hard fought win over UAF.
2. Chico State (20-6) -Got blown out in the first round of the conference tournament by Cal State LA, won the CCAA regular season.
3. UC San Diego (20-7) -Got blown out by Humboldt in the conference tournament.
4. Seattle Pacific (20-8) -Lost to WOU by one in the conference tournament, has by far the best strength of schedule in the region, with wins over Chico State, APU, and Dixie State, as well as a quality loss to CU-Irvine.
5. Azusa Pacific (20-8) -Got killed by Cal Baptist in the conference tournament game and has struggled more and more as the season has gone on. Not sure what the thread is there, but something The Committee definitely knows.
6. Cal Baptist (24-6) -Quality non-con, had some losses down the stretch but they were to really good teams like Dixie and CU-Irvine.
7. Cal Poly Pomona (19-7) -Questionable non-conference but better than the Alaskas, and in regard to the regular season they mimic SPU in having some weird losses, some acceptable losses (UCSD), and some great wins (Chico).
8. Dixie State (18-9) -Inverse of APU; they started rough, but they played a good non-con and definitely got better as the season went on. Yeah, they got killed by Cal Baptist, but we feel like it says more about the Lancers than it does about the Rebels.
9. Alaska-Fairbanks (18-8) -Played a great game against the elite Western Oregon, but came far closer to losing to the mess that is Western Washington than beating the Wolves.
10. Alaska-Anchorage (17-10) -Got bounced in the first round of the conference tournament by Western Washington, but has more strength of schedule than Alaska-Fairbanks. Really they have no chance of getting an at-large bid at this point but they’re on the list, so we’ll list them.
Elaborating on UAF: Last year, all year we said “BYU-Hawaii struggles off the island.” Then they went and won the Pac-West tournament and we said “Okay, maybe they can win off the island.” And then they got into the West Region and promptly lost to Seattle Pacific (something we have no problem with) and while we’re aware that UAF and BYUH are two very different teams, it’s leading us to lean on the side that BYUH did have SOS, BYUH did win their conference tournament, thus getting the auto-bid, and yet they still flopped. The Nooks could very well go in and win the regional -they’ve been incredibly hot as of late- but we feel like THIS YEAR (this does not necessarily hold in the future) Cal Poly Pomona and Dixie State are both far more deserving of at-large berths.
The seeding? Thank-you Cal Baptist -you were the team that made us go “Okay, wait, maybe we have some idea, maybe.” Even though we technically have no idea who the schools are.
1. Western Oregon -because duh.
2. Cal Baptist -Huge win in the conference tournament, only losses are from quality opponents, have good non-conference SOS.
We feel like 3-7 is a complete wash, and our only request is that Seattle Pacific and Chico State don’t play each other in the first round, because we want a chance to root on Chico.
3. Seattle Pacific -this is a weird one, and it’s all based on the SOS metric because we feel like the only reason they ended up with a record as bad as they have is because for a stretch at the end of the season they weren’t trying to win; they were trying to figure out next year’s point guard.
4. UC San Diego -This comes down to the fact that we feel like even with accounting for the two teams style of play, UC San Diego still got blown out by Humboldt slightly less than Azusa Pacific did by Cal Baptist. Keyword slightly.
5. Chico State -It’s unfortunate to pit two teams from the same conference against each other, but when four teams make it that’s what happens sometimes; at least this is only round three, rather than round four?
6. Azusa Pacific -Yeah they got blown out by Cal Baptist and yeah it’s a rematch, but better a non-con rematch then yet another conference match-up that just happened.
7. Cal Poly Pomona -This was rough. It came down to Dixie State and Cal Poly Pomona and after reviewing the Rebs schedule at the request of one of our commenters -we really, really like it, and we really believe in the Rebels- but the resumes are similar and ultimately we’re giving CPP the nod because of just how badly Dixie got blown out in the Pac-West tournament.
8. Humboldt State -this would be fun because WOU and HSU have a bit of a football rivalry as far as we know (maybe that’s wrong?) and so that would be memorable to meet up in basketball again.
We’ve come to accept that there is a HUGE amount of parity on the west coast this year, and thus the seeding is likely wrong and we’re completely fine with how wrong we are as long as Seattle Pacific is in the tournament and Western Oregon is the #1 seed and physically hosting it on their campus. Other than that, we don’t care what the seedings are and who’s playing who. We’ll feel rather miffed if one of the Alaska schools makes it over CPP/Dixie, but that’s purely because we’re SOS martyrs and SOS is supposed to finally count this year, but if one of those schools makes it, it clearly doesn’t and this is not the year to be screwing around with whether or not that metric matters. Once again: This is not the SEC; this is Pac-12 country.
Edit: We didn’t look at BitOBaca’s seeding prior to doing ours, but it’s hilarious that the match-ups are all the same but the seeds are different. That would be the D2West this year.
Alright. That was stressful and took way too long to figure out. We’ll see you guys in a couple of hours.
We’ll give you the deets on the Pac-West and CCAA and then do our usual run down of who did what in the GNAC game.
Cal Baptist 101, Azusa Pacific 64
From the GNAC/CBU, Kalidou had seven points and Alex Birketoft had 14, and Joey Schreiber (APU via WWU) had five points. Aside from all of that it was a slaughterfest. We never wanted to say that APU was fully out of it, but… CBU walked it up early and then the Cougars were never coming back. Although we still didn’t believe it going into the second half because anything can happen. Pretty nice rivalry developing between the two programs, so that’s fun.
Humboldt State 80, UC San Diego 68
This is a weird one because UCSD has been part of some really low scoring games and yet the Jacks scored eighty, and so it was kind of this weird suspension of the game was never more than four or so possessions away, but with the way UCSD tends to play it might as well have been ten, and yet reality and so you don’t want to say that. Very, very odd feeling, but super proud of the Jacks -although we still love UCSD and are really excited to watch them in person at the West Regional.
Western Oregon 78, Alaska-Fairbanks 71
Back and forth game until the very end. Really fun to watch. Proud of both teams. We’ll go over our final bracketology stuff in a bit, but… Good game played by both teams.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly had a great game on 8/9 shooting and finished with 19 points and six boards; Joe Slocum finished with 13 points; Travante Williams had a monster game with 23 points; and Brandon Davis had 10 points.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had 16 points and 10 boards; Julian Nichols had four boards and five assists; Jordan Wiley had 16 points and was 5/5 from the line; Andy Avgi had 12 points and six boards; and off the bench Alex Roth went 5/5 from the field, 4/4 from three, and finished with 14 points. Wow.
Really proud of the Wolves for holding Almir to just TWO points and the Nanooks to a collective 20 rebounds -absolutely nuts. Can’t wait to go to Monmouth, very excited for the GNAC to host the tournament again after the dry spell of two full years. Congrats to both teams on a game well played and good luck to the Nooks as they sit on the bubble.
Once again, our biggest of thanks to Saint Martin’s for hosting a fantastic tournament. We look forward to going back next year.
To the blog readers that don’t have a team that ends up continuing in the West Regional -thank-you so much for a brilliant season of loyal readership. Post-season awards will be incoming shortly after the final GNAC-involved men’s basketball game is played for the year.
Cal Baptist killed Azusa Pacific, but both are theoretically safe.
Humboldt State never trailed against UCSD and generally speaking led by a lot.
Alaska-Fairbanks and Western Oregon battled it out with Western Oregon eventually kinda sorta pulling away.
What we know:
1. Western Oregon
2. Cal Baptist
3. Humboldt State
Not seedings, just the auto bids -although WOU will be #1 for sure.
These are the at-large bids that we think are in for sure:
4. Seattle Pacific
6. Azusa Pacific
7. Chico State
We’re fully in the camp that Chico State is in. They have good SOS, won the regular season, there’s parity across all three conferences, there’s no reason that the CCAA regular season champion shouldn’t make it.
That being said, who’s team number eight? We’re in the camp that it should be Cal Poly Pomona, and if not Cal Poly Pomona then we like the argument about Dixie State. Dixie State hasn’t been quite as hot as UAF to end the season, but Dixie State has way better strength of schedule and has clearly gotten better and better as the season has gone on. Early in the year they looked like a complete mess and we were bemoaning it for Seattle Pacific’s strength of schedule, but the Rebels have come on really strong. They also beat UAF head-to-head and while it was a while ago, again the teams are matching each other pretty well at the end of the season.
Ultimately… Eight we think should go to either Cal Poly Pomona or Dixie. Dixie because of coming on really strong at the end, Cal Poly Pomona because they’re such a complete team and while they’ve had some let-down games, we truly believe in their ability to beat anyone in the west region. Still going with Cal Poly Pomona. We were thinking we were going to switch to Dixie State, but no CPP has our vote for final at-large.
Regular Game Review posts up in the AM.