Category: general

Monday Madness is Coming!

Who’s ready for basketball season? THIS BLOG IS. But year two is gonna be a little different. Last year we put something like 20 posts up in October and this year it just doesn’t make sense to do that.

Tentatively: Monday Madness through the eight Mondays in September & October. Halloween we’ll see Alaska Anchorage take on Cal Baptist as the first “real” game of the year and have a somewhat real post on November 1st, and then tentatively a “Decathalon of Discussion” with posts going up Nov. 2-12th, before the first real day of D2 play hits on the 13th.

The non-conference schedule is really strange. The teams are really unknown.

Tons of projected impact guys that transferred out, tons of new guys that transferred in. We lost a ton of core players and we’re looking at unknowns from: UAA, UAF-ish, WWUish, SPU, MSUB, CWUish, CU-P, and WOU-ish, The ishes are where they have a core that returns but it’s hard to anticipate what they’ll do with it.

The “Madness” posts’ll mostly consist of discussing the schedule, non-conference, players, polls, what is Andy doing, that sort of thing. There’ll also be some of our usual shenanigans and definitely a discussions post or two if you guys hop in the comments (no name or email required) and/or ask us stuff on twitter.

Speaking of which, blog MVPs of the off-season go to LG & CA_Ball13. You two were awesome about getting in touch and saying “Hey! I’m still thinking about D2 basketball too, what do you think about this? You should write about it.” Very appreciated.

Hoops are good, talking them is great, and we look forward to doing more of it with ALL of you guys (yes, even you) in the coming weeks and months. Have a safe rest of the Summer and we’ll see you at 10am on September 7th.

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Wednesday Discussions

There hasn’t been a shenanigans post in some time and here shortly you’ll be in the middle of a doozy.

Before that: Saint Martin’s gets their actual hashtag, you all come visit after heart attacks of NFC championship games (or maybe you were simply bored while watching the AFC championship game?), DeflateGate, what is WWU doing, and you’re not being asked to do a lot for humanity on the whole -so stop complaining about player-of-the-week.


Saint Martin’s gets their actual hashtag: Because it actually identifies them.

UAF is obviously not an Alabama school; UAA isn’t an Arkansas school; SFU is no doubt Simon Fraser; WWU is the big WWU in the pond (nod to D3 Walla Walla); SPU is sometimes Seattle Public Utilities, but no one cares that much anyway; MSUB is clearly Billings (Montana State itself actually isn’t special like that); CWU is clearly CWU; NNU no one’s ever heard of anyway; WOU isn’t Western Ohio/Oklahoma; SMU in our world is NOT a reference to Southern Methodist, but in everyone else’s (including probably yours) it is. So they get their preferred tag or their full name. The #SaintsAlive thing admittedly feels kind of sarcastic; when that account tweets it while down by 20, the Saints are dead as a doorknob. Guess it’s part of that whole Catholic thing. All ballers go to heaven? Even when they’re dead, they’re alive with the Light of Jesus? Something.


Apparently after a heart attack of a football game, you people like to come here and spend time with the GNAC Men’s Basketblog? We’re honored. Or as noted: You were bored watching the Patriots and the Colts. With DeflateGate, either it matters or it doesn’t but they have to pick one thing. Losing draft picks seems stupid -it sounds like punishing a toddler after you get home from the store. The toddler won’t even remember what they did, nor will they care. Either remove the Patriots from the Superbowl or let it go.

The Seahawks seem to be on the side that no one cares, which is fine, we’re not really taking sides. Rules were broken. What if the game would’ve been won by the Patriots by a touchdown? What’s right is always right, even if no one else is doing it. What’s wrong is always wrong, even everyone else is doing it. The NFL has to decide whether or not this is a rule they care about and then either openly excuse the behavior and say “whatever,” or come down hard. Fact is -as of now, the Patriots cheated big time. They either should forfeit the AFC championship game or face no consequences, but punishing them in the draft just seems inane.


What the heck is WWU doing? I mean really. It was suggested that they could be intentionally tanking it because all possibilities have to be looked at, but seriously: What are they doing? Because that’s what it’s starting to look like and since eight out of nine teams are going to the wide open conference tournament this year -it might not be an entirely bad strategy.

Going off the assumption that they are somewhat intentionally tanking it -why not? If you could dominate, wouldn’t you want to, but if you couldn’t, why not write it in and develop your bench? That happens all the time and while it sucks for the seniors, it’s often better for the program’s overall health. If there are as many injury concerns as we’re being led to believe, the regular season is pretty meaningless this year anyway. The argument was made last year too, for the most part. All WWU has to do is make the tournament and theoretically they can count on a couple more home wins and other teams doing battle to punch their ticket.

And in regard to Anye in particular; he’ll do fine in any workouts he has with European teams, so it shouldn’t hurt him too much to not be playing major minutes, and could actually help in regard to keeping his body fresh.

That’s actually the exact problem with this conspiracy theory though: a lot of these games are close and the guys are playing major minutes. Their legs have to be increasingly dead. Everyone gets up to play WWU. This blog makes excuses all day long for the Vikings and yet right now they’re 2-5, with six out of their seven conference games being incredibly close. It’ll be interesting to see what happens this week when WOU and SMU head up for a visit.


How player-of-the-week is determined:

Every week people get annoyed by it. It’s an algorithm. It’s consistent. How about being happy for your conference brethren? How about being proud of them? How about wanting your opponents to be at their best? There’s a massive amount of insincerity permeating the human race that really grinds my gears. Evolution may say that we instinctively want worse for those around us, but the whole point of that whole humanity thing is that we have abilities beyond basic animalistic tendencies -we’re supposedly capable of more than pure survival instincts; to see the light; to see the joy; to see reason and to theoretically love wholeheartedly in spite of basic evolution telling us not to.

If evolution isn’t your thing: Eve ate the apple, no? Yes. She did. And we were all banished from the garden of Eden. 4,000 or so years later: “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests on His shoulders; and He is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, NRSV)

Our Wonderful Counselor told us to love each other as he loved each of us -enough to die for us. To die for our sins so we wouldn’t suffer, but instead receive everlasting life.

That seems a little extreme -in terms of teammates: rebound for each other, eat healthy meals for each other, get lots of sleep for each other, do well in your studies so no one gets academically ineligible -that all seems doable. As for your opponents? Genuinely wish one another the best at all things, in all times, on all days. Be happy for each other. In light of what He did, the ransom He paid -seems pretty silly that some of us try and do nasty things in a silly little game.

Granted, you could say that about life, but seriously: hold yourselves to a higher standard than the cesspool that is humanity, I mean c’mon -you live here. The natives that lived in the Pacific Northwest were notoriously benevolent -get with the program. MSUB -you joined our conference of potlatches -if you want to pillage and scalp instead, go join the RMAC.

Anyway: The formula will be kept private. As noted this week: Kevin Rima and Riley Stockton were two people that it was really hard to deny week after week; if a human was truly making the judgement call, they would’ve each already won at least once. Right now, things aren’t fair nor perfect, but the formula is consistent week in and week out. The computer does the math, but it’s often double and triple checked by human hand just to be on the safe side. Winners have come from literally half the teams in the conference so far and half of the winners have been from teams with losing records. Coincidence, but goes to show that anyone can and does win. We’ll go over the winners from conference play next week and re-address some of the questions that we had about the fallacies of the algorithm early on.


TL;DR: Saint Martin’s has a generic acronym; Ballghazi; Is WWU tanking intentionally?; Love your fellow conference folks.

Usual game predictions will be up tomorrow morning. If you have suggestions for a basketball parable: leave it in the comments, shout us out on twitter, or email us at gnacmbblog at gmail dot com.

Nutso November in Full Force

Disclaimer: This is a place holder post -this isn’t in depth, guys that deserve to be talked about aren’t being talked about. Sorry. November is crazy -it will get better.

And hopefully so will our conference because right now… things look bleak. Notable results from this weekend:

Friday

Montana Northern (NAIA) 80, Northwest Nazarene 61 
Colorado Christian (D2 RMAC) 63, Saint Martin’s 53
Academy of Art (Pac-West) 107, Simon Fraser 94
West Alabama (D2 Gulf South) 65, Alaska-Fairbanks 58
Azusa Pacific (Pac-West) 81, Western Oregon 74
BYU-Hawaii (Pac-West) 87, Central Washington 61

Some of those point differentials were obviously affected by fouling, but that is a heck of a lot of losses. And the wins: Northwest Indian College (meh) and Hawaii Pacific (hmmm). The worst of it may be the fact that Simon Fraser being a threat may have been debunked and Western Oregon looking like a dark horse for conference favorite may have also been debunked. Then again… it’s WOU. They beat Cal Poly Pomona early last year, lost a bunch of games… that could still be a coin flip. And Academy of Art could be much better than anticipated.

Still, Saturday it only got worse:

Azusa Pacific (Pac-West) 86, Saint Martin’s 69
Hawaii Pacific (Pac-West) 74, Central Washington 62
Westminster (NAIA) 73, Northwest Nazarene 68
Minnesota-Moorhead (Northern Sun) 74, Alaska-Fairbanks 52
Dominican (Pac-West) 114, Simon Fraser 112
BYU-Hawaii (Pac-West) 87, Seattle Pacific 74

So… the GNAC is officially not hosting any tournament games and the NAIA Frontier Conference has our number.

The good news is: both Westerns won! The above paragraph was written before seeing the results of the second game because GNAC knowledge is power, or something. Being an “expert” of D2 basketball on the west coast… I’ll take useless talents for 100, Alex.

Some of the scores inevitably are higher because of fouling, we’ll go for the more in-depth look in the next day or so. Also coming soon is some talk about how the Pac-West and CCAA is shaking out so far.

If the player of the week nominations go up today, it’ll be surprising, but those are also on the horizon… hopefully tomorrow. Good luck tonight to Seattle Pacific and Northwest Nazarene.

The Current Lull

It’s not that stuff isn’t going on, it’s that there needs to be meditation and a hardcore dose of no basketball, before the chaos starts.

If anyone else has looked at the November schedule… November is insane. Games are on weird days at weird times, we’re playing schools that we’re not particularly familiar with, and… March Madness? Please; Nutso November.

It’s the most wonderful time, of the year ♫

Late Fall when you get the overlap of football and basketball mixed with all of the cloudy days and changing of the leaves… plus, candy. Because Halloween.

In terms of the coming days… probably minimal posting. What’s Important Now is something that tends to take precedence, and right now that’s avoiding basketball fatigue. There are GNAC teams that are playing games in the next couple of weeks, but… there’s not a match-up with any meaningful team until 3pm on November 14 when the Sodexo tournament starts and CWU plays Minnesota-Crookston.

After that? WHOOOOSH, welcome to eat-sleep-breathe basketball. There are a grand total of eight meaningful GNAC games on November 14th alone, and between that day and the end of conference play? Approximately 275 more.

One thing that’s highly underrated is the amount of  exhaustion that the GNAC season as a whole causes; terms that are applicable include: intense and all-consuming.

Practices… every minute is filled with implication. The sense of being on a team with guys that mean the world to you but are also your biggest competition. Especially on teams without much hierarchy with so many new guys: everyone’s killing themselves every practice; take one rep off and BOOM your entire college career could change. Even on teams with established starters… It’s brutal. Your body is brutalized, your mind is brutalized, your ego when you make four straight bone headed mistakes and you know it’s all on you, and afterward you’re exhausted and starving and in one sense dreading the next practice but then in another sense want nothing more than to get back out on the court.

Games? Even games that are won by 25 are stressful -there are always tense moments until you walk it up and walk away and even after that, the pressure to stay on the pressure and keep the fundamentals going, keep your mind in the game and not think about the fact that you’re missing stuff at home, or you have a term paper that’s due the next day, or there were issues at the border, or that your legs are just done. And afterward it’s like “yeah, we won, but… there’s so much work left to do,” and nothing is ever good enough. You walk away thinking about things that you could have said that could have made some minute difference to affect the outcome in a better way, even though you won by 15.

And then you go home (or back to your hotel room) hating yourself both for what you didn’t do, and for holding resentment for things that other people could have done but didn’t do, even though everyone out there was doing their best to achieve success. I think the self-resentment felt is much worse on winning teams because there is the guilt that you got the W and you should be grateful and you’re exhausted and starving and in one sense dreading the next game but then in another sense wanting nothing more than to get back out on the court.

But that’s why we ball. Because it’s fun, meaningful, a blessing, and a heck of a good game. It gives us that chance to care, to put our all into something, to come together, and for our time on the court, to strive to be untouched by the world.


Alright… Lull? Rolling. That was rolling. That was a mid-season rant before we’ve even gone anywhere. Basketball creates some of the most stress but also some of the most joy; some of the most pain, and some of the most relief.

And before we get into the grueling amount of travel endured by GNAC teams, it’s important for us all to take a minute to remember that: We love and we genuinely like basketball.

With that I invite you to take a moment right now: yes -as you’re reading this blog post, and just breathe.

This season is going to be awesome, incredible, horrible, and painful. It is likely to be life changing, affirming, unforgiving, and an unforgettable experience.

That is why there hasn’t been much posting: practices have been going on, midterms are in full force, and there’s plenty of time in the next five months for us to OD on basketball; October is no time to do that.

Happy 1st Day of Practice!

The GNAC blog’s rankings went up super late yesterday, you can find them here. Check them out. Comment or re-rank them if you feel the need to; you don’t have to leave your email nor name; just what you think.

Honestly… Not sure. I don’t make definitive predictions. I say things like “We’re gonna rebound and we’re gonna play defense,” or “Program X is completely capable of beating Program Y given the chance.”

There’s not a team in the GNAC that doesn’t deserve praise, how about that? College basketball (and life for that matter) is about growth and development as coaches and players and people, and enjoying the blessing of our human experience.

Here are some reasons that I’m looking forward to watching each team, besides that whole it’s basketball and basketball is the best.

Anchorage: Travis Thompson, their new arena, player development; if Travis and the coaching staff can get everyone working together cohesively, they could do big things.

Fairbanks: They lost a lot, but Alaska is Alaska. Again, they’ve got a lot of young guys, a lot of step-up potential, and since everything is so wide open, hopefully the gymratitude was in full force this summer and we’ll see multiple guys step up and go “Let’s make something of it, let’s surprise some people.”

Simon Fraser: Again, it’s all about the player potential, it’s all about having fun with the roundball. They’re not going to lose every game, so it’ll be interesting to who they can catch sleeping on them.

WWU: They return so little and yet have such an amazing reputation for regeneration. The program of the starfish; their arms get cut-off and they just keep regrowing. Can’t wait to watch their style and really see what they do in non-conference. Every team needs to do well in non-con but what WWU does really sets the tone of how the GNAC is seen.

Seattle Pacific: Another team with huge amounts of responsibility in regard to conference perception. They’ve got guys waiting in the wings that didn’t have a chance before… It’s hard to surprise people when you’re picked #3, but that’s very well what could happen with SPU.

MSUB: The coaching staff has a strong history of taking a group of guys and turning them into a team; for that alone it’s impossible to count them out. They beat just about everybody last year, half way through the season they weren’t doing that great, they turned it around… MSUB is such a fun team, as much as you can get frustrated with them, they’re very hard to dislike.

CWU: The team is primarily young, so it’ll be a developing year and a great chance to keep an eye on what could happen in the future.

Saint Martin’s: They return three starters, everyone keeps overlooking them, they dealt with a bad case of the injury bug last year, and this time if they make the conference tournament they’ll do it in a gym that’s not their own.

WOU: Like SMU and SPU, they return three starters. They also did really well last year, circling on the outskirts of one of the “in crowd” teams. They made the conference tourney, they’ve had a chance for guys to develop, their experience alone is truly what gives them a chance to shake-up the order for the season, and they very well may do just that.

NNU: Same thing as every other team that’s getting a bunch of new guys; there’s always the chance that a few of them will break out and be complete game changers and turn everything on its head.


That’s right: Each team is going to be interesting and there’s not one that I’m uninterested in watching what they can and will do. As college football has taught us this year: anything can happen, so play defense because…

The Committee is Watching.

WE HAS A BLOG!

Here is some of what’s on the horizon:

  • conference perspective
  • schedule musings
  • results
  • NON-CONFERENCE COVERAGE AND ANALYSIS
  • hyperbole
  • GNAC bias

Covering the non-conference analysis is really, really important. One of the things that makes Division II different than D1 is knowing the potential opponents we’ll face in March from the first game of the season. This past year, by January 1st, the regional was going to be in southern California, with the 90% odds on San Bernardino hosting.

After non-conference season comes conference play (mostly) and this past year because non-conference was such a wash for the GNAC, every conference result had potentially huge implications. It was really funny to get to the end of the first conference round robin and realize we knew exactly as much as we did when non-conference play ended. That was hilarious if not aggravating.

People will probably be worried that since this blog is being written by an alum of a particular GNAC school that it’ll have biases about that school… meh. I picked my school to lose in the middle of a game when the opposing team was down by 10 and had a sub .500 record. Oh and it was our senior night. The opposing team won, I took a bunch of heat for it… Fact is: it wasn’t my fault.

And while it might be hard to believe: I know men’s basketball. I’ve watched a heck of a lot of it. I watch a heck of a lot of it every year. I’ve watched 35+ games a year in person since 2004, ranging from middle school select to NBA. I’m a straight-up hoopaholic and I’m not looking to go to rehab any time soon.

I never expected to find myself caring about division two basketball, but… here we are, and thus:

Welcome to the coverage of GNAC Men’s Basketball.