Yay for experience! Big congrats to the Vikings on forcing the Wildcats to play at your tempo. It didn’t work, but you still managed to do it and imposing will on game flow? We’re all about that, especially because Chico is usually so defensively sound. They were a flat-out mess in regard to that this game and yet… they still killed the Vikings. They allowed the Vikings to play the tempo they wanted, and it backfired and the Viks got their lutefisk handed to them by the 6th seed.
Again: the good news is it was likely a great learning experience because as far as we see it… The Viks return almost everybody. We’re never concerned about scoring; they bring back Daulton, Logan, Deandre, and Trey, and that makes the loss disappointing but life very happy.
Plus, Chico made the Elite 8, and in our opinion seeding in D2 doesn’t matter beyond who hosts, so it’s neither here nor there with where WWU should have/could have been seeded. Fact is, there’s only eight schools, you have to play everybody.
All that said:
Viking highlights: Taylor Stafford had 24 points; Logan Schilder showed a great glimpse of what we’ll hopefully see next year, picking up a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and just one foul; Daulton Hommes had five boards and five fouls in just 23 minutes (growing pains -it’ll get better Daulton); and Jeffrey Parker had 16 points and seven boards. Off the bench Deandre Dickson continued to do the sixth man-of-the-year thing with 16 points and four boards on great shooting.
The good news about the above is again that we get to keep Daulton, Logan, AND Deandre, so… more about them soon!
#3 WWU vs. #6 Chico State @12pm pacific.
We love Chico, full disclaimer. They’re one of our CCAA teams, with the other being UCSD. That being said, we like WWU’s chances. The teams share similar records, with Chico being 25-7 and WWU being 25-5. Their mutual opponents include CSU East Bay, Sonoma State, and UCSD, with the following results:
WWU 107, EB 81
Chico 78, EB 66
WWU 72, Sonoma 64
*Chico 53, Sonoma 50
*Chico 50, Sonoma 66
WWU 104, UCSD 81
Chico 56, UCSD 60
Chico 64, UCSD 59
Not much info to be gleaned because we assume UCSD was missing someone during the WWU game, Chico vs. Sonoma is a rivarly, and East Bay is usually in the bottom third of the conference. On the surface it looks like WWU is a much better team, but… They barely escaped against a WOU team that had only taken UAA to triple OT the night before via UAA (and the conference’s) best rebounder being out through the entire second half. And while that may scream ‘parity’ and that WWU has risen above that parity, there’s no telling exactly how much they’ve risen above it.
Taylor Stafford is the real deal, Jeffrey Parker has moments of being the real deal, Blake Fernandez has been great, Deandre Dickson is streaky but has his moments, Daulton Hommes consistently does good things for the team, Brad Wallace decided that he didn’t care how tall he was in the WOU game and just decided to go for it, which was awesome. We know a lot about the WWU team, we have a great respect and fondness for them, but this is the 2016-2017 season, which if anything has proven one thing: There are no guarantees. Chico always recruits well and is super well coached, we feel like they’re far more tested than WWU (see: four teams in the tournament vs. one), but…
Prediction: WWU wins. This is a homer pick. We know they’re capable, but we also know the Region is crazy, so we’re crossing our fingers just incase.
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!
Alright, here we go. Sorry Western Oregon =( Better late than never.
The Round of 64
Azusa Pacific 77, Seattle Pacific 66
We’re going to be blunt: APU straight up dominated SPU, which wasn’t necessarily unanticipated. SPU seemed to get worse as the season went on, APU had lost the initial meeting, and we think APU had to navigate through a much more difficult conference schedule than SPU did. It was what it was. We’re incredibly displeased with the performance, but we suspect everyone knows that considering it’s taken us six full months and all-out desperation of “$&%! football is starting, we need to put up these freaking posts,” because it was that bad. It wasn’t the Stanislaus collapse down the stretch (as in SPU collapsed in Bernardino two years ago), it was full on not show up, not give a crap bad. Except Bryce. Bryce Leavitt is exempt from all criticism.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a double-double with 13 rebounds, five assists, and 14 points while being 4/4 from the line; Will Parker had eight points; Gilles Dierickx had 10 points and six boards but only played 23 minutes while getting in foul trouble; Mitch Penner had 19 points in his final game for the Falcons; while off the bench Brendan Carroll went 2/9 from the field in his final game. There just aren’t words to describe the level of disgust we feel about Brendan, Gilles, Garrett, and Will. It’s one thing if an entire team plays like crap and there’s nothing you can do about it, but to do it while one player keeps sacrificing is beyond abhorrent. Mitch had a decent shooting game but where was the rebounding, where was the tenacity he so notoriously played with during his sophomore and junior years? Not there in his final game. Pathetic.
Western Oregon 82, Humboldt State 65
First and foremost: We’re so proud of Humboldt for winning their conference tournament and procuring the CCAA autobid. Sorry you got stuck with the Wolves, but there was so much parity this year (except for WOU) and you guys came on strong at the right time, and didn’t beat what would ultimately be a Final Four team, but still: Making the Regional is hard and you should be incredibly proud.
On the other side of incredibly proud… WOU played as perfect of a game as we’ve ever seen. Literally no bad numbers. Wow.
Wolves Highlights: Devon Alexander had 16 points and six boards; Julian Nichols had five boards, four assists, two steals, and 17 points; Tanner Omlid had a craaaazy amazing game with a double-double and perfect full house amongst six boards, three assists, a steal, two blocks, 18 points, and ZERO turnovers; and Andy Avgi had 15 points. Off the bench Alex Roth had five points; and Janvier Alaby had 11 points and five boards.
Together the team made 77% of their free throws and had just five turnovers. Wow.
The Round of 32
Western Oregon 81, Azusa Pacific 69
Yet another game that was incredibly well put together. We have to give Jim Shaw an incredible amount of credit in getting these guys to peak at the right time. WOU epitomized the “Well oiled machine” that teams need to be in the tournament to make it deep and… That’s what they did.
Wolves highlights: Devon Alexander had seven boards and 19 points; Julian Nichols had a full house with 18 points, six boards, eight assists, two steals, and a block; Jordan Wiley had 11 points; Andy Avgi also had a full house with 22 points, six boards, one assist, two steals, and three blocks. Off the bench Alex Roth went 4/4 from the line and contributed 7 points.
WOU & the Sweet Sixteen
UC San Diego 55, Western Oregon 60
We’ll actually talk about this game because we love UC San Diego -they’re our CCAA team; we fell in love with them over the fact that they don’t wear man-pris and they finished and won a game earlier this season with four players. If a coach does that, he has to be nuts, and you guys know we swear by nutso coaches. Plus, he’s shoved all the way down in San Diego so no one else has to deal with him 😉 We approve. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to catch a game in person this year.
The Tritons played an incredible game but ultimately got nothing from their bench and getting nothing from your bench isn’t going to make a win very likely against the elite team that WOU proved to be throughout the season.
Wolves highlights: Devon Alexander had six assists; Julian Nichols had 10 assists and zero turnovers; it was Andy Avgi’s turn to shine and he put the team on his back, with a perfect full house and scoring 25 points while being 6/6 from the line. Alex Roth was 4/4 off the bench and contributed four points, which very well could have been the difference.
Overall two incredibly good, incredibly well matched teams. WOU posted a line of 0 turnovers, which we’re not sure we believe. They’re a great team, but… Zero turnovers with a low rebounding number seems a little suspect. Who knows.
Tomorrow we’ll post the stuff about WOU in the Elite Eight and the Final Four.
Just some thoughts that are kicking around. We’ll see how this goes.
Why did Humboldt State make it?
Because they received the auto-bid via winning the CCAA tournament.
Would Humboldt have made it without the auto bid?
No. They had no non-conference strength of schedule and lost eight in-conference games.
Why didn’t Alaska-Fairbanks make it?
1. Because they lost in the conference championship game and thus failed to procure the GNAC’s auto-bid.
2. Because while the Nooks were hot to end the season, they had no strength of schedule -something that’s now an official criterium. Strength of schedule largely comes from winning on the road and scheduling tough teams during non-conference. UAF didn’t play a single true road game, and while playing on a neutral court (MSUB) they lost both games to Dixie State and Dominican, respectively. And remember -this was a Dominican team that had a loss to NNU during non-conference. Had Alaska-Fairbanks literally won out in conference play (or gone something like 18-2) they would have had an argument for an at-large berth even without the strength of schedule, but they were competing for an at-large against teams that did have strength of schedule.
Who was the first team out?
In our opinion Dixie State. Dixie State had good strength schedule but lost too many non-conference games. They went 18-5 in conference, same as UAF. That goes to reiterate that even had UAF had strength of schedule, their bubble may have still burst. In non-conference Dixie lost to SFSU, Seattle Pacific, and Sonoma State; while beating Alaska-Fairbanks and MSU-Billings. Say Humboldt doesn’t get the auto-bid, you go back to that UAF/Dixie match-up, and you’d have to go with Dixie. But UAF returns a lot; they’ll have every opportunity for an at-large berth next year.
What do you think about the seedings and the resulting match-ups?
We agree with the match-ups. The seeding was incredibly variable -there were so many good arguments for the teams that made it being in spots 2-7, that we can’t complain at all. What we find hilarious is that while the seedings were variable, the optimal match-ups weren’t. Here’s a graphic that shows as much:
Three different seedings. All the same match-ups. Is it annoying to have the two GNAC teams potentially meeting up in the second round? Sort of, not really. The keyword there is potentially. While we have complete faith in the Wolves, we’re terrified of the Azusa match-up from an SPU perspective. The Falcons haven’t been playing particularly well and the brilliant cohesion we saw during non-conference hasn’t been seen in weeks. We’re incredibly worried.
In no year do seedings truly matter because the West Region is always a mess, but this year especially. Six teams. Toss them into a hat and draw names; that’s your seeding. In the D1 tournament it’s said that if you want to win, you have to beat everybody. On the D2 level that sentiment is on steroids because there are only eight teams and in years like this, it can mean that two could-be Elite Eight level teams meet in the first round. Cal Baptist and Cal Poly Pomona? Absolutely. Both 100% have the talent and skill to make it to the Elite Eight. There’s a 1/8 chance that either team will. Every team in the region this year has shown the ability to be at the level, including Humboldt. It’s going to be such a huge matter of who can get hot at the right time. This year’s GNAC tournament was balls-to-the-wall crazy and we have no idea what to expect out of the West Region. Even knowing the types of blowouts Cal Baptist and Humboldt State managed and the type of blowouts Azusa Pacific and Chico State were subject to, there’s no telling what’s going to happen.
And we love it. Welcome to the effing madness, put your seatbelt on because it’s going to be a wild ride.
Are you going to the Regional this year?
Yup, so come say ‘hi!’ if you’re there. Unfortunately we’re going to miss the first two games of the day because of work commitments, but we’ll be following the stats and keeping up on twitter, so whether you’re in Monmouth or watching at home -tell us what you think! You can either @ us on twitter via @GNACMBBlog or come talk to us in person during the second session. We’ll be wearing maroon and acting really hyper; we keep trying to calm down and be a grown-up, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Will there be game previews on Friday morning?
Absolutely. It’s on our to-do list for today, so theoretically that means it’ll be done by tomorrow. And yes: We will be talking about every game.
Are you going to talk about non-GNAC teams if both get bounced in the first round?
Most likely not. We don’t usually get enough hits to make it worth it, and we found it kind of drove our in-conference followers bananas last year, even previewing non-GNAC games. We’re 50/50 on that this year, just because there is so much interlocking play and it has been so intriguing from a regional perspective, but… Most likely when the last GNAC team’s season ends, our season will end, and we’ll get into our post-season awards and those types of posts.
Alright, any questions not answered: Ask us on twitter or leave a comment. Otherwise we’ll see you guys Friday morning for the West Region Day 1 preview.
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.
In an hour we’re going to post a West Region ranking, but we thought we’d give you guys the numbers first.
This is a chart of every GNAC/Pac-West/CCAA true record -meaning it only includes D2 competition.
For the most part that chart is pretty straight forward and we feel the records are pretty explanatory with the exception of Humboldt State, but we’ll get more into that in an hour.
Don’t ask us to explain the pseudo-alphabetical order we used for the CCAA.
First, a tangent: The rankings will be announced any time now, there’s some thought that WOU should move into the #1 ranking, but we honestly are really 50/50, not because we don’t believe in the Wolves and want them to be #1, but because it’s subjective. Current #1 West Liberty killed a 1-5 Central State team, and then #2 Augustana murdered a 3-8 Wayne State team, so… Both did exactly what they needed to do to remain in those positions. #4 Moorhead beat 6-6 Northern State by 11, which isn’t great, so it shouldn’t cause them to rise. Cal Poly Pomona at #5 beat East Bay by 10, but East Bay has been giving everyone problems this year (Chico, SPU, now CPP) so seems par for the course. We’re curious to see if UCSD goes anywhere. We’re not in the camp that they necessarily need to move up, but we’re definitely in the camp that they shouldn’t move down considering they’re 9-1 with the one loss coming against the #3 Wolves and there are six one-loss teams ahead of them.
Aside from those pressing points -we’ll share our opinion on the rest of the actual tangible poll tomorrow. Moving on.
Some years it’s obvious who the Regional host is going to be, other years less so. The GNAC hasn’t hosted a regional since 2013 when Western Washington hosted it. In 2014 it was held at San Bernardino State and in 2015 Azusa Pacific. This year, we don’t see the trend of a SoCal school hosting it changing because:
a. SPU’s planned strength of schedule didn’t work out.
b. WOU’s lack of strength of schedule is glaring.
Strength of schedule is official criteria this year and while we think at this point they’re 100% on a trajectory to win an at large bid, we see the host site going to a SoCal school.
As it stands:
The GNAC is 16-15 against the Pac-West, 7-7 against the CCAA.
The Pac-West is 16-15 against the CCAA.
The West Region as a whole is 15-4 against non-west, while our non-west opponents are 45-42 overall.
So that would make you think “Okay, we’re going to Monmouth.” Hold on there Wolves. The CCAA is 61-48 overall (this takes into account west region, non-west region, and four-ish games of conference play). Yes, the GNAC has only played two conference games, but remember: Conference games add losses as well as wins, so we’re inclined to think it’s a wash at this point. Yeah, more games have been played; the other conferences have more teams.
Here’s what we’re looking at in terms of West Region potential hosts:
Humboldt -They’re 5-1 and their SOS is lacking massively, but they had a really good team last year, they return a lot, they haven’t played anybody, but at 5-1 it’s too early to officially rule them out. At this point, any one loss team has to be considered because they’re a one loss team a third of the way through the season. What do we think of heading to Arcata? Great. It’s roughly a 10 hour drive from Seattle and a seven hour drive from SoCal, so very central location, the campus is beautiful, and it would just be fun to get up there because we haven’t been in NorCal in a super long time (we as in the Regional; we as in us personally went to NorCal last week).
Cal Poly Pomona -currently undefeated at 9-0, like Western Oregon have a glaring lack of SOS, but we think CPP will have a chance to bump their strength of schedule more than the Wolves, because we see more schools in the CCAA being in serious consideration for at-large bids. The Broncos most quality non-conference wins are against Azusa Pacific (7-3) and Point Loma (5-5) but during the regular season they’ll be playing Humboldt (5-1), Chico (7-2), and UCSD -all other contenders for at large bids. What do we think of heading to Pomona? We’re down. SoCal in the Spring is always good. No complaints.
UCSD -currently 9-1 with their only loss being against undefeated WOU. They just played a really weird game against San Marcos where they managed to win going 4-5 in the final minutes due to foul outs and injuries. We like this team. We like this coaching staff. Because they’re CCAA they will get tested during the regular season, but they were also tested during non-conference. The Tritons have quality wins against Colorado Mines (6-3), Cal Baptist (10-2), and they only lost to WOU by four. Hopefully the WOU loss served as quality education because honestly the Tritons made some really, really stupid decisions during that game -they totally could have won it, to the point that it veers on the territory of a non-loss for the Wolves because it was that close. What do we think of heading to San Diego? Honestly, it’s a PITA. The flights from Seattle to SD are way over priced, but… again, SoCal in the Spring can’t complain, plus it’s a great location for the vast majority of teams looking the tournament.
Seattle Pacific -Currently 8-1, their one loss is to 7-1 CU-Irvine; they have wins over Chico State and Azusa Pacific, so definitely the best SOS in the GNAC, but we think they were intending to include BYU-H and Dixie State as part of their SOS and at this point they’re not. SPU just seems to kind of always get screwed in regard to hosting and honestly -we’d rather go somewhere fun during the Spring rather than stay home, so… Either way. The Falcons aren’t going to really get tested much during the regular season -there’ll definitely be scares, everyone wakes up to play them, so @ MSUB’ll be rough, the Alaska schools are always brutal, CWU hopefully they’ll escape without injuries, the second WWU game should test them, and then of course WOU x2 will be terrifying, but… WOU in all honesty is less scary than the others because if you lose to WOU you know it’s another tourney bound team so it doesn’t matter quite as much.
Western Oregon -Currently undefeated, as noted we don’t think they’re going to move into a #1 ranking, we’ve said before that we like the idea of heading to Monmouth, but we don’t think it’s going to happen because the Wolves SOS is 100% atrocious and it was intended to be bad. It wasn’t a case like SPU where they scheduled theoretically good teams and then those teams weren’t as good as anticipated -they scheduled down in regard to matching up with NDdN, FPU, and HNU in particular. With all they had coming back, there’s really no excuse. We’ve noted this before: D2 schedules have some pre-standing arrangements, but they’re largely very movable for your personnel. We’re guessing that if WOU had reached out in interest of playing some of the projected top CCAA/Pac-West teams, they would have gotten an affirmative because CPP’s SOS sucks too and that would have been a really good match-up. You’re no longer “saving” yourself by scheduling bad teams -not that we ever thought it was a good idea regardless of SOS counting, because of that little thing called personal integrity. Any game, anywhere, any time. That has always been our policy and it’s served us well.
We’ll say this right now: We don’t see a Pac-West team hosting the tournament this year. It’s most likely going to be a CCAA team or Western Oregon. But we’re going to go through and talk about a few teams with potential, just incase all heck breaks loose.
Azusa Pacific -At 7-3, this seems 100% unlikely, but we’ll include it just because you have to admit that those three losses come @ SPU, against Cal Poly Pomona, and at Point Loma in overtime. Point Loma has five losses, but those losses come against Western Oregon, Cal Poly Pomona, Dixie State, CU-Irvine, and Cal Baptist. Five losses are enough for us not to include PLNU in our discussion of hosts, but we will give them due credit that the schedule has been brutal. Still, play good teams and win. We like Azusa, we respect their record, but hosting isn’t gonna happen. Tournament bound minus the hosting? We like their chances.
Cal Baptist -Good win against #4 MN-Moorhead, killed the Sea lions of Point Loma, narrowly got beat by Azusa, somewhat quality win against Alaska-Anchorage, they’re yet to play CU-Irvine, so those two games loom large on the schedule. We don’t see them hosting but we do see them making the tournament.
CU-Irvine -This is kind of the ‘x’ factor team of the Pac-West. If a PW team is going to host, it’ll likely be CU-Irvine, which is just fine with us; SoCal, + one of our favorite colleagues lives in that area, so that works. CU-Irvine is famous around this blog for being SPU’s one loss, the Eagles themselves have a loss against San Marcos but from our understanding that’s a long-standing NAIA D1 rivalry, so… We look at that differently. Anything can happen in a rivalry game. We anticipate CU-I being ranked officially this week, we like it because it helps our conference SOS. It seems unlikely that the Eagles host -they’d basically have to go undefeated in conference play for it to happen, because their only quality win is against SPU and that was in OT on a neutral court, so… Still more than Chico has, but we’re looking forward to following them during conference play and seeing what happens. The Eagles are going to serve as the GNAC blog Pac-West pet until further notice.
The short version of that is we see Western Oregon, UCSD, and Cal Poly Pomona as being the teams likely to host, with Seattle Pacific, CU-Irvine, and Humboldt being other remote possibilities. We think Humboldt will pick up some losses in a hurry now that they’re playing actual teams (we complain about WOU & CPP’s SOS, but Humboldt is so much worse), with CU-Irvine the Pac-West doesn’t seem to have the collective SOS to make it a possibility, and then SPU is suffering not only from a lack of conference SOS, but also from a lack of signature non-conference win -which, yes, is frustrating because they tried and they won good games during non-conference but it likely wasn’t enough.
We like the thought of the Regional going to Cal Poly Pomona or UCSD largely because we don’t want to stay home in Seattle, SoCal is nice, and the infrastructure for hosting such a tournament in Monmouth is there but not desirable.
A post about the West vs. the Rest will be up in an hour and then tomorrow’ll be a nice big discussion about the rankings.