Hooooo boy, today was everything we wanted and more in terms of great play, great games, and a great place to watch the tournament.
We were hesitant about SPU hosting it because of the parking situation, but at least today the parking was fine -not sure how COVID19 is affecting things attendance-wise, but for midday games on a Thursday, they felt pretty well attended? It seemed like each school had about 50 or so people in attendance, so some good noise was made. The games were intense and amazing and so… Let’s talk about them.
#6 UAF 91 @ #3 WOU 88
HOLY OH GEE OH MY. WOU was up 15 at the half, but the general buzz in the gym was that this is the GNAC and UAF has Shadeed Shabazz and so 15? Please. Turns out everyone was right, because UAF made great halftime adjustments and then it was back and forth the whole way. Absolutely amazing. Ridiculously fun game. We had a fun time watching the SPU guys watch the game -it’s the opposite side of the bracket, and so they didn’t really have a horse in the race and yet they were into it big time. Super fun.
Nook highlights: SHADEED SHABAZZ had a whopping 42 points along with five assists and five fouls; Spencer Sweet had a full house; KOBY HUERTA was everywhere and had 18 points on good shooting; and Mawich Kachjaani had 10 boards. Off the bench Keshaun Howard had six points; and Alex Sommerfield had 10 points.
Wolf highlights: Cameron Cranston had 17 points; Dalven Brushier had 21 points; Darius Lubom had 24 points and five boards; and off the bench Emanuel Gant had 16 poing, eight boards, seven assists, six steals, and three blocks among quite the impressive full house.
Yes, the defense was lacking overall, but… Ridiculously fun game to watch. There was a weird technical called on Shadeed that amazingly neither fanbase thought was necessary and it looks like it ultimately was rescinded post-game? Overall the reffing wasn’t as atrocious as we’ve often seen. Great game by both teams, big congrats to the Wolves on an intense and better-than-expected season, and congrats to the Nooks on living to see another day. Good luck against WWU.
#5 UAA 85 @ #4 NNU 76
Is it really a true upset when the #5 team upsets the #4? Maybe in this case, considering WWU/NNU/WOU were all essentially tied, with Anchorage one step below and yet Anchorage got the upset, so that’s impressive? Good for Anchorage. NNU has some ridiculously good players, but unfortunately they didn’t schedule their non-con to be a bubble team, and as such with this first round loss, their season is over.
Seawolf highlights: Niko Bevens had 12 points; Tyrus Hosley had 15 points and five boards; Jack Macdonald had 11 points and five boards; and Oggie Pantovic was held to 12 points and only 20 minutes played via foul trouble. Off the bench DeAndre Osuigwe had nine points; and Tyler Brimhall had 17 points.
Nighthawk highlights: Sam Roth had seven boards; Beto Diaz had 10 points; George Reidy had a good game with 17 points; Jayden Bezzant had five fouls; Spider Adetunji had 10 points and 11 boards among a full house of stats; and off the bench Jaylen Fox had 12 points.
It’s funny. This is another one of those games where we look at the stats and go “How did NNU lose?” and yet they did. It’s a head scratcher. They started off slow, caught on fire throughout January and most of February, and then in their last three games were insanely competitive and yet couldn’t get it done against a wide range of conference teams. There’s something almost poetic in losing to the #1 team, the #5 team, and the #11 team. Still -congrats to the NNU seniors on a heck of ride, and congrats to the Seawolves on getting the upset; good luck against SPU.
Today’s games were so insane we still feel mildly dazed, it’s so weird that we’re finally entering post-season play after a conference season that seemed to last forever in the best way possible. Because all of the GNAC teams were so well matched, the beginning of February felt like the end of February and every week would ramp up to a new level of intensity you didn’t know was possible, and then yup: The first day of the conference tournament took it up yet another notch that no one knew existed. So insane. So much fun.
It came up a couple of times that the Alaska schools are on opposite sides of the bracket and thus we could have an all-Alaska final. Obviously there are miles to go before that happens, but… It is a possibility, which is cool.
We had a blast at the first day of the conference tournament, SPU is doing a great job and has taken great steps in terms of making hand washing more easily accessible in light of COVID19, so… 10/10 Day One Logistics, Birdies.
Game previews’ll be up in the AM.
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
Gooood morning and welcome to the start of the GNAC Men’s Basketball Tournament, hosted in the Peoples Republic of Seattle.
All times pacific.
#3 WOU vs. #6 UAF @ 12pm
Yes, these teams just met and it was a BARN BURNER, but that was in Monmouth, and Seattle is oddly a way more neutral site. Greg Sparling has his contingent of Ellensburg peeps, and then Seattle is the “Gateway to the Alaskan Frontier,” and so there should actually be a decent number of Alaskans in attendance. The thing is, we could see this game going three ways: WOU wins a blow-out, WOU wins a close one, or UAF wins a close one. We don’t see UAF winning in blow-out fashion. In the regular season both games were close and WOU won both, but as Coach Wes reminded us… Teams are incredibly unlikely to win three in a row.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
#4 UAA vs. #5 NNU @ 2:15pm
Honestly… We think NNU is under-seeded. They went on a craaaazy long winning streak between January and February, they have super talented guys that seemingly largely peaked as juniors but have finally found some of the magic once again (looking at you, Beto Diaz). Both teams are currently on a two-game skid in similar situations; losing agonizingly to a good team and a bad team, respectively, and so… We’ll see. It’s the GNAC, and so as much as we have a feeling about NNU…
Prediction: Pick ’em.
This tournament should be great. We’re curious to see how SPU handles the parking logistics. We’re expecting every game to be well-attended by opposing fanbases because it is admittedly by far the most centrally located and convenient location for all involved, and so… It should be a good tournament.
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
Was it that big of a victory technically speaking? No.
But, like, seriously? IT WAS UP AGAINST THE WALL against a team from a really great league and really great Region in their HOME CITY.
It feels like a really great victory. And it’s the flippin’ FINAL FOUR and so it was DEFINITELY a great victory.
But seriously: This game was ugly.
For the first 10 or so minutes, Point Loma was in control. Thanks to free throws, Southern Indiana got back in it and it was 31-30 in favor of PLNU going into halftime. The second half had a lot of false senses of security. We’d be biting our nails and then Point Loma would take some breathing room and then we’d go back to biting our nails, and then Point Loma would get some more breathing room. While USI never led, they were never out of it.
It actually felt like a lot like the SMU game, but with worse defense.
We’re starting to be convinced that SMU was like a 70-30 split on great defense to mediocre offense and had they been 60-40, they probably would’ve been in this game instead.
Southern Indiana highlights: Alex Stein had 22 points and seven boards while going 9-11 from the free throw line and shooting well from the field; Kobe Caldwell had 16 points and five boards, plus two steals; Emmanuel Little played really well and had 16 points and nine boards; Matteo River had 10 points and two steals; and off the bench Josh Price had five fouls and two blocks.
Sea Lion highlights: Preston Beverly had 12 points and eight boards among a full house of stats; Josh Rodriguez had 10 points and SEVEN assists while going 6-6 from the line; Tanner Nelson had five fouls; Ziggy had 16 points and eight boards; Daulton had 20 points and five boards while going 5-5 from the line; and off the bench Sterling Somers had nine points on perfect shooting from the field.
Each team had 34 rebounds and USI had 14 turnovers to PLNU’s 11 and… There’s your difference.
The other big difference was Sterling Somers. In a battle of the starters, Sterling was absolutely invaluable. In our opinion as much as the five starters played well (yes: including you Tanner), Sterling was the MVP.
By the time you get to the Elite Eight/Final Four every team has a couple of all-league players, every team has starters and even a bench player or two that would start on every team in their league, every team makes their free throws, every team rebounds, that’s how they’ve made it this far, but… When you go down your bench, how many guys can you truly rely on in the Final Four?
Southern Indiana’s starters scored 64 points with the rest combined providing seven points.
Point Loma’s starters scored 65 points, with Sterling chipping in nine (on perfect shooting) and that right there was the difference. The rest of the bench provided a combined seven points just like Southern Indiana.
Literally, almost perfectly matched teams, but Southern Indiana didn’t have a Sterling Somers and… There was the loss.
All of that said: Congrats to PLNU on a huuuuuge win, and for those like us from/currently in western Washington: The National Championship game is being broadcast live on Kiro 7 at 12pm.
Game preview’ll be up in the AM and we’ll be live-tweeting the actual game, so chime in!
Go Sea Lions!!
WE CALLED IT.
Numbers. Don’t. Lie.
This game… It largely played out like we expected. We expected the teams to come out strong, it didn’t surprise us that the Sea Lions worked up a lead in the first half, and then it is the Elite Eight and so quality halftime adjustments on the side of Queens made sense. It also made sense that Queens faded down the stretch, seeing as Queens bench wasn’t trusted. Shaun Willett and Daniel Carr were carrying the load by far.
Queens highlights: Shaun Willett had 27 points and 11 boards; Kenny Dye had 10 points; and Lewis Diankulu had 10 points and six boards. Off the bench Jermaine Patterson had eight points; and Kevion Blaylock had four boards.
Sea Lion highlights: Preston Beverly had 22 points, six boards, and three steals all on good shooting; Josh Rodriguez had a good smattering of field stats; Tanner Nelson had 11 points; Ziggy Satherwaite had eight boards; and Daulton Hommes had 22 points and seven boards among a full house of stats. Off the bench Brock Mackenzie had seven points; Sterling Somers had nine points and four boards; and Ben Oktin had three boards in just six minutes.
Really not happy with the Sea Lions rebounding, it needs to be better tonight. Queens did a fantastic job containing the Sea Lions in that respect; it was only a differential of four, but… Again: Elite Eight. Both teams did a solid job on the turnovers; PLNU had 10 while Queens had 12.
Overall we’re satisfied with this game, it was great to see Preston Beverly go ham, but the fact is Queens got back in it after PLNU had a sizable lead and that’s not going to lead to a win tonight if they allow it to happen against Southern Indiana.
Previewing the Southern Indiana game…
Southern Indiana the 7 seed in this re-seeded format, and so Point Loma is “favored” BUUUUUT the game is being played in Evansville, Indiana, although not on Southern Indiana’s literal home court.
What to know about Southern Indiana: They play in a traditionally strong conference in a traditionally strong Region. They finished 3rd in their conference that has perennial tournament teams like Bellarmine and Drury. They lost in the second round of their conference tournament, were seeded 4th in their Regional, and squeaked through the round of 32 to win their Regional against conference brethren and #2 seeded Bellarmine.
Needless to say: They are a very good team, a very tested team, and playing at home. Winning this game is going to be a tall order, but… Let’s see what the numbers say.
The Screamin’ Eagles go about seven guys deep, have a positive A/TO, and while it says they average 39 rebounds a game… We’re not so sure about that number.
Players to know:
Alex Stein is their offense. He’s a 6’3/190lb senior from Evansville, that averages 20 points and 35 minutes a game, while shooting 55% from the field, 46% from beyond the arc, and 85% from the line. Not the biggest collector of field stats, but does average four boards a game and has a very positive A/TO.
Kobe Caldwell is their go-to forward. He’s 6’6/200lbs and averages 28 minutes a game and puts up numbers like 14ppg and five boards, while shooting terribly from three point land. He takes a lot of shots, but we wouldn’t call him a shooter; however: DON’T FOUL THE GUY. He makes 82% of them.
Emmanuel Little is only a sophomore but their best all around player. He’s 6’6/215lb and averages 11 points and seven boards while playing about 24 minutes per game. We noticed he only played 15 minutes last night due to foul trouble; seems like a good idea.
Matteo Rivera is a 6’2/190lb guard, averages 30 minutes a game, grabs five boards per, while scoring eight points and shooting 55% from the field. He averages more than a steal per game, so don’t get your pocket picked.
Jacob Norman is 6’5/210 and doesn’t take a whole lot of shots but does make 80% from the line, so another not to foul. He averages 25 minutes, five points, and five boards a game, so they would be solid numbers coming off of the bench, but… He’s a starter.
Off the bench, they have two main guys:
Nate Hansen is their sixth man. He’s 6’4/200lb senior, also from Evansville and has now spent 8+ years playing with Jacob Norman. He plays about 25 minutes, averages 10 points a game, and shoots a whopping 90% from the charity stripe, so if this guy goes to the line a lot, the Sea Lions will be sunk.
Josh Price is a banger that was doing solid work last night. He’s a 6’8/250lb sophomore that tends to average around 15 minutes although he was in for a lot longer against West Texas A&M.
Overall, on the one hand none of the numbers stand out, beyond the fact that they seem to play at a pretty frenetic pace. They average 81 points a game while holding their opponents to 71. The score against West Texas A&M was 94-84, and so if the Sea Lions are willing to run, this game should be really fast paced.
Hopefully everyone is shooting well. This could be a really beautiful game to watch from a basketball perspective if all of the shooters are on.
Not sure what we think in regard to the match-up. Both teams are very balanced as it comes to rebounding, PLNU averages 80ppg while holding opponents to 65, so there is maybe something there, but… Point Loma essentially only goes six guys deep, while playing in a much worse conference and a much worse Region.
We get why USI was seeded 7th (hint: it was because of the original seeding) but as cliche as it is: they’re really not a seven seed. It’s the WIAA equivalent of a poorly seeded Metro team winning State.
And so… We think PLNU absolutely has the ability to win this game, but with Southern Indiana playing essentially at home and Point Loma so untested comparatively, it’s going to be an uphill battle.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
Just like last night, we’ll be live-tweeting throughout the game so tweet back at us!
Go Sea Lions!!
We took a week completely off just because… We needed it. Big time. We had a blast at the tournament, seriously couldn’t have had more fun, we loved every second, but the season was exhausting and we knew we intended to write about Point Loma as far as they go, and so… It makes enough sense to talk about the Sweet 16 game today, right before we preview Point Loma in the Elite Eight.
And so… Let’s discuss.
#1 PLNU 60 vs. #3 SMU 54
First and foremost, credit to SMU’s defense. Second: this game was nothing like we expected it to be. We expected Point Loma to come out swinging and at full strength, similarly to their dominance of UCSD two nights earlier. We similarly expected that SMU had finally found their offensive rhythm against SPU and so they would be at at their best as well. We expected that Point Loma would eventually win by 10 or so points, in the realm of 85-75. And yet the fact was: SMU had almost zero offense, kept themselves in it on defense, had every opportunity to win, and yet as somewhat expected: their collectively low basketball IQ made it impossible.
Now, the fact is, everyone was tired. It’s a long season. We were excited for the game and definitely running on adrenaline, but it’s hard to get your body to function as well as you need it to, in our opinion especially after one day of rest. An object at motion stays at motion, but you throw in that day of rest with the compounding exhaustion of the season on top of it, and… Instead of things getting better, they get worse.
That said, SMU should have found a way to win. An all-world Point Loma team was within reach the entire time and SMU couldn’t close the deal, which leaves such a bitter taste in our mouth. Not that we think SMU would have made noise in Indiana (we think PLNU has a way better shot) but in this Sweet 16 game SMU was rarely down more than two possessions and PLNU’s largest lead of the night was 10, despite a massive home court advantage. The difference is when a high basketball IQ team is playing terribly, they still move the basketball and trust each other to get the best shot. SMU kept trying to pick-n-roll and against the larger Point Loma team, it was almost impossible. Low basketball IQ decisions all night long.
We love SMU, we really, really do, but there’s a reason that Jordan Kitchen put up the best numbers: He comes from Seattle Prep. He’s been playing and been expected to play fundamental high IQ basketball for years and years. Because of that… On the one hand, the Saints were always in reach, but on the other hand it never felt like they were actually going to win.
SMU highlights: Jordan Kitchen had nine points and five fouls; and EJ Boyce had six assists. Off the bench BJ Standley had 10 points; and Tavian Henderson went 5-6 and finished with 10 points.
PLNU highlights: Preston Beverly had nine boards; Tanner Nelson had seven boards; Ziggy Satherwaite had seven boards and 15 points; Daulton Hommes had 25 points and five boards; and off the bench Sterling Somers had eight boards.
The Sea Lions collectively out-rebounded the Saints 40-27.
The Saints managed to have a mere SEVEN turnovers, while the Sea Lions had a whopping 15.
Numbers-wise at a glance, this game looks like a defensive grind-it-out, but… Honestly: Point Loma’s defense wasn’t that good, SMU was just missing everything and taking a bunch of terrible shots on bad mismatches.
The good news is… Queens University of North Carolina looks similarly exploitable.
And so… Congrats to SMU on a good season, congrats on making the Sweet 16, and congrats to all of their seniors on great SMU careers.
This is going up later today than we intended, and we’re going to preview Point Loma in a separate post, so that’ll be up hopefully by 5pm, and then we’ll be live-tweeting PLNU vs. Queens starting at 6:30pm.
Congrats to all eight teams on a fantastic Regional.
Gooood morning and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It was another great night of basketball, even if results were less-than-desired for some of us, and so… Let’s talk about it.
#2 SPU 63 vs. #3 SMU 67
This game was amazing. It epitomizes March. Both teams wanted it. Both teams are talented. We’re happy to see EJ Boyce click back into gear, and hope he even cranks it up one more notch against Point Loma on Monday. This game really could have gone to either team; SPU led by four at the half, SMU ended up winning by four at the end.
Saints highlights: Luke Chavez had 10 points, seven boards, and four assists; Jordan Kitchen had seven boards; Rhett Baerlocher had five boards; and EJ BOYCE had 17 points. Off the bench BJ Standley had 18 points; and Tavian Henderson had eight points.
Falcon highlights: Harry Cavell had 13 points; Gavin Long had 16 points and five boards. Off the bench Sam Simpson had 11 boards and went 5-6 from the line; and Divant’e Moffitt had 11 points on great shooting.
The Saints out-rebounded the Falcons 39-33, so that’s exciting. SMU played absolutely elite and stifling defense. The lack of numbers from the SPU starters is huge, although somewhat unsurprising because Nathan Streufert has cooled as the year has gone on, and then Coleman Wooten and Nikhil Lizotte are both really 50/50 from the field; they’re either warm or cold, but rarely have “okay” shooting games. This game they were cold and some of it was a product of the SMU defense, but some of it was just them not making shots. Senior leaders gotta lead and that’s what the SMU seniors did while the Falcon seniors did not.
We’re honestly fine with this result; we love SMU, go to tons of SMU games, always have a great time, we love the SMU players, but… It was a ref show. To the point that both coaches got frustrated about it, even though it was going in one direction and that was in favor of SMU. SPU’s Sam Simpson got a technical. Sam Simpson is 6’8/210 with a giant wingspan and one of the most laidback basketball players we’ve ever met. Nothing phases him. He’s just chill. Think Tim Duncan. And so Sam got the technical and there was a six point swing and ultimately SPU would lose, but…
Good teams find a way to win. SMU found a way to win. Was it entirely on them? No. But as noted above: SPU was cold, and SMU was warm. The Falcons had no answer for Jordan Kitchen in the paint, and took time to figure out an SMU offense that they’ve seen twice before. They quite honestly simply got outmanned, out-bodied, and out-played. For Falcons looking for solace: SMU graduates everybody. SPU returns every notable number of today, with the exception of Sam Simpson’s rebounding. It was a bad game for the SPU seniors to go out on, but… Y’all got one extra game. You shouldn’t have escaped the Chaminade game, and you Houdini’d it, and now congruence has returned.
#1 PLNU 73 vs. #4 UCSD 50
Honestly, as much as it was walking toward a blow-out by the end of the first half, it was a super entertaining blow-out and we enjoyed watching it. Not one team has a match for Daulton. Not one. But UCSD still has some great guys that we enjoyed watching, notably freshman Tyrell Roberts is ridiculously fantastic. Shots weren’t falling quite as well as he would have liked, but… He’s a freshman and we’re ridiculously excited to keep an eye on him for one more year -UCSD bumps up to D1 in the 2020-2021 season. The other Triton that stood out big was Chris Hansen; he’s a 6’7/245 undersized center that did a solid job against PLNU’s Ziggy Satherwaite.
UCSD highlights: Tyrell Roberts had 15 points; Chris Hansen had 14 points and nine boards; Christian Bayne had seven points and five fouls; Scott Everman had five boards; and Gabe Hadley had five fouls.
PLNU highlights: Daulton Hommes had 27 points and 11 boards; Ziggy had six boards; and Preston Beverly had seven boards. Off the bench Ben Okhotin had 10 points in just 11 minutes on perfect shooting; and Sterling Somers had four boards.
It’s funny; we loooove Preston Beverly, loved having him in the GNAC, think he’s a great player, and yet next to Daulton he looks so pedestrian. He is a great player, make no mistake, and remember that he does a lot of Daulton’s dirty work. Speaking of Daulton’s dirty work… Best thing we’ve seen in a game all year: Less than 10 seconds left in the first half, Daulton hits a long three, pats the UCSD head coach’s leg, and then runs back on D. Hilarious. Huge show of dominance. We love it. We love friendly cockiness. Find it hysterical.
Other things about this game… PLNU’s David Frohling drove us absolutely bonkers. Attention seeking celebrations on the bench that eventually got him a very deserved talking to by the whistles. We understand he draws people to games, we assume because he has an outgoing, class-clown personality, but… Dude, you’re a freshman. You made your teammates achievements all about you, and it is icky. Who knows though, maybe it’s a SoCal thing? We’re from the PNW, where humility is the name of the game.
Honestly, there really isn’t much to say about this PLNU win; it was a blow-out. It was a methodical blow-out and in many ways felt exactly like so many of our games from undergrad. Very prototypical Ryan Looney game, although admittedly also featuring arguably the best player he’s ever coached. We’re curious to see the Sea Lions against SMU.
We enjoyed both of these games. We’re enjoying being at the tournament. The Point Loma campus is beautiful, everyone has been super nice, and the weather has been perfect. We’re excited to watch SMU vs. PLNU tomorrow, and on that note…
Congrats to SPU on a good season, the game preview for PLNU vs. SMU will be up tomorrow.
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
Here is the bracket:
Just so we’re clear:
- Point Loma
- Seattle Pacific
- Saint Martin’s
- Cal Poly Pomona
- Western Oregon
Quite honestly… We can’t stand this bracket. This is why D2 brackets should be decided Regionally because unlike D1 where it’s easy to watch all of the good teams and conferences, the Regions know best.
Point Loma at #1 makes sense.
Seattle Pacific at #2 makes sense.
Saint Martin’s at #3 MAKES NO DARN SENSE. They didn’t make their conference championship game and they only barely won their conference regular season title. They’ve been fading. They lost to WOU by 15 and barely beat GNAC #9 Central Washington as the last game of the season. We also dislike it because we consider CU-Irvine to be THE MOST favorable match-up out of any of the top four seeds.
UC San Diego at #4 on the surface makes enough sense.
Cal Poly Pomona at #5 MAKES NO DARN SENSE. Cal Poly Pomona and UC San Diego LITERALLY JUST FACED EACH OTHER. They also both are clearly hotter than Saint Martin’s and UCSD had a blow-out win over the Saints in non-con if you want to make that argument. If you’re making the argument that non-con doesn’t matter, then Cal Poly Pomona ALSO won their conference regular season title AND made it to their conference championship game. Either way it spells UCSD and CPP over Saint Martin’s.
CU-Irvine at #6 makes okay sense, and we are really curious to see them match-up with SMU. While CU-I had a blow-out loss to SPU in non-con, it’s been a long time and they managed to remain #2 in the Pac-West all year, plus lost respectably to Point Loma both late in the season and in the Pac-West championship game.
Chaminade at #7 makes sense. We made that argument in the final bracketology post.
Western Oregon at #8 makes questionable sense. They just beat Saint Martin’s. Yeah, there’s the whole “what have you done for me lately” thing, um, they made the freaking GNAC championship game. “They lost to both SMU and SPU in the second match-up of the season. They just got blown out by SPU.” Yeah, and their non-con was questionable too, we get it: They were an at-large bid and you can’t place them at #7 because SPU was so solidly the #2 seed, buuuuuut now you have a team that just beat the almost-#1 seed, in southern California where they could reasonably upset the actual #1 seed.
All to say: We hate the bracket, but it makes as much sense as it can with the eight best teams in the west all receiving a bid. It would have been easy and far less complicated to leave Chaminade out, but there is no question that they are better than East Bay, and the bracket as it is will make for some really fun match-ups.
A reminder of the match-ups because the screen cap sucks:
#1 Point Loma vs. #8 Western Oregon
#2 Seattle Pacific vs. #7 Chaminade
#3 Saint Martin’s vs. #6 CU-Irvine
#4 UC San Diego vs. #5 Cal Poly Pomona
We wrote all of that as soon as the bracket was announced, and then decided to sit on it for about 24 hours to see if we calmed down.
Overall… We agree with what we wrote last night. Our preferred bracket at this point would be:
- Point Loma -Duh.
- Seattle Pacific -Questionable non-con, but good run in-conference, and conference tourney champions.
- UCSD -Good non-con, questionable in the late season, but righted the ship and became conference tourney champions.
- Cal Poly Pomona -Non-existent non-con, but good run in-conference, and made the tourney championship game.
- Saint Martin’s -Good non-con, good run in-conference, but starting to look a little tired.
- Western Oregon -Upset the would-be #1 seed, has wins over all of the top GNAC teams, peaking at the right time.
- CU-Irvine -Questionable non-con but the consistent #2 to a quality Point Loma all year.
- Chaminade -Decent non-con, good run in-conference, but #3 in both the regular season and the conference tourney.
The flaws with that bracket include:
- Two Pac-West teams playing immediately but they were on opposite sides of the conference tournament bracket and so they didn’t just play each other, unlike the actual bracket that has the CCAA championship game being repeated six days later. We’re so annoyed about that. Like we get that it’s only eight teams, but seriously?!
- Saint Martin’s being seeded higher than the WOU team that just beat them but by WOU not being eighth there is tacit acknowledgement that they did make it to their conference championship game.
- CU-Irvine was a bubble team; while you could make an argument that they’re seeded lower than they might be, as noted in Bracketology Pt. 4, they had the possibility of their bubble being burst, and so a 7th is still reasonable.
Those arguments made and how much we dislike this bracket covered… The regional format is the Regional format, and it means that you have to play everybody. Our favorite reference: In 2013, three of the top four teams overall nationally were in the west region: Western Washington, Seattle Pacific, and Cal Poly Pomona. They all played the first round against other opponents, and then SPU and Cal Poly Pomona met in the round of 32, and SPU and WWU met in the round of 16. It sucked.
But that’s not this year. This year, it was amusing watching the selection show and listening to the guys rave about various regions and talk about how “strong Division II is right now,” meanwhile we’re sitting there going “NOT THE WEST REGION!” Thankfully they didn’t wax poetically about how great the West Region is, merely noted the parity. That’s fair, lol. But just a reminder: PARITY DOESN’T MEAN GOOD. It just means parity. West Coast Life. Pac-12 football; different league, different sport, same sh*t.
We’re curious to look at the numbers our Region puts up vs. a few of the other Regions. We’re also curious to see what happens at our Regional. From a match-ups standpoint, the bracket is compelling.
Those are our thoughts on the bracket. Our “all tournament team” and/or our MVP of the GNAC tournament will be up tomorrow.
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
We realize that we ended up with the titles of these posts being a day off. It made sense in our head as we were going into the third day, but… At this point in the season, we’re exhausted. Really exhausted.
It’s times like this when we’re reaaaally glad these guys are all in their early 20s and have seemingly endless amounts of energy, because the GNAC schedule is brutal. And actually, we remember being on this schedule in undergrad and we were still exhausted. The guys have to be running on pure adrenaline.
Alright men, you have approximately three days to recover and then you’ll be on a plane to San Diego, but… More about that later.
Let’s talk about the GNAC Championship game!
The atmosphere in the gym was interesting. WWU didn’t have a ton of community members in attendance (*coughs* Lacey is better *coughs*) and so the vast majority of people that were there were friends and family of the teams, and… Things were tense. Not in a bad way, just in a “everyone is really focused on getting this win and no one trusts anything,” way.
There was no way to say which way it would go. The thing is, WOU has a number of players that can get really hot: Brandell Evans, Dalven Brushier, Kaleb Warner, Riley Hawken, Darius Lubom, and Buster Souza have all had nights of seeming unstoppable. Seattle Pacific… It’s much more balanced. They don’t necessarily have a go-to guy this year and their “shooters” (as in, guys that are elite from beyond the arc) are underclassmen.
One of our favorite sayings is “Teamwork makes the dream work,” and despite absolutely elite and phenomenal defense from the Wolves, no WOU player got “hot” and as such… Teamwork made the dream work for Seattle Pacific.
#4 Western Oregon 66 vs. #2 Seattle Pacific 78
Does the final score tell the whole story? Not really. SPU was hot early, 32% free throw shooter Coleman Wooten went 2-2 from the line early and so we wondered if something special was brewing for the Falcons, and honestly… Not really? It was a pure grind-it-out game on both sides. SPU would work up a small lead and then WOU would work back into it. Right around the three minute mark was when SPU started to go up for good, but… At the time we definitely didn’t know, because a lead of 12 is still only four possessions and with the type of defense WOU plays and the number of shooters they have, it wasn’t insurmountable if SPU got apathetic.
Ultimately, yes, SPU did win, and we swear their largest lead was by 16 there at the end before letting WOU get a couple of easy baskets knowing they were moot, but… Was it a blow-out? No. Never. WOU’s win over SMU felt like a blow-out as SMU helplessly chucked up shot after shot, even with five or six minutes left. WOU was methodical in everything they did and didn’t go to the shoot-and-hope method until the final two minutes, which actually makes strategic sense.
Wolves highlights: Etan Collins had 12 points and seven boards; and Riley Hawken had six boards. Off the bench Darius Luborn had 14 points and four boards; O’landa Baker had 13 points and five boards; Jaylyn Richardson had three assists; Buster Souza had 10 points and six boards on good shooting; and Cameron Cranston had three boards.
Falcon highlights: COLEMAN WOOTEN WENT 6-6 FROM THE LINE!!!!! and had 25 points and 11 boards for the double-double; Harry Cavell had five boards among a flawless full house of stats; Nikhil Lizotte had 14 points; and Gavin Long had 17 points. Off the bench Sam Simpson had five points and four boards among a full house of stats; and Divant’e Moffitt had seven points.
Notable things about the numbers… We’re stunned about the lack of numbers from the WOU starters. Kaleb Warner rarely gets hot, and it seems like most GNAC teams have gotten really good at shutting down Riley Hawken, but for the entirety of their starting line-up to put up a collective 24 points and 14 rebounds is insane. Credit where credit is due, Seattle Pacific defense. We’re stunned. They also forced WOU into 15 turnovers, which is an insanely high number for the Wolves. That said, it should also be noted that WOU out-rebounded the Falcons, so credit where credit is due Wolves.
This game was just amazing in every sense of the word, and yes we’re an SPU person so it ended happily in our case, but… We love these WOU players. It’s a privilege to watch them play defense. It’s beautiful to watch them get hot on offense. We keep waiting for Dalven Brushier to have another lights-out game. It was great to get to witness Kaleb Warner get hot against SMU. It’s been fantastic watching Buster Souza finally come into his own, and as much as it’s occurring late… Better late than never, and what better time than in March?
A WOU player noted to us afterward that all year they’ve thought SPU and WOU were the two best teams in the GNAC, and we completely agree. All year, SPU and WOU have been the only teams proven to have an ability to play true fundamental basketball. The thing about college basketball… A college coach can’t really teach fundamentals. There’s just not the time. If the players haven’t grown up playing fundamental basketball and cultivated those skills, they’re not going to all of a sudden appear in college, let alone be able to develop over the course of a season.
Athleticism and coaching talent can lead you to wins, but it’s rarely going to work when you come up against a team that has good-to-great coaching, athleticism, and good-to-great fundamentals, especially with everything on the line.
Now, which teams will get to put it all on the line in the West Region tournament… Is a discussion for the next post we put up.
As for the GNAC tourney experience…
Thank God WWU hosting is over. Please never again. Please never anywhere but at Saint Martin’s again.
The home court advantage thing is clearly moot and all it does is exhaust all of the players even more because of unnecessary travel. Yes, compared to Billings and Anchorage, Bellingham isn’t that bad, and it was nice that both the SFU men and women got to play close-to-home in a year when they both made it, but that was a fluke.
Saint Martin’s is advantageous for everyone because it is:
- Centrally located.
- The locals show up even when SMU isn’t playing.
- Their athletic staff is used to hosting.
- They have no power-tripping arena staff.
- Their gym has a nice intimate feel, but holds a large amount of people.
- Their concession options are good.
- Their athletic facility doesn’t share a parking lot with anyone and so it’s both conveniently located and unoccupied except for people attending the event at Marcus Pavilion.
The concessions at this tournament were seriously inadequate, and it’s not even like we’re super committed to buying arena food; we just like having the option. We opted to go hungry. They only had polish sausages and bratwursts and they ran out before the final game of the night on Thursday. No nachos, no popcorn, no pizza, only two different kinds of chips, a bit of candy, and admittedly a decent drink selection, but… Vending machines have decent drink selections and don’t charge $3 a bottle.
As for the drama during the NNU/SPU game… We’ll leave it at the fact that things were handled poorly by the higher-ups, and ♫ In one shining moment ♫ we had the clapback of our lives. One of the women called us a “F***IN’ PU**Y!!” and we responded “HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!!” with a big grin. It was International Women’s Day and we will never clapback that hard again, so we’re enjoying the afterglow.
Thanks so much for a fantastic GNAC Championship game, and… The final bracketology post of the year will be up by 7pm.
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
Gooood morning, and welcome to the first day of the conference tournament!
Let’s jump right into the previews:
All times pacific.
#6 Simon Fraser vs. #3 Northwest Nazarene
Ooooh boy. NNU is coming off of two insane battles against the Puget Sound schools. SFU is coming off of a three-game week that saw them beat WWU and then lose to both CU-PDX and Western Oregon. The good news is that if their pattern is to win one in three, this should be that one-in-three. The bad news is that seriously: NNU is really good. But the Clan did get a win before, and that win occurred at home; Simon Fraser’s closest school by far is in fact WWU, but do we think people will really travel and give them some type of advantage? Absolutely not.
Prediction: NNU wins.
#5 MSU-Billings vs. #4 Western Oregon
This is a really interesting match-up. Most recently MSUB swept the Alaska schools convincingly and WOU split with the North schools. During the regular season, WOU beat MSUB convincingly both times BUT that was a while back; the teams last met the first week of February. Since their last meeting Brendan Howard of MSUB has gone on a tear and Kobe Terashima has clicked into gear, meanwhile the WOU players have been consistently solid, but rarely good or great. #5 vs. #4 always is going to have upset potential, but… We’re not sure where we land on this game. Either team could blow the other out, or either team could win a close one, so… We shall see.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
Now, some CCAA news:
In their eight-team conference tournament, the higher-seed hosted prelim games went as follows:
San Bernardino 69 @ UCSD 98
Cal State LA 81 @ San Fran State 76 in OT
Humboldt State 67 @ Cal Poly Pomona 85
Dominguez Hills 54 @ East Bay 68
So the only upset that happened was the #5 team at the #4 team and the CCAA should switch to a six team conference tournament like the Pac-West and the GNAC. Got it.
It should be a great night of basketball, we absolutely cannot wait. As always: We’ll be sittin’ and we’ll be knittin’, so come say ‘hi’!
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
We stopped doing player-of-the-week because Daulton had won it by the halfway point. The kid is straight-up productive and is actually getting us to be productive in our post-season stuff because there was an announcement yesterday that Trey Drechsel is officially transferring and we’ve heard rumblings that Daulton among others are on that list as well.
It’s been noted that Point Loma has one spot left and it’s Daulton’s for the taking. We’re not 100% on this by any means, but we agree with it and it makes complete sense. In fact, it seems a little conspiracy-y that we’re naming him player-of-the-year just as he’s supposedly about to head to PLNU, but really it’s not: Daulton Hommes is a Ryan Looney-style player and it’s been apparent since he stepped on the court for WWU, although Ryan Looney didn’t recruit him initially.
There can be a misconception about what makes a productive player and how many minutes are required. You can have a team of super productive players that all only see twenty minutes. It’s a ratio that goes between shots taken, free throws made, minutes played, and field stats earned/procured. There were plenty of nights when Daulton, Trey, Deandre, and Trevor all had super productive numbers. It’s also not impossible for a deep team like WOU to have guys all with high production stats, and we were starting to question our method because none of the WOU guys were showing up particularly high in production and yet they were winning, but… They just got bounced early. They’re not a particularly high production team. Cal Baptist is. It is what it is.
And what it is in this case is that Daulton is a fantastic basketball player that rebounds like heck, involves his teammates, takes smart shots, and bodies like his life is on the line. We love it. We love the style he plays in. As much as we’ll miss having him in the GNAC, we genuinely hope he transfers because he’s on a list of guys who’s talent we feel is being wasted by their head coach.
Congrats Daulton!! It’s a blessing to watch you and we can’t wait to see what your future holds.