Three great games. Because he played three and the other nominees played two, we ultimately took the average because the fact is, dead is dead and that’s what your legs inevitably are after playing three games in three days, including one that went to triple overtime in which you flat-out will your team to a win.
In the first round against the Yellowjackets Tanner went 7/7 from the line, grabbed 11 boards, and managed four steals. Against the Seawolves and their homecourt advantage (no joke; UAA fans, y’all show up and y’all are LOUD) he shot 50%, made most of his free throws, and managed to stay with only four fouls in three periods of OT. Wow. Nicely done Tanner! And finally: Against the great defense of the Vikings, Tanner met his match -his shooting was far less than ideal, but he did still find plenty of other ways to be productive and kept them in until the final second.
The best part about Tanner is… We get to keep him for another year, which we’re really excited for. He had a great junior season and is definitely the pre-season favorite for player-of-the-year, but… We’ll see. Target on his back, that is for sure.
Congrats Tanner on a great conference tournament performance and we hope your summer workouts have gone fantastically!
To be in consideration, a guy had to play at least two games in the tournament; that said, if they hit our minimum for qualifying for POW, they’re included regardless of school.
WWU: Taylor Stafford -two forty minute games and went 15/16 from the line in one of them. Wow.
WWU: Daulton Hommes -high minutes and very smart and efficient play -the numbers scream “unselfish” and yet he still had a great impact with scoring. Very proud of him.
SMU: Cole Preston -finished up his career with a couple of good games.
WOU: Tanner Omlid -Three really good games, including two where he was out of his mind. In the 3OT thriller he played 46 minutes, which… We’re actually a little surprised he was allowed to rest that much.
Tournament MVP will be up in an hour.
#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.
#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!
What an amazing night of basketball. Tonight hopefully we don’t see another Triple OT thriller, but… Who knows? Hope the Wolves are hydrated, good Lord, 55 minutes of basketball. Wow.
#3 WOU 91 “@” #2 UAA 84 in 3OT
Hoooo boy. We’re ridiculously proud of both the Wolves and Seawolves in their insane Triple OT game, but we have to wonder… Why wasn’t Corey Hammell playing? He only saw 20 minutes and didn’t take a single shot. It was a defensive grind it out and the entire time we were wondering about the numbers, so… Let’s get into them.
Wolf highlights: Evan Garrison had 20 points on good shooting; Tanner Omlid had a double-double with 22 points and 10 boards; Ali had 19 points, six boards, and five fouls; and JJ Chirnside had seven boards. Off the bench Demetrius Trammell continued succeeding in his quest to impress, scoring 16 points; and Bryan Berg added five points and four boards.
Shout out to the Wolves bench, even those that didn’t put up too many numbers -you put in minutes, relieving the key players, and in a game that lasts 55 minutes is huge -MVPs all of y’all, the victory doesn’t happen without you.
Seawolf highlights: Suki played 53/55 minutes (whoa/ouch!) and scored 29 points while grabbing nine boards and being 6/7 from the line; Diante Mitchell had 20 points among a full house; Spencer Svejcar couldn’t make a field shot to save his life but went 7/8 from the line and grabbed seven boards; Corey Hammell had five boards; Connor Devine had five boards, six blocks, and 20 points; and Travis Parrish contributed 30 minutes off the bench.
Live by the bench, die by the bench. When the best contribution off the bench is a senior being a body, you’re going to have problems. When the game goes to 3OT, you’re going to have even bigger problems.
Congrats to the Wolves on pulling out the win and congrats to the Seawolves on a good season of basketball. Short of expectations, yes, but lots of fun, some great numbers, and some good wins.
#4 SMU 79 “@” #1 WWU 91
No leash. Every time WWU would try and break it open, the Saints would come charging right back. It was close until there was about 2:40 left in the game and at that point WWU was up by eight or so and then it was a matter of treading water against the current that was the Saints and the Vikes managed to do it.
Saints highlights: Cole Preston had 17 points and nine assists while playing 40 full minutes; Jordan Kitchen had nine points and five boards; Tyler Copp went out with a bang, scoring 38 points; and off the bench Brandon Kenilvort had 10 points. The Saints finished with just 23 boards to WWU’s 39, so the fact that they remained in this game for so long is essentially a miracle.
Viking highlights: Taylor Stafford played a full 40 minutes, was 15/16 from the line, and finished with 31 points; Blake Fernandez grabbed five boards; Logan Schilder grabbed five boards; Daulton Hommes shot great from the field and finished with 20 points and 10 boards for the double-double; and Jeffrey Parker was 8-8 from the line and finished with 23 points while grabbing eight boards. Off the bench Deandre Dickson had nine points.
Fun game to watch. Proud of both teams. Congrats to the Saints seniors -we admit, you got us. They announced you as seniors at the end and we burst into tears; it’s been an honor to get to write about your respective careers the past three years, we’re ridiculously proud of you, and wish you the best of success in the future.
Game previews will be up shortly before the game starts.
Another great night of basketball on the horizon!
#3 WOU @ #2 UAA
We keep thinking WOU is going to pick it up and not be so sloppy and yet each time they’ve continued their sloppiness. Last night they got away with it against MSUB; tonight, it’ll be incredibly hard to get away with it against UAA. UAA has underachieved this year pretty substantially, BUT they’re big, they’re deep, and they’ve got a surprising amount of people in attendance. It seems ludicrous that a school 1800 miles away would have the home court edge, but… here we are.
Prediction: UAA continues their quest for the autobid. No inclination on the score; it won’t be a blowout, but it could be close or it could be moderate.
#4 SMU “@” #1 WWU
Another matter of sloppiness. It’s another one of those situations where unfortunately we trust the underclassmen of WWU over the seniors of SMU. Fred had a crazy amazing game last night, but we’ve never seen him have two back-to-back. SMU was able to cover the glass against CU-PDX, but WWU has a lot of guys that are convincing rebounders. WWU is one of the best teams in the region right now, they’ve answered questions, they’ve gotten lazy at times, but hopefully that final gut check against SPU was all they needed. They just beat SMU last week, so SMU “will be out for blood” and they will definitely boast a homecourt advantage, but we’re thinking not enough of one to make up for the talent advantage WWU has.
Prediction: WWU wins comfortably, if not another blow-out.
Have fun, be safe, play hard, go GNAC!
Fun first day. Both games were really interesting. We had a blast, proud of all of the guys. Concordia… Lordy, Concordia. We said this on Twitter, but they’re ridiculously resilient. They’d be down ten and then they’d hit shots. And then they’d go down ten again and then hit shots. SMU would then start hitting shots right back, but… More about that in a bit.
#6 MSUB 61 @ #3 WOU 72
Really good game, really proud of MSUB. Also as noted on Twitter: It started to become a ref show fairly soon, which was irritating. Ticky tack stuff. Then at the end the guys on both teams got flop happy but by that point the refs had become much less ticky tack and didn’t cater to the Weeble Wobbles doing their walks.
Yellowjacket highlights: Marc Matthews had nine boards; Kamal Tall had 16 points and six boards; Jace Anderson had 13 points; Sven had six boards; and off the bench Kendall Denham had six boards. Yup. Preston Beverly was ice cold, their bench play was a big drop off from their starters, and ultimately they just couldn’t match WOU.
Wolf highlights: Evan Garrison had 15 points; Tanner Omlid had the double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds, additionally going 7-7 from the line; Ali had 15 points; and JJ Chirnside had eight boards and four blocks among other stats for a flawless full house. No real bench play. We wonder where Malik went -he played so well early in the season.
What was maybe most interesting about this game is neither team played particularly well, but WOU played less bad than MSUB and thus WOU won. Lots of bad numbers, even though we weren’t particularly impressed with the defense early. Both teams took a lot of shots out of seeming desperation, even when there was plenty of time on the shot clock. No idea. WOU shouldn’t be able to get away with stuff like that against UAA, so they better clean it up in a hurry.
CU-PDX 73 @ SMU 78
Crazy game. Crazy, crazy, crazy game. The gym was packed. We thought the SMU students were going to rush the court, which… Really? It’s CU-Portland in the first round of the conference tournament for Pete’s sake! Have some self respect.
Cav highlights: Drew Martin had 32 points and five boards among many clutch shots; Latrell Wilson had 20 points; and Christopher Edward was perfect from the field, finishing with 11 points and five boards. No real bench play. Wondering where Davis Nuaimi went -miss seeing his highlights.
Saint highlights: Cole Preston played 40 full minutes and had a bit of an off night on offense but still was amazing on defense; FRED JORG had a crazy amazing game with 23 points and 15 boards. That’s honestly what we expect out of D1 centers that transfer D2 -they should be able to put up those numbers. Most of the time they don’t, but they should be able to. Brandon Kenilvort also had a very good game with 19 points and eight boards off the bench.
Congrats to both teams on a massive game well fought and a big congratulations to Concordia on a fantastic second season in the GNAC!!
Is it just us or has the exhaustion set in? It kind of makes sense. When there’s not as much parity, all teams get to have some off nights where it’s just “we’re getting blown out and there’s nothing we can do about it, so let’s coast” or “we’re blowing a team out, so let’s coast” but this year any given night was an absolute battle -even for a team like WWU. Every game was largely screamingly intense and now we’re getting to the conference tournament and everybody is just like “Really? Another one of these games. Oh god.”
It is what it is. Regardless it was a super fun night of basketball and we can’t wait to watch WOU take on UAA and WWU take on SMU. Preview post up soon. Come say ‘hi’ tonight! We’ll be in our usual seat.
On paper this should be the best GNAC tourney in years. Knowing the chaos of this year, there’ll be no upsets just to throw in a little bit MORE chaos.
#6 MSUB vs. #3 WOU
A literal rematch from a few days ago. A few days ago it wasn’t close; it was 16 with WOU winning. MSUB wants the upset, WOU wants their third bid to the NCAA tournament in a row and it’s going to take the autobid to get it. We’ll see what happens. This game features two of our favorite players on a conference level in Preston Beverly and Tanner Omlid, although they’re not likely to directly face each other, so it should be really good.
Prediction: WOU wins.
#5 CU-PDX vs. #4 SMU
This game should be reaaaaally good, partly because WE SAID SMU WOULD MAKE THE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT and being right is always fun, but also because this the year that SMU needs to do something; they lose a lot and while transfers always make a big impact in the GNAC, they’re finally playing in the tournament they so often host and so… Why not win the whole thing and get the auto-bid? That being said Concordia is right now everyone’s favorite spoiler and so the Cavs’ll be doing their darndest to put the Saints on their behinds at home.
Prediction: SMU wins.
It’s a little odd to not pick an upset, especially this year when it’s a thousand percent possible. Montana has a lot of Montana players on their team, whereas WOU has a lot of Portland-area players, thus we think the attendance for the Wolves is going to be much better than it is for the jackets. With CU-PDX and SMU… SMU is literally at home. Gotta go with them, much as we love and believe in the Cavs too. Drew Martin and Christopher Edward are the real deal, but Brandon Kenilvort, Rhett Baerlocher, Cole Preston, Jordan Kitchen, Trey Ingram, Tyler Copp… HELLLOOO.
Good luck, be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
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.
“This year” player-of-the-year was difficult. Our heart said Bryce Leavitt, our brain said Andy Avgi, and then the numbers said Travante. We get that Andy was surrounded by tons of talented guys and so he didn’t get the focus that he might have, but with our formula that doesn’t matter and this guy epitomizes that. Consistency, commitment to fundamentals, and unselfish play wins the day. Travante took charge of the offense, played defense, made the most of his minutes, and we had a blast watching him this season.
Our GNAC Player-of-the-Year is Travante Williams, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, senior.
When it came down to it, the numbers weren’t close. Travante was nominated for player of the week almost every single week via his efficient shooting, made free-throws, rebounding, and doing the little things. We’re sad that we only got a year with him, but still thank him for bringing his talent to the GNAC and doing so consistently night in and night out.
Congrats Travante!! Good luck overseas!