We’re going to go ahead and do the UAF/UAA preview first to get it out of the way:
Anything can happen in a rivalry game and neither team has looked particularly impressive thus far, although Anchorage definitely more so than Fairbanks. We’re curious to see what Jacob Lampkin does against the Nooks, but that’s pretty much it.
Now, for the Bracketology:
Teams that we think have a legit shot at an at-large bid even if they lose several games during conference play:
Cal State LA -they got killed by Cal Baptist, but it was on the road and they played non-con largely within the region with a solid mix of A-B-C teams.
UCSD -While they have three losses, those three losses come from Azusa Pacific, Cal Baptist, and Dixie State; all traditionally strong teams. They also have a win against WWU -another team that projects to be strong.
San Marcos -Solid non-con; only loss was a blowout against CU-Irvine, and they have wins against both Azusa Pacific and CU-Portland, both of whom project as middle-of-the-pack teams in their respective conferences. They’re honestly the epitome of a bubble team in regard to how non-con looks.
Cal Baptist -Only loss comes from a surprisingly good SMU team.
CU-Irvine -Only loss is to Seattle Pacific, has wins against San Marcos (A), Central Washington (B-), and Chico (B+).
Point Loma -They have wins against an SMU team that beat Cal Baptist, and a Simon Fraser team that doesn’t look as bad as it usually does. Their losses come from GNAC-leading WOU and a good UCSD team.
Western Oregon -Our choice for now to host the regional; they got through a quality non-con schedule completely unscathed and then their formal travel partner upset Cal Baptist for them.
Saint Martin’s -Stellar non-con, only loss is to Point Loma, and they have a win over Cal Baptist. Love it.
Seattle Pacific -We’re not thrilled with how the Falcons have looked as of late, but the fact is: They have wins over CU-Irvine and Dixie State, one of their losses was on the road in 2OT, and then the other loss was D2 but non-west region on the road.
MSUB -isn’t on this list because while undefeated, they play the bulk of their non-con schedule in a few weeks.
Teams to keep an eye on despite a meh non-con:
Cal Poly Pomona -Lost to Azusa Pacific, beat Dixie State, but both were home games and that was the entirety of their D2 non-con.
Chico State -Lost a close one on a neutral court to CU-Irvine, killed Biola and Dominican; this is a terrible non-con schedule, just saying.
San Fran State -Lost to CU-Portland on a neutral court, beat NNU in OT on the road, barely beat Academy of Art & Dominican. All four teams project to be B & C teams in their respective conferences, so while SFSU has an okay record right now, we’re not impressed.
Dixie State -They went through a positively brutal non-con, with losses coming via Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State LA, Western Oregon, and Seattle Pacific, and then their one win was against UCSD. Do they need to have a great regular season? Yes. Should they be able to do it? Absolutely. Dixie usually gets better as the year goes on, and again: they couldn’t have tested themselves any more in non-con.
Azusa Pacific -Another brutal non-con, and they have wins against UCSD, Cal Poly Pomona, and an SFU team that isn’t as bad as it normally is. Their losses come via WOU and San Marcos, so completely legitimate.
Chaminade -We want to see them win on the mainland. They barely beat Dominguez Hills, and while they beat the Alaska schools in Alaska, the Alaska schools are worse than normal this year.
Shockingly, we’re going to do the GNAC differently, because despite a meh non-con, almost every team is still in contention. Here are the teams that we think could only lose one or two games in conference, otherwise they’ll rely entirely on the auto-bid:
UAF -They barely played anyone and they only beat Hawaii Pacific.
UAA -Playing Holy Names is subtraction by addition. We get that they didn’t return anything, but they were projected to be wayyy better than they’ve proven thus far.
CWU -Played no one except CU-I and Hilo in non-con and they lost to CU-I at that. Sorry, but seriously two schools? Nope.
The good news for the three schools above is that CWU is a notoriously hard place to play, as are the Alaska schools, and then the conference tournament is hosted in Alaska. The bad news is that if everybody beats everybody and everyone ends up with four or five losses, they’re not going to deserve nor should they get the benefit of the doubt.
Is there quite a bit of the benefit of the doubt being given by teams that have proven themselves in the past, particularly in the Pac-West? Yes. But regeneration is much easier than starting from the bottom, and it’s such a big everybody’s-beaten-everbody-except-WOU that it’s what we’re going with. It’s awesome. It should be a really fun regular season.
And yes: the GNAC came out looking fantastic in non-con. Congrats in particular to CU-Portland, Northwest Nazarene, and Simon Fraser for still being in contention for at-large bids!
One question we’re now contemplating… If by February 1st it looks like neither Alaska school is going to make the conference tournament, is there any way we can send it back to Lacey instead? Just thinking out loud here.
Have fun, be safe, go GNAC!
First and foremost: We owe the Saints cookies. Really good cookies. And this week is nuts and so they may be waiting a week for them, but we promise: We will hold up to our end of the bargain because they may have just sent the Regional to Monmouth. Why wouldn’t it be hosted in Lacey? Because they lost to Point Loma. The only way to give yourself a legitimate shot at hosting is to get through non-con completely unscathed OR go something like 19-1 in conference, and quite frankly: this is the GNAC. Pac-12 football thinks they know the Circle of Suck; oh no, no, no… When you don’t know the final order of 8/11 schools until after the very last conference game has been played, that’s when you really know the circle of suck. At least last year. This year it may be termed the Circle of Strength, in no small part thanks to SMU!
UC San Diego 80 vs. UAF 56 @ WWU
Praise the lawd. Sorry Nooks, love you, but this needed to be how it is.
Nook highlights: Joe Lendway shot well, finishing with 13 points and six boards; and Michael Kluting had a good game with 19 points and five boards.
Oh dear. Still Nooks, learning experience, right? Right.
CU-PDX 69 @ Cal State LA 91
Not surprised on this score; Cal State LA looks really legit this year, so it’s fine from a conference perspective. Learning and growing moment, eh?
Cav highlights: Jarrett Gray had five assists and 14 points; and Christopher Edward had eight boards, 19 points, and five fouls. Off the bench Bryan Michaels had eight points; Deandre Stallings had seven points; and Daniel Thiesen had eight points on perfect shooting.
Quality loss, men.
SPU 77 @ Westminster 83
Honestly we’re not concerned about this loss. They’re RMAC, it was on the road, big whoop. The Falcons didn’t look particularly impressive and it is what it is.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten had six boards; Sam Simpson had five boards and 11 points; Nikhil Lizotte had five boards and 11 points; and Tony Miller had 17 points. Off the bench Braden Olsen had six points; Harry Cavell had 12 points; and Nathan Streufert had seven points and five boards.
WOU 87 @ Notre Dame de Namur 48
There we go.
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid shot fantastically and finished with 11 points and four steals; Ali Faruq-Bey finally was felt with 19 points; and Riley Hawken had 10 points. Off the bench Demetrius Trammell had 10 points; Janvier Alaby had nine points; and Dustin Triano, Brandell Evans, and JJ Chirnside added five points a piece.
SFU 55 @ Point Loma 79
Welcome back to reality Simon Fraser. No, we don’t think you’re going to be the conference basement dweller like you have been, but we also don’t think Point Loma is quite as good as you made them look, which gets complicated when you factor in that you’re not as bad as normal.
Clan highlights: Othniel Spence had 20 points; and Iziah Sherman-Newsome had 10 points.
SMU 93 @ Cal Baptist 88
Saint hightlights: MATT DAHLEN had 16 points and 10 boards for the DOUBLE-DOUBLE; JORDAN KITCHEN had 14 points and seven boards rounded out with a FULL HOUSE; EJ BOYCE had nine points and FIVE assists; LUKE CHAVEZ had 17 points and five assists on GREAT SHOOTING. Off the bench JARED MATTHEWS had 19 points on good shooting; BJ STANDLEY had five points; and TAVIAN HENDERSON had 10 points.
There are no words. We saw this result and started freaking out, and we’re still freaking out this morning. Holy heck Saints, thank-you so much!!
NNU 93 @ Regis 103 in OT
Another loss we don’t really care about because it’s an RMAC opponent and NNU looks good, so whatever.
Obi Megwa had 16 points and seven boards; Nikola Prvulj had 12 points; and Maurice Jones had 18 points, nine boards, and five fouls. Off the bench KHALIL THOMPSON had 29 points on very good shooting; and Marko Lepovic had five points and six boards.
Whatevs NNU, we believe in you and still are ridiculously proud; this loss means nothing and the OT is nice.
There’s gonna be a lot of discussion in the coming week as we get ready to go into the first weekend of conference play. Congrats on lots of great wins and good losses; none of the losses truly matter from an SOS perspective, so life is good.
All times pacific.
UC San Diego vs. UAF @ WWU @ 2:30pm
UCSD should put away the Nooks without issue, but if for some reason the Nooks upset the Tritons, everyone loses because it doesn’t make UAF look good; it simply makes UCSD look bad.
Prediction: UCSD wins. Please.
NNU @ Regis (Denver) @ 4pm
Regis is 4-0. This is a great test for NNU. Hopefully the Crusaders pull it out, but…
Prediction: Regis wins. No idea on the margin.
CU-PDX @ Cal State LA @ 5pm
Cal State LA looks good this year and so it should be an interesting battle. There are implications in both directions that CSULA should win/CU-PDX should win, so…
Prediction: Pick ’em.
SPU @ Westminster (SLC) @ 6pm
Who knows? The Falcons escaped Dixie State last night but it wasn’t pretty. It’s an RMAC crossover game, so it’s not insanely critical but at the same time it is D2 and all non-con wins are good non-con wins.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
SFU @ Point Loma @ 7pm
We want SFU to win sooo badly, but, let’s be real:
Prediction: PLNU gets the ‘W.’
P.S. C’mon Clan! You can do it! We want to be wrong!
WOU @ Notre Dame de Namur @ 7pm
Prediction: WOU wins big.
SMU @ Cal Baptist @ 7pm
Another game where we want the GNAC team to upset sooo badly, but it just seems unlikely to happen. CBU is currently 6-0… We will bake the Saints cookies, really good cookies, if they can get this upset. This game is one of those games that if we win it (as a conference) it should have implications for rest of the season. The good news is if the Saints lose, it doesn’t really matter a ton because everyone knows CBU is good and the Saints have a quality enough schedule that it is a legitimate win for the Lancers.
Prediction: CBU wins.
More games of intrigue than we expected. It should be a super fun day of basketball. Good luck to all the teams playing; have fun, be safe, go GNAC.
Yes there are other games being played besides our numbered days, but close enough.
Dixie State 86 @ WOU 97
Got it done. This should be a win that we look at and go “absolutely quality,” later in the season. Dixie is super well coached and amazingly they start off strong and then tend to get even stronger, and so… Big praise to the Wolves. Dixie is always in contention for the West Regional and usually makes it, so this win helps everyone.
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid had 19 points and 12 boards among a full house of stats; Darius Luborn had five assists; and Riley Hawken had a great bounce-back game with 21 points and eight boards. Off the bench Demetrius Trammmell made noise with 24 points on great shooting -this time 6-9 from the line; Vince Boumann impresses yet again with a double double of 15 points and 10 boards while going 7-8 from the field; and Ali Faruq-Bey had six points.
Congrats to the Wolves on a great win!
CWU 60 vs. CU-Irvine 65 @ SPU
Good lord, don’t let this score fool you: CU-I did everything in their power to Coug It (that is: clutch defeat from the jaws of victory) after being up by 18 part way through the second half and then… CWU took it seriously and CU-I didn’t.
Wildcat highlights: Khalil Shabazz eight boards; Jawan Stepney had 21 points on good shooting; Fuquan Niles had 14 boards and eight points; and off the bench Malik Montoya had four boards.
Big praise again to the Wildcats for being in it the whole time and continuing to grind. Almost got it done! Next time.
CU-PDX 78 vs. Academy of Art 71 @ NNU
Maybe a little bit of a let-down game, but the Cavs still got it done and came back after being down at the half. Way to go guys!
Cav highlights: Jace Cates had 10 points; Cody Starr had nine points; Jarrett Gray went 10-10 from the line and finished with 20 points; and Christopher Edward had 18 points and 13 boards while being great from the field. Off the bench Bryan Michaels had 11 points and six boards; while Deandre Stallings had seven points.
Good job Cavs, keep it going! We believe in you.
Hawaii-Hilo 59 @ SPU 90
This game looked like it was going to be interesting for the first ten or so minutes, and then it wasn’t, but we’re okay with that.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten had 11 points, five boards, and five assists while going 4-5 from the field; Sam Simpson bounced back with 14 points; Nikhil Lizotte had 11 points; and Tony Miller had 22 points and nine boards. Off the bench Braden Olsen had six points and six assists; Harry Cavell had eight points and four boards; Hunter Eisenhower had five points; and EJ Poulsen and Nathan Streufert both added four boards as well.
Congrats to the Falcons on the win, now go beat Dixie State! Yay SOS. We get concerned.
Holy Names 74 @ UAA 80
This is another score to not let fool you; Anchorage didn’t stay on it -they attempted to lose, it had been a blow-out. The good news is they still got it done, so non-conference wins for the GNAC, woo-hoo!
Seawolf highlights: Jacob Lampkin had a “quiet” game with only 12 points, 10 boards, and a full house; DJ Ursery had 15 points and six boards; and Josiah Wood had 11 points. Off the bench Malik Clements had seven points and six boards; Brennan Rymer had six points; and Brian Pearson had six points while going 4-4 from the line.
Thank-you Seawolves! We’ll always take a non-con win in any way, shape, or form.
SFSU 92 @ NNU 75
The Crusaders were in it, they were in it and going for it and then the final result happened, but it was still a valiant effort and much experience gained.
Crusader highlights: Carlos Garcia had six boards; Obi Megwa had 13 points; Nikola Prvulj was back in action and had 10 points; and Maurice Jones had 26 points and 12 boards.
Back on it NNU, we believe! Although maybe not against Metro State -we like being wrong though, so upset them!
Overall not a bad day of GNAC play. As you can probably tell -we walk around wringing our hands about conference SOS and this day didn’t stop the practice, but again: A big thanks to WOU.
Game previews for Tuesday will be up on Tuesday and then we’ll probably wait to do POW on Wednesday because then we can include SMU & UAF as well, so that’ll be good.
Good luck to the Nanooks against HNU tomorrow.
Good morning and welcome to the third big day of non-conference play.
First, the results of last night’s D2 (but non-region) game:
MSUB 75 vs. Mary 72
MSUB played a game against a Northern Sun school (non-region D2 opponent) and we had no idea what to expect out of it, so we didn’t put a prediction, but it did end basically as we expected with it being an incredibly close game. MSUB is now 3-0 in D2 play, which is awesome.
Yellowjacket highlights: Kendall Denham finally had a good game with 13 points and four assists; Tyler Green continues to impress with a fantastic 24 points and six assists; Kamal Tall had 11 boards; and off the bench Zharon Richardson had 10 points and six boards; while Daniel Shedden had seven points and five boards.
Congrats on a nice win, Jackets!!
Game Day Previews.
All times pacific standard:
CWU vs. Hilo @ 4:30pm
We’re really curious about this game because Hilo has now lost to SFU and SMU, meanwhile beat WWU. The trend would say that CWU should beat Hilo without too much of an issue, and so we’re going with that.
Prediction: CWU wins reasonably.
CU-PDX vs. San Fran State @ NNU @ 5pm
Really curious about this game because it should be a good test for the Cavs. It’s a neutral court being in Nampa and should be a good step-up test for the Cavs. SFSU looked pretty good last week with wins against Academy of Art and Dominican, so we’ll see what Christopher and Jarrett can lead the team to.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
WOU vs. Azusa Pacific @ 5:30pm
Another interesting game. Azusa is usually good; WOU projects as being really good, and we’re excited for the Wolves to get another chance to truly run. They got a nice win over Point Loma and we have full confidence that they’ll continue that today.
Prediction: WOU wins a close one.
SPU vs. CU-Irvine @ 7pm
Yet another interesting game. Irvine was looking pretty darn good last week with a win over Chico and a blowout over San Marcos. This is going to be a big test for the Falcons -it’s the first team they’re facing where they know going in that the opponent is good, and so we’ll see how they respond to it.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
NNU vs. Academy of Art @ 7pm
Should be well matched. AofA and NNU usually sit in similar spots and we really like the team that NNU has this year -even without them having been tested on a D2 level yet. The Crusaders have a surprisingly good home battlefield advantage (’cause they’re Crusaders, get it?) and Maurice Jones is back and we’re confident about him.
Prediction: NNU wins.
UAA vs. Holy Names @ 8:30pm
Seriously UAA? It can’t be that hard to get people to come and play you. For those missing it: HNU usually sits really low in the Pac-West, so this should be a gimme-game and they’re facing the Hawks two games in a row at home. At least go play them on the road twice in a row, geez.
Prediction: UAA wins big.
Should be an interesting day of games. As always -tweet at us with thoughts/questions/etc.
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
#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.
This was largely written on Wednesday 1/25.
When we last checked in with them, we had the following information:
San Fran State
Who’s still in the run to host?
Chico State -close losses to UCSD and CPP, but that’s it.
UCSD -dropped their last two games to San Marcos and Sonoma.
Hawaii Pacific -shockingly only has one loss. The region getting split is actually starting to look like a possibility.
San Fran State -out; losses to UCSD and Chico, without the SOS from non-con that those schools have.
Cal Baptist -one loss, that being to Dixie State; Dixie State is a really good team; not in the running to host due to losing to CWU, but a good team all the same.
WWU -added, because while they had a questionable non-con, they only have one in conference loss thus far, and are looking super deep.
Do we know who’s hosting?
At this point no.
Prediction: Split regional. Hawaii Pacific and either WWU or Cal Baptist.
WWU is currently playing at Whatcom Community College, and they’re eligible to bid to host the tournament, but unless the Regional gets split, we don’t support it. The gym is just too tiny. We would make the same argument with CU-Portland -the Whatcom and CU-PDX gyms only hold maybe 1200 people, which yeah the non-local rounds tend to be fairly empty, but we worry about opposing fans being able to get Sweet 16 tickets, especially if say we ended up with a WWU/CWU match-up.
100% Guaranteed making the regional as of last check:
San Fran State
Western Washington is definitely still in, but what about the other schools?
Cal Baptist = yes
WWU = yes, 100%.
Chico = yes
San Fran State -downgraded to the bubble, see below.
Hawaii Pacific = Yes; their spot is now officially safe. The only question mark they have is that they beat the Alaska schools in Hawaii; UAF has looked questionable, Anchorage has been good but not the elite team we projected them as before the season, thus non-road wins and not as quality as anticipated.
Here are the bubble teams from before, minus the guaranteeds:
UCSD -100% in provided their skid stops now.
Chico -100% in provided they stay on the trajectory they are now.
San Fran State -bubble team, but a solid bubble; losses to Chico and UCSD, as well as an okay-ish loss to WOU in 3OT in non-con on the road.
East Bay -Now 5-6 in conference.
Cal Baptist -100% in.
Hawaii Pacific -100% in.
Dixie State -true bubble team; they’re really good, their SOS is good, but bubble.
Azusa Pacific -Now 5-6 in conference; relatively good non-con schedule, thus we still see them as a threat for the autobid, but they’re not on the bubble for a bid without it.
Western Washington -100% in; only have a GNAC loss to MSUB.
Central Washington -true bubble team, they’re tied for 2nd in the GNAC right now, but their lack of non-con puts them on the bubble.
Alaska-Anchorage -true bubble team, they’re tied for 2nd in the GNAC and that loss to Hawaii Pacific is looking really good.
Seattle Pacific -we said last time it was their coaching staff; a 40 point loss and they switched it up. We don’t quite consider them turned around, but they’re theoretically no longer in free fall, which they were through the first half of conference play.
Saint Martin’s -they’re in position to make the conference tournament and they need to win it in order to get a bid. They’re good, but they’re very up and down.
MSU-Billings -We have no idea what’s going on with this team. They beat WWU in Bellingham, beat UAA and WOU in Billings, and then lost by 50 to SMU in Lacey. Zoinks. They have good and experienced players with a good and experienced coaching staff, plus super soph Preston Beverly, but………….. What’s going on??
Not sure where WOU was on that list last time, but we will note now that they’re definitely a threat to get the conference autobid. They’re finding themselves again after being rather up and down.
At half way through conference play, who are you eight teams in the tournament?
San Fran State
1. Cal Baptist co-host
2. Hawaii Pacific co-host
3. Western Washington
4. UC San Diego
5. Chico State -this feels low, but UCSD non-con + head to head.
6. Central Washington
7. Dixie State
8. San Fran State -good schedule
We went with the co-hosting, because while HPU has lost to Cal Baptist, Cal Baptist lost to Dixie, which is in the 2nd half of the seeds and has a loss to CWU, thus we feel that it could be merited to split the Regional. We’re fine with Cal Baptist hosting, we’re certainly not trekking out to Hawaii, but for now we’re going with the split -maybe just because it would be a bit exciting. West Coast Pride, split regional, unique to us because as far as we know there’s no Puerto Rico teams in a conference -they’re all independent.
What’s your crazy prediction?
That three unexpected teams get the autobids. We couldn’t tell you who in the other two conferences, but in the GNAC every single team that makes the conference tournament will be seen as a threat. Lucky for WWU, they should be safe regardless. There’s a ton of implications within the bubble teams, basically:
UCSD lost to WWU (quality)
Dixie lost to CWU (quality)
UAA lost to HPU (quality)
UCSD lost to Chico (quality)
SFSU lost to WOU (quality-ish)
And then CBU lost to Dixie, but quality loss and quality win, respectively.
The thing with that mess is we couldn’t tell you which bubbles would burst if three unexpected teams got the autobids. SFSU, Dixie, and maybe CWU? CWU has a pretty strong bubble (that’s a good thing) because they’ll have a lot of head-to-heads with a potential GNAC bubble burster that gets the autobid, and then the victory over Dixie State. If Azusa gets the autobid in the Pac-West that would speak even more to CWU not having their bubble burst. But Chico is amazing, WWU is amazing, and that doesn’t even get into CBU and HPU.
The one knock on Chico is lack of SOS, which is the same knock on HPU, which calls our prediction of CBU into hosting into question, because if Chico gets the nod it’ll only be Chico. Chico’s only black mark on their schedule is the lack of SOS. Otherwise they’re golden. Same with WWU. WWU even has a coveted in-region road victory against a most-likely tournament bound team in UCSD -and that wasn’t close; they blew the Tritons out big.
Overall, we still feel like we really don’t know anything, which is odd, but when we feel like we do know something, y’all’ll be the first to find out.
After one weekend of play, we told you teams that were still officially in the running to host the Regional:
Nine teams could’ve potentially hosted, when there are only eight bids. Here are the teams from that list still in the running, along with the reasons as to why:
Chico -still in, still definitely; they’ve only dropped one game and that was to a very good UCSD team. We think at this point, provided they don’t self implode, they’re making the Regional 100%. Hosting is the question.
UCSD? – definitely maybe; they only have losses to WWU and Cal Baptist, but now they’re in the awkward position of needing to hope that CBU does incredibly well, but still loses three or four games to knock them out of hosting.
Chaminade -No; not the convincing strength of schedule and winning numbers to split the regional. Their best win is against SPU and that win doesn’t look very good this year. They also have a lot of losses already, even with leaving out the D1 losses.
Azusa Pacific -No. Lost to SPU, beat WOU, their record is 7-7, nope.
Cal Baptist -Absolutely. Even with the mess of parity, their only loss is to Dixie State and they played both Cal Poly Pomona and UCSD in non-con. Great strength of schedule.
WWU -We’re still not sure if they’re even eligible to host because of playing at Whatcom and the logistical/infrastructure nightmare that would be, but we don’t think they’re going to host unless other teams majorly implode. The Vikings simply don’t have the West Region SOS nor the out of region wins. They have a massively good win at UCSD, but that’s literally the only amazing highlight of their non-conference.
SPU -LOL. No. But last time we didn’t want to include them; we had to.
CWU -They have a great record, with only losses to Mankato and Anchorage on their sheet, but again: they lack strength of schedule. Although we’d kill for the Regional to be hosted in Ellensburg -definitely our favorite GNAC trip.
WOU -No. Too many losses and too many other teams without losses to their big tests in non-conference.
We had Hawaii Pacific on our “ish” list and while they’ve now won out, they still don’t have the strength of schedule and we don’t see them getting through the conference season with a max of two losses, which is what they’d need, in order to split the regional. It’s true that Cal Baptist/Chico/UCSD could implode and that could shove it Hawaii Pacific’s way, but… We’d assume the selection committee would rather keep the region together and with SOS being such a new criterium, weight it heavily.
Is there anyone we want to add to the list? Yes and in a big way:
San Francisco State. They’ve won out in non-conference and are currently undefeated, although their strength of schedule is somewhat lacking; their best win is @ WOU and that went to triple OT in the first game of the season. Right now they’re our pick to host the Regional as of now, because just win baby, win!
The Regional could end up being split between SFSU and Hawaii Pacific, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but… We still feel like hosting is Cal Baptist’s to lose. Being undefeated is one thing, but being truly tested before conference play is another and Cal Baptist definitely has the latter.
What teams do we have making the Regional 100%?
San Fran State
Here’s a list of all of the teams that are currently in control of their own destiny regarding making the Regional:
San Fran State
East Bay -only two losses come via SF State and Western Washington, but they got killed by both. We’ve liked East Bay for a while -they give teams fits at Mac Martin every year.
Hawaii Pacific -they’re only a maybe, because they didn’t play any true road games in non-con.
Azusa Pacific -they’re currently 7-7, but they have wins over Dixie State and Western Oregon, as well as a couple of potentially quality losses to West Texas A&M & Seattle Pacific-ish.
The following looks excessive, but seriously: We can justify it.
Western Washington -because duh. The two teams they just lost to by a collective five points or so will likely be 1-2 in the Lonestar Conference and both are 100% in the South Central Regional.
Central Washington -why they lost to Anchorage, we don’t know, they have the most minimal of non-con, but if they win 14 games in conference, there’s no reason they wouldn’t be in the tournament.
Alaska-Anchorage -lose one more game and we say they no longer control their own destiny, but they have a good team and for right now: they are in control.
Seattle Pacific -We constantly talk crap about the Falcons, but the fact is that they have SOS, have a history of doing well, and we firmly believe that it’s the coaching staff holding this team back -not the players. When the coaching staff decides they want to win, they’ll be able to.
Saint Martin’s -they did what they needed to in non-con. Every conference team is going to lose multiple games. Non-con saves them. They’re in control right now.
MSU-Billings -they are as close to not being in control as you can possibly get, but while they lost in non-con, it was to East Bay and Cal Baptist on the road, which looks legit.
We originally had WOU on that list, but we honestly hadn’t looked at just how bad their non-conference went. They have no SOS, what-so-ever. They don’t control their own destiny -they need other teams to lose in order to make it in. When we think about it, would we take a 17-1 WOU team over a 17-1 Hawaii Pacific/Dixie/Azusa/UCSD/Chico/San Fran/East Bay? No. East Bay is the only ‘maybe’ in there, and all of that requires those teams to lose.
14 teams. Eight spots. Five at-large. We think the five at-large bids are already spoken for. This is a year when the auto-bid is going to be dire. We have no idea what’s going to happen at all. Literally, the prediction posts are going to be 100% pointless. We just don’t know.
In the GNAC, here’s what’s happened so far:
MSUB beat WOU
Concordia beat MSUB
NNU beat Anchorage
Pick ’em Games:
UAA @ CWU = UAA
UAF @ CWU = CWU
WWU @ SPU = WWU
There’ve only been 10 conference games played and three of them were upsets while three of them there was no way to pick a winner prior. It’s just going to get worse. If this blog has taught us one thing in regard to predicting basketball games: the more knowledge we have, the less we know. Darn all of these really good players that we know can completely change a game on any given night!
If you have something you want us to discuss tomorrow, tweet at us or leave in the comments -otherwise, we’ll catch you guys on Thursday for the game previews.
So WOU lost. Interesting. We’re not surprised. And you’re like “you said they’d blow the Cougars out” yes, yes we did. We’re intrigued by it, but not surprised, because the Region is a mess this year, as covered. We’ll keep saying it just ’cause, but really… It’s a mess. That’s it. WOU still put up some good numbers, so let’s get started!
Western Oregon 71 @ Azusa Pacific 82
Not a blow out by any stretch. This is what we consider a solid win. They won by enough for it to be convincing, but not by too much to make it look like WOU sucks. Congrats to the Cougars for a good victory, congrats to WOU for a loss that likely helps you -would it have better to win? Probably. But of any loss you could get, this is one of the better ones.
Wolves highlights: Tanner Omlid had nine points and eight boards; Malik Leaks had eight points; and Bryan Berg had 17 points off the bench.
Okay the numbers were bad. It is what it is. They had 12 turnovers which means either their turnovers are finally being credited correctly or it was an abominably bad night for the Wolves. Either way -we’re still proud of you! Sort of. Within reason.
Seattle Pacific 86 @ Chaminade 87
It’s not as bad as it could have been. It looks closer than it was. For most of the night SPU was getting their butts handed to them. We can only say we’re frustrated so many times. We know they’re playing with a limited rotation due to injuries, but good teams find ways to win and if you asked any guy on that team they’d tell you they’re a good team. Heck, if you asked us WE would tell you they’re a good team, so the unanimous conclusion is: they need to find a way to win, because this result isn’t acceptable.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten had 22 points and nine rebounds; Tony Miller had 16 points and seven boards; Joe Rasmussen got the golden number with 14 points (he is #14); and off the bench holy guacamole FRESHMAN GAVIN LONG HAD 22 POINTS ON 9-10 SHOOTING. Congrats Gavin!! We’re so proud of you.
Yet another abominable night of rebounding, so losing by one… Not on the guys we mentioned above, much as they’ll be guilting themselves about it.
Seattle Pacific 72 @ Hilo 66
Falcons got it done. It was ugly. But it’s a ‘W’ on the chart and we’re honestly shocked. We thought they were done caring about basketball. We’re still not convinced they’re not, but whatever. We don’t really honestly take this win seriously because the numbers are bad, and we need to see a consistent commitment to basketball, which we’re yet to outside of about four guys.
Falcon highlights: WILL PARKER PLAYED 40 FULL MINUTES and had 13 points; Tony Miller had a double-double with 21 points and 12 boards; and Joe Ramussen had 10 boards -proving that miracles do happen. Off the bench Sharif Khan had 10 points and five boards; and Gavin Long had nine points and six boards on great shooting from the line.
Coleman apparently got injured. Congrats to the rest of the guys on rallying and getting it done even without him.
Overall not the best weekend for the GNAC, but a couple of tournaments start today, one of which the Vikings of Western Washington play in, so things should get better. Preview post up soon.