Category: Uncategorized

Rating the 1st Weekend of Games

And whether or not you should watch them:

Simon Fraser @ Alaska Anchorage

Rating: Watch it.

Let’s see what SFU can do, let’s see if UAA can and will take a stand. That’s pretty much the season’s motto for the two respective teams at this point.

Western Oregon @ Seattle Pacific

Rating: Meh.

This should be a game to watch and yet it just doesn’t have that feel. Hopefully it’s a really good game because WOU and SPU are thus far at the top of the conference, it makes sense with their personnel, the second game they play is guaranteed to be interesting, but this early… doesn’t hold the lore.

Saint Martin’s @ MSU-Billings

Rating: Watchable, but likely cringeworthy.

How low can they go, Yellowjackets, how low will you go? Hard to say whether to hope that the Yellowjackets finally make a point that they’re not the bottom feeder they’ve been proving to be, or hope that SMU actually plays cohesive, unselfish basketball and wins it. Intriguing game, but for the wrong reasons.

Western Washington @ Alaska-Fairbanks

Rating: Meh

This is a really funny game if you’ve followed the GNAC for a bit -WWU cannot win at UAF. This should be a good year for the Vikings to break that streak. Theoretically that game shouldn’t be that interesting except for WWU fans, but if the Patty Center has its way again… the Nook faithful will have a good time on their hands.

Simon Fraser @ Alaska-Fairbanks

Rating: Do or do not.

This’ll be a game for SFU to prove that they’re in the upper half of the collective conference breath. UAF is the perfect team to do that against, but will they?

Northwest Nazarene @ Central Washington

Rating: 50/50

Statement game for Central Washington. If NNU wins it won’t be that big of a deal to anyone but Central fans and shouldn’t be that big of a deal to NNU fans, but if CWU wins convincingly it’ll help cement them in the upper half.

Saint Martin’s @ Seattle Pacific

Rating: Meh.

Seattle Pacific should get it done, no big deal, end of story. There may be drama at first, but it should smooth out by early in the second half.

Western Oregon @ MSU-Billings

Rating: We’ll see.

The Wolves will theoretically have little issue, but it’s still odd to put them in the context of expecting to kill teams. Figure they win by 10 or so.

Western Washington @ Alaska-Anchorage

Rating: Intrigue.

If Anchorage doesn’t win this game, consider the Seawolves officially in the lower half of the conference. If WWU doesn’t win the game, things become far more muddied. But the Vikings should.

Monday will be the next post release and it’ll be a look at the West Region -the CCAA and Pac-West. Not sure if it’ll be one or multiple posts. Individual team previews will be posted on Tuesday and Wednesday before official predictions are posted on Thursday.

Game Weekend: Finals Week

MSU-Billings 62, Montana Western 72
MSU-Billings 80, Alumni 82

MSU-Billings… What are we going to do with you? A better question might be what are you going to do with yourselves? It is the prerogative for us to keep loving you because conference brethren, but if this weekend doesn’t cause a reality check that makes you start playing defensive basketball rather than shoot until the cows come home and hope it works basketball… Yikes.

Shout out to Simon Fraser… for SFU, it’s mostly working. Or at least half the time. And they’re in every game. The MSUB game started before all of the other games and was pretty compelling simply because at this point the Frontier Conference is looking pretty darn good, and so ultimately almost the entirety of it was watched and… MSUB had their chances, but it definitely had the feel of being Montana-Western’s to lose rather than MSUB’s to win.

Central Washington 82, Quest 49

The main highlights of this game include the fact that a lot of players played quality minutes, Dom continues to impress, and it was just a good win to get. Quest isn’t impressive at all, but there’s starting to be an alarming trend of not resting big minute players in blowouts and quite frankly: it’s incredibly worrisome. CWU is so deep, which is shocking to say, but they are, and it was good to see them use some of that depth.

Seattle Pacific 100, George Fox 62.

Unfortunately we’ve reached a point where we have to take games against D3 and NAIA schools somewhat seriously. George Fox held on for a while and made some really good adjustments, but the Falcons did what’s becoming typical of them in lower division games and walked away after half time. Mitch Penner had a phenomenal game; full house, plus a double-double. The main issue with the Falcons is that they play their starters so many minutes. They win by thirty and yet four out of five starters played more than 25 minutes -good luck with that if/when the annual basketball plague breaks out during conference play.

Western Oregon 94, Camosun 59

Exactly what was supposed to happen. This’ll be discussed more in the power rankings next week, but WOU has had some really good games. This was an incredibly balanced one -they had six players score in double digits, good shooting percentages, not particularly fantastic team stats, but if the shootings happening against a super low level team, it’s hard to nitpick too much because every player that entered the game (12 in all) played double digit minutes which is fantastic.

Idaho State 69, Northwest Nazarene 57

That win actually makes our conference look somewhat respectable. That’s one of the closer scores we’ve seen of our conference vs. D1 this year, and even if Idaho State is terrible… WHO CARES?! We’ve gotten beat worse by NAIA teams, so we’ll take it! Kevin Rima had 13 points and eight rebounds; the team overall had decent rebounding numbers and their A/TO wasn’t horrifying. It would’ve been cool if they’d escaped with the ‘W’ but it’s a very respectable score and theoretically shows the Crusaders making some good progress.

The Seawolf Jamboree

BYU-Hawaii 81, Alaska-Fairbanks 62

The Nooks were doing so well at half time and then collapsed. Not super surprising —BYU-H is looking pretty legit this year, which isn’t a bad thing -quality losses can be quality. It’s disturbing that we’re at that point, but oh well. The big problem with Fairbanks this weekend is that they just showed a fundamental lack of teamwork and lack of desire in that second half. They definitely could have won -it was looking like an upset was potentially on the horizon, and while the arena was dead… No. The Nooks could’ve proven something and they let it slip out of their grasp, which is just sad. Their Big Three of Ruben, Kyle, and Adam can go to the hoop with any Big Three in the conference… now if they can just create some chemistry within the rest of the team.

Humboldt State 87, Alaska-Anchorage 83

Such a close game, Anchorage should’ve/could’ve won -Humboldt got it instead. Derrick needs to learn when to stop shooting. He could be productive if he could start focusing on things that matter, like helping his teammates. Brian McGill had a great game; Travis Thompson had a fantastic game; Kalidou was super solid; Christian Leckbend contributed some quality minutes off the bench, although should’ve quit with the threes much sooner. Still not sure what to make of this Anchorage team… definitely something more for contemplation during Christmas week.

Humboldt State 84, Alaska-Fairbanks 66

Again… Ya need teamwork. This wasn’t an inherently bad game -they rebounded (no pun intended) and grabbed 47 boards, their assist to turnover ratio was fine, Almir stepped up. They actually beat Humboldt in just about every statistical category except shooting percentage, at which point the real story is told. Ya need defense. Which, in the GNAC this year may or may not be unnecessary most of the time, but… gotta put up when you do. If they’d played lockdown D, again: they could’ve likely gotten the ‘W.’

BYU-Hawaii 90, Alaska-Anchorage 69

BYU-H got really lucky playing so many GNAC schools this year, that is incredibly evident. Generally their schedule of teams in terms of us would be considered a gauntlet… We’ll see what they do in conference. As for Anchorage: Brian McGill wasn’t great, but was at least productive when shots weren’t falling; Travis Thompson had an okay game, but could’ve done more 4-10 from three is never acceptable. You may argue that’s 40% is okay, but team numbers and individual numbers are very different heads of a monster; Kalidou continues to be consistent, which is fantastic -reliability in college basketball is highly appreciated and yet usually not talked about until it’s dancing in front of you wearing a tea cozy.

What the Seawolf Jamboree taught us:

A lot of GNAC teams should be salivating about the Alaska trip right now. Those teams are usually darn hard to sweep and yet this year… the potential is there. For a lot of teams. We say any given night in any year… this year that phrase is going to be on steroids and in Alaska, maybe even on whale blubber.

Posted late, but that’s finals for you. There’ll be another few posts that go up today.

Player of the Week is… Julian Nichols!

This was a really difficult decision -Travis Thompson was an insanely close second.

Julian had 17 points, three rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block, and only ONE turnover for a full house vs. CSU-Monterey Bay on November 28.

When the Wolves played Academy of Art on the 29th, Julian made 13-14 from the charity stripe, had four rebounds, four assists, two steals, again only one turnover, and ultimately scored a whopping 26 points. There’s a lot of really good, fundamental basketball being displayed by Julian as well as a tenacity to attack.

Congrats Julian!


Good morning and welcome to the very first REAL day of GNAC men’s basketball! All of the festivities begin at 3pm PST.

To get things started off on the right foot… here is the much anticipated post of the GNAC Men’s Basketblog’s official non-conference tournament attendance recommendations.

GNAC teams play in a lot of tournaments during the months of November and December. The big question is on the whole, which ones are worth attending if you don’t live near the host school?

Alaska-Anchorage is playing in The Ron Logsdon Basketball Classic, hosted by Sonoma State on November 14th & 15th. In the tournament, they’ll play both Sonoma State and Chico State. The Chico game is worth it, the Sonoma game… meh. If you’re looking for an excuse to go to California, sure, but… we’ll pass.

Alaska Anchorage hosts to The Great Alaska Shootout in their brand new arena during Thanksgiving week. If you’ve never been to The Great Alaska Shootout, the experience is highly recommended. It’s primarily a division one tournament, they get some really good teams, the teams this year aren’t as marquee as they have been at times in the past, but again: it’s a fun tourney to attend.

Alaska-Anchorage hosts a third tournament and this is where our recommendation lies: They are hosting the Seawolf Jamboree on December 12th and 13th and it’s going to be a great opportunity to watch Humboldt State, BYU-Hawaii, and then both Alaska-Fairbanks and UAA itself.

Alaska-Fairbanks hosts the Alaska Invitational from November 20 through November 22. The tournament features UAF, Minnesota-Moorhead, West Alabama, and Black Hills State. It’s a solid division two tournament at the top of the world, but none of the teams are ranked nor within the west region, and so… pass.

UAF attends the Notre Dame de Namur tournament over Thanksgiving weekend. Thanksgiving weekend tournaments are great, so much better than Christmas, and California is a great location. The Nooks will be playing Holy Names and ND de Namur and while the teams aren’t fantastic, they match-up with UAF pretty well and are within the west region. This is definitely a good tournament to attend.

As noted, UAF also attends the Seawolf Jamboree which is a recommended tournament.

Like UAF, Simon Fraser attends the Notre Dame de Namur tournament and if you’re an SFU fan -bless your heart. This is a great tournament to attend and could be a good place for the Clan to pick up a win. Highly recommended tournament.

Western Washington plays host to the Chuck Randall Classic on November 14th and 15th. Teams involved include the Vikings, Hawaii-Hilo, Notre Dame de Namur, and Northwest Nazarene. It’s a good inter region match-up, it should be a fun time. Is it worth it to make the drive from Nampa? Probably not. But if you’re an NNU fan from anywhere in western Washington or BC, definitely worth it.

Western also plays a series of games in Puerto Rico; it is to my understanding that it’s not a tournament, but we’ll include it here because they’re all in PR. That’s what this trip is about -WWU expanding their recruiting footprint. Good for them. Not worth it; the teams from there do not look particularly challenging and you’ll have plenty of chances to see the Vikings whoop some below-conference-level booty at home.

WWU heads to Vegas for the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic on December 18th and 19th. This is a highly recommended tournament; they’re playing Tarleton State and San Bernardino State. Both teams made the tournament last year, last year’s game vs. San Bernardino State was a barn burner. GO TO THIS TOURNAMENT.

Seattle Pacific plays host to the Sodexo Tip-Off Classic. It’s great because so many GNAC fans live relatively close to SPU (within five hours), but unfortunately the Sodexo Tournament this year is really boring. It features SPU and CWU playing the Academy of Art and Minnesota-Crookston. MN-Crookston was the school that went a whopping 4-23 last year. As much as a couple of these games are inter-region… I’m not even sure if they’ll be worthwhile to watch on the computer. Pass.

Seattle Pacific spends five games in Hawaii from November 21-26. First they’ll play BYU-Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific; both of those games are worthwhile. Next they’ll head over to Hilo and play Northwest Indian College, Washburn, and Hawaii-Hilo. The main problem with this schedule is that three of the games are really intriguing but two of the games in the middle aren’t. Overall, it’s a recommended tournament from a Seattle Pacific standpoint, but from a general GNAC standpoint not so much.

Seattle Pacific finally plays in the Las Vegas Challenge on December 17th and 18th. They’ll face Rollins College from the Sunshine State Conference and then Dixie State from our friend, the Pac-West. This is another recommended tournament, particularly because it overlaps with the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic (also in Las Vegas) and it is totally possible to attend both SPU/Dixie State game and the WWU/Tarleton State game on back-to-back days.

Central Washington attends the Sodexo Tip-off hosted by Seattle Pacific. They’ll too be playing Minnesota-Crookston and Academy of Art. Unlike for the Falcons, these games should be actually pretty interesting because CWU has so much more of an identity that it needs to develop. It’s again, kind of a wash. If you’re a Central fan, it’s great to get to because it’s nearby, but if you’re not a fan of either team… pass. The Chuck Randall Classic and taking a look at Hawaii-Hilo is going to be a better option for this weekend.

CWU also is playing in the tournament hosted by BYU-Hawaii and will similarly play both BYU-H and HPU, but not in the second tournament over in Hilo. This is a tournament that’s more 50/50. The schools are great, they’re within the region, it’s in Hawaii, but… you’re looking at easily 14 hours of airport travel for two games that’ll be broadcast online. That’s a little more iffy. If you’re a local and want a look at the GNAC, by all means go. Otherwise, pass. All of these schools will play on the mainland and a trip to California is far more worth it.

MSUB is playing in the GNAC/Pac-West Challenge on November 14th and 15th, hosted by Domincan University. In the tournament, they’ll play CSU Stanislaus and CSU East Bay. This is a great tournament to go to if you’re looking to go to California.

MSUB also is playing three games in Hawaii from December 15-20th. The teams are HPU, Chaminade, and Ottawa of Kansas;  not a recommended trip but that has more to do with what MSUB has done early this year than the teams they’re playing. Hold out until they prove something.

As noted, NNU is playing in the Chuck Randall Classic and will face UH-Hilo and ND de Namur. Not recommended for Boise NNU fans, but recommended if you’re in western Washington. WWU is always a good team to watch, so buying the full tournament tickets does make it worth it.

NNU is also playing in a tournament hosted by Tarleton State over Thanksgiving weekend, in which they’ll play both Texas A&M Int’l and Tarleton State. This is a recommended tournament because Thanksgiving weekend tournaments generally are always recommended, it’s in Texas, and high school football finals are going on, so… go to Texas, watch your team, and GO TO A HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL GAME.

Saint Martin’s is also playing in a different incarnation of the GNAC/Pac-West Challenge on Nov. 14 & 15th; they’ll face Fresno Pacific and Point Loma while in San Diego. Recommended tournament because it’s in California and the games should be competitive.

The following weekend, the Saints will head to Monmouth for the Western Oregon Shootout where they’ll take on Azusa Pacific and Colorado Christian, respectively. Another recommended tournament. Yes, it’s two in a row for SMU fans, but they’re both good, the WOU one is relatively close, and all four games should be interesting.

Like Saint Martin’s, WOU faces PLNU and FPU in San Diego on Nov. 14th & 15th. Recommended tournament, WOU should actually win these games by a decent margin, so really, really good to go to.

They come home the following weekend and host their own Shootout. The APU game should be a good one for WOU, and then the Colorado Christian game should be super competitive… tentatively expect the Wolves to pull it out.

Overall, our most recommended tournaments:

  • Chuck Randall Classic in Bellingham, November 14th & 15th.
  • Tarleton State tournament over Thanksgiving weekend.
  • The Seawolf Jamboree, hosted by UAA on Dec. 12th & 13th.
  • Vegas general; Southpoint Holiday Classic & the Las Vegas Challenge. Pick your games, split your games, and go.

Once again, welcome to Division II play!