What a douzy of a day of basketball, and with that, we’re going to go on a bit of a rant:
A NON-CASCADIAN TEAM SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO HOST THE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT. It doesn’t help the GNAC. It just exhausts all of the GNAC players (and staffers/parents/traveling fans) and leads to low-quality basketball because people are tired. We know firsthand. We made the mistake of going to Anchorage and then had the turn around of this tournament. It is 100% brutal. We work full time, we’re finishing up grad school and have had midterms this past week, we write a time-consuming blog that we exert a lot of effort on even outside of the travel. We know we haven’t been at our best at any of them, and so expecting these guys to play at their best during the most critical part of the season when they’ve just had to trek up to Alaska or out to Montana or down to Nampa is ridiculous.
Conference tournament host schools should consist of: Saint Martin’s.
Lacey residents are really good at showing up even when SMU isn’t playing, the staff knows what its doing, its centrally located, and their arena is off in a corner of their campus and so parking is good too. Literally seven schools (minimum) benefit when it’s hosted at SMU.
The other I-5 corridor schools:
- CU-Portland’s gym is too small & the campus has incredibly homophobic policies.
- SPU is an option but parking there is a complete pain and again: highly homophobic policies.
- Bellingham residents don’t show up unless a WWU team is playing (see: the NCAA tournament).
- Monmouth fans don’t show up unless WOU is playing and even if WOU is playing, attendance is mediocre.
- CWU would be a good host, but it requires a trek over a mountain pass and we’re not convinced of the parking situation.
- SFU we’d love to have as the host, but the passport issue (as in, you need to have one in order to go there) makes us think it’ll never happen.
In addition to Anchorage being exhausting in terms of the travel, we just weren’t impressed with the experience. The arena is very reminiscent of Spokane Arena, which is fine, but not what you really need D2. The tournament was poorly attended, it’s consensus that the arena staff had no idea what they were doing, and while the UAA athletic department itself was really nice, there are a lot of awesome staffs in the conference and so sorry, but that one thing doesn’t make it worth it.
That’s just our two cents. Now let’s talk about actual basketball!
#3 Cal Baptist 72 vs. #7 Azusa Pacific 68
The most boring and sleepy four point game we’ve ever watched. It was back and forth, then Cal Baptist would go on a run, then back and forth and then Cal Baptist would go on a run. Azusa actually reminded us of CWU, in that they stayed in a game they had no business being in and hit shots down the stretch. Congrats to Cal Baptist on grinding out the win.
#1 Western Oregon 77 vs. #5 Saint Martin’s 55
How often are both of the final scores divisible by 11? Who knows, but it’s still fun! This game was insane for the first 28 or so minutes and then WOU hit a few shots and that was that. We’re sooo proud of the Saints, holy heck, you guys stayed in it for as long as you possibly could, but WOU is a very good team and this loss is nothing to be embarrassed about. You guys return everything and we’re so happy that we only have to mourn Matt graduating. Thank-you Matt for a fantastic year in the GNAC!
Saints highlights: Luke Chavez had 22 points; and Rhett Baerlocher had five boards and eight points.
Wolf highlights: Malik Morgan had a full house among six assists and eight points; Tanner Omlid had eight boards and seven assists among a full house of stats; Vince Boumann had eight boards and 12 points; and Ali Faruq-Bey had seven boards. Off the bench DEMETRIUS TRAMMELL had a good game with 14 points; Brandell Evans had seven points; and JJ CHIRNSIDE had 12 points.
Ridiculously proud of the Wolves bench. We’re going to avoid eulogizing the careers of the seniors until your season is actually over, but know that we see you digging deep and we’re proud of you and let’s put it off for another four games! Get that natty. Congrats again to SMU on an amazing season, Luke Chavez had a fantastic game, we’re so happy we get to keep him, and then EJ Boyce did in fact bounce back from the turnovers and he’s another we’re happy we get to keep.
It came to our attention last night that due to an NCAA policy, the WOU redshirts weren’t allowed to sit behind the WOU bench. We get the idea behind that -the travel squad is restricted because of the tournament- but the area behind the WOU bench was the WOU student section, so… With that policy, it’s then implied that WOU athletes aren’t WOU students, and we thought the NCAA was alllll about the student-athlete.
To the players: Again, we know you’re exhausted, we know it’s hard, we know it sucks, we know that it’s not fair that Cal Baptist stayed home for the conference tournament meanwhile we all trekked to Anchorage. We’re trying to speak up for you guys, we believe in what you do, hopefully athletic departments themselves will put pressure on the conference not to let Anchorage host again, because seriously: putting the vast majority of schools at a disadvantage to help one or two makes zero sense.
Again: Congrats to the Saints on an amazing season. We love you, we believe in you, and we can’t wait to see what you do with an off-season of training!
The Sweet 16 preview post will be up tomorrow morning.
See this is why we don’t talk about the Pac-West and CCAA: Because we have no idea. But it was a ridiculously fun day of games, so we’ll give you their results anyway!
#3 Cal Baptist 81 vs. #6 UC San Diego 67
No real idea what happened in this game, but skimming the box score it apparently was back and forth all game before Cal Baptist successfully made a move with about seven minutes left to go and then walked from there on out. Congrats to the Lancers!
#2 Dixie State 65 vs. #7 Azusa Pacific 69
We never saw this result coming. For some reason we were convinced of Dixie State even though we weren’t impressed when we watched them in non-con. Dixie has a history of coming on strong late and they had an impressive conference record, beat Azusa by 15 the last time the teams met, and yet… Holy guacamole this game was good. Each half seemed to pass in about a minute. It was dynamic and amazing and our highest congrats to Azusa, getting the upset. Bon voyage Dixie State, it’s been real, have fun in the RMAC. We think they’re probably more amenable to confederate flags in those parts, so maybe you’ll have to bring that back?
Now for the real discussions:
#4 Cal Poly Pomona 58 vs. #5 Saint Martin’s 66
This game was molasses-y as all heck. Much as the Dixie/APU game went by in a hot second, this game seemed to take twice as long. SMU played smarter basketball than we’ve seen them play all year and this is the right time to do it and they got the win. We think they’re much more tested both via their non-con and their conference schedule, which likely helped. We’re sooo proud of the Saints! A couple of Western Oregon fans were heckling them as they walked out, saying they were scared of WOU, but… No. They don’t need to watch a ton of WOU blowing out Point Loma because oh gee, they met a week ago. We were there to see it, unlike the WOU big talkers.
Saint highlights: Luke Chavez had 16 points; Matt Dahlen had six boards and eight points; Rhett Baerlocher had eight points on perfect shooting from the line; and EJ Boyce continues to prove he’s the best EJ in the conference, this time having 19 points. Off the bench BJ Standley had five boards and five points; and Tavian Henderson had six boards.
Shorter line-up than usual. We thought CPP was out when they were down by sixteen, but they made a huge push and we were like “hmmm…” but ultimately SMU was playing some really good, Chico State-esque defense and it wasn’t going to happen. The only concerning number we see is EJ’s eight turnovers, but… That number is so high it seems like a one-off. He can’t possibly have that many turnovers again, so… Good he got that out of his system against the Broncos. Congrats to the Saints on a huge win and upset!
Point Loma 66 @ Western Oregon 73
This game was a tale of two halves. WOU absolutely blew out Point Loma during the first half, they were up ridiculous amounts the entire time, and it seemed ludicrous that Point Loma could come back. They did. The Sea Lions did come back. They never took the lead and even when they got it within four the game was still out of reach, but in terms of moral victories for a team that largely consists of underclassmen, it was huge. That said: the Wolves got it done and a ‘W’ is a ‘W’ is a ‘W,’ especially in the NCAA tournament.
Wolf highlights: Malik Morgan had 10 points and six assists; Tanner Omlid had 20 points among a full house of stats; Vince Boumann was LIGHTS OUT against his old coach and had 15 points and five boards; Ali Faruq-Bey had five boards; and Riley Hawken had five boards. Off the bench Demetrius Trammell had six points; and JJ Chirnside had six points.
Curious numbers by the Wolves because we feel like their bench was a lot more valuable than the numbers describe. Those guys run like dogs (no pun intended) and harassed the everliving stuff out of Point Loma. Now the trick will be just to stay on the grind. Luckily, we like the match-up they’re going into.
All times pacific standard.
#3 Cal Baptist vs. #7 Azusa Pacific @ 5pm
As we were reminded yesterday: We know nothing about the Pac-West, but that doesn’t stop the president and it won’t stop us. From what we can tell there’s a bit of a rivalry developing between these two teams; they both entered the Pac-West at the same time, they’ve both been really good since moving up to D2 and Cal Baptist is actually headed up to D1, so… Brief rivalry, but who knows? Maybe Azusa pulls the upset?
Prediction: No. Because we seriously have no idea.
#1 Western Oregon vs. #5 Saint Martin’s @ 7:30pm
Part of us is excited for this game and part of us is heartbroken because two GNAC teams facing off in the round of 32. They did just meet a week ago, and oddly enough there should be quite a bit of fuel for the fire. WOU didn’t play nearly as well as they could have, and yet if SMU had played just a bit better they probably could have won and thus won the conference tournament. We love both of these coaches, think they’re the cream of the crop in regard to the GNAC, and so that match-up will be fun to see again.
Prediction: No, because there’s just too many variables.
It should be a great night of hoops. As always: tweet at us & come say hi! We’ll be at both games. Community is the best part of basketball.
There’ll be some post burn in the coming weeks because we’ve written 90% of a few posts and then didn’t post them because we’re idiots, but oh well. Let’s preview the first day of West Region games!
All games played at Western Oregon University, all times pacific standard.
#6 UC San Diego vs. #3 Cal Baptist @ 12pm
These two teams met earlier this year and saw UCSD lose by five on the road at Cal Baptist. While we believe the seeding is right, we do think that either team can win. UCSD is running hot and coming on at the right time, having just won their conference tournament to get the auto-bid. Cal Baptist just lost to Dixie State in the conference tournament and will be looking to rebound from that. They should be fairly well matched, and it’s hard to say. We think that Cal Baptist will ultimately win a close one, but…
Prediction: Pick ’em.
#7 Azusa Pacific vs. #2 Dixie State @ 2:30pm
We’re excited for this game. We definitely showed our bias in terms of the GNAC thinking that WWU deserved the bid over Azusa, when really: No one deserved that bid, but WWU scheduled terribly in non-con, something we always complain about, and even while scheduling terribly they still managed to lose. They lost to a bad Hilo team as well as a bad Cal State East Bay team, so… We tip our cap to Azusa. You earned this bid, but we definitely don’t think you’ll win, seeing as you lost by 15 last time.
Prediction: Dixie State wins somewhere between comfortably (10 points or so) and a blow-out (20+).
#5 Saint Martin’s vs. #4 Cal Poly Pomona @ 5pm
This is the D2 equivalent to the 5 & 12 game of the D1 tournament. There’s no telling who’s going to truthfully win because it’s just as often that a 5 seed upsets a 4 seed. It’s always a really fun, really intense game, usually with scrappy play by the number 5 team. We like Saint Martin’s chances. They’re coming off of a loss to WOU, yes, but they played in the strongest conference in the west, they’re well tested from non-con, we think that WOU is a lot better than CPP, and so… We think that SMU has every chance to win it. Cal Poly Pomona won the regular season and then just lost to UCSD by two points in the CCAA tournament, but the CCAA is the weakest conference on the west coast this year and it doesn’t help that the Broncos played no one in non-con, so we’ll see.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
#8 Point Loma vs. #1 Western Oregon @ 7:30pm
We’re sooo excited for this game because these two teams started the season playing each other at Western Oregon and one of the teams is going to end their season in that same locale. In the first meeting Western Oregon won 70-69, Preston Beverly now of PLNU, formerly of MSUB had a good game, Tanner Omlid didn’t see a ton of minutes despite a lack of foul trouble, and so… We’re really curious to see how his minutes add up. He had an arguably terrible game in the conference championship game and so he’s going to be wanting to bounce back. Vince Boumann formerly played at PLNU and is going to want to have a good game against his old coach. Ryan Looney, formerly of SPU and now at PLNU, had an incredibly difficult time winning in the Western Oregon gym while he was at Seattle Pacific, and so that’ll be kind of a monkey on his back. We’re super curious about this game because we think WOU could easily blow out Point Loma, but at the same time Point Loma has all the potential of getting the upset.
Prediction: Western Oregon wins big/small/medium or PLNU wins a close one; PLNU won’t blowout the Wolves.
It should be a great day of hoops. We can’t wait. We’re missing the 1st game, but will be there for the second onward, so come say ‘hi!’
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
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.
Why is blogging happening so late this year? Because we’re used to knowing something. We’re used to being able to extrapolate meaning out of all of this data, but this year the data is meaningless. We ended up in basketball really randomly and, via the demographic we came from, we’re aware that if we can’t make sense of these numbers -no one can.
If someone tells you they can make sense of them, they’re lying. It’s like someone saying they can drive in the snow in Seattle. We grew up driving in eastern Washington, Idaho, and Montana snow and through those mountain passes in the winter. We can drive in the snow just fine. We cannot drive in the snow in Seattle because Seattle usually sits around 20 degrees when it snows (even at night) and warms up as sunlight hits it, thus it’s nothing but a mess of ice with the constant thaw-refreeze-thaw that happens as any given day-of-snow goes on.
It’s impossible drive in Seattle in the snow.
It’s impossible to take any meaning out of these numbers.
And that’s why we’re struggling to put up posts on time. It’s not that we don’t care, it’s not that we’re not following things insanely closely, it’s that as much as we love highlighting these guys… We want the highlights to be real. And right now without context we don’t know what real is.
For the (ahem Central) people that are like “you just don’t care as much because SPU is a mess” um, it’s a pretty darn good year for our alma mater to be a mess considering with the level of parity, we essentially have 11 teams in the GNAC in play.
Yes. 11. 11 teams. Simon Fraser, welcome to the Club.
There are definite player highlights from the past weekend we can touch on…
NNU 53 “@” CSU East Bay 71
-Bouna N’Diaye went 7-9 from the field, finishing with 14 points
-Maurice Jones went 6-7 from the field, finishing with 17 points and eight boards.
NNU 68 @ Chico 79
-Bouna N’Diaye and Kalieb Rodrieguez both finished with 17 points apiece.
Funny/fun game just because they actually got Chico to push the tempo. Usually Chico is a defensive grind it out, which is incredible, but can be fun to see the points rise. We like Chico. They and UCSD are “our” CCAA teams.
WOU 65 “@” Westminster 58
-Tanner Omlid had 10 boards, five steals, and 23 points.
-Malik Leaks had 10 points off the bench.
WOU 73 @ Dixie State 78
-Tanner Omlid had 7 assists and zero turnovers.
Once again… We really have to compliment WOU on how well they take care of the basketball. Another funny thing because along with lack of SOS, how many turnovers those mid-2000s Romar teams had was the other major complaint. The Wolves definitely have that one taken care of; and WOU’s SOS is admittedly better this year than last.
SFU 67 “@” CU-Irvine 80
-TYRELL LEWIN HAD 24 POINTS ON 12-12 SHOOTING.
-JJ Pankratz had 19 points.
MSUB 86 “@” Western State (CO) 77
-Kendall Denham had 14 points off the bench.
MSUB 83 @ Colorado Mesa 68
-Jace Anderson went 6-6 from the line and finished with 22 points.
SPU 79 “@” Point Loma 86
-Tony Miller had 11 boards
SPU 73 @ Azusa Pacific 68
-Coleman Wooten had 14 boards.
Fresno Pacific 58 “@” UAF 74
-Bangaly Kaba went 9-10 from the line and finished with 17 points.
Fresno Pacific 66 @ WWU 75
-Jeffrey Parker went 7-7 from the line and finsihed with 21 points.
Essentially those were the best numbers the games had to offer. We’re only doing that because the rest… Our arms are crossed and we’re waiting. We believe in all of them, but this isn’t little league. Some will score more, some will score less. Some teams will win more, some teams will win less. And the numbers will matter. Eventually.
Conference play starts tonight. CU-PDX @ WOU. The obvious thing is that WOU is going to beat Concordia and we feel pretty confident in that pick. We’re very proud of Tanner. If you make our pre-season all conference team and then play well, you’ll be in our good book for a long time. If you play badly, we’ll openly complain about you the following year even if you’re sitting within earshot.
We’ll do POW here in a bit, although the nominations and award will probably be in the same post since so few teams played two actual D2 games. Still means just as much, but most of the time we try not to bombard people with posts.
Other than that… We see a Phil Jackson-style shenanigans post in the near future, no pun intended.
Better late than never. Football, Saturday napping, and still contemplating what the heck is going on with this conference were taking priority. Last night’s numbers… The only numbers that might be the slightest bit meaningful are APU vs. SPU and that we don’t even believe/feel like we’re being homers for considering. The game was a mess on the side of the Falcons. But does that mean they’re getting better or that Azusa was having issues?
MSUB @ Western State Colorado @ 2pm
TBD. We’re liking the numbers the Yellowjackets have been putting up as of late, but have no idea the type of competition, plus it’s non-West Region which in a year of so much parity, we’re not sure how much it matters anyway.
WWU vs. Fresno Pacific @ 3:15
WWU more, FPU less. FPU is by no means a terrible team and WWU is by no means a tested team, but we think the Vikings have been winning in a way that says “dominant” thus there should be no issue -especially at home.
Simon Fraser vs. Concordia-Irvine @ Cal Baptist @ 5:15
CU-Irvine isn’t as good this year as they were last, but they’re still gonna kill the Clan. The Clan put up good numbers against Cal Baptist (even while getting killed) so that’ll be the thing to focus on -playing their own game and playing good fundamental basketball regardless as to what the score is. Stay within themselves, not in the sense of being less than CU-I, but in not trying to match them and know that if they play good defense and play smart on offense, that’s the only way winning is going to be a possibility regardless as to what the actual chance is.
SPU vs. Point Loma @ Azusa Pacific @ 5:30
No idea -we have no idea what the Falcons are going to do in any given game, much less one against their former coach.
Western Oregon vs. Dixie State @ 6:30
Big game of the night and again: we have no idea. CWU beat Dixie State. SPU lost to Dixie State. Dixie State lost to UC San Diego on the road while WOU lost to UC San Diego at home in 3OT. Theoretically that makes Dixie slightly better than WOU, but yeah right. This game… Who knows?
Tweet at us. We’re keeping an eye on these games, but have been watching the Michigan/Ohio State, USC/ND, and now are very focused on the CU/Utah game.
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.
These previews are easy to do because… You’ll find out.
All times pacific.
#3 Cal Baptist vs. #6 Cal Poly Pomona @ 12pm
Cal Baptist is freakishly hot having blown through the Pac-West tournament with a blow out every game. Cal Poly Pomona was bounced by UCSD in the conference tournament with a point differential of seven. That would lead one to think that Cal Baptist should blow CPP out, and with how hot the Lancers are, it would make sense. But Cal Poly Pomona still has a great coaching staff, they’ve won big games (although their non-conference wasn’t anything to write home about), but they’ve also lost games that they shouldn’t have any business losing to. We’re leaning on the side of Cal Baptist because the Lancers are looking like national champions right now, BUT it is fully within the capability of the Broncos to upset them, so… We shall see.
#2 UC San Diego vs. #7 Chico State @ 2:30pm
After losing horribly to CSULA in the first round of the conference tournament, we’re sure the Wildcats are itching to prove that the win was a fluke. UCSD has their own itchiness to contend with -they got blown out by Humboldt State in the championship game. We’ve really liked UCSD this year, but at the same time we also definitely believe in Chico. The two teams met once in the regular season with Chico winning by nine, but that’s a very reasonable score and we’ll see what comes of their second meeting of the year.
#4 Seattle Pacific vs. #5 Azusa Pacific @ 5pm
As noted in another post: the two teams played during a non-conference tournament. The game was played on Saturday and both teams had to face a not-as-good team on Friday, and both the Cougars and the Falcons tried to rest their guys and ultimately almost lost to said not-so-good teams, so that was pretty fun. Azusa would go on to be the regular season champion of the CCAA, while the Falcons fell into fourth place. We hear that losing to SPU is pretty unpleasant, and so we suspect that this loss definitely lingered in the minds of the Cougars, so probably a good game to expect some revenge. If not for the payback factor, we don’t know. SPU’s been playing badly as of late, they need to bounce back, but will they? We feel oddly pessimistic.
#1 Western Oregon vs. #8 Humboldt State @ 7:30pm
Western Oregon is a freakishly good team. They could have gotten blown out in the first game of the conference tournament and they’d still be hosting. That’s how far and above WOU is. However: Humboldt wouldn’t be dancing at all if they hadn’t managed to get hot at the right time and win the autobid via the conference tournament. The Jacks 100% deserve to be here considering the run they just went on, but is there still gas left in the tank? If yes, this game could be interesting. If no, expect WOU to roll, maybe even roll big.
Alright. Previews up. We’ll see you on Twitter/in Monmouth.
Just some thoughts that are kicking around. We’ll see how this goes.
Why did Humboldt State make it?
Because they received the auto-bid via winning the CCAA tournament.
Would Humboldt have made it without the auto bid?
No. They had no non-conference strength of schedule and lost eight in-conference games.
Why didn’t Alaska-Fairbanks make it?
1. Because they lost in the conference championship game and thus failed to procure the GNAC’s auto-bid.
2. Because while the Nooks were hot to end the season, they had no strength of schedule -something that’s now an official criterium. Strength of schedule largely comes from winning on the road and scheduling tough teams during non-conference. UAF didn’t play a single true road game, and while playing on a neutral court (MSUB) they lost both games to Dixie State and Dominican, respectively. And remember -this was a Dominican team that had a loss to NNU during non-conference. Had Alaska-Fairbanks literally won out in conference play (or gone something like 18-2) they would have had an argument for an at-large berth even without the strength of schedule, but they were competing for an at-large against teams that did have strength of schedule.
Who was the first team out?
In our opinion Dixie State. Dixie State had good strength schedule but lost too many non-conference games. They went 18-5 in conference, same as UAF. That goes to reiterate that even had UAF had strength of schedule, their bubble may have still burst. In non-conference Dixie lost to SFSU, Seattle Pacific, and Sonoma State; while beating Alaska-Fairbanks and MSU-Billings. Say Humboldt doesn’t get the auto-bid, you go back to that UAF/Dixie match-up, and you’d have to go with Dixie. But UAF returns a lot; they’ll have every opportunity for an at-large berth next year.
What do you think about the seedings and the resulting match-ups?
We agree with the match-ups. The seeding was incredibly variable -there were so many good arguments for the teams that made it being in spots 2-7, that we can’t complain at all. What we find hilarious is that while the seedings were variable, the optimal match-ups weren’t. Here’s a graphic that shows as much:
Three different seedings. All the same match-ups. Is it annoying to have the two GNAC teams potentially meeting up in the second round? Sort of, not really. The keyword there is potentially. While we have complete faith in the Wolves, we’re terrified of the Azusa match-up from an SPU perspective. The Falcons haven’t been playing particularly well and the brilliant cohesion we saw during non-conference hasn’t been seen in weeks. We’re incredibly worried.
In no year do seedings truly matter because the West Region is always a mess, but this year especially. Six teams. Toss them into a hat and draw names; that’s your seeding. In the D1 tournament it’s said that if you want to win, you have to beat everybody. On the D2 level that sentiment is on steroids because there are only eight teams and in years like this, it can mean that two could-be Elite Eight level teams meet in the first round. Cal Baptist and Cal Poly Pomona? Absolutely. Both 100% have the talent and skill to make it to the Elite Eight. There’s a 1/8 chance that either team will. Every team in the region this year has shown the ability to be at the level, including Humboldt. It’s going to be such a huge matter of who can get hot at the right time. This year’s GNAC tournament was balls-to-the-wall crazy and we have no idea what to expect out of the West Region. Even knowing the types of blowouts Cal Baptist and Humboldt State managed and the type of blowouts Azusa Pacific and Chico State were subject to, there’s no telling what’s going to happen.
And we love it. Welcome to the effing madness, put your seatbelt on because it’s going to be a wild ride.
Are you going to the Regional this year?
Yup, so come say ‘hi!’ if you’re there. Unfortunately we’re going to miss the first two games of the day because of work commitments, but we’ll be following the stats and keeping up on twitter, so whether you’re in Monmouth or watching at home -tell us what you think! You can either @ us on twitter via @GNACMBBlog or come talk to us in person during the second session. We’ll be wearing maroon and acting really hyper; we keep trying to calm down and be a grown-up, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Will there be game previews on Friday morning?
Absolutely. It’s on our to-do list for today, so theoretically that means it’ll be done by tomorrow. And yes: We will be talking about every game.
Are you going to talk about non-GNAC teams if both get bounced in the first round?
Most likely not. We don’t usually get enough hits to make it worth it, and we found it kind of drove our in-conference followers bananas last year, even previewing non-GNAC games. We’re 50/50 on that this year, just because there is so much interlocking play and it has been so intriguing from a regional perspective, but… Most likely when the last GNAC team’s season ends, our season will end, and we’ll get into our post-season awards and those types of posts.
Alright, any questions not answered: Ask us on twitter or leave a comment. Otherwise we’ll see you guys Friday morning for the West Region Day 1 preview.
They started with the West and the feed didn’t even come up for us until after it was over. Oookay then. Thanks NCAA, always know we can count on you.
The first round will be played on March 11 in Monmouth, Oregon.
Match-ups as follows:
3. Cal Baptist vs. 6. Cal Poly Pomona @ 12pm
2. UC San Diego vs. 7. Chico State @ 2:30pm
4. Seattle Pacific vs. 5. Azusa Pacific @ 5pm
1. Western Oregon vs. 8. Humboldt State @ 7:30pm
So somehow both BitoBaca and I both picked different seedings, got all of the match-ups right, and got all of the seeding wrong. Oookay then, but these were the match-ups we wanted (more or less) so we’re good with it.
WOU/HSU: We’re excited for the football rivals to match-up on the basketball court, and it’s great for Humboldt because as the team (truly) smack dab in the middle of the region, it’s only about an eight hour drive but is considerably less traffic than heading to SoCal. Bonus!
UCSD/Chico State: They’ve already matched up once -Chico won 77-71 on February 12, so at least it’ll have been a month? Should be a good match-up, we’re excited.
Cal Baptist/Cal Poly Pomona: We’re kind of both excited and terrified. On the one hand we do believe in Cal Poly Pomona’s ability to beat ANYONE, they are a very good team. On the other hand, Cal Baptist is looking really, really, really scaldingly hot right now and the Lancers look in prime condition to make some glue. CPP is the Broncos, if anyone’s forgetting.
Seattle Pacific/Azusa Pacific: This is just hilarious because the first time the two teams met up this year, it was in a tournament and both tried to rest their starters and almost lost to an NAIA team and MSUB, respectively. Now they’ve both been playing kinda wonky, but obviously APU is going to want to get some revenge for the first match-up and SPU is going to have to prove they’ve snapped out of it after a massive downturn of play to end the season. We’ll see. We like APU, think they’re a really good team, and you know… Last year SPU matched up with BYU-Hawaii after losing to BYU-Hawaii in the regular season; this year maybe it’s their turn to lose the second match-up?
More thoughts as the week goes on? Sure. Also shout-out to South Central #1 seed Midwestern State -they adopted us last year, so we’re happy to see them kicking some serious booty and getting to host this year.