Why we felt the need to do this, we’re not sure. RPI is a brat and a half to calculate on the D2 level because everyone counts their non-D2 wins as wins (which they’re not -they’re simply non-losses) so to the SIDs and committee members reading this: You’re sort of welcome. Only sort of, because it really doesn’t matter.
Basically we kicked the butts of the non-west region schools we played, but none of them are doing particularly fantastically except for MN Moorhead, so… Thanks to the Dragons for the OOR (out of region) legitimacy that splitting with you guys brought. RMAC/South Central Region -You’re our OOR buddy, we had fun attending your Regional last year, and we believe in you and your teams, so those games should increase in quality as conference play goes on.
Ultimately after going through all of the non-west region stuff, we circled back around to our original belief that none of it truly matters because of the small chance that any given team is going to match-up with one of these regions in the post-season, and the fact that if and when they do meet up -there’ll be another two thirds of the season between now and then.
Still -interesting and fun numbers. We have all of them, so if you’re curious about a particular context or something such, feel free to ask questions in the comments or on twitter.
We have all the numbers (yes: all the numbers) but we’re not sure what you guys want, so… If you’re here, you’re probably just as basketball-geeky as we are, so we’re going to give you all the numbers. Merry Christmas.
Please keep in mind: We sorted through every schedule of every opponent a west region team plays and we ONLY counted D2 opponents in these records because that’s how it should be. The number of schools that count wins against non D2 opponents is too darn high.
Hawaii Pacific (2-4)
Dominguez Hills (2-4)
Northwest Nazarene (2-4)
Central Washington (2-2)
They do have neutral site losses to Dixie State (4-4) and Dominican (5-3). Basically what this tells us is that UAF has ruled themselves out of at-large contention. Regional road wins are huge and there’s really no excuse for not picking some up if you want to be seriously considered to make the Tourney.
Current D2 Record: 5-2.
Current opponent record: 25-30
At-large bid potential: 0.
We like Fairbanks, love Bangaly and Travante and obviously Almir, and while we think they’re pretty secure in getting a bid to the conference tournament, they’re going to have to win it in order to get a berth in the Big Dance.
Hawaii Pacific (2-4)
Northwest Nazarene (2-4)
Central Washington (2-2)
Upper Iowa (5-8)
Current D2 Record: 5-3
Current Opponent Record: 33-38
At-large bid potential: 0.
Suki drives us nuts, we can just say that. He’s not quite the cancer of Dom Williams, but no coach would green light someone to regularly go 10-21 if they had any better options at all. We consider the Seawolves to be secure in their berth to the conference tournament, but they definitely need the auto-bid in order to become one of sixty-four.
Honestly the opponent record doesn’t even matter because SFU’s not going anywhere without the auto-bid and the odds of them even making the conference tournament are quickly approaching zero.
Colorado Springs (3-5)
Upper Iowa (5-8)
Current D2 record: 4-4
Opponent Record: 34-31
At-large potential: 0
We see their odds of making the conference tournament to be almost 100%. They got Evan Scholten back, he’s looked really good, the Vikings have the history. Do we see them getting the auto-bid? Too soon to say. But they will need it in order to go dancing.
We want to group SPU and WOU together, so the Falcons are being skipped right here, but you can find them farther down.
Hawaii Hilo (0-6)
Monterey Bay (3-6)
Current D2 record: 3-3
Opponent Record: 17-31
At-large potential: 0
Making the conference tournament? 50/50. We see their odds of making the dance as being incredibly small, but the Saints will keep improving and we’ll see where we stand after the first half of the conference round robin.
Black Hills State (2-4)
U of Mary (9-2)
Current D2 record: 3-6
Opponent Record: 45-31
At-large potential: 0
They have zero at-large potential, but they did challenge themselves thoroughly, there’s no denying that, it’s a great schedule, and had they come out on top they’d have every reason to think they were heading to the Dance provided they kept winning. As it is, they’re going to fight for a bid to the conference tournament and then try and use the experience they build in non-con to get that auto-bid and make it happen.
Current D2 record: 2-2
Opponent record: 15-14
At-large potential: 0
On the one hand, we really want to judge this CWU team, but then on the other hand we feel like we don’t have enough yet to make a pronouncement, and yet that in itself lends it to us making a pronouncement. The Wildcats returned almost everything and yet they scheduled themselves pathetically. They should be hoping they make the conference tournament, it’s far from a guarantee, and they missed out on getting two big road wins in Alaska -in both cases by a lot. Those games weren’t close. So we’ll see.
Current D2 record: 2-4
Opponent record: 25-26
At-large potential: 0
There’s really not much to be said. The Crusaders actually scheduled themselves pretty well but ultimately couldn’t do anything with it and then came really close to getting a few wins in Alaska but couldn’t do it. Hopefully they’ve seasoned themselves and with conference play they’ll turn around and at least make the conference tourney? Maybe. Not out of the realm of possibility.
The Cavaliers are cold porridge at this point. If they make the conference tourney it’ll be a miracle. They had a nice mix with MSUB and WOU being their first two conference opponents, but couldn’t get it done. They also had a good chance to learn from their first loss against CU-Irvine, but couldn’t do anything with it -in fact CU-Irvine did a lot with it, beating the Cavs by considerably more. It’s gonna be a rough year, but know that we’re in your corner Baby Bro.
Alright, now let’s talk about the realistic at-larges. And yes -they both are, which is GREAT news for everyone else.
Azusa Pacific (7-3)
East Bay (2-5)
Dixie State (4-5)
Chico State (7-2)
Azusa Pacific (7-3)
Current D2 record: 8-1
Opponent record: 36-35
At-large potential: high
We’re obsessed with the Falcons schedule, we’ll just say that straight up. We know it didn’t end up as quality as they were hoping it would, but they genuinely attempted to schedule really well and regardless as to how it worked out: they won. They have one loss to a 7-1 CU-Irvine team, they have road wins, they have a neutral win, they have home wins.
Their road win against WWU isn’t as quality as it might be but that game always has a lot of emotion and they came in and did what they needed to do, and it seems like it was good mental prep. Same with Azusa Pacific -there was potentially a lot of emotion riding on that game because Azusa, while a very different team this year, did make the Elite Eight last year. They got it done and did so convincingly. And that’s what we think regarding the tourney: It’s always a matter of winning, but this non-conference has indoctrinated this latest group of Falcons in what it takes to win and theoretically they’ll continue to make the statement that they know how throughout conference play.
Monterey Bay (3-6)
Point Loma (5-5)
Fresno Pacific (5-3)
ND de Namur (0-9)
Holy Names (2-7)
Current D2 record: 9-0
Opponent record: 27-45
At-large potential: high
We love this Western Oregon team because they’re coming in with a new-to-them coach and getting it done. New to them, because he’s new to the current crop of guys, but he is a Western Oregon guy -so he gets it. This schedule isn’t as ideal as it might be, but they got it done and decimated it as they should have and that UCSD road win means the world. That in itself is huge, especially because we really, really, really like that UCSD team -they’re our current CCAA obsession, if you follow us on twitter- and so we think that win is going to get more and more quality as the year progresses, which is huge huge HUGE.
We’re waiting for Julian Nichols, Jordan Wiley, and Devon Alexander to really click into gear because it still feels like they haven’t, but luckily… They have the big bad beast that is Andy to make them all look better. Aside from Alex Roth, we feel like we haven’t seen much out of the new guys, but SPU demonstrated last year that you only need four + a coach or two, in order to do pretty well, and we love Julian and Devon in particular so we think they’re going to ultimately be just fine.
From a realistic standpoint: If you’re not a WOU or SPU person, you should be hoping like heck that they win against everyone that isn’t you, because now what your team needs to focus on is simply making the conference tournament. We’ll get more into the wider west region picture (and the potential Regional host) tomorrow, but the quick version is that it’s a wash outside of a few schools. There will be a potential for the GNAC to be a three-bid league, but the only way that happens is if neither SPU nor WOU claims the auto-bid from the GNAC tournament.
We used to be in the camp that “Oh, we’d rather have more teams go, so it’s fine if our team doesn’t win the conference tournament,” but that was a very different time. While we see things getting back to where there were of a couple of teams not needing that auto-bid, after 2014 (one bid year) it just seems like too much of a risk. 2014 saw the Pac-West and CCAA both qualify an auto-bid only entrant, which semi-burst WWU’s bubble. Semi, because if you want to go dancing: WIN. That’s it. WIN.
The good news is: We might get the chance to return the bubble bursting favor this year. But the only way that happens is if WOU and SPU both win, win, win, so grit your teeth and become part of the Wolfpack/Falcon Faithful, and then come conference tournament time you can go back to hating the Falcons like normal. We get the feeling that there’s not nearly so much resentment toward the Wolves, and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t get it because… We hated attending SPU and hated being a part of their athletic department in particular. Good teachers, horrible students, toxic athletic department. Some of our most vivid memories of undergrad include waking up to find that we were throwing ourselves against the wall of our dorm room in hopes of knocking ourselves out cold so we would then have a legitimate excuse to not have to deal with our day.
So yes: We get the hate, we feel it much deeper than likely almost anyone reading this, but basketball over everything and right now you need to root like heck for SPU. The rest of the year you can hate them with our wholehearted approval.
Tomorrow: Discussing the West Region as a whole, potential host sites, etc.
For a lot of these guys it’s the last game they’ll play before Thanksgiving and while the vast majority won’t get to go home… All have more than earned the right to celebrate. Congrats to Saint Martin’s and Northwest Nazarene for getting it done!! Hope you guys enjoyed the very well deserved wins.
Central Washington 95, BYU Hawaii 86
We’re not even sure what to say other than: We called it. Lots of good numbers. Pretty much the only bad number came via Naim Ladd and his 2-9 shooting. Other than that, great and fairly complete performance by the Wildcats, so good day.
Highlights: Joey Roppo finished with 20 points, going 6-9 on threes; Gary Jacobs grabbed seven boards, five assists, three steals, and two fouls on his way to 22 points; Joe Stroud added six boards and 13 points along with four fouls; Devin Matthews went 8-10 from the line and finished with 16 points. Good team effort from the Wildcats, getting these two wins are big, especially because it’s literally the only non-conference they play, so really it helps all GNAC teams in some minimal way.
MSU-Billings 82, Black Hills State 80
No clue what to say about this game. Black Hills went 10-19 last year with MSUB killing them 79-61, so going off of that this win is happy but still concerning. Are the MSUB Yellowjackets out of the woods yet? No. The monsters are not yet trees. They’re still monsters and MSUB scheduled themselves very well. Part of that could be teams overlooking them thinking “yeah, we’ll schedule MSUB” and then MSUB thinking of the overlook factor. We’re not sure.
The Jackets haven’t had Momir Gataric, so that could also be playing a big role because he was huge at the end of last year.
Highlights: Marc Matthews had 24 points, six boards, and two steals but all was negated by 5 turnovers; Emmanuel Johnson had 11 points; Jace Anderson had 13 points and four assists; Christian Evans had 17 points while playing a whopping 37 minutes. Off the bench Jordan Perry had 11 points.
Northwest Nazarene 80, CSU-Los Angeles 75
The Crusaders overcame some disastrously selfish shooting and nasty turnovers to ultimately win the game. CSULA is generally speaking not a good team, so we’ll cover this in the discussions post this week, but for conference basement dwellers you basically have two options: Schedule good teams and hope you get good transfers and upset them, or schedule similarly placed teams and hope that it gets you experience and leads you to upsetting conference teams. This is the latter of those two options, we’ll see if it pays off.
Highlights: Joel Devastey had five boards; Bouna N’Diaye had 12 points; Gonzo Santana had four assists; Detwon Rogers had seven boards and 15 points; Mike Wright had 28 points and eight assists with just two turnovers. Off the bench Pol Olivier had three assists; and Kyle Bailey had five boards and eight points.
Seattle Pacific 86, Hawaii Hilo 73
Score ultimately ended up closer than what the game was. Had the huge potential for a let-down and they overcame it. They had Mitch Penner back, but still no Brendan Carroll. The Falcons went 2-2 on this weekend and hopefully it helped prepare them for next weekend because their schedule is brutal from here on out.
Highlights: BRYCE LEAVITT had a full house on good to great shooting finishing with 21 points, four assists, eight rebounds, a block, a steal, and two fouls; Garrett Swanson had seven boards, four fouls, and 16 points; Will Parker had two assists and three steals. Off the bench Mitch Penner had 17 points on 9-11 free throw shooting. Again, congrats to the Falcons for avoiding the let down.
CSU-Dominguez Hills 81, Alaska-Anchorage 78
There were a number of good things about this game and a number of bad things. The bad things largely fell into the fact that both Suki and Diante weren’t shooting well and ultimately the Seawolves (still without Brian McGill) couldn’t overcome it. The good was that there were few turnovers. Another bad thing was that there was very little defense.
Highlights: Corey Hammell had a double double with 10 boards and 17 points; Suki had nine assists and six boards while playing 40 minutes and shooting terribly; Spencer Svejcar had five boards, four assists, and 20 points. Off the bench Christian Leckband had five points and four boards, along with three blocks. The Seawolves were super close to getting it done and ultimately just couldn’t, but hopefully a good learning loss.
Colorado Christian 89, Simon Fraser 79
Another day, another learning experience. Some positively horrifying turnover issues. There were still plenty of good moments though and again: non conference is all about building experience. Colorado Christian is a good RMAC team.
Highlights: Max Barkeley had 22 points and just ONE turnover; Michael Harper had a full house including 15 points, but none of it really matters because he had seven turnovers; JJ Pankratz also had a full house including eight boards, eight points, three assists, and four blocks. Off the bench Oshea Gairey had fourteen points, although four turnovers. Pretty much it. Defense would have been nice. The good news is SFU is making progress, so… more to come.
Saint Martin’s 90, CSU-Monterey Bay 85
Good win for the Saints, super proud of them. Learning how to win is part of the process and they’re in the midst of a massive rebuild, so really good to see. Lots of super good numbers, but not very much defense. Still, a win is a win, and… Shooting 90% as a team on free throws can make us forgive you for a lot.
Highlights: Cole Preston played a whopping 40 minutes and finished with 19 points and five assists; Tyler Copp had 14 points; Jordan Kitchen had a full house including 10 points and two blocks in just 23 minutes;. Off the bench Rhett Baerlocher added four boards and four points.
Overall, a pretty good day for the GNAC. With SFU and UAA -all we ask is that you learned a lot from your losses. Granted, we also ask that of the winning teams -there’s always TONS of room for improvement. So glad to finally have Andy Avgi back, other players we hope to see again soon include: Almir Hadzisehovic, Brian McGill, Brendan Carroll, Trey Ingram, and
Stay warm and hydrated. Player of the week nominations will be up tomorrow at 10am with the winner up at 11.
Game previews for this weekend in regard to D2 action:
- BYU-H vs. CWU & SPU = good match-ups, if not rough. As covered: BYU-H just beat WWU, with a final score of 93-80.
- Hawaii Hilo vs. CWU & SPU = a winnable game for both GNAC teams; Hawaii Hilo tends to sit mid-pack in the Pac-West, so challenging but not breaking. Definitely not a cupcake, but there should be a win for both teams provided they take what’s being offered.
- Simon Fraser vs. Colorado Christian x2; Colorado Christian plays in the always strong RMAC and finished with an 11-11 conference record last year, so not a great team but definitely a good team and should be a good challenge for the Clan.
- WOU & SMU vs. CSU-Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay is perennially in the bottom quarter of the CCAA so WOU should take care of them without issue, and SMU should have the opportunity to win.
- UAA & UAF vs. CSU Dominguez Hills. Dominguez Hills is the SFU of the CCAA. We want to see Suki take fewer shots and for the Seawolves to really focus on distributing and taking good shots rather than just pseudo-available ones. In regard to UAF, we want to see Joe Slocum finally re-acclimate and do what we know he’s capable of.
- MSUB vs. Black Hills State; annual battle of the Yellowjackets. MSUB just “beat” NAIA Rocky Mountain two nights ago, but… Honestly, they didn’t win; Rocky Mountain simply lost. Games like that no one actually wins. And we say this whilst attending an NAIA school.
- WWU vs. Flagler; Flagler is a D2 school in the Peach Belt Conference (home of UNC Pembroke & University of South Carolina Aiken, notably). The Saints of Flagler finished 10-16 last year and have no one on their current roster from the pacific northwest, so… Apparently they just need their fix of rain, wind, and cold but without snow.
Pretty ho-hum weekend of basketball overall with the exception of the BYU-H games. Colorado Christian we’re curious about. GNAC teams have felt just off this year, we feel like we really haven’t started watching GNAC basketball yet because the fundamentals that we’re used to seeing (with the exception of UAF) haven’t been on display, so hopefully this weekend is the one that it clicks.
Rocky Mountain 73, MSUB 69.
Is anyone truly surprised about the MSUB score? Love the Yellowjackets, but the reality is that it’d happened once already. This time it was surprising because at least the last NAIA loss was on the road. Still maintain that MSUB will get better, still maintain that they’re a team to keep an eye on, still maintain that the Yellowjackets are in a hard spot with how much they didn’t return.
Player highlights: Austin Hudson had a double-double with 22 points and 11 boards while only picking up three fouls and managing two steals; Tyler Nelson had nine rebounds; Momir Gataric had 14 points and five boards; finally: Marc Matthews put in some quality minutes off the bench, doing a little bit of everything since shots weren’t falling.
Alaska-Fairbanks 68, Black Hills State 66.
Obviously Kyle Tomlinson hit a massive shot, but what’s great about Kyle in this case is that he played well throughout the game, not just when it counted; he finished five for eight with 15 points and a FULL HOUSE, collecting three boards, one assist, one steal, and one block. Ashton Edwards was fantastic off the bench with 20 points; Ruben had 10 points and six rebounds; rebounding was remarkably consistent across the team, which is fantastic.
These couple of days are going to be a little weird -there’s a lot of travel going on (not entirely anticipated) and so as with this post, they’re not all going to go up right on schedule, they’re not going to be as detailed, but things should calm down on Monday and we’ll be able to take a better look at things.
The GNAC faces a grand total of nine different non-west division two schools over the course of 12 games. The schools come from three different regions and four different conferences, with an independent thrown in simply for pleasure.
Most interesting is that no west-region school would face any of the teams until the Final Four, and thus these games could help set the tone for what’s seen as a strong region vs. a weak region.
The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference:
CWU and SPU play Minnesota-Crookston.
Minnesota-Crookston finished an impressive 1-21 in conference and 4-23 overall. The games are being played in the Seattle Pacific gymnasium and so it’s a literal home game for the Falcons and a virtual one for the Wildcats. While CWU will inevitably have some growing pains this year, seeing as they lost everybody on a team that finished a disappointing 8-10 in conference and 12-14 overall, this game should be a good chance to do some happy growing early in the year. SPU regardless as to the fact that they lost most of their scoring, shouldn’t have any issues considering the potential scoring threats they have waiting in the wings, no pun intended.
UAF plays Minnesota-Moorhead.
Minnesota-Moorhead finished in a three-way tie for first place in their division and a three way tie for 3rd place in their conference with a 15-7 conference record, and a 21-8 record overall. Ultimately, the school did not make the tournament nor did anyone else in their division; the Northern Sun received one auto-bid and one at large bid, both to schools in the other division. UAF is another GNAC team that suffered catastrophic losses, but they’re playing a virtual home game at UAA. The Alaska advantage is huge and Moorhead seems likely to overlook that little fact, thus while it seems likely that the Dragons will win -the Nooks should at least put up a fight.
The Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association:
SPU plays Washburn.
Washburn finished 5th in the MIAA with a conference record of 10-9 and overall record of 17-10. The conference itself sent four teams to the regional, and so while Washburn didn’t make the tournament, they were likely a very good team. This game is being played in Hawaii and so neither school is expected to hold an advantage nor disadvantage, and it should serve as a relatively good test for SPU with victory eventually being secured by the Falcons.
The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference:
WOU and SMU play Colorado Christian.
Colorado Christian finished 13-9 in conference and 18-15 overall, good for a 7th place standing in a difficult conference. WOU finished 4th and SMU finished 8th last year. Both teams return good cores of players. WOU finished 10-8 and 18-12; SMU finished 8-10 and 9-17. No team of the three made the tournament. The games are being played in Monmouth, thus it’s a home game for WOU. Generally speaking you never know what WOU is going to do, and so the match-up should be interesting; SMU, it’ll be a matter of whether or not they can solidify their identity this early in the season. If the Saints can, the odds seem good for a close game; if they can’t, it’ll likely be a blowout.
MSUB plays Black Hills State.
Both teams are the Yellowjackets. Black Hills State finished 8-14 in conference and 10-16 overall; MSUB finished 8-10 in conference and 12-15 overall. Black Hills State was by and far in the stronger conference, and the Montana Yellowjackets lost a fair bit of their core, but… This is actually a rivalry game. Anything can happen in a rivalry game. Black Hills killed MSUB last year, so it seems like the revenge factor might be there. MSUB is playing at home and they generally have a great home court advantage, but the wildcard of this year: the game lands the day before Elk and Deer season end. No prediction.
The Lone Star Conference:
NNU plays at Texas A&M Kingsville. NNU finished second to last with a 5-13 record in conference and a 7-19 record overall. TAMU-Kingsville finished 7-7 in conference and 19-9 overall. NNU has some interesting transfers coming in that could lead to big things, but it seems likely that Kingsville wins the game easily.
NNU and WWU both play Tarleton State.
NNU, as noted, was second to last in our conference, whereas WWU was second from the top although didn’t make the tournament. Tarleton won their conference with a 12-2 record and a 28-3 record overall. They made the tournament as the 2 seed and progressed to the round of 32, losing by a mere six points. Tarleton, like WWU, is a good team year in and year out; the match-up against NNU shouldn’t be a problem, and the match-up in Vegas with Western Washington should be one of the better games on the GNAC’s non-conference slate.
The Sunshine State Conference:
SPU & SMU play Rollins.
Rollins finished 14-13 overall last year and 8-8 in a conference that sent half their teams to the NCAA tourney, although they themselves didn’t go. Teams are different year to year and even day to day, but judging where each team finished and knowing how both SPU and SMU prepare… St. Martin’s and Rollins should be a fairly compelling match-up, but Rollins definitely holds the advantage. This is the first game either team plays in Vegas, and so the legs should be nice and fresh, which will hopefully lead to a competitive game.
Seattle Pacific is a different story; they’ll have played what’s likely to be a very exhausting game against Dixie State the day prior, and thus… they could be in kill mode, they could be in let-down mode, or they could be in “let’s get this over with mode;” we’ll have to see. It might be a good mis-match in SPU’s favor, or it might be a hard fought battle. It is doubtful, however, that the Falcons’ll get blown out.
Regardless of what actually happens, we’ll hope both GNAC teams show up in “WE LIVE IN CONSTANT DRIZZLE, TAKE YOUR SUNSHINE AND SHOVE IT,” mode. Not because the Sunshine State Conference isn’t fantastic, but simply because you know, stereotypes.
WWU plays Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras. The team finished 2-10, and in the games they won had a combined margin of victory of four points. WWU is expected to have a great time on their vacation to Puerto Rico.
That is the D2 non conference for the GNAC; is the analysis in-depth? No. Because it doesn’t matter a ton anyway: the odds of a repeat game between one of the schools this calendar year is small, and the teams would be vastly different anyway. The implication overall will be basic: if we win, it won’t really say a lot; if we lose, it’ll say that we’re not as strong as we could be.
Thoughts on the DII Bulletin Pre-Season Top 25 is up next.