Alright, here we go. It’s late but it’s still here and that’s what counts, eh? The good news is that all of the math is already done for POW so that’ll go up tomorrow morning on schedule.
Central Washington 93 vs. MN-Mankato 104
The Wildcats got outside themselves =( It was totally within their range and they could have had it and they panicked and it didn’t happen, but we’re still so proud of them. As noted yesterday: It wouldn’t surprise us if Mankato is a very, very good team.
Wildcat highlights: Naim Ladd had 18 points; Dom Hunter had 27 points; Terry Dawn had six boards; Jawan Stepney had 15 points and five boards; and off the bench Sage Woodruff had five boards.
Simon Fraser 73, Lindenwood 72
SFU vs. Lindenwood round two and SFU squeaked out another one. Nicely done Clan. Plenty of good numbers to go around, so we’ll jump right in.
Clan highlights: Iziah Sherman-Newsome had eight boards and 10 points; Graham Miller had 9 points and five boards; Michael Provenzano had another good game with 14 points and five boards, along with five fouls; JJ Pankratz had 9 points and five boards; and Tyrell Lewin had 14 points and six boards. Off the bench Andrew Williamson had 9 points; and Hidde Vos had eight points.
Western Washington 94, Holy Names 68
Can’t spell ‘slaughter’ without ‘laughter’? The numbers aren’t as good as they could be, but there are a lot of good ones and we’re very satisfied with WWU.
Vikings highlights: Taylor Stafford had 17 points and 11 boards; Trey Drechsel had 14 points and five boards; Logan Schilder had 10 points, seven boards, and five blocks -good to see the 7’0er getting aclimated; Daulton Hommes had 13 points and six boards; and Jeffrey Parker had a full house with 24 points and seven rebounds, among other stats. Off the bench Trevor Jasinsky had seven points.
Seattle Pacific 72 vs. Dixie State 74 in OT
Dixie State won. We’re not very happy. But it does create a lot parity because it wasn’t a good loss. Dixie State is yet to get a good win. They have good losses, but not any good wins, and a brand new SPU team that doesn’t return anything does not count as a quality win. But looking at the numbers SPU decided they didn’t give a crap about rebounding, so… They get what they get.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten played 40 minutes and had eight rebounds; Sam Simpson had six boards; and Joe Rasmussen had five fouls. Off the bench Sharif Khan had 10 points; and Tony Miller had 21 points and seven boards.
We consider this game to be a complete mess and with a slightly more experienced team the Falcons would have had it, but the fact is they don’t have that experience this year and they can’t get away half-trying like they have in the past. Hopefully they learned something -if they didn’t, their SoCal games this coming week are going to be felt widely and painfully on a conference level.
Alaska-Fairbanks 71 vs. BYU-Hawaii 68
Praise Nooks. They got it done. It was desperate considering BYU-H only used six players (essentially five) but it’s still a ‘W.’
Nanook highlights: Nahjee Matlock had 13 points and five assists; Bangaly Kaba had 14 points and seven boards; LaDonavan Wilder had seven boards; Zach Pederson had 15 points and six boards; Brandon Davis had 12 points, five boards, six assists, five steals, a block, four fouls, and zero turnovers in a perfect full house. Off the bench Michael Kluting had eight points and six boards.
Alaska-Anchorage 73, Cal State LA 68
Thank God, the Seawolves got out of this. Suki was more off on free throws than we’re used to seeing, so that was interesting. Corey Hammell finally had a Corey Hammell game, so that was good. Mixed bag, but what can we say? The Seawolves got it done and we are incredibly relieved.
Seawolves highlights: Suki Wiggs had 27 points and six boards; Corey Hammell had 12 points and 11 boards; and Connor Devine had 12 points and six boards. No real bench play, which is mildly concerning but Sjur Berg saw almost no minutes, so… Maybe means nothing.
CU-Portland 62, San Francisco State 86
The Gators were in ‘steamroll’ mode. That’s okay. We’re still proud of the Cavs for the progress they’re clearly making. We think they’re going to make some noise in conference -Christopher Edward, among others, is for real.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 14 points; Christopher Edward had a double-double with 10 boards and 10 points; off the bench Davis Nuaimi had five assists; and Taylor Harris had 11 points.
Saint Martin’s 75, San Bernardino State 80
The Saints ALMOST got the win but couldn’t pull it off likely due to a slow 7’0er. He goes in for the tip and nothing else. We like Fred a lot, but… Winning the tip doesn’t matter if he can’t even be counted on to grab one measly board. Naim Ladd is 5’7 and had seven the other night, so… Get with it Fred. You’ve got five fouls. Use them.
Saints highlights: Cole Preston had five boards and 17 points; Rhett Baerlocher had seven boards; Tyler Copp bounced back and had 16 points; Brandon Kenilvort had five boards; and off the bench Trey Ingram had 15 points.
MSU-Billings 50 vs. Cal State East Bay 54
Close and hard fought game but ultimately MSUB couldn’t pull it out. Quite honestly it bugs us because MSUB returns so much, so… Yellowjackets: What are you doing? We know East Bay’s place in conference tends to make them look worse than they are (truly an any given night team) but you were at home and have so many returners. Hmmm. We expect more of you Yellowjackets. Next week, perhaps.
Yellowjacket highlights: PRESTON BEVERLY had a huge game wiht 14 points and 25 points on good shooting; and Christian Evans had five boards.
To be fair, some of the lacking in highlights is because it was a low-scoring game, but… Shooting numbers were also bad.
Western Oregon 63 vs. UC San Diego 75
The Tritons read Western Oregon like a book. They came in apparently very prepared and essentially just shut the Wolves down completely. WOU still had few turnovers, so UCSD could have maybe forced them better, but… This was revenge for the Sweet 16 game and they got it.
Wolves highlights: Ali Faruq-Bey had six boards; and off the bench Demtrius Trammell had 11 points; while Yanick Kulich had 19 points and seven boards; and Malik Leaks had seven points.
Yup. That minimal. Looking forward to the Wolves bouncing back after a painful weekend.
Northwest Nazarene 84 vs. Colorado Christian 103
Weeee. Eeeee. Okay, honestly not surprising because Colorado Christian is often good, as the RMAC is usually really good. This is a quality loss if we’ve ever seen it.
Crusader highlights: Bouna N’Diaye had six boards; Jalen Shepard had nine assists and 16 points, whoa; Kaileb Rodriguez had 25 points and 12 boards for the double-double; Maurice Jones had 13 points and five fouls. Off the bench Pol Olivier had six points.
Overall a mis-mash of a weekend. We’re not as concerned as we expected ourselves to be, mostly because it does look like so much parity across the region that we feel like if a few teams clamp down and others buck up, things’ll be just fine.
POW noms up tomorrow at 10am, with the announcement at 11.
Yup, it’s going to be a back-to-back post because as much as we love the GNAC -Husky and Seahawks football took priority. And sleep. Sleep took priority. What’s interesting is we were so busy throwing-up the preview (our fingers were barfing) that we didn’t look at ANY of Friday’s numbers yesterday. Nuts. And now not any of Saturday’s numbers. It’s all a surprise o.O
Simon Fraser 81, Lindenwood 73
We weren’t even aware Lindenwood was a D2 school; we assumed it was a school on the prairies of Canada. As it turns out it is D2, so good on the Clan for scheduling them. Yayyy D2 opponents.
Clan highlights: Graham Miller was 7-7 from the line and finished with 18 points and four fouls; Michael Provenzano had seven boards, five assists, and finished with 18 points and four fouls; JJ Pankratz was back in a big way, grabbing nine boards, four blocks, and dropping 24 points while staying out of foul trouble. Off the bench Kedar Wright went 7-9 from the line and finished with 11 points in the Clan’s victory.
Dear President Donald Trump,
Thank-you for making it okay for us to say ‘Go Clan!’ and talk positively about them without being concerned about ending up on a list. Heck, if we’re not careful with all this talk of “Go Clan!” we could ended up nominated for a cabinet position.
The GNAC Men’s Basketblog
Central Washington 99, Dixie State 95 in OT
Yeaaah Wildcats! We is so proud of you. Winning in OT. Yes, it’s for all intents and purposes a home game, but any win against the region is a win we will take. And there were TONS of good numbers, so let’s get started…
Wildcat highlights: NAIM LADD had SEVEN rebounds, two assists, ZERO turnovers, and 25 points; DOM HUNTER had a whopping 33 points while going 10/11 from the line and being good from the field; Jerome Bryant did the rare thing of confusing us with his lack of shooting; he went 1-3 and then made 9-11 from the line and grabbed five boards and had five fouls. Rarely do we think ‘wow, he could have kept shooting’ but this guy did and at the same time we’re excited for him because it shows the valuable trait of knowing his role and doing a darn good job at it. Fouling and drawing fouls? Um, yeah.
Full disclaimer: Power forward is our favorite position by and far, so that position does tend to get a good bit of bias around here.
Seattle Pacific 69, MN-Makato 78
While it’s a good win for MN-Mankato, we’re not convinced it’s a bad loss for SPU because we’d so much rather lose an out-of-region game than an in-region, and Mankato could turn out to be very good; it’s too early in the season to know at this point. We’ll consider it a good learning experience, hopefully.
Falcon highlights: COLEMAN WOOTEN had 16 boards and 24 points on solid shooting; Sam Simpson had eight boards and four assists; Will Parker had five fouls; and Joe Rasmussen had five boards and nine points. Off the bench Sharif Khan had 14 points; and Tony Miller had seven boards.
Alaska-Fairbanks 68, Cal State LA 74
Huge win for the CCAA as a whole. We talk about it all the time, but: Any win in Alaska is a good win because it’s so hard to play up there. We knew CSULA was going to be improved this year, it was just a matter of time.
Nanook highlights: Nahjee Matlock had five boards and five assists; Bangaly had 10 boards and nine points; LaDonavan Wilder had five boards; and Brandon Davis had 16 points and five assists. Off the bench Reece Robinson had six points and four boards; and Michael Kluting had 10 points.
CU-Portland 57, UC San Diego 66
Way closer than anticipated. Yes, it was essentially a home game, but it’s still what we should all consider a very quality loss for the Cavalier program because we love the Cavs and anticipated a blowout so what was everyone else thinking? Yeah. It’s good.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 15 points, Latrell Wilson had five boards; Christopher Edward had a huge game with 10 points and eight boards; and off the bench Davis Nuami had four boards and three assists.
The Tritons play mad D so the numbers are less than they usually would have been for how close it was.
Alaska-Anchorage 75, BYU-Hawaii 50
Confirmed: BYU-H good at home and bad on the road. At least so far. Admittedly it’s hard to play at UAA, but in that we also need to say that: UAA has a huge homecourt advantage. Good for them. Did what needed to be done and there are lots of good numbers.
Seawolf highlights: Suki had 21 points, seven boards, and three assists; Corey Hammell had a double-double with 12 boards and 10 points; and Connor Devine had 17 points and eight boards on good shooting. Off the bench Augustus Simmers had 10 points; Damien Fulp had 10 points while perfect from the line; nad Sjur Berg had five boards.
Western Oregon 93 vs. San Fran State 99 in 3OT
Oh dear. We’d say this game was a mess on both sides but it wasn’t. San Fran State played within themselves and used it to win the game in a hard place to play. They had surprisingly few bad numbers for the fact that the game went to 3OT. Not the case with the Wolves. Still, as bad as the numbers were they stayed in it.
Wolves highlights: Bryan Berg had 15 points and five boards; Tanner Omlid had eight boards, seven assists, four steals, two blocks, and assorted other stuff while securing a full house; Ali Faruq-Bey had eight boards; Buster Souza had a “break-out” game with seven boards and fourteen points with the only passable shooting on the Wolves. Off the bench Yanick Kulich had seven boards; and Malik Leaks had six boards and nine points -guess if you can survive that surname in elementary school, you can do anything.
Saint Martin’s 60 @ Sonoma State 77
Oh dear. Growing pains. It’s okay Saints, this is going to happen. Quality loss? Perhaps. At least Tyler Copp played moderately well, because outside of him there really are very few highlights.
Saints highlights: Tyler Copp had four boards, four assists, zero turnovers, and 20 points; Brandon Kenilvort had 17 points; and off the bench Rohjhae Colbert had five boards.
Overall an interesting day for the GNAC and West Region as a whole. Not bad nor good; this day was neutral all the way around, which is interesting of itself. We honestly haven’t looked at Saturday’s results except for CWU (they keep playing early so we keep seeing those results) and so… We’ll see in a little bit.
Congrats and good effort to all involved, GNAC or otherwise.
We’re going to post these in reverse order and then swap the times because we want what times the games are being played at to be at the top, but we’re writing this one first because last night was whoa. On a lot of levels. We don’t know whether to climb into our conspiracy bunker of “ZOMG the GNAC is so bad, we’re going to be a one bid league” or “Our region looks okay and has parity all up and down, so we’ll be fine.”
November. Beautiful November.
All times pacific.
Central Washington vs. MN-Mankato @ 12:30
Want CWU to win sooo badly, it should be a battle, we’re ready for it to be a battle, and we’re ready to see the Wildcats come out on top.
Simon Fraser vs. Lindenwood @ 2pm
We somehow missed that Lindenwood is actually a D2 school; we assumed they were a Canadian school. They’re D2. And SFU beat them yesterday, but it was close, so we’ll see what happens today.
Western Washington vs. Holy Names @ 2pm
WWU gets it done, no problem, no doubt. They’re at home, HNU is never good, it’ll be fine. WWU’s got actual teamwork this year and no drag-their-feet post players, which makes everything better.
Seattle Pacific vs. Dixie State @ 3pm
No idea. The Falcons just lost to Mankato, but we don’t know what that means -we actually haven’t even looked at the numbers. CWU beat Dixie in overtime yesterday, Dixie has some mad strength of schedule and so they’ve played good teams are already well-seasoned. Dixie State has often beat the Falcons at home in non-conference and were responsible for dislodging SPU’s number one ranking a few years ago, so… What can we say? Those proud bearers of the confederate flag are probably going to win.
Alaska-Fairbanks vs. BYU-Hawaii @ 3pm
Seasiders just got killed by UAA. Time for the Nooks to get it done too. UAF wins big.
Alaska-Anchorage vs. Cal State LA @ 5pm
CSULA is starting to come into its own with a win over UAF yesterday, but so is UAA and… “The Seawolves up there in their hella nice lair” will take care of the Eagles just fine. Yes, we just plagiarized ourselves, we’re okay with that.
CU-Portland vs. San Francisco State @ 5pm
SFSU just won a triple over time game against WOU. We’re not sure whether that means this is a prime chance for CU-Portland to upset SFSU because they’re exhausted and likely to over look the Cavs, or if they’re going to get killed because SFSU is going to be like “WE JUST BEAT THE WOLVES, WE CAN DO ANYTHING!” and be in steamroll mode. We shall see.
Saint Martin’s vs. San Bernardino @ Sonoma State @ 5:30
The Saints got straight-up murdered by Sonoma last night, which actually doesn’t hurt our conference that badly because WWU had a convincing win over them last week without blowing them out, so Sonoma is looking good. Also tells you that there may be some separation between WWU and SMU, which wouldn’t be surprising, but still leaves plenty of room for the idea that both are good teams. Bernardino took CWU to OT but CWU got the win, it seems likely that Bernardino will win this one, but who knows. We love the Saints -they could absolutely bounce back.
MSU-Billings vs. Cal State East Bay @ 6pm
MSUB has a great homecourt advantage and yet East Bay is one of those teams that always gives GNAC teams problems, even when they’re lower-middle of the CCAA. Not sure what’s going to happen with this one. Nothing would surprise us in any direction unless both teams ended up scoring under 50. That would surprise us.
Western Oregon vs. UC San Diego @ 7pm
We cannot wait for this game. UCSD is boasting mad SOS, WOU just lost a triple OT game to SFSU, it’s in the New PE Building, what is going to happen? UCSD just had a heck of a time against CU-Portland, so we have no idea what to expect out of this game.
Northwest Nazarene vs. Colorado Christian @ 7pm
Who knows? We want NNU to win, we somewhat expect them to lose, but that’s just because “oh NNU,” and prior conceptions from previous years, but that’s not fair now is it? NNU hasn’t even played any D2 games this year. Who knows what might happen?
UAF 73 @ BYU-H 64
It was a hairy game for a while, but ultimately the Nooks pulled it through and got one of those ever-so-coveted ROAD WINS. We haven’t done our annual singalong of “The Selection Comm is Coming to Town” yet, but that’s a big one. Get those road wins and the Nooks did just that, especially coming back from a deficit on the road and after two losses in a row -that’s a huge deal. Very good gumption, clearly learning from the experiences. Proud of you, UAF: you helped our entire conference with this win.
Nook highlights: LaDonavan Wilder had 15 points and six boards; Brandon Davis had 14 points, four boards, three assists, and four steals -very balanced; and Zach Pederson had eight boards. Off the bench, Trent Molesworth had eight points; and Brandon Rowden had six points. Overall a very nice rebounding effort by the entire team.
Up next for the Nooks is CSULA in the Seawolf Jamboree.
SMU 97 vs. Hilo 89
Ahahahaha. This was a beautiful mess of a game for the Saints -Hilo played well, especially on the road for a week. We monitored it, but didn’t watch it. Initially SMU went up and we were like “uh huh” and then Hilo came back and we were like “oh dear” and then Hilo was leading for a while and we were like “oh OH dear,” before SMU was like “no, no, no,” and then they got apathetic again and Hilo came back again. It was honestly exactly what we expected out of both teams because SMU was coming off a big “road” OT win against Point Loma, and Hilo was coming off of a close loss to SPU. Hilo wanted to rebound, SMU was going “we’re at home, we just beat a well-coached team, this is no big deal.” Um, no. Every west region game is a big deal, get it through your heads all of y’all.
Saints highlights: Cole Preston had an iffy game overall but still made 8-12 from the line; Tyler Copp continues to be amazing, playing 38 minutes, scoring 24 points, grabbing six boards, and getting the full five fouls; Fred Jorg continues to win the tip-off. Off the bench Trey Ingram had a HUUUGE game (we’ve missed him) with 19 points, seven assists, and just ONE turnover; Brandon Kenilvort had 18 points; and Rohjae Colbert had seven points.
Very balanced scoring, pretty decent shooting, very relieved they pulled this game out. The Saints next opponent is Sonoma State.
Discussions post’ll go up tomorrow and then game previews on Friday.
All in one convenient location with listed seedings. Going up an hour (or two) before the Discussions post, just ’cause.
The CCAA played their first round last night because they have eight teams in play. The bold teams won. Right now these are just the seeds, but we’ll put up what the brackets ended up as on Saturday night.
1. Chico State
2. UC San Diego
3. Cal Poly Pomona
4. Humboldt State
5. Monterey Bay
6. San Fran State
7. Sonoma State
8. Cal State LA
So yup, Chico State is out of contention for the auto-bid. We’re not worried; our CCAA counterpart is. When SPU gets bounced in the first round of the GNAC tourney he can watch us freakout while he sits there and goes “You guys are fine.”
1. Azusa Pacific
2. Dixie State
3. Cal Baptist
4. Hawaii Pacific
APU and Dixie both have a first round BYE.
1. Western Oregon
4. Seattle Pacific
5. Central Washington
6. Western Washington
WOU and UAF both have a first round BYE.
Games start on Thursday. The CCAA games continue on Friday. By Sunday night we’ll know who’s going to Monmouth.
HOOOOLY GUACAMOLE. We’re proud of and stunned over the vast majority of the West Region right now because there were SO many close games being played today. Teams were playing up, teams were playing down, and battles were being had up and down the entirety of the west coast (including up in Alaska and out in Hawaii) and WOW.
So let’s talk about it. Here are all of the games that came down to a possession-ish:
Seattle Pacific 74 @ Alaska-Anchorage 71
Northwest Nazarene 70 @ Concordia-Portland 72
MSU-Billings 76 @ Simon Fraser 72
Fresno Pacific 94 @ Azusa Pacific 90
Hawaii Hilo 80 @ ND de Namur 82
BYU Hawaii 87 @ Point Loma 71 -not a close game, but a big upset
Hawaii Pacific 63 @ Dixie State 84 -also not a close game, but a surprising blowout
Cal Baptist 81 @ Concordia-Irvine 82
San Bernardino State 92 @ Humboldt State 93
Sonoma State 65 @ Dominguez Hills 88 -unexpected blowout, although we’ve been preaching DH since mid-November.
UC San Diego 41 @ Cal Poly Pomona 35 -meditate on this; we’re still confused and are going to end up re-watching it closely.
San Fran State 49 @ Cal State LA 63 -huge upset.
The CCAA Friday night games are what make some of those results particularly interesting. You see: Friday night was normal. Sonoma beat CSULA and San Fran State beat DH, both with roughly 10 point margins.
Records of potential conference tournament-bound teams:
Overall while the GNAC is experiencing chaos and parity, there also is separation. The CCAA, there are seven teams competing for theoretically six bids and it’s going to be a bit chaos-y, but not anywhere close to as nuts as the Pac-West. The Pac-West is a full on glorious mess. Think Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off food fight mess; yes, that good.
We’ve been following the Pac-West but hadn’t looked at the standings and now that we have… We’re aware of just how nuts they truly are: Nine teams are .500 or above in conference and Fresno Pacific is a mere two games out, with two games against 2-10 ND de Namur and a game against 2-11 HNU still to play. Granted, the rest of FPU’s schedule is terrifying, but they upset Azusa tonight AT Azusa, so… Maybe not as undoable as it looked yesterday?
With the GNAC… UAF, UAA, WWU, SPU, CWU, and WOU (in our usual blog order) are all pretty locked into their spots in the conference tournament. While we fully expect 0-12 SFU to beat someone (even someone in the top six) we still don’t expect it to undo the standings. We’re through just over half of conference play and because each pair is represented once in the top six (except the Alaskas, who are both in there) it should be fairly maintainable for all six teams.
As for the CCAA, it’ll get dicey but UCSD, Chico State, and Cal Poly Pomona can probably feel safe about their conference tournament bids. The other four it’s going to be nuts and that’s all we can say. We may be talking about another team here in the coming weeks, it all depends.
The region motto this year might as well be “Expect the unexpected,” and thus the seatbelt sign remains on. We’ve had two games in the second half of conference play and would like to remind you that seatbelts need to remain fastened until conference play comes to a full and complete stop.
What are we thinking in regard to the West Region? Who. The. Falcon. Knows.
Not them. Not the Falcons. That’s just our latest rated ‘R’ term gone ‘G.’
Here’s a west region prognostication maybe with a little bit of seeding but kinda sorta maybe not really who knows. It’s so much chaos it seems ludicrous to make a list like this, particularly with seeding, but… Here we go:
1. Western Oregon -best record, holds the tiebreaker over UCSD and it was great because it was a road win.
2. UC San Diego -great team, think they’re amazing, very solid CCAA resume.
3. CU-Irvine -we’ve liked them since they beat SPU in the first game of the year and continue to believe in them.
4. Seattle Pacific -We’d rather stick Anchorage here, but SOS counts this year and the Falcons undeniably have it.
5. Cal Baptist -another nod because of SOS with Moorhead, but we’re really not sure how we feel placing them here.
6. Chico State -their only SOS continues to be their losses to the Falcons and Cal Poly Pomona by 10 points a piece. They’re a good team, but the game at UCSD on the 12th looms rather large.
7. Alaska-Anchorage -We want them higher, but their biggest win was at SPU a month ago and the Falcons just beat them. Aside from that, they lack a quality road win because their wins against Chaminade and Hawaii Pacific were at home.
8. Azusa Pacific -Between them and BYU-Hawaii it’s not close because BYU-H’s non-conference was a mess while APU’s was quality, plus BYU-H really hasn’t had too bad of a conference schedule so far and it’s about to get brutal.
Shockingly we feel kind of comfortable with that. We don’t think it’s right in the slightest, but we feel like it’s well-reasoned at the very least, which is kind of the best you can go for right now. This is all theoretical physics, basketball edition.
Alright. Now we’re off to go write the GNAC Recaps and maybe start on some of the math for POW stuff because we like doing it by hand rather than letting a program do it for us. Statistics are good therapy, which… With this region, we need it. We need a way to let our brain relax with formulas that are consistent.
Have a great night, thanks for coming on the ride with us, it’s far from over, and for the non-GNAC, West Region people: We’ll catch-up with you on Wednesday for some discussions about national rankings.
On the agenda for today: Last night’s game, the updated rankings, this year’s rebounding compared to last, mid-season
Saint Martin’s 46 @ Seattle Pacific 65
Almost exactly what you’d hope if you’re an SPU fan, exactly what you’d grudgingly accept if the Saints are more your style. We didn’t expect anything because this is the GNAC, where the defense is made up and only the very last points matter. Although not in this game -the defense actually did a somewhat okay job, so good on the Falcons. Their shooting was completely okay, so really great for them. SMU did have a lot of chuck-ups, but it is what it is.
Saints highlights: Tyle Copp had eight points; Fred Jorg had 14 points and five boards; the team had a mere eight turnovers.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a full house including six boards and eight assists; Gilles Dierickx had fie boards, three blocks, and 12 points; Mitch Penner had 13 points. Off the bench Coleman Wooten had seven points and four boards; Joe Rasmussen had 10 points; and Kevin Johnson had five points in limited minutes.
Good defense by the Falcons, good effort by the Saints. The Saints had more boards than expected, so… E for exceeds expectations. Can’t wait to watch both the Falcons and the Saints take on the Yellowjackets. The Saints and the Jackets match-up pretty well and then the Falcons and the Yellowjackets have a fun rivalry, so pretty cool stuff to come this week, although… The big ones of course are WOU at the Alaskas.
Individual rebounding numbers are down, but it’s very possible that team rebounding numbers are up. Last year we wouldn’t note a guy’s boarding unless it was over ten; this year that number is five because it seems more guys are up for grabbing them, which is awesome. We’ll look into it further here, but definitely something to keep in mind. The numbers in terms of what we look at in regard to POW stuff are interesting because with that number we’re thinking there’s far more distribution this year than there was last year in regard to spreading the love and more guys getting in on the action, which could be signs of good or could be signs of bad. Now that trends are starting to establish we’re able to take a closer look and so… We’ll see.
Last year we did a ton of mid-season stuff -teams, underclassmen, all that jazz, this year we’re not sure if we’re going to do the mid-season blog blitz, but there’s a possibility. If you reaaaally want to see it, leave a comment and it may inspire us to actually go through a bunch of it.
The big news of the weekend is that chaos has erupted in the CCAA:
- Cal Poly Pomona lost to Cal State LA
- Humboldt lost to Dominguez Hills
- UCSD lost to Monterey Bay
- Cal Poly Pomona lost to Dominguez Hills
Honestly we’re not too shocked about Dominguez Hills being a middle-of-the-pack team; we’ve been saying it since fairly early in non-conference, but 3/4 best CCAA teams going down spells p-p-p-parity. Which is what’s reigning in the GNAC, so frankly it’s good news for us considering non-conference was mostly a wash although we were reticent to admit it.
Relevant news from the Pac-West:
-Fresno Pacific blew out BYU-Hawaii (good for WOU/SMU, bad for SPU, WWU, and CWU).
-Azusa Pacific narrowly beat Cal Baptist.
There’s also some other stuff of parity being implicated but it’s too circular to make it worth getting into because the teams are ranked; just know that it’s happening.
After that mess, here are the rankings:
7. MSU Moorhead
8. Western Oregon
15. Cal Baptist
16. Cal Poly Pomona
19. Chico State
22. Azusa Pacific
Receiving votes: Seattle Pacific (17), Alaska Anchorage (14), Humboldt State (1).
We’re ridiculously glad that APU is finally ranked, but… WHO THE HECK KEEPS RANKING CHICO STATE?!?!? Do you realize what we’re saying? Both teams have lost to SPU (one on the road, one at home) by roughly the same amount and yet we STILL think that APU deserves to be ranked ahead of Chico considering everything else. We’re also glad to see that Humboldt has been humbled. Everything else is pretty much status quo. With all of the parity, we’re keeping an eye on CU-Irvine and to an extent Dixie State and Dominican, but… It’s a mess. It’s a flat out mess, which is just as well.
Just the conversation you want to have with relatives over Christmas! <— that’s sarcasm, but not for the reason you think.
Some people think religion and politics are off limits; we’re of the opinion that those are just fine, that’s all fun and games, but sports no, no way. We go from zero to cursing every other word in about 0.2 seconds flat and we cannot let things go. Like if you have a different opinion: you’re wrong, you don’t know what you’re talking about, we do know what we’re talking about, and you can go to H-E-double-hockey-sticks with your lack of citations -because yes: We cite what we’re saying in regard to sports.
Now for the serious business that is discussing the transitive property of college basketball.
Reminder of the transitive property:
A > B
B > C
A > C
In words: A is greater than B, B is greater than C, thus A is greater than C.
In the GNAC world:
Seattle Pacific beat Western Washington by 19.
Western Washington beat Simon Fraser by 37.
Thus: Seattle Pacific “should” beat Simon Fraser by 56. Except the reality was that Seattle Pacific “merely” beat Simon Fraser by 34. Except of course: College basketball is far more nuanced than that and will vary on any given night. Still, why is it something worth talking about? Because Western Washington is likely thinking “Oh, everything’s fine, we beat SFU by 37, we got Evan Scholten back, everything’s good.”
But hold on, wait a minute, put a little thought into it.
Max Barkeley scored 18 points and had a steal during the SPU game. He didn’t play at all during the WWU game. That gets you to a 52 point win. The difference between the benches of SPU and WWU are also very different. WWU has seven guys worthy of starting, plus a heck of a sixth/eighth man in Brett Kingma. SPU has four guys worthy of starting and no sixth man. Is that the Vikings problem? Absolutely not. We’ve been telling SPU quality over quantity for years, and it worked out just fine for them last year.
Good teams still win when critical guys go down. UCSD just had a game where every starter fouled out and they actually played four on five with guys that typically didn’t see major minutes in the critical final minutes against San Marcos, and yet they still pulled it out.
With SPU and WWU -both faced BYU-H, SPU was missing starters Brendan Carroll and Mitch Penner while WWU was missing bench player Evan Scholten, while having a much stronger bench generally considered. Difference is, SPU won by 24 meanwhile WWU lost by 13.
Now, generally speaking we think the transitive property works within reason. Is it going to be exact? No. Is it going to be perfect? Absolutely not. There are so many variables that it gets ridiculous and then becomes impressive that generally it does work out fairly well, and then you get to the other side and go “of course this works” before circling back to the idea that there’s no way it can work. Kind of like the universe. You start accepting it and then realize it’s impossible and then go back to the fact that it’s the only reality you know, then you start contemplating that it’s the only reality you know and you end up thinking it’s impossible again.
Glad we can have these existentialist conversations.
Anyway: Transitive property of college basketball. Interesting, extrapolatable* data to a degree, but ultimately remember that there are a lot of variables and so when all else fails: look at the numbers, integrate yourself with the numbers, feel the calculus of the universe, and then know that it’s just basketball and it’s great but no one’s gonna die if your calculus is wrong in this particular instance.
This post feels like a disappointment. Shenanigans at some point tomorrow.
Because there isn’t a new poll this week, we’ll go ahead and do a West Region ranking by what we’ve gleaned through our analysis of non-conference. It’s going to be more in-depth than usual, because what else do we have to do on Christmas Eve Eve? First the list, then the explanations.
1. Western Oregon
2. Cal Poly Pomona
3. Seattle Pacific/UC San Diego
5. Cal Baptist
6. Azusa Pacific
7. Point Loma
9. Chico State
10. Humboldt State
1. Western Oregon (8-0). This position ultimately came down to “best win” and the Wolves took it. Their best win is at UCSD, getting it done 67-63. The Wolves take on Seattle Pacific on January 7, so that’ll be a very anticipated match-up. Not really much to say about these guys -they get it done, they get rest where they can, Andy is amazing, their point guard play needs to step up quite a bit. If you’re a regular reader you know we love Julian Nichols and think he’s awesome, but he just hasn’t put it on display this year as much as we anticipated.
2. Cal Poly Pomona (9-0). We like the Broncos a lot, their SOS not withstanding. Their best win is a close one at Point Loma, the Broncs escaped 54-53. They play at UCSD on January 2nd, so we’ll definitely be watching that game with bated breath to see what happens. In one sense it really doesn’t matter because UCSD and CPP are both two very good teams, but we feel like UCSD is much more thoroughly seasoned at this point, so… Maybe the Broncos’ll prove us wrong, maybe they won’t, but we’re 99% sure we’re going to be witnessing a really, really good game.
3. Seattle Pacific (8-1) & UC San Diego (9-1). We’ve been meditating on this and looking at the numbers and then meditating some more and then looking at the numbers some more and ultimately we just couldn’t make a decision on which team we think is more capable. Both are getting tested really soon as noted above, so that’ll be good, but even after those “big” tests we’re not sure if we’ll feel comfortable making a distinction even still. Both are two super good, super well tested teams. In that sense, we feel like the Tritons hold a slight edge because the Tritons faced CBU and WOU, but when it comes to opponent records the Falcons own the slight edge (36-35) to the Tritons (47-47). We like both teams, we think both are great, both are super good defensively, both have fantastic coaching staffs, both have really dedicated guys. It’s a complete wash and honestly that fact makes us happy. We get to indulge in watching two really good teams -what more could you want?
5. Cal Baptist (10-2). At this point it’s not record so much, but what you’ve done with that record and the Lancers have done a lot. CBU’s most quality win is against MN-Moorhead, but they’ve also got a couple of quality losses in regard to UCSD and Azusa Pacific (quality + rivalry in the case of the Cougs). UCSD came down to free throws, so while the gap was bigger than it might have been (9) it was a pointed nine. It was within reach. We really like their SOS, they’ve got a good GNAC win over Alaska-Anchorage, they’ve got a crazy good win over Point Loma, absolutely brutalizing the Sea Lions 98-73. We like the path they’re on, they’ve already got good Pac-West wins against APU and Dixie State, and we’ll see what they do in the coming conference portion of the schedule.
6. Azusa Pacific (7-3). SOS is our MO. They have three losses but they come against Cal Poly Pomona, Seattle Pacific, and at Point Loma in OT. We’re a big believer in winning on the road because in the case of APU -they’re guaranteed to be on the road for the Regional and so what are they going to play like? The Cougars best win is a close one against rival CBU and on their horizon is a chance to beat the Lancers again. Will they? We’ll see. It’s on the 16th.
7. Point Loma (5-5). This is a little bit of a reach considering how badly they got beat by CBU, but we do want to at least acknowledge heavily their schedule. Their losses literally come via Western Oregon, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Baptist, a heartbreaker against Dixie State, and a free throw final against CU-Irvine. We respect that a lot. We think they’re well seasoned. Do we truly expect them to make the regional? Maybe not. We think they’ll definitely be in play for it, but while they have a win against APU, they have that awful devastation against CBU. Still, San Diego is becoming a lively place for D2 basketball and the Sea Lions are 100% a part of it and we’re proud of them. Now get some big wins. Next opportunity is against CU-Irvine on the 13th.
8. CU-Irvine (7-1). Seems a little far for a team that only has one loss, but that loss comes against San Marcos (3-5) and their win was against SPU on a neutral court in OT while the Falcons were playing their first game with what’s essentially a brand new roster. They have another decent win against Point Loma and because CU-I winning definitely helps the GNAC (they played CU-P twice, along with SPU once) we need to see them get some quality wins now. Dixie State could potentially be a quality win, Point Loma could be another potentially quality win, they don’t play CBU until the 30th of January, but hopefully the Eagles keep winning and they’ll build toward that.
9. Chico State (7-2). The issue we’re having with Chico is that they just don’t have any good wins. They have some okay wins (Dominican [6-4], SFSU [5-3]) and a quality-ish loss against Seattle Pacific, but the game against SPU was at home -not on the road. They lost to Sonoma, but that’s a rivalry so we’re not particularly concerned with it. Obviously because of the GNAC tie, we want Chico to do well, and then they benefit by being in the CCAA this year with having some good chances to get quality wins.
10. Humboldt State (5-1). There was some thought of putting someone else here, but no one has the loss-credibility yet besides PLNU. However: the Jacks barely have the win credibility, even at 5-1. Their wins come against Holy Names (2-9), CSULA (2-7), Sonoma State (6-4), SFSU (5-3), and Fresno Pacific (5-3), with their loss being to San Marcos (3-5). We liked Humboldt last year, we’re definitely not against the potential that the Jacks could be really good, we just haven’t seen enough yet to really say either way. They don’t have a good win and they do have a bad loss, but they are 5-1 and hence they’re ranked 10th.
Other teams we’re keeping an eye on: Alaska-Anchorage (5-3), Alaska-Fairbanks (5-2), Western Washington (4-4), Dixie State (4-5), Dominican (6-4), BYU-H (5-3), Dominguez Hills (4-4), and Sonoma State (6-4).
In a sense this list is kind of striking because there are seemingly very distinct tiers within the region, which doesn’t always happen.
Tier one: Western Oregon, Cal Poly Pomona. Guaranteed 99.9% to make the regional; we don’t like saying 100%, just ’cause.
Tier two: UC San Diego, Seattle Pacific, Cal Baptist. 90% chance of making the regional as of now. All three teams look really good and did enough during non-conference that provided they keep winning, they shouldn’t have to worry about their bubbles bursting. Fans of these teams: We recommend worrying anyway.
Tier three: Azusa Pacific, CU-Irvine, Chico State, Point Loma. Four above average teams. We won’t be surprised if any of these teams make the tournament, but we also won’t be surprised if one or more gets left out after conference play and particularly after the respective conference tournaments are said and done.
Tier four: The Alaskas, Western Washington, Humboldt State, Sonoma State, Dixie State, BYU-Hawaii. Six teams with the potential to come in and win their respective conference tournament and procure an auto bid. From where we stand now, there’s no way for one of these teams to get into the tournament via an at-large bid.
The Alaskas didn’t prove they can play off the tundra and the GNAC is too weak to get enough quality road wins to prove otherwise. Western Washington has a big history of making the championship game, they got Evan back, but teams above them have proven that they can win while not firing on all cylinders -the Vikings haven’t. Humboldt State was talked about above. Sonoma has been interesting, no great wins, but some good wins. Dixie seems to be improving, they have a couple quality-ish losses against SPU and APU; we’ll see what they do in conference. BYU-H was an absolute mess on the mainland, but they’ve done well on the Islands, so… Hopefully winning close to home taught them how to win and they’ll be able to do more of it from now on.
On the agenda for tomorrow: Discussing the Transitive Property of College Basketball.
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.