Well that didn’t go as expected:
#1 Western Oregon 76 vs #3 Cal Baptist 80
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid had 11 boards and five assists; Ali Faruq-Bey was on fire and finished with 26 points; Riley Hawken was solid and had 11 points and five fouls. Off the bench Demetrius Trammell lit it up with 16 points; and JJ Chirnside had eight boards.
WOU never led for any consistent amount of time, at times it would appear Cal Baptist was walking away with it, and then the Wolves would hit shots. In the final minute, we thought “it’s over,” and yet Demetrius hit a three and Cal Baptist missed two free throws meanwhile having no timeouts. WOU had a chance to send it into OT with a two or win it with a three, we agree 100% with the play they ran, but Tanner Omlid missed the lay-up, we believe Ali missed the putback, and then Cal Baptist got their hands on the ball and it was over. Brutal.
It’s especially brutal when you factor in the idea that Cal Baptist was at home for their conference tournament and Western Oregon had to go all the way up to Anchorage.
The UAA Men’s Basketball twitter called us out for our rant, and so we’ll elaborate a bit more: Initially we loved the idea that the tournament was in Anchorage. We were super excited to go, we had a really fun time at the tournament, we liked the idea that the Alaska schools would for once have an advantage, but by the time it was all said and done and we’d been through the back-to-back with NCAAs, we realized that sending it up there isn’t worth it.
It’s a disadvantage to nine teams to send it to Anchorage, and even with the advantage of not having to travel, both UAA teams (men’s and women’s) were bounced in their first respective games anyway -one an upset, one not. It was a good experiment, but in our opinion it failed. We have nothing against the Alaska schools, but when you commit to one of the Alaska schools or MSUB, you’re committing to an insane amount of travel. The GNAC travel schedule is already bad enough for the I-5 corridor schools, so why make it worse?
If you haven’t experienced the GNAC travel schedule… We wouldn’t recommend it. The greatest example that we can give of how exhausting it is, is that we got Hepatitis A just as the season ended one year and we didn’t even realize we were sick for six+ weeks because the major symptom was exhaustion and we simply attributed it to basketball. When we mentioned it to a GNAC coach later, they went “I wouldn’t have realized it either! I would have just assumed I was tired from the season.”
There’s no point to make that exhaustion even worse with an extra trip to Timbuktu. Plus, the Billings tournament was terribly attended as was the Anchorage. Experiment was tried twice. It failed both times. Oh well. These are student-athletes. Keeping it at Saint Martin’s keeps the distraction and missed classes as minimal as possible, the sleep disruption as minimal as possible, and therefore puts us in the best position to have teams ready for the NCAA tournament.
And speaking of the NCAA tournament, as sad as we are that WOU lost in the Sweet 16…. Holy guacamole did we have a blast at the Regional. To those that didn’t make it: If WOU hosts again: GO! Fun gym, fair priced tickets and concessions, good parking, good staff. The school is fairly easy to get to; from Seattle, it was a four hour trip. Other bonuses include the fact that Oregon doesn’t have sales tax + they pump your gas for you! So nice and convenient.
To the West Region teams, staff, volunteers, and fans in attendance: Thank-you again for being so friendly and hospitable! We loved it. The games were so great we wished there had been more of them.
All of that said: the entire season was amazing, we can’t wait to talk about it, player-of-the-year will be up tomorrow, and then all conference teams later this week.
Once again: Congrats and thank-you to Western Oregon for an amazing season & Regional.
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!
We’re going to go ahead and do the UAF/UAA preview first to get it out of the way:
Anything can happen in a rivalry game and neither team has looked particularly impressive thus far, although Anchorage definitely more so than Fairbanks. We’re curious to see what Jacob Lampkin does against the Nooks, but that’s pretty much it.
Now, for the Bracketology:
Teams that we think have a legit shot at an at-large bid even if they lose several games during conference play:
Cal State LA -they got killed by Cal Baptist, but it was on the road and they played non-con largely within the region with a solid mix of A-B-C teams.
UCSD -While they have three losses, those three losses come from Azusa Pacific, Cal Baptist, and Dixie State; all traditionally strong teams. They also have a win against WWU -another team that projects to be strong.
San Marcos -Solid non-con; only loss was a blowout against CU-Irvine, and they have wins against both Azusa Pacific and CU-Portland, both of whom project as middle-of-the-pack teams in their respective conferences. They’re honestly the epitome of a bubble team in regard to how non-con looks.
Cal Baptist -Only loss comes from a surprisingly good SMU team.
CU-Irvine -Only loss is to Seattle Pacific, has wins against San Marcos (A), Central Washington (B-), and Chico (B+).
Point Loma -They have wins against an SMU team that beat Cal Baptist, and a Simon Fraser team that doesn’t look as bad as it usually does. Their losses come from GNAC-leading WOU and a good UCSD team.
Western Oregon -Our choice for now to host the regional; they got through a quality non-con schedule completely unscathed and then their formal travel partner upset Cal Baptist for them.
Saint Martin’s -Stellar non-con, only loss is to Point Loma, and they have a win over Cal Baptist. Love it.
Seattle Pacific -We’re not thrilled with how the Falcons have looked as of late, but the fact is: They have wins over CU-Irvine and Dixie State, one of their losses was on the road in 2OT, and then the other loss was D2 but non-west region on the road.
MSUB -isn’t on this list because while undefeated, they play the bulk of their non-con schedule in a few weeks.
Teams to keep an eye on despite a meh non-con:
Cal Poly Pomona -Lost to Azusa Pacific, beat Dixie State, but both were home games and that was the entirety of their D2 non-con.
Chico State -Lost a close one on a neutral court to CU-Irvine, killed Biola and Dominican; this is a terrible non-con schedule, just saying.
San Fran State -Lost to CU-Portland on a neutral court, beat NNU in OT on the road, barely beat Academy of Art & Dominican. All four teams project to be B & C teams in their respective conferences, so while SFSU has an okay record right now, we’re not impressed.
Dixie State -They went through a positively brutal non-con, with losses coming via Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State LA, Western Oregon, and Seattle Pacific, and then their one win was against UCSD. Do they need to have a great regular season? Yes. Should they be able to do it? Absolutely. Dixie usually gets better as the year goes on, and again: they couldn’t have tested themselves any more in non-con.
Azusa Pacific -Another brutal non-con, and they have wins against UCSD, Cal Poly Pomona, and an SFU team that isn’t as bad as it normally is. Their losses come via WOU and San Marcos, so completely legitimate.
Chaminade -We want to see them win on the mainland. They barely beat Dominguez Hills, and while they beat the Alaska schools in Alaska, the Alaska schools are worse than normal this year.
Shockingly, we’re going to do the GNAC differently, because despite a meh non-con, almost every team is still in contention. Here are the teams that we think could only lose one or two games in conference, otherwise they’ll rely entirely on the auto-bid:
UAF -They barely played anyone and they only beat Hawaii Pacific.
UAA -Playing Holy Names is subtraction by addition. We get that they didn’t return anything, but they were projected to be wayyy better than they’ve proven thus far.
CWU -Played no one except CU-I and Hilo in non-con and they lost to CU-I at that. Sorry, but seriously two schools? Nope.
The good news for the three schools above is that CWU is a notoriously hard place to play, as are the Alaska schools, and then the conference tournament is hosted in Alaska. The bad news is that if everybody beats everybody and everyone ends up with four or five losses, they’re not going to deserve nor should they get the benefit of the doubt.
Is there quite a bit of the benefit of the doubt being given by teams that have proven themselves in the past, particularly in the Pac-West? Yes. But regeneration is much easier than starting from the bottom, and it’s such a big everybody’s-beaten-everbody-except-WOU that it’s what we’re going with. It’s awesome. It should be a really fun regular season.
And yes: the GNAC came out looking fantastic in non-con. Congrats in particular to CU-Portland, Northwest Nazarene, and Simon Fraser for still being in contention for at-large bids!
One question we’re now contemplating… If by February 1st it looks like neither Alaska school is going to make the conference tournament, is there any way we can send it back to Lacey instead? Just thinking out loud here.
Have fun, be safe, go GNAC!
All times pacific.
UC San Diego vs. UAF @ WWU @ 2:30pm
UCSD should put away the Nooks without issue, but if for some reason the Nooks upset the Tritons, everyone loses because it doesn’t make UAF look good; it simply makes UCSD look bad.
Prediction: UCSD wins. Please.
NNU @ Regis (Denver) @ 4pm
Regis is 4-0. This is a great test for NNU. Hopefully the Crusaders pull it out, but…
Prediction: Regis wins. No idea on the margin.
CU-PDX @ Cal State LA @ 5pm
Cal State LA looks good this year and so it should be an interesting battle. There are implications in both directions that CSULA should win/CU-PDX should win, so…
Prediction: Pick ’em.
SPU @ Westminster (SLC) @ 6pm
Who knows? The Falcons escaped Dixie State last night but it wasn’t pretty. It’s an RMAC crossover game, so it’s not insanely critical but at the same time it is D2 and all non-con wins are good non-con wins.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
SFU @ Point Loma @ 7pm
We want SFU to win sooo badly, but, let’s be real:
Prediction: PLNU gets the ‘W.’
P.S. C’mon Clan! You can do it! We want to be wrong!
WOU @ Notre Dame de Namur @ 7pm
Prediction: WOU wins big.
SMU @ Cal Baptist @ 7pm
Another game where we want the GNAC team to upset sooo badly, but it just seems unlikely to happen. CBU is currently 6-0… We will bake the Saints cookies, really good cookies, if they can get this upset. This game is one of those games that if we win it (as a conference) it should have implications for rest of the season. The good news is if the Saints lose, it doesn’t really matter a ton because everyone knows CBU is good and the Saints have a quality enough schedule that it is a legitimate win for the Lancers.
Prediction: CBU wins.
More games of intrigue than we expected. It should be a super fun day of basketball. Good luck to all the teams playing; have fun, be safe, go GNAC.
And our bracket. In D2 it’s funny -predicting the bracket is the real game to win; forget the games, the games you’re invested in because you want your team to win. Right now we’ve been procrastinating on posting a bracket all day because the idea of being wrong kills us, even though… It’s D2 basketball. Why does being right in predicting a bracket matter? Yeah, yeah, yeah, pale blue dot, giant universe among some insane multiverse, are we a computer sim? Nothing really matters, blah blah blah, insert existential crisis here.
Instead, let’s talk about the GNAC championship game:
#4 WOU 69 @ #1 WWU 71
First and foremost: We were wrong. Taylor Stafford is the real deal, especially when you watch him in person. Now, how well that’ll translate to anything else, we have no idea. But for D2 basketball, dude is legit. The game itself was frustrating, exactly as WOU intended. WOU as these games have depicted epitomizes the defensive grind it out games that are amazing to watch in person and at the time they’re being played, but that seem useless to re-watch because there are too many variables and “how do they get this stuff to even work?” because some of it is dumb luck and some of it is incredibly calculated. Big props to WOU for almost taking down what is a very good WWU team.
How good is this WWU team? Naturally we’re not sure. This entire year has felt like an episode of the Twilight Zone. The numbers they put up are mediocre, which speaks to WOU, but also doesn’t speak well of WOU, because WOU’s entire game is treading water. There’s a joke about the BYU-Hawaii admissions decision comes from throwing all of the applications in the air and picking the ones that land in particular places -that is the WWU vs. WOU game. Even in hindsight, now that we know who won (congrats Viks) we still don’t know who we’d pick to win because on paper WWU should win about 8/10 times, but paper isn’t reality.
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid went 8-10 from the line and had six boards; Ali played well and ended up with 16 points; and off the bench Demetrius Trammell lost his mind in the best way possible, scoring 33 points and being 6-6 from the line.
Viking highlights: Taylor Stafford had 33 points; Blake Fernandez had five boards; Daulton Hommes had 10 points and seven boards; and off the bench Deandre Dickson had 10 points and seven boards.
Our favorite part of the game was watching WWU’s Brad Wallace -he didn’t put up particularly interesting numbers, but the dude is a mule. He’s short, he’s sturdy, he’s stubborn, and we’re pretty annoyed he’s a senior because we’d rather keep him for another year. He really just did not give one single crap and for the 22 minutes he was in, he was basically like ‘I’M GOING TO RUN YOU OVER!!!!!!!!’ and then did it. One of those players that you can’t exactly figure out what they do, but they make life easier/more difficult, depending if they’re on your team or the opposing team. Super awesome. We had a blast watching, so thanks Brad!
Now, let’s get into D2 bracketology. At this point, the bracket is set; it just hasn’t been announced yet. We’ve been contemplating our bracket all weekend and still don’t feel confident, but whatever. This seeding is an approximation, although we have no expectation that it’ll be reality:
UCSD -not because they’re necessarily the best team in the Region overall, but because they’ve succeeded in jumping through the hoops most recently and do deserve to host. They beat the opponent with the best record in their conference Championship game and did so convincingly, which says that they’re hot right now and that’s important. Slightly worse record than HPU, but have played what we believe to be a harder schedule.
Hawaii Pacific -We have nothing against Point Loma (we loved them last year because they always schedule so well, and now they have our former coach, so what’s not to love?) but Point Loma had a bad record this year and only squeaked into the tournament by virtue of the Pac-West saying that CU-Irvine wasn’t eligible, just incase they won the tournament. That doesn’t scream “we’re so awesome,” about HPU -especially because the Sea Lions remained in the game for a long time. HPU didn’t break it open until there were about eight minutes left.
San Francisco State -We think losing to UCSD is more respectable than barely squeaking by a depleted WOU team that had played a 3OT game the night before, and only got that far because the opposing team’s (and the conference’s) best rebounder wasn’t playing.
Western Washington -This is too low and had they blown out WOU, we might suggest they host. They’re the GNAC regular season and tournament champions. Great team, good players, pleased with them, but until they make it to the Final Four we personally won’t be convinced. There was so much carnage in the GNAC this year and they still left it up to chance until about a week left, losing games in particular to MSUB (apathy) and at Anchorage. We’ll excuse @ Fairbanks because the Viks always lose at Fairbanks; they did last time they won a title too.
Cal Baptist -we love their strength of schedule in non-con, they’re a good team, their losses come via Dixie, HPU, and PLNU in the tournament (hi, try not playing apathetically) and they have a win over UCSD in non-con, but we’re not really convinced of that; so does WWU and while both CBU and WWU are good teams, there was clearly something up in December with the Tritons.
Chico State -Good non-con, good in conference, had a string of losses mid-season which we assume saw a player injured, but came back from it strong. Only losses are to tournament-bound teams, with the exception of Cal Poly Pomona, and that was a close loss, plus CPP notoriously has a good program. Probably caught the rebuilding on a good night.
Sonoma State -They have two head scratching losses (Dominguez Hills and Cal Poly Pomona) but otherwise their in-conference losses from from SFSU. They have wins over Chico State and UC San Diego, their non-con wasn’t atrocious, and if you’re looking for a trendy upset pick, you should go with the Seawolves because of that info.
Dixie State -This is actually just “who can we rule out?” Dixie scheduled themselves well in non-con, but didn’t really do anything impressive, including losing to a CWU team that didn’t even make the conference tourney. They lost in conference to the teams above and more, they lack a signature win, but we like what the other teams available bring to the table even less, so we’re going with Dixie.
Burst bubbles: UAA. Had UAA made it to the Championship game of the GNAC tourney, we would take them over Dixie State in a heartbeat. We have no idea why Corey Hammell didn’t see more minutes, but whatever the reason, we don’t trust them to have him going into the NCAA Tourney and that’s the difference in whether or not we think these Seawolves could make a run. If the committee has more info than we do and know that Corey is going to play -by all means, Alaska-Anchorage is a better option than Dixie, they should be in it. But if UAA doesn’t have him, it’s a waste of a spot in our opinion.
There’s a ton of post season blog stuff and catching up on player of the week and updating the chart and all kinds of stuff that’ll go on intermittently this month as we watch WWU, hopefully make a deep run, in the NCAA tourney. More stuff is coming -this is far from the end, there’s tons to talk about in such a weird year.
Selection show starts in five minutes……… Update: it started in 25 minutes; the GNAC website was wrong. Starts at 8pm best coast time.
The season is dimming, bubbles are shifting, and it’s time to regularly take a look at what’s going on with the other two conferences.
For our new readers, a Summary:
In NCAA Division II basketball, the Big Dance is literally split up Regionally. That means we know our potential post season opponents 24/7 365.25 days a year. For us in the West Region, it includes schools in the GNAC, Pac-West, and CCAA -see the “Cast of Characters” tab if you want to know who each specific school is.
The #1 seed in the Regional, generally speaking, hosts. If the #1 seed isn’t in the main 48, then the Regional is split between a school in the main land and then the #1 seeded school.
We’ve joked that we wanted to see a year in which the seeding was:
5. Hawaii Pacific
7. Simon Fraser
Not because we hate the CCAA by any stretch, but just because those schools are the most remote and spread out locations, with the added bonus of SFU, the only metropolitan location, requiring a passport and Canada having a history of not allowing players from certain countries.
For all of y’all, remember: We’re used to knowing things. Last year we put up a prognostication, Bit-o-Baca put up a prognostication, and then the committee produced the actual Bracket, and not only were all of the teams the same for all three, all of the match-ups were the same, while all of the seedings were different. Usually we have a pretty good grasp as to what’s going on -not this year.
That being said: WE’RE GOING TO HAWAII. Maybe; and not us personally, but the Regional should be split in terms of being hosted by Hawaii Pacific and Cal Baptist.
Chico State imploded this weekend. They’re still great, their bubble didn’t burst in the slightest, but they’re no longer in contention to host after losses to both Sonoma (rivalry!) and San Francisco State. SF State is legit and we get that rivalry is as rivalry does, but there are teams that haven’t faltered. Don’t let certain trends fool you -getting the nod to specifically host the Regional is ridiculously hard. All that being said:
What’s your opinion on the #1 Seed hosting the Regional?
Honestly, we don’t think it’s fair when an LA school hosts it and other LA schools get to play in it. This year if it does get split between CBU and HPU, we’d like to see no other Hawaii school playing in Hawaii and no other SoCal school playing in SoCal, but it won’t happen because on the surface it doesn’t make financial sense. There’s a legitimate argument that even when WWU hosted the tournament, the SPU games were dead -even though SPU is only two hours away.
Our legitimate argument is that if the tournament was consistently hosted in a central location that already has good fans and good infrastructure, it would become a big thing yearly for the locals to be excited about attending. We host our conference tournament at SMU every year and it’s great. The location is central located, the facility is nice, parking is easy, and the locals actually come out and watch non-SMU teams play.
What school could/would do that on a Regional level?
Easy: Chico State.
They have a strong men’s basketball program and athletic department, they make the tournament regularly, it’s a big gymnasium, their locals genuinely care about basketball, they’ve got the best radio play-by-play guy in D2, and location wise it’s perfect:
-It’s at least an hour drive for every other NorCal school.
-It’s six to eight hours for the SoCal schools.
-It’s 10-12 hours for most of the GNAC schools.
Entirely driveable for the vast majority of teams. Alaskas, Hawaiis, and MSUB being the exception. Every other school IN THE ENTIRE REGION can drive there within 13 hours.
In D2, you have to look at your primary target demographics as to who actually is attending the games. In reality, it’s parents of players and locals. Chico State has great locals and is a good location for the vast majority of West Region parents. Literally the only knock on Chico is that there’s not a super convenient major airport, but that’s true with almost every school. The only schools that have convenient major airports are Dominican, Dominguez-Hills-ish, and Concordia-Portland. Every other location is either remote (see: Honolulu and Anchorage) and/or you need a car.
Chico hosting permanently won’t happen, and we’re honestly fine with the #1 seed hosting, but it is an interesting discussion none-the-less.
What’s your current bracket?
Ooooh, good question. We’ll be honest: We haven’t paid any attention to rankings this year, because we figure we know better than the voters. “All you’ve said for months is that you don’t know.” Exactly. Any ranking someone comes up with regarding schools in the D2 West is completely meaningless because the vast, vast, vast majority of games are pick ’ems, even when the game ends up being a blow out. MSUB beat WWU, got killed by SMU, and then blew out a very good and proven CWU at CWU. Oookay. Nothing makes any sense. Literally 10 teams are still in the running for making the conference tournament, that’s how much parity there is.
|D2 West Bracketology|
|1||CBU||HPU||Beat CBU recently.|
|2||HPU||CBU||Lost to HPU recently.|
|3||WWU||SFSU||Beat Chico State, non-con continues to look impressive.|
|4||UCSD||UCSD||Best non-con in the CCAA, even with a loss to Chico.|
|5||Chico||Sonoma||Legit wins against Chico and UCSD.|
|6||CWU||UAA||Currently up on WWU by half a game and they split in their meetings.|
|7||Dixie||Dixie||Hasn’t yet played HPU/CBU.|
|8||SFSU||WWU||Swept by the Alaska schools, Texas A&M Commerce is 7-5 in conference.|
At this point we don’t expect that bracket to hold in the slightest because there are too many games left to be played and all three conferences are clouded in parity. It’s great, eh? CWU is currently out but we don’t necessarily expect them to stay out either because one of the schools in another conference loses twice or because they procure wins at the Alaska schools or something as such. There’s still tons of variability, but it is fun to look at a snapshot of what things look like this week, and we had a blast looking at our seeding from two weeks ago simply because it’s never not a well reason argument, the arguments just change as you get more evidence.
If I’m a CWU fan, should I be freaking out right now?
No. You still get to go play the Alaskas and there are plenty of other difficult and interesting match-ups in the other two conferences as well.
If I’m a UAA fan, should I feel safe?
Absolutely not. Your bubble is a redhead’s skin after 10 hours in the sun without sunscreen. Not only do you still have to face Billings, you still have to face NNU and CWU, plus add in the fact that there are a lot of impressive games that can be won in the CCAA and Pac-West still.
Think we’re a genius? Think we’re an idiot? Have a solid argument as to why we’re slightly wrong? Tell us about it on Twitter or in the comments!
This was largely written on Wednesday 1/25.
When we last checked in with them, we had the following information:
San Fran State
Who’s still in the run to host?
Chico State -close losses to UCSD and CPP, but that’s it.
UCSD -dropped their last two games to San Marcos and Sonoma.
Hawaii Pacific -shockingly only has one loss. The region getting split is actually starting to look like a possibility.
San Fran State -out; losses to UCSD and Chico, without the SOS from non-con that those schools have.
Cal Baptist -one loss, that being to Dixie State; Dixie State is a really good team; not in the running to host due to losing to CWU, but a good team all the same.
WWU -added, because while they had a questionable non-con, they only have one in conference loss thus far, and are looking super deep.
Do we know who’s hosting?
At this point no.
Prediction: Split regional. Hawaii Pacific and either WWU or Cal Baptist.
WWU is currently playing at Whatcom Community College, and they’re eligible to bid to host the tournament, but unless the Regional gets split, we don’t support it. The gym is just too tiny. We would make the same argument with CU-Portland -the Whatcom and CU-PDX gyms only hold maybe 1200 people, which yeah the non-local rounds tend to be fairly empty, but we worry about opposing fans being able to get Sweet 16 tickets, especially if say we ended up with a WWU/CWU match-up.
100% Guaranteed making the regional as of last check:
San Fran State
Western Washington is definitely still in, but what about the other schools?
Cal Baptist = yes
WWU = yes, 100%.
Chico = yes
San Fran State -downgraded to the bubble, see below.
Hawaii Pacific = Yes; their spot is now officially safe. The only question mark they have is that they beat the Alaska schools in Hawaii; UAF has looked questionable, Anchorage has been good but not the elite team we projected them as before the season, thus non-road wins and not as quality as anticipated.
Here are the bubble teams from before, minus the guaranteeds:
UCSD -100% in provided their skid stops now.
Chico -100% in provided they stay on the trajectory they are now.
San Fran State -bubble team, but a solid bubble; losses to Chico and UCSD, as well as an okay-ish loss to WOU in 3OT in non-con on the road.
East Bay -Now 5-6 in conference.
Cal Baptist -100% in.
Hawaii Pacific -100% in.
Dixie State -true bubble team; they’re really good, their SOS is good, but bubble.
Azusa Pacific -Now 5-6 in conference; relatively good non-con schedule, thus we still see them as a threat for the autobid, but they’re not on the bubble for a bid without it.
Western Washington -100% in; only have a GNAC loss to MSUB.
Central Washington -true bubble team, they’re tied for 2nd in the GNAC right now, but their lack of non-con puts them on the bubble.
Alaska-Anchorage -true bubble team, they’re tied for 2nd in the GNAC and that loss to Hawaii Pacific is looking really good.
Seattle Pacific -we said last time it was their coaching staff; a 40 point loss and they switched it up. We don’t quite consider them turned around, but they’re theoretically no longer in free fall, which they were through the first half of conference play.
Saint Martin’s -they’re in position to make the conference tournament and they need to win it in order to get a bid. They’re good, but they’re very up and down.
MSU-Billings -We have no idea what’s going on with this team. They beat WWU in Bellingham, beat UAA and WOU in Billings, and then lost by 50 to SMU in Lacey. Zoinks. They have good and experienced players with a good and experienced coaching staff, plus super soph Preston Beverly, but………….. What’s going on??
Not sure where WOU was on that list last time, but we will note now that they’re definitely a threat to get the conference autobid. They’re finding themselves again after being rather up and down.
At half way through conference play, who are you eight teams in the tournament?
San Fran State
1. Cal Baptist co-host
2. Hawaii Pacific co-host
3. Western Washington
4. UC San Diego
5. Chico State -this feels low, but UCSD non-con + head to head.
6. Central Washington
7. Dixie State
8. San Fran State -good schedule
We went with the co-hosting, because while HPU has lost to Cal Baptist, Cal Baptist lost to Dixie, which is in the 2nd half of the seeds and has a loss to CWU, thus we feel that it could be merited to split the Regional. We’re fine with Cal Baptist hosting, we’re certainly not trekking out to Hawaii, but for now we’re going with the split -maybe just because it would be a bit exciting. West Coast Pride, split regional, unique to us because as far as we know there’s no Puerto Rico teams in a conference -they’re all independent.
What’s your crazy prediction?
That three unexpected teams get the autobids. We couldn’t tell you who in the other two conferences, but in the GNAC every single team that makes the conference tournament will be seen as a threat. Lucky for WWU, they should be safe regardless. There’s a ton of implications within the bubble teams, basically:
UCSD lost to WWU (quality)
Dixie lost to CWU (quality)
UAA lost to HPU (quality)
UCSD lost to Chico (quality)
SFSU lost to WOU (quality-ish)
And then CBU lost to Dixie, but quality loss and quality win, respectively.
The thing with that mess is we couldn’t tell you which bubbles would burst if three unexpected teams got the autobids. SFSU, Dixie, and maybe CWU? CWU has a pretty strong bubble (that’s a good thing) because they’ll have a lot of head-to-heads with a potential GNAC bubble burster that gets the autobid, and then the victory over Dixie State. If Azusa gets the autobid in the Pac-West that would speak even more to CWU not having their bubble burst. But Chico is amazing, WWU is amazing, and that doesn’t even get into CBU and HPU.
The one knock on Chico is lack of SOS, which is the same knock on HPU, which calls our prediction of CBU into hosting into question, because if Chico gets the nod it’ll only be Chico. Chico’s only black mark on their schedule is the lack of SOS. Otherwise they’re golden. Same with WWU. WWU even has a coveted in-region road victory against a most-likely tournament bound team in UCSD -and that wasn’t close; they blew the Tritons out big.
Overall, we still feel like we really don’t know anything, which is odd, but when we feel like we do know something, y’all’ll be the first to find out.
After one weekend of play, we told you teams that were still officially in the running to host the Regional:
Nine teams could’ve potentially hosted, when there are only eight bids. Here are the teams from that list still in the running, along with the reasons as to why:
Chico -still in, still definitely; they’ve only dropped one game and that was to a very good UCSD team. We think at this point, provided they don’t self implode, they’re making the Regional 100%. Hosting is the question.
UCSD? – definitely maybe; they only have losses to WWU and Cal Baptist, but now they’re in the awkward position of needing to hope that CBU does incredibly well, but still loses three or four games to knock them out of hosting.
Chaminade -No; not the convincing strength of schedule and winning numbers to split the regional. Their best win is against SPU and that win doesn’t look very good this year. They also have a lot of losses already, even with leaving out the D1 losses.
Azusa Pacific -No. Lost to SPU, beat WOU, their record is 7-7, nope.
Cal Baptist -Absolutely. Even with the mess of parity, their only loss is to Dixie State and they played both Cal Poly Pomona and UCSD in non-con. Great strength of schedule.
WWU -We’re still not sure if they’re even eligible to host because of playing at Whatcom and the logistical/infrastructure nightmare that would be, but we don’t think they’re going to host unless other teams majorly implode. The Vikings simply don’t have the West Region SOS nor the out of region wins. They have a massively good win at UCSD, but that’s literally the only amazing highlight of their non-conference.
SPU -LOL. No. But last time we didn’t want to include them; we had to.
CWU -They have a great record, with only losses to Mankato and Anchorage on their sheet, but again: they lack strength of schedule. Although we’d kill for the Regional to be hosted in Ellensburg -definitely our favorite GNAC trip.
WOU -No. Too many losses and too many other teams without losses to their big tests in non-conference.
We had Hawaii Pacific on our “ish” list and while they’ve now won out, they still don’t have the strength of schedule and we don’t see them getting through the conference season with a max of two losses, which is what they’d need, in order to split the regional. It’s true that Cal Baptist/Chico/UCSD could implode and that could shove it Hawaii Pacific’s way, but… We’d assume the selection committee would rather keep the region together and with SOS being such a new criterium, weight it heavily.
Is there anyone we want to add to the list? Yes and in a big way:
San Francisco State. They’ve won out in non-conference and are currently undefeated, although their strength of schedule is somewhat lacking; their best win is @ WOU and that went to triple OT in the first game of the season. Right now they’re our pick to host the Regional as of now, because just win baby, win!
The Regional could end up being split between SFSU and Hawaii Pacific, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but… We still feel like hosting is Cal Baptist’s to lose. Being undefeated is one thing, but being truly tested before conference play is another and Cal Baptist definitely has the latter.
What teams do we have making the Regional 100%?
San Fran State
Here’s a list of all of the teams that are currently in control of their own destiny regarding making the Regional:
San Fran State
East Bay -only two losses come via SF State and Western Washington, but they got killed by both. We’ve liked East Bay for a while -they give teams fits at Mac Martin every year.
Hawaii Pacific -they’re only a maybe, because they didn’t play any true road games in non-con.
Azusa Pacific -they’re currently 7-7, but they have wins over Dixie State and Western Oregon, as well as a couple of potentially quality losses to West Texas A&M & Seattle Pacific-ish.
The following looks excessive, but seriously: We can justify it.
Western Washington -because duh. The two teams they just lost to by a collective five points or so will likely be 1-2 in the Lonestar Conference and both are 100% in the South Central Regional.
Central Washington -why they lost to Anchorage, we don’t know, they have the most minimal of non-con, but if they win 14 games in conference, there’s no reason they wouldn’t be in the tournament.
Alaska-Anchorage -lose one more game and we say they no longer control their own destiny, but they have a good team and for right now: they are in control.
Seattle Pacific -We constantly talk crap about the Falcons, but the fact is that they have SOS, have a history of doing well, and we firmly believe that it’s the coaching staff holding this team back -not the players. When the coaching staff decides they want to win, they’ll be able to.
Saint Martin’s -they did what they needed to in non-con. Every conference team is going to lose multiple games. Non-con saves them. They’re in control right now.
MSU-Billings -they are as close to not being in control as you can possibly get, but while they lost in non-con, it was to East Bay and Cal Baptist on the road, which looks legit.
We originally had WOU on that list, but we honestly hadn’t looked at just how bad their non-conference went. They have no SOS, what-so-ever. They don’t control their own destiny -they need other teams to lose in order to make it in. When we think about it, would we take a 17-1 WOU team over a 17-1 Hawaii Pacific/Dixie/Azusa/UCSD/Chico/San Fran/East Bay? No. East Bay is the only ‘maybe’ in there, and all of that requires those teams to lose.
14 teams. Eight spots. Five at-large. We think the five at-large bids are already spoken for. This is a year when the auto-bid is going to be dire. We have no idea what’s going to happen at all. Literally, the prediction posts are going to be 100% pointless. We just don’t know.
In the GNAC, here’s what’s happened so far:
MSUB beat WOU
Concordia beat MSUB
NNU beat Anchorage
Pick ’em Games:
UAA @ CWU = UAA
UAF @ CWU = CWU
WWU @ SPU = WWU
There’ve only been 10 conference games played and three of them were upsets while three of them there was no way to pick a winner prior. It’s just going to get worse. If this blog has taught us one thing in regard to predicting basketball games: the more knowledge we have, the less we know. Darn all of these really good players that we know can completely change a game on any given night!
If you have something you want us to discuss tomorrow, tweet at us or leave in the comments -otherwise, we’ll catch you guys on Thursday for the game previews.