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!
We don’t get many statistics back about our readers, but one thing we do get is what country you’re reading from, and as such: We see you Kevin Rima =) ❤
On the horizon for today: Can we pick the Regional host after just one weekend of play? Can we pick the teams likely to make the tournament? Strength of Schedule? And why we don’t pay attention to non-D2 results.
Can you pick the Regional host after just one weekend of play?
No. But we can tell you that a bunch of teams are eliminated. SOS counts officially for D2 now. Here are the teams that by our calculation are still vying for the chance to host:
Chico -wins over CU-I and Dominican.
UCSD -wins over Dixie, Azusa, and Point Loma.
Those two are legit in the hunt to host. San Marcos and CSULA haven’t played any D2 opponents yet and so while they’re technically still in the hunt, it seems unlikely. The rest of the teams have either not strong enough wins or losses to teams that are likely middle-of-the-pack in their respective conferences. While there are always exceptions, generally speaking they aren’t regular. The last four years we’ve successfully picked the Region Host in December of that year. This is premature, but not very.
Chaminade -Beat the Alaska schools, still has to play SPU.
Azusa Pacific -lost to UCSD, but their projected strength of schedule is still insane.
Cal Baptist -undefeated with good SOS still to play.
Hawaii Pacific -Beat the Alaska schools, but doesn’t have any strength of schedule besides that. They’ll have to lose a max of one game in conference to make this schedule work.
Point Loma -Lost to WOU and SMU, we think the loss to SMU officially rules them out because we don’t think SMU is anything but an auto-bid tournament team, but PLNU theoretically has plenty of SOS left -they still play SPU and CSULA. We think CSULA will be good in conference, but if you don’t schedule yourself well in non-con there are teams that do and so it becomes a win out scenario.
WWU -this one is interesting because we’re not sure they can host because they’re playing at Whatcom Community College, which only seats like 750 people. Maybe Carver will be done in time? Maybe the low capacity isn’t a problem? They’re still definitely in the running via play -two wins on the road and still plenty of SOS available in a road game against UCSD and a neutral site game against perennially good Tarleton State.
SPU -We’re as shocked as anyone with how little they return, and while we don’t think it’s going to be a possibility much longer the fact is they won both games and they have plenty of SOS available with a game at Azusa, a neutral site game against Point Loma, and then games against the Hawaii schools in Hawaii.
CWU -That would be fun. We’d love to see CWU host again because the E-burg drive is our favorite. They won both games in California, although their SOS is suspect because they didn’t blow either team out and the only other west region SOS they have comes from Dixie State. CWU needs to be rooting like heck for SPU, WWU, and WOU in particular during the rest of non-con, because those teams all have better SOS and thus the Wildcats need regular season wins against those teams to look elite.
WOU -Took care of business on the road, but their SOS is also lacking in that all they have left is Dixie State and Westminster (RMAC). We love the Wolves and still think they’ll be fine in terms of making the tournament, but it seems like the odds of doing to the conference schedule what they did last year are much slimmer, and thus it would really help to have scheduled more SOS. In the era that Jim Shaw was at UW, that was the biggest knock on Romar’s teams -they lacked non-conference SOS, and it made Selection Sunday stressful. Granted, the Wolves won’t get sent cross country, but they could get sent to Hawaii. And saying that… Wow, Hawaii, that just sounds horrible. Sarcasm.
We think the Alaska schools are officially out of the run to host because both dropped two games in Hawaii and the only other D2west games they play are against middle-of-the-pack opponents at home this weekend. Either team would need basically an undefeated season in conference or all of the teams above them to completely fall apart. Not just one team above. Every team above from all three conferences. NNU is like CSULA/San Marcos; they just don’t play anyone in non-con and thus will need to run the table in conference and that’s hard to do that even with an NCAA tournament veteran, return-every-key-piece team like WOU had last year; considering what NNU has chronically been, it’s for all intents and purposes impossible.
Strength of Schedule is like applying to med school. There’s the method of having a bunch of extra curriculars, volunteering, and/or being a student athlete and submitting a 3.3 gpa (losing to quality opponents in non-con) vs. only focusing on school, and thus needing the 3.98 (either win out or only lose once in conference play). Two different paths, both a way to the dance, but we see the former as much more preferable to the latter. The autobids are often like the kids that have 2.0s coming out of high school, but score 2350 on the SAT and have their pick of colleges because the reality is they’re smart, they just didn’t care.
In summary, potential hosts still include: UCSD, Chico State, Cal Baptist, Azusa Pacific, Chaminade, WWU, SPU, CWU, and WOU. Oddly enough that’s nine teams -one more team than will be eligible to qualify for the regional, and yet we don’t think those are necessarily the teams that will qualify. It’s much easier to qualify than it is to host, because qualifying allows conference losses, auto bids, that sort of thing. The only way you’re going to host as an autobid is if you’re within those nine teams, and those nine teams are likely to get paired down substantially in the coming weeks.
Who do you think is still in the running for an at large bid?
Well, first of all: UCSD, Chico State, Cal Baptist, Azusa Pacific, Chaminade, WWU, SPU, CWU, and WOU.
But also: CSULA, San Bernardino, Cal Poly Pomona, Dixie State, BYU-Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific, CU-Irvine, Point Loma, UAF, UAA, SMU (technically), and MSUB. The GNAC teams we obviously know more -MSUB returns a ton. They’ve been playing terribly, but they return a bunch of proven-to-play well D2 guys. Same with SMU, it feels unlikely for them to qualify for an at-large bid, but we believe in that team and they host the conference tournament, so it feels like of all years, this could be the year they break through and get that auto bid. Humboldt also seems like they again have the potential for the autobid but aren’t likely for an at-large.
Basically half the teams are still in the running. The conference gauntlet is intense for every conference and we just don’t see any other team being able to overcome their lack of SOS by losing fewer than five conference games. We’re guessing that four is going to be the magic number, and that’s with SOS. A number of the teams listed above will require three losses or less, and more likely two, plus at least a win or two in their respective conference tournament.
We’ll see if we disagree with ourselves by this time next week, or better yet the week after.
Why don’t you count D1/other division games when looking at teams and how good they are?
Because they’re one-offs on both sides. D1 teams will often write off D2 opponents and play down to our level. We as D2 often write off D3/NAIA opponents and do the same thing. EJ Poulsen just had five boards against Lewis and Clark. Who cares? He was probably the tallest guy in the game by four inches and he would never play enough minutes to do that in an actual D2 game. That’s what happens in a lot of D1 games too -they do a lot of player rotation early and then go “oh shoot, these guys are better than we were thinking,” and they clamp down and blow a team out. The other side is they continue to rotate players knowing the talent gap and it remains closer than would be if they were playing for real but the fact is they’re not; it doesn’t count against their SOS to lose to a D2 opponent, even if it is embarrassing.
The only teams that have made the tournament in recent history after beating D1 opponents have been SPU in 2012 (Arizona) and WOU in 2015 (Oregon State) and both were at-large bids, thus still had incredible D2 evidence for being elite in the west. The Arizona and Oregon State games made exactly zero difference, because it’s a one off. Why would anyone put much precedence in one game when there are 25 others against truly similar opponents to look at? It’s just straight up cray, but when you make it to the NCAA D2 West Regional: you’re playing D2 opponents. If you want the D1 games to matter, be like Seattle U., abandon the GNAC and join the ranks of D1. *shakes head* Redhawks are such losers.
Pretty much it for today. Game previews’ll be up tomorrow AM and then… Nightlights? Most likely.
These previews are easy to do because… You’ll find out.
All times pacific.
#3 Cal Baptist vs. #6 Cal Poly Pomona @ 12pm
Cal Baptist is freakishly hot having blown through the Pac-West tournament with a blow out every game. Cal Poly Pomona was bounced by UCSD in the conference tournament with a point differential of seven. That would lead one to think that Cal Baptist should blow CPP out, and with how hot the Lancers are, it would make sense. But Cal Poly Pomona still has a great coaching staff, they’ve won big games (although their non-conference wasn’t anything to write home about), but they’ve also lost games that they shouldn’t have any business losing to. We’re leaning on the side of Cal Baptist because the Lancers are looking like national champions right now, BUT it is fully within the capability of the Broncos to upset them, so… We shall see.
#2 UC San Diego vs. #7 Chico State @ 2:30pm
After losing horribly to CSULA in the first round of the conference tournament, we’re sure the Wildcats are itching to prove that the win was a fluke. UCSD has their own itchiness to contend with -they got blown out by Humboldt State in the championship game. We’ve really liked UCSD this year, but at the same time we also definitely believe in Chico. The two teams met once in the regular season with Chico winning by nine, but that’s a very reasonable score and we’ll see what comes of their second meeting of the year.
#4 Seattle Pacific vs. #5 Azusa Pacific @ 5pm
As noted in another post: the two teams played during a non-conference tournament. The game was played on Saturday and both teams had to face a not-as-good team on Friday, and both the Cougars and the Falcons tried to rest their guys and ultimately almost lost to said not-so-good teams, so that was pretty fun. Azusa would go on to be the regular season champion of the CCAA, while the Falcons fell into fourth place. We hear that losing to SPU is pretty unpleasant, and so we suspect that this loss definitely lingered in the minds of the Cougars, so probably a good game to expect some revenge. If not for the payback factor, we don’t know. SPU’s been playing badly as of late, they need to bounce back, but will they? We feel oddly pessimistic.
#1 Western Oregon vs. #8 Humboldt State @ 7:30pm
Western Oregon is a freakishly good team. They could have gotten blown out in the first game of the conference tournament and they’d still be hosting. That’s how far and above WOU is. However: Humboldt wouldn’t be dancing at all if they hadn’t managed to get hot at the right time and win the autobid via the conference tournament. The Jacks 100% deserve to be here considering the run they just went on, but is there still gas left in the tank? If yes, this game could be interesting. If no, expect WOU to roll, maybe even roll big.
Alright. Previews up. We’ll see you on Twitter/in Monmouth.
Just some thoughts that are kicking around. We’ll see how this goes.
Why did Humboldt State make it?
Because they received the auto-bid via winning the CCAA tournament.
Would Humboldt have made it without the auto bid?
No. They had no non-conference strength of schedule and lost eight in-conference games.
Why didn’t Alaska-Fairbanks make it?
1. Because they lost in the conference championship game and thus failed to procure the GNAC’s auto-bid.
2. Because while the Nooks were hot to end the season, they had no strength of schedule -something that’s now an official criterium. Strength of schedule largely comes from winning on the road and scheduling tough teams during non-conference. UAF didn’t play a single true road game, and while playing on a neutral court (MSUB) they lost both games to Dixie State and Dominican, respectively. And remember -this was a Dominican team that had a loss to NNU during non-conference. Had Alaska-Fairbanks literally won out in conference play (or gone something like 18-2) they would have had an argument for an at-large berth even without the strength of schedule, but they were competing for an at-large against teams that did have strength of schedule.
Who was the first team out?
In our opinion Dixie State. Dixie State had good strength schedule but lost too many non-conference games. They went 18-5 in conference, same as UAF. That goes to reiterate that even had UAF had strength of schedule, their bubble may have still burst. In non-conference Dixie lost to SFSU, Seattle Pacific, and Sonoma State; while beating Alaska-Fairbanks and MSU-Billings. Say Humboldt doesn’t get the auto-bid, you go back to that UAF/Dixie match-up, and you’d have to go with Dixie. But UAF returns a lot; they’ll have every opportunity for an at-large berth next year.
What do you think about the seedings and the resulting match-ups?
We agree with the match-ups. The seeding was incredibly variable -there were so many good arguments for the teams that made it being in spots 2-7, that we can’t complain at all. What we find hilarious is that while the seedings were variable, the optimal match-ups weren’t. Here’s a graphic that shows as much:
Three different seedings. All the same match-ups. Is it annoying to have the two GNAC teams potentially meeting up in the second round? Sort of, not really. The keyword there is potentially. While we have complete faith in the Wolves, we’re terrified of the Azusa match-up from an SPU perspective. The Falcons haven’t been playing particularly well and the brilliant cohesion we saw during non-conference hasn’t been seen in weeks. We’re incredibly worried.
In no year do seedings truly matter because the West Region is always a mess, but this year especially. Six teams. Toss them into a hat and draw names; that’s your seeding. In the D1 tournament it’s said that if you want to win, you have to beat everybody. On the D2 level that sentiment is on steroids because there are only eight teams and in years like this, it can mean that two could-be Elite Eight level teams meet in the first round. Cal Baptist and Cal Poly Pomona? Absolutely. Both 100% have the talent and skill to make it to the Elite Eight. There’s a 1/8 chance that either team will. Every team in the region this year has shown the ability to be at the level, including Humboldt. It’s going to be such a huge matter of who can get hot at the right time. This year’s GNAC tournament was balls-to-the-wall crazy and we have no idea what to expect out of the West Region. Even knowing the types of blowouts Cal Baptist and Humboldt State managed and the type of blowouts Azusa Pacific and Chico State were subject to, there’s no telling what’s going to happen.
And we love it. Welcome to the effing madness, put your seatbelt on because it’s going to be a wild ride.
Are you going to the Regional this year?
Yup, so come say ‘hi!’ if you’re there. Unfortunately we’re going to miss the first two games of the day because of work commitments, but we’ll be following the stats and keeping up on twitter, so whether you’re in Monmouth or watching at home -tell us what you think! You can either @ us on twitter via @GNACMBBlog or come talk to us in person during the second session. We’ll be wearing maroon and acting really hyper; we keep trying to calm down and be a grown-up, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Will there be game previews on Friday morning?
Absolutely. It’s on our to-do list for today, so theoretically that means it’ll be done by tomorrow. And yes: We will be talking about every game.
Are you going to talk about non-GNAC teams if both get bounced in the first round?
Most likely not. We don’t usually get enough hits to make it worth it, and we found it kind of drove our in-conference followers bananas last year, even previewing non-GNAC games. We’re 50/50 on that this year, just because there is so much interlocking play and it has been so intriguing from a regional perspective, but… Most likely when the last GNAC team’s season ends, our season will end, and we’ll get into our post-season awards and those types of posts.
Alright, any questions not answered: Ask us on twitter or leave a comment. Otherwise we’ll see you guys Friday morning for the West Region Day 1 preview.
They started with the West and the feed didn’t even come up for us until after it was over. Oookay then. Thanks NCAA, always know we can count on you.
The first round will be played on March 11 in Monmouth, Oregon.
Match-ups as follows:
3. Cal Baptist vs. 6. Cal Poly Pomona @ 12pm
2. UC San Diego vs. 7. Chico State @ 2:30pm
4. Seattle Pacific vs. 5. Azusa Pacific @ 5pm
1. Western Oregon vs. 8. Humboldt State @ 7:30pm
So somehow both BitoBaca and I both picked different seedings, got all of the match-ups right, and got all of the seeding wrong. Oookay then, but these were the match-ups we wanted (more or less) so we’re good with it.
WOU/HSU: We’re excited for the football rivals to match-up on the basketball court, and it’s great for Humboldt because as the team (truly) smack dab in the middle of the region, it’s only about an eight hour drive but is considerably less traffic than heading to SoCal. Bonus!
UCSD/Chico State: They’ve already matched up once -Chico won 77-71 on February 12, so at least it’ll have been a month? Should be a good match-up, we’re excited.
Cal Baptist/Cal Poly Pomona: We’re kind of both excited and terrified. On the one hand we do believe in Cal Poly Pomona’s ability to beat ANYONE, they are a very good team. On the other hand, Cal Baptist is looking really, really, really scaldingly hot right now and the Lancers look in prime condition to make some glue. CPP is the Broncos, if anyone’s forgetting.
Seattle Pacific/Azusa Pacific: This is just hilarious because the first time the two teams met up this year, it was in a tournament and both tried to rest their starters and almost lost to an NAIA team and MSUB, respectively. Now they’ve both been playing kinda wonky, but obviously APU is going to want to get some revenge for the first match-up and SPU is going to have to prove they’ve snapped out of it after a massive downturn of play to end the season. We’ll see. We like APU, think they’re a really good team, and you know… Last year SPU matched up with BYU-Hawaii after losing to BYU-Hawaii in the regular season; this year maybe it’s their turn to lose the second match-up?
More thoughts as the week goes on? Sure. Also shout-out to South Central #1 seed Midwestern State -they adopted us last year, so we’re happy to see them kicking some serious booty and getting to host this year.
First and foremost: According to the official NCAA schedule, the Selection Show occurs TONIGHT at 10:30pm EASTERN, 7:30pm PACIFIC, and thus 6:30 ALASKAN. And yeah, we think it’s surprising that it would be that late too, but it is what it is.
Now, here’s what we officially know:
Western Oregon is #1 and the regional host. They have a record of 24-2, won the regular season, won their conference tournament, and the next closest west region school (Chico) has a record of 20-5 and got killed in the first round of their conference tournament by a team that would go on to get killed by the tournament winner -which actually helps their case slightly, but still.
Humboldt State received the auto bid from the CCAA but wasn’t even in contention for an at-large bid, largely because their strength of schedule was so atrocious and they lost eight conference games -way more than anyone else currently vying for an at-large spot.
Cal Baptist received the auto bid from the Pac-West in thorough dominance over Azusa Pacific, but would have likely made it regardless.
Aside from that… We get into bubble territory.
The official regional poll says this:
1. Western Oregon (24-2)
2. Chico State (20-6)
3. UC San Diego (20-7)
4. Seattle Pacific (20-8)
5. Azusa Pacific (20-8)
6. Cal Baptist (24-6)
7. Cal Poly Pomona (19-7)
8. Dixie State (18-9)
9. Alaska-Fairbanks (18-8)
10. Alaska-Anchorage (17-10)
[11. Humboldt State]
All records are updated to include the respective conference tournaments.
Now let’s go down that list again, although this time the bold simply serves to make it easier to read.
1. Western Oregon (24-2) -Won the conference tournament with a scare from Seattle Pacific and a hard fought win over UAF.
2. Chico State (20-6) -Got blown out in the first round of the conference tournament by Cal State LA, won the CCAA regular season.
3. UC San Diego (20-7) -Got blown out by Humboldt in the conference tournament.
4. Seattle Pacific (20-8) -Lost to WOU by one in the conference tournament, has by far the best strength of schedule in the region, with wins over Chico State, APU, and Dixie State, as well as a quality loss to CU-Irvine.
5. Azusa Pacific (20-8) -Got killed by Cal Baptist in the conference tournament game and has struggled more and more as the season has gone on. Not sure what the thread is there, but something The Committee definitely knows.
6. Cal Baptist (24-6) -Quality non-con, had some losses down the stretch but they were to really good teams like Dixie and CU-Irvine.
7. Cal Poly Pomona (19-7) -Questionable non-conference but better than the Alaskas, and in regard to the regular season they mimic SPU in having some weird losses, some acceptable losses (UCSD), and some great wins (Chico).
8. Dixie State (18-9) -Inverse of APU; they started rough, but they played a good non-con and definitely got better as the season went on. Yeah, they got killed by Cal Baptist, but we feel like it says more about the Lancers than it does about the Rebels.
9. Alaska-Fairbanks (18-8) -Played a great game against the elite Western Oregon, but came far closer to losing to the mess that is Western Washington than beating the Wolves.
10. Alaska-Anchorage (17-10) -Got bounced in the first round of the conference tournament by Western Washington, but has more strength of schedule than Alaska-Fairbanks. Really they have no chance of getting an at-large bid at this point but they’re on the list, so we’ll list them.
Elaborating on UAF: Last year, all year we said “BYU-Hawaii struggles off the island.” Then they went and won the Pac-West tournament and we said “Okay, maybe they can win off the island.” And then they got into the West Region and promptly lost to Seattle Pacific (something we have no problem with) and while we’re aware that UAF and BYUH are two very different teams, it’s leading us to lean on the side that BYUH did have SOS, BYUH did win their conference tournament, thus getting the auto-bid, and yet they still flopped. The Nooks could very well go in and win the regional -they’ve been incredibly hot as of late- but we feel like THIS YEAR (this does not necessarily hold in the future) Cal Poly Pomona and Dixie State are both far more deserving of at-large berths.
The seeding? Thank-you Cal Baptist -you were the team that made us go “Okay, wait, maybe we have some idea, maybe.” Even though we technically have no idea who the schools are.
1. Western Oregon -because duh.
2. Cal Baptist -Huge win in the conference tournament, only losses are from quality opponents, have good non-conference SOS.
We feel like 3-7 is a complete wash, and our only request is that Seattle Pacific and Chico State don’t play each other in the first round, because we want a chance to root on Chico.
3. Seattle Pacific -this is a weird one, and it’s all based on the SOS metric because we feel like the only reason they ended up with a record as bad as they have is because for a stretch at the end of the season they weren’t trying to win; they were trying to figure out next year’s point guard.
4. UC San Diego -This comes down to the fact that we feel like even with accounting for the two teams style of play, UC San Diego still got blown out by Humboldt slightly less than Azusa Pacific did by Cal Baptist. Keyword slightly.
5. Chico State -It’s unfortunate to pit two teams from the same conference against each other, but when four teams make it that’s what happens sometimes; at least this is only round three, rather than round four?
6. Azusa Pacific -Yeah they got blown out by Cal Baptist and yeah it’s a rematch, but better a non-con rematch then yet another conference match-up that just happened.
7. Cal Poly Pomona -This was rough. It came down to Dixie State and Cal Poly Pomona and after reviewing the Rebs schedule at the request of one of our commenters -we really, really like it, and we really believe in the Rebels- but the resumes are similar and ultimately we’re giving CPP the nod because of just how badly Dixie got blown out in the Pac-West tournament.
8. Humboldt State -this would be fun because WOU and HSU have a bit of a football rivalry as far as we know (maybe that’s wrong?) and so that would be memorable to meet up in basketball again.
We’ve come to accept that there is a HUGE amount of parity on the west coast this year, and thus the seeding is likely wrong and we’re completely fine with how wrong we are as long as Seattle Pacific is in the tournament and Western Oregon is the #1 seed and physically hosting it on their campus. Other than that, we don’t care what the seedings are and who’s playing who. We’ll feel rather miffed if one of the Alaska schools makes it over CPP/Dixie, but that’s purely because we’re SOS martyrs and SOS is supposed to finally count this year, but if one of those schools makes it, it clearly doesn’t and this is not the year to be screwing around with whether or not that metric matters. Once again: This is not the SEC; this is Pac-12 country.
Edit: We didn’t look at BitOBaca’s seeding prior to doing ours, but it’s hilarious that the match-ups are all the same but the seeds are different. That would be the D2West this year.
Alright. That was stressful and took way too long to figure out. We’ll see you guys in a couple of hours.
Sort of more than one game. We’re going to talk about the Pac-West and CCAA, but… As much as we know quite a bit, we feel like if anyone tells you that they know a lot this year: they’re lying. We follow the region as closely as anybody, and we can’t figure it out.
All times pacific standard.
Cal Baptist vs. Azusa Pacific @ 2pm.
We’ll be watching for a bit and then following the rest on our phone. We have no idea what’s going to happen. It should be crazy. The teams played each other really closely during the regular season. APU seems like slightly more of a bubble team than Cal Baptist. There are a few former beloved GNAC players involved in the game: Alex Birketoft, Kalidou Diouf, and Joey Schreiber. Good luck to all three, plus all of their respective teammates.
UC San Diego vs. Humboldt State @ 5:05pm
Another game that we don’t know what’s going to happen. They split during the regular season. Humboldt State is fighting for the auto-bid, UCSD should be safe, but obviously would still love to win. No clue on this one. Part of us says “UCSD” and part of us says “No, Humboldt is going to want it way more.” So we shall see.
Alaska-Fairbanks vs. Western Oregon @ 5:30pm
Who knows. We love how strong UAF has come on and we feel like WOU has been waning just slightly. WOU had a heart attack of a game vs. SPU and yet we feel like it prepared them pretty well for today because it was such a defensive grind-it-out and Andy Avgi was actually rather shut down, so look for him to bounce back. On the other hand: UAF had a game vs. WWU where they got to be all-offense, all the time, so playing defense shouldn’t be too bad because they’ve got their offensive urges out of their system. Travante had a good game, Joe Slocum had a fantastic game, Bangaly was okay but look for him to bounce back. Almir had his best game in a while. Great preparation to take on the mighty Wolves of Western Oregon, so… Should be good. Can’t wait to watch it.
1. Western Oregon
The rest? Who knows. We suspect that even tomorrow when we know who the three autobids are, we’re still going to have no idea how to seed them. So much parity.
Teams that are on the bubble:
Azusa Pacific, Cal Baptist, UC San Diego, Chico State, Cal Poly Pomona, Humboldt State, Seattle Pacific, Alaska-Anchorage, Alaska-Fairbanks.
We think that Humboldt and UAF will only get the nod if they get the respective autobids, which should add substantially more fervency to their play, which is why we suspect they’ll win. If they do win and the following happens (seeds arbitrary except WOU):
1. Western Oregon
3. UC San Diego
4. Humboldt State
5. Azusa Pacific
6. Cal Baptist
We figure that Cal Baptist, Azusa Pacific, and UCSD are all in, regardless of today’s result. So who gets the final three spots?
7. Chico State
8. Seattle Pacific
If UAF and/or Humboldt State lose, it’ll be Cal Poly Pomona vs. Alaska-Anchorage.
Let’s compare those two teams in regard to conference losses and non-conference wins.
Cal Poly Pomona (22-7)
Non-conference: Won at Azusa Pacific and beat Point Loma at home.
Conference losses: UCSD x3, Cal State LA, Dominguez Hills, Monterey Bay, and Stanislaus.
Non-conference: Lost to Cal Baptist, Colorado Springs, and Dominguez Hills; beat Upper Iowa.
Conference losses: Western Oregon (x2), Saint Martin’s, Seattle Pacific, MSU-Billings, Central Washington, and Western Washington.
It’s weird to look at Cal Poly Pomona and go “well, they had a good non-conference schedule” but compared to Anchorage they did. Looking at it this way, Anchorage’s best hope is that UAF and Humboldt both lose because the Nooks and Jacks have by far the worst SOS of anyone in contention.
Seattle Pacific should be in because their record is 22-8, their SOS is the best in the region, and they lost to #1 seed WOU by less than Cal Poly Pomona lost to UCSD. Chico State should be in because they won the CCAA, have a record of 22-6, and their non-conference was middle-of-the-pack.
That’s where we’re at. We’ll see where we’re at either later tonight or tomorrow morning. Our bracketology obsession would suggest you’ll see a post later tonight.
Good luck to all six teams; be safe, have fun, west coast is best coast.
Yesss, it’s that time again! Although the Madness doesn’t really apply to the GNAC quite yet -we’re talking about the CCAA in terms of the heading.
The big news of last night is that Chico State lost by a lot to Cal State LA. It is what it is. As noted earlier: We feel completely confident that they’ll still get a bid, but being wrong is our best subject, so… We hope we’re right, but it’ll be what it’ll be.
6. Western Oregon
7. MSU Moorhead
15. Chico State
18. Cal Baptist
22. Cal Poly Pomona
Others receiving votes: Seattle Pacific (25), CO School of Mines (22), Azusa Pacific (9), Alaska-Fairbanks (2).
Big thing: Where is UCSD? Once again, we feel like the regional rankings are very different from the national rankings, although the national rankings aren’t terrible. Good to see UAF getting acknowledged -they’re coming on really strong at exactly the right time and we’re super thrilled. APU/SPU who knows.
Regionally… We were —- that close to doing a regional ranking, but at this point it feels almost too close to do one? Maybe later this week if we get the urge.
Some Pac-West chaos -four teams finished with the same record, one of them is ineligible for the conference tournament. Absolute chaos. No idea. It’s one of those things where we feel like we were vastly more right closer to non-conference than now after watching the entire season of conference play even with all the disappointments and excitements and everything. Crazy, crazy stuff.
After conference play we felt like we could make an educated guess. Now we have absolutely no clue because there is that much parity. And that goes for all three conferences.
UAA lost to CWU, what does it mean?
Nothing. Central is a good team, as is Anchorage. With the Seawolves in particular, we prefer good teams to lose late regular season games as one final gut check before win-or-go-home comes into play. We still think Anchorage is an at-large team. Every other team on the bubble has a loss to a non conference-tourney bound team; UAA doesn’t. The Seawolves also meet our criteria of having at least three good players, two 50/50 players, and a nutso coach. We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: Our non-basketball former undergraduate coach is off his rocker and we completely swear by him. Crazies do it better. We just think the refs need to reign in Coach Oz a bit more, because at this point GNAC refs seem a little too accustomed to his crazy and so what would get another coach suspended doesn’t even get Rusty a technical.
SMU killed WWU, what does it mean?
Again, nothing. The Vikings have no teamwork; the Saints have teamwork. Only three guys were shooting well, they got those guys the ball, and they fought hard for rebounds. We’re honestly still pretty mad at Anchorage for dropping the CWU game; so unnecessary. Get the ball to Brian McGill and the Saints would be going to the conference tournament. Although, as we reminded some WWU people after the game: you control your own destiny. The Saints offense had nothing to do with the Viking loss. The Seawolf loss had nothing to do with the Saints season ending.
Reality is a brat.
SPU almost lost to WWU, what does it mean?
That things are going back to normal, the Falcons will never recover, all of their players suck, and the world is ending, obviously. No, the Vikings finally started solidifying a high-effort line-up meanwhile the Falcons started messing around with their own. Was there some sloppy play by SPU? Absolutely. Was there some great play from WWU? Definitely. Still, we feel like the score was an adequate description of the game and a good reminder to both schools of what it takes to win critical games.
Not a whole lot to discuss at this current point in time just because everything is happening at once and there’s so much speculation. We’ll preview the GNAC tournament tomorrow morning and go from there. Lots of wait-and-see. Have a great afternoon!