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!
First and foremost: We owe the Saints cookies. Really good cookies. And this week is nuts and so they may be waiting a week for them, but we promise: We will hold up to our end of the bargain because they may have just sent the Regional to Monmouth. Why wouldn’t it be hosted in Lacey? Because they lost to Point Loma. The only way to give yourself a legitimate shot at hosting is to get through non-con completely unscathed OR go something like 19-1 in conference, and quite frankly: this is the GNAC. Pac-12 football thinks they know the Circle of Suck; oh no, no, no… When you don’t know the final order of 8/11 schools until after the very last conference game has been played, that’s when you really know the circle of suck. At least last year. This year it may be termed the Circle of Strength, in no small part thanks to SMU!
UC San Diego 80 vs. UAF 56 @ WWU
Praise the lawd. Sorry Nooks, love you, but this needed to be how it is.
Nook highlights: Joe Lendway shot well, finishing with 13 points and six boards; and Michael Kluting had a good game with 19 points and five boards.
Oh dear. Still Nooks, learning experience, right? Right.
CU-PDX 69 @ Cal State LA 91
Not surprised on this score; Cal State LA looks really legit this year, so it’s fine from a conference perspective. Learning and growing moment, eh?
Cav highlights: Jarrett Gray had five assists and 14 points; and Christopher Edward had eight boards, 19 points, and five fouls. Off the bench Bryan Michaels had eight points; Deandre Stallings had seven points; and Daniel Thiesen had eight points on perfect shooting.
Quality loss, men.
SPU 77 @ Westminster 83
Honestly we’re not concerned about this loss. They’re RMAC, it was on the road, big whoop. The Falcons didn’t look particularly impressive and it is what it is.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten had six boards; Sam Simpson had five boards and 11 points; Nikhil Lizotte had five boards and 11 points; and Tony Miller had 17 points. Off the bench Braden Olsen had six points; Harry Cavell had 12 points; and Nathan Streufert had seven points and five boards.
WOU 87 @ Notre Dame de Namur 48
There we go.
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid shot fantastically and finished with 11 points and four steals; Ali Faruq-Bey finally was felt with 19 points; and Riley Hawken had 10 points. Off the bench Demetrius Trammell had 10 points; Janvier Alaby had nine points; and Dustin Triano, Brandell Evans, and JJ Chirnside added five points a piece.
SFU 55 @ Point Loma 79
Welcome back to reality Simon Fraser. No, we don’t think you’re going to be the conference basement dweller like you have been, but we also don’t think Point Loma is quite as good as you made them look, which gets complicated when you factor in that you’re not as bad as normal.
Clan highlights: Othniel Spence had 20 points; and Iziah Sherman-Newsome had 10 points.
SMU 93 @ Cal Baptist 88
Saint hightlights: MATT DAHLEN had 16 points and 10 boards for the DOUBLE-DOUBLE; JORDAN KITCHEN had 14 points and seven boards rounded out with a FULL HOUSE; EJ BOYCE had nine points and FIVE assists; LUKE CHAVEZ had 17 points and five assists on GREAT SHOOTING. Off the bench JARED MATTHEWS had 19 points on good shooting; BJ STANDLEY had five points; and TAVIAN HENDERSON had 10 points.
There are no words. We saw this result and started freaking out, and we’re still freaking out this morning. Holy heck Saints, thank-you so much!!
NNU 93 @ Regis 103 in OT
Another loss we don’t really care about because it’s an RMAC opponent and NNU looks good, so whatever.
Obi Megwa had 16 points and seven boards; Nikola Prvulj had 12 points; and Maurice Jones had 18 points, nine boards, and five fouls. Off the bench KHALIL THOMPSON had 29 points on very good shooting; and Marko Lepovic had five points and six boards.
Whatevs NNU, we believe in you and still are ridiculously proud; this loss means nothing and the OT is nice.
There’s gonna be a lot of discussion in the coming week as we get ready to go into the first weekend of conference play. Congrats on lots of great wins and good losses; none of the losses truly matter from an SOS perspective, so life is good.
Alright, here we go. It’s late but it’s still here and that’s what counts, eh? The good news is that all of the math is already done for POW so that’ll go up tomorrow morning on schedule.
Central Washington 93 vs. MN-Mankato 104
The Wildcats got outside themselves =( It was totally within their range and they could have had it and they panicked and it didn’t happen, but we’re still so proud of them. As noted yesterday: It wouldn’t surprise us if Mankato is a very, very good team.
Wildcat highlights: Naim Ladd had 18 points; Dom Hunter had 27 points; Terry Dawn had six boards; Jawan Stepney had 15 points and five boards; and off the bench Sage Woodruff had five boards.
Simon Fraser 73, Lindenwood 72
SFU vs. Lindenwood round two and SFU squeaked out another one. Nicely done Clan. Plenty of good numbers to go around, so we’ll jump right in.
Clan highlights: Iziah Sherman-Newsome had eight boards and 10 points; Graham Miller had 9 points and five boards; Michael Provenzano had another good game with 14 points and five boards, along with five fouls; JJ Pankratz had 9 points and five boards; and Tyrell Lewin had 14 points and six boards. Off the bench Andrew Williamson had 9 points; and Hidde Vos had eight points.
Western Washington 94, Holy Names 68
Can’t spell ‘slaughter’ without ‘laughter’? The numbers aren’t as good as they could be, but there are a lot of good ones and we’re very satisfied with WWU.
Vikings highlights: Taylor Stafford had 17 points and 11 boards; Trey Drechsel had 14 points and five boards; Logan Schilder had 10 points, seven boards, and five blocks -good to see the 7’0er getting aclimated; Daulton Hommes had 13 points and six boards; and Jeffrey Parker had a full house with 24 points and seven rebounds, among other stats. Off the bench Trevor Jasinsky had seven points.
Seattle Pacific 72 vs. Dixie State 74 in OT
Dixie State won. We’re not very happy. But it does create a lot parity because it wasn’t a good loss. Dixie State is yet to get a good win. They have good losses, but not any good wins, and a brand new SPU team that doesn’t return anything does not count as a quality win. But looking at the numbers SPU decided they didn’t give a crap about rebounding, so… They get what they get.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten played 40 minutes and had eight rebounds; Sam Simpson had six boards; and Joe Rasmussen had five fouls. Off the bench Sharif Khan had 10 points; and Tony Miller had 21 points and seven boards.
We consider this game to be a complete mess and with a slightly more experienced team the Falcons would have had it, but the fact is they don’t have that experience this year and they can’t get away half-trying like they have in the past. Hopefully they learned something -if they didn’t, their SoCal games this coming week are going to be felt widely and painfully on a conference level.
Alaska-Fairbanks 71 vs. BYU-Hawaii 68
Praise Nooks. They got it done. It was desperate considering BYU-H only used six players (essentially five) but it’s still a ‘W.’
Nanook highlights: Nahjee Matlock had 13 points and five assists; Bangaly Kaba had 14 points and seven boards; LaDonavan Wilder had seven boards; Zach Pederson had 15 points and six boards; Brandon Davis had 12 points, five boards, six assists, five steals, a block, four fouls, and zero turnovers in a perfect full house. Off the bench Michael Kluting had eight points and six boards.
Alaska-Anchorage 73, Cal State LA 68
Thank God, the Seawolves got out of this. Suki was more off on free throws than we’re used to seeing, so that was interesting. Corey Hammell finally had a Corey Hammell game, so that was good. Mixed bag, but what can we say? The Seawolves got it done and we are incredibly relieved.
Seawolves highlights: Suki Wiggs had 27 points and six boards; Corey Hammell had 12 points and 11 boards; and Connor Devine had 12 points and six boards. No real bench play, which is mildly concerning but Sjur Berg saw almost no minutes, so… Maybe means nothing.
CU-Portland 62, San Francisco State 86
The Gators were in ‘steamroll’ mode. That’s okay. We’re still proud of the Cavs for the progress they’re clearly making. We think they’re going to make some noise in conference -Christopher Edward, among others, is for real.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 14 points; Christopher Edward had a double-double with 10 boards and 10 points; off the bench Davis Nuaimi had five assists; and Taylor Harris had 11 points.
Saint Martin’s 75, San Bernardino State 80
The Saints ALMOST got the win but couldn’t pull it off likely due to a slow 7’0er. He goes in for the tip and nothing else. We like Fred a lot, but… Winning the tip doesn’t matter if he can’t even be counted on to grab one measly board. Naim Ladd is 5’7 and had seven the other night, so… Get with it Fred. You’ve got five fouls. Use them.
Saints highlights: Cole Preston had five boards and 17 points; Rhett Baerlocher had seven boards; Tyler Copp bounced back and had 16 points; Brandon Kenilvort had five boards; and off the bench Trey Ingram had 15 points.
MSU-Billings 50 vs. Cal State East Bay 54
Close and hard fought game but ultimately MSUB couldn’t pull it out. Quite honestly it bugs us because MSUB returns so much, so… Yellowjackets: What are you doing? We know East Bay’s place in conference tends to make them look worse than they are (truly an any given night team) but you were at home and have so many returners. Hmmm. We expect more of you Yellowjackets. Next week, perhaps.
Yellowjacket highlights: PRESTON BEVERLY had a huge game wiht 14 points and 25 points on good shooting; and Christian Evans had five boards.
To be fair, some of the lacking in highlights is because it was a low-scoring game, but… Shooting numbers were also bad.
Western Oregon 63 vs. UC San Diego 75
The Tritons read Western Oregon like a book. They came in apparently very prepared and essentially just shut the Wolves down completely. WOU still had few turnovers, so UCSD could have maybe forced them better, but… This was revenge for the Sweet 16 game and they got it.
Wolves highlights: Ali Faruq-Bey had six boards; and off the bench Demtrius Trammell had 11 points; while Yanick Kulich had 19 points and seven boards; and Malik Leaks had seven points.
Yup. That minimal. Looking forward to the Wolves bouncing back after a painful weekend.
Northwest Nazarene 84 vs. Colorado Christian 103
Weeee. Eeeee. Okay, honestly not surprising because Colorado Christian is often good, as the RMAC is usually really good. This is a quality loss if we’ve ever seen it.
Crusader highlights: Bouna N’Diaye had six boards; Jalen Shepard had nine assists and 16 points, whoa; Kaileb Rodriguez had 25 points and 12 boards for the double-double; Maurice Jones had 13 points and five fouls. Off the bench Pol Olivier had six points.
Overall a mis-mash of a weekend. We’re not as concerned as we expected ourselves to be, mostly because it does look like so much parity across the region that we feel like if a few teams clamp down and others buck up, things’ll be just fine.
POW noms up tomorrow at 10am, with the announcement at 11.
Yup, it’s going to be a back-to-back post because as much as we love the GNAC -Husky and Seahawks football took priority. And sleep. Sleep took priority. What’s interesting is we were so busy throwing-up the preview (our fingers were barfing) that we didn’t look at ANY of Friday’s numbers yesterday. Nuts. And now not any of Saturday’s numbers. It’s all a surprise o.O
Simon Fraser 81, Lindenwood 73
We weren’t even aware Lindenwood was a D2 school; we assumed it was a school on the prairies of Canada. As it turns out it is D2, so good on the Clan for scheduling them. Yayyy D2 opponents.
Clan highlights: Graham Miller was 7-7 from the line and finished with 18 points and four fouls; Michael Provenzano had seven boards, five assists, and finished with 18 points and four fouls; JJ Pankratz was back in a big way, grabbing nine boards, four blocks, and dropping 24 points while staying out of foul trouble. Off the bench Kedar Wright went 7-9 from the line and finished with 11 points in the Clan’s victory.
Dear President Donald Trump,
Thank-you for making it okay for us to say ‘Go Clan!’ and talk positively about them without being concerned about ending up on a list. Heck, if we’re not careful with all this talk of “Go Clan!” we could ended up nominated for a cabinet position.
The GNAC Men’s Basketblog
Central Washington 99, Dixie State 95 in OT
Yeaaah Wildcats! We is so proud of you. Winning in OT. Yes, it’s for all intents and purposes a home game, but any win against the region is a win we will take. And there were TONS of good numbers, so let’s get started…
Wildcat highlights: NAIM LADD had SEVEN rebounds, two assists, ZERO turnovers, and 25 points; DOM HUNTER had a whopping 33 points while going 10/11 from the line and being good from the field; Jerome Bryant did the rare thing of confusing us with his lack of shooting; he went 1-3 and then made 9-11 from the line and grabbed five boards and had five fouls. Rarely do we think ‘wow, he could have kept shooting’ but this guy did and at the same time we’re excited for him because it shows the valuable trait of knowing his role and doing a darn good job at it. Fouling and drawing fouls? Um, yeah.
Full disclaimer: Power forward is our favorite position by and far, so that position does tend to get a good bit of bias around here.
Seattle Pacific 69, MN-Makato 78
While it’s a good win for MN-Mankato, we’re not convinced it’s a bad loss for SPU because we’d so much rather lose an out-of-region game than an in-region, and Mankato could turn out to be very good; it’s too early in the season to know at this point. We’ll consider it a good learning experience, hopefully.
Falcon highlights: COLEMAN WOOTEN had 16 boards and 24 points on solid shooting; Sam Simpson had eight boards and four assists; Will Parker had five fouls; and Joe Rasmussen had five boards and nine points. Off the bench Sharif Khan had 14 points; and Tony Miller had seven boards.
Alaska-Fairbanks 68, Cal State LA 74
Huge win for the CCAA as a whole. We talk about it all the time, but: Any win in Alaska is a good win because it’s so hard to play up there. We knew CSULA was going to be improved this year, it was just a matter of time.
Nanook highlights: Nahjee Matlock had five boards and five assists; Bangaly had 10 boards and nine points; LaDonavan Wilder had five boards; and Brandon Davis had 16 points and five assists. Off the bench Reece Robinson had six points and four boards; and Michael Kluting had 10 points.
CU-Portland 57, UC San Diego 66
Way closer than anticipated. Yes, it was essentially a home game, but it’s still what we should all consider a very quality loss for the Cavalier program because we love the Cavs and anticipated a blowout so what was everyone else thinking? Yeah. It’s good.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 15 points, Latrell Wilson had five boards; Christopher Edward had a huge game with 10 points and eight boards; and off the bench Davis Nuami had four boards and three assists.
The Tritons play mad D so the numbers are less than they usually would have been for how close it was.
Alaska-Anchorage 75, BYU-Hawaii 50
Confirmed: BYU-H good at home and bad on the road. At least so far. Admittedly it’s hard to play at UAA, but in that we also need to say that: UAA has a huge homecourt advantage. Good for them. Did what needed to be done and there are lots of good numbers.
Seawolf highlights: Suki had 21 points, seven boards, and three assists; Corey Hammell had a double-double with 12 boards and 10 points; and Connor Devine had 17 points and eight boards on good shooting. Off the bench Augustus Simmers had 10 points; Damien Fulp had 10 points while perfect from the line; nad Sjur Berg had five boards.
Western Oregon 93 vs. San Fran State 99 in 3OT
Oh dear. We’d say this game was a mess on both sides but it wasn’t. San Fran State played within themselves and used it to win the game in a hard place to play. They had surprisingly few bad numbers for the fact that the game went to 3OT. Not the case with the Wolves. Still, as bad as the numbers were they stayed in it.
Wolves highlights: Bryan Berg had 15 points and five boards; Tanner Omlid had eight boards, seven assists, four steals, two blocks, and assorted other stuff while securing a full house; Ali Faruq-Bey had eight boards; Buster Souza had a “break-out” game with seven boards and fourteen points with the only passable shooting on the Wolves. Off the bench Yanick Kulich had seven boards; and Malik Leaks had six boards and nine points -guess if you can survive that surname in elementary school, you can do anything.
Saint Martin’s 60 @ Sonoma State 77
Oh dear. Growing pains. It’s okay Saints, this is going to happen. Quality loss? Perhaps. At least Tyler Copp played moderately well, because outside of him there really are very few highlights.
Saints highlights: Tyler Copp had four boards, four assists, zero turnovers, and 20 points; Brandon Kenilvort had 17 points; and off the bench Rohjhae Colbert had five boards.
Overall an interesting day for the GNAC and West Region as a whole. Not bad nor good; this day was neutral all the way around, which is interesting of itself. We honestly haven’t looked at Saturday’s results except for CWU (they keep playing early so we keep seeing those results) and so… We’ll see in a little bit.
Congrats and good effort to all involved, GNAC or otherwise.
We’re going to post these in reverse order and then swap the times because we want what times the games are being played at to be at the top, but we’re writing this one first because last night was whoa. On a lot of levels. We don’t know whether to climb into our conspiracy bunker of “ZOMG the GNAC is so bad, we’re going to be a one bid league” or “Our region looks okay and has parity all up and down, so we’ll be fine.”
November. Beautiful November.
All times pacific.
Central Washington vs. MN-Mankato @ 12:30
Want CWU to win sooo badly, it should be a battle, we’re ready for it to be a battle, and we’re ready to see the Wildcats come out on top.
Simon Fraser vs. Lindenwood @ 2pm
We somehow missed that Lindenwood is actually a D2 school; we assumed they were a Canadian school. They’re D2. And SFU beat them yesterday, but it was close, so we’ll see what happens today.
Western Washington vs. Holy Names @ 2pm
WWU gets it done, no problem, no doubt. They’re at home, HNU is never good, it’ll be fine. WWU’s got actual teamwork this year and no drag-their-feet post players, which makes everything better.
Seattle Pacific vs. Dixie State @ 3pm
No idea. The Falcons just lost to Mankato, but we don’t know what that means -we actually haven’t even looked at the numbers. CWU beat Dixie in overtime yesterday, Dixie has some mad strength of schedule and so they’ve played good teams are already well-seasoned. Dixie State has often beat the Falcons at home in non-conference and were responsible for dislodging SPU’s number one ranking a few years ago, so… What can we say? Those proud bearers of the confederate flag are probably going to win.
Alaska-Fairbanks vs. BYU-Hawaii @ 3pm
Seasiders just got killed by UAA. Time for the Nooks to get it done too. UAF wins big.
Alaska-Anchorage vs. Cal State LA @ 5pm
CSULA is starting to come into its own with a win over UAF yesterday, but so is UAA and… “The Seawolves up there in their hella nice lair” will take care of the Eagles just fine. Yes, we just plagiarized ourselves, we’re okay with that.
CU-Portland vs. San Francisco State @ 5pm
SFSU just won a triple over time game against WOU. We’re not sure whether that means this is a prime chance for CU-Portland to upset SFSU because they’re exhausted and likely to over look the Cavs, or if they’re going to get killed because SFSU is going to be like “WE JUST BEAT THE WOLVES, WE CAN DO ANYTHING!” and be in steamroll mode. We shall see.
Saint Martin’s vs. San Bernardino @ Sonoma State @ 5:30
The Saints got straight-up murdered by Sonoma last night, which actually doesn’t hurt our conference that badly because WWU had a convincing win over them last week without blowing them out, so Sonoma is looking good. Also tells you that there may be some separation between WWU and SMU, which wouldn’t be surprising, but still leaves plenty of room for the idea that both are good teams. Bernardino took CWU to OT but CWU got the win, it seems likely that Bernardino will win this one, but who knows. We love the Saints -they could absolutely bounce back.
MSU-Billings vs. Cal State East Bay @ 6pm
MSUB has a great homecourt advantage and yet East Bay is one of those teams that always gives GNAC teams problems, even when they’re lower-middle of the CCAA. Not sure what’s going to happen with this one. Nothing would surprise us in any direction unless both teams ended up scoring under 50. That would surprise us.
Western Oregon vs. UC San Diego @ 7pm
We cannot wait for this game. UCSD is boasting mad SOS, WOU just lost a triple OT game to SFSU, it’s in the New PE Building, what is going to happen? UCSD just had a heck of a time against CU-Portland, so we have no idea what to expect out of this game.
Northwest Nazarene vs. Colorado Christian @ 7pm
Who knows? We want NNU to win, we somewhat expect them to lose, but that’s just because “oh NNU,” and prior conceptions from previous years, but that’s not fair now is it? NNU hasn’t even played any D2 games this year. Who knows what might happen?
All in one convenient location with listed seedings. Going up an hour (or two) before the Discussions post, just ’cause.
The CCAA played their first round last night because they have eight teams in play. The bold teams won. Right now these are just the seeds, but we’ll put up what the brackets ended up as on Saturday night.
1. Chico State
2. UC San Diego
3. Cal Poly Pomona
4. Humboldt State
5. Monterey Bay
6. San Fran State
7. Sonoma State
8. Cal State LA
So yup, Chico State is out of contention for the auto-bid. We’re not worried; our CCAA counterpart is. When SPU gets bounced in the first round of the GNAC tourney he can watch us freakout while he sits there and goes “You guys are fine.”
1. Azusa Pacific
2. Dixie State
3. Cal Baptist
4. Hawaii Pacific
APU and Dixie both have a first round BYE.
1. Western Oregon
4. Seattle Pacific
5. Central Washington
6. Western Washington
WOU and UAF both have a first round BYE.
Games start on Thursday. The CCAA games continue on Friday. By Sunday night we’ll know who’s going to Monmouth.
On the agenda for today: Last night’s game, the updated rankings, this year’s rebounding compared to last, mid-season
Saint Martin’s 46 @ Seattle Pacific 65
Almost exactly what you’d hope if you’re an SPU fan, exactly what you’d grudgingly accept if the Saints are more your style. We didn’t expect anything because this is the GNAC, where the defense is made up and only the very last points matter. Although not in this game -the defense actually did a somewhat okay job, so good on the Falcons. Their shooting was completely okay, so really great for them. SMU did have a lot of chuck-ups, but it is what it is.
Saints highlights: Tyle Copp had eight points; Fred Jorg had 14 points and five boards; the team had a mere eight turnovers.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a full house including six boards and eight assists; Gilles Dierickx had fie boards, three blocks, and 12 points; Mitch Penner had 13 points. Off the bench Coleman Wooten had seven points and four boards; Joe Rasmussen had 10 points; and Kevin Johnson had five points in limited minutes.
Good defense by the Falcons, good effort by the Saints. The Saints had more boards than expected, so… E for exceeds expectations. Can’t wait to watch both the Falcons and the Saints take on the Yellowjackets. The Saints and the Jackets match-up pretty well and then the Falcons and the Yellowjackets have a fun rivalry, so pretty cool stuff to come this week, although… The big ones of course are WOU at the Alaskas.
Individual rebounding numbers are down, but it’s very possible that team rebounding numbers are up. Last year we wouldn’t note a guy’s boarding unless it was over ten; this year that number is five because it seems more guys are up for grabbing them, which is awesome. We’ll look into it further here, but definitely something to keep in mind. The numbers in terms of what we look at in regard to POW stuff are interesting because with that number we’re thinking there’s far more distribution this year than there was last year in regard to spreading the love and more guys getting in on the action, which could be signs of good or could be signs of bad. Now that trends are starting to establish we’re able to take a closer look and so… We’ll see.
Last year we did a ton of mid-season stuff -teams, underclassmen, all that jazz, this year we’re not sure if we’re going to do the mid-season blog blitz, but there’s a possibility. If you reaaaally want to see it, leave a comment and it may inspire us to actually go through a bunch of it.
The big news of the weekend is that chaos has erupted in the CCAA:
- Cal Poly Pomona lost to Cal State LA
- Humboldt lost to Dominguez Hills
- UCSD lost to Monterey Bay
- Cal Poly Pomona lost to Dominguez Hills
Honestly we’re not too shocked about Dominguez Hills being a middle-of-the-pack team; we’ve been saying it since fairly early in non-conference, but 3/4 best CCAA teams going down spells p-p-p-parity. Which is what’s reigning in the GNAC, so frankly it’s good news for us considering non-conference was mostly a wash although we were reticent to admit it.
Relevant news from the Pac-West:
-Fresno Pacific blew out BYU-Hawaii (good for WOU/SMU, bad for SPU, WWU, and CWU).
-Azusa Pacific narrowly beat Cal Baptist.
There’s also some other stuff of parity being implicated but it’s too circular to make it worth getting into because the teams are ranked; just know that it’s happening.
After that mess, here are the rankings:
7. MSU Moorhead
8. Western Oregon
15. Cal Baptist
16. Cal Poly Pomona
19. Chico State
22. Azusa Pacific
Receiving votes: Seattle Pacific (17), Alaska Anchorage (14), Humboldt State (1).
We’re ridiculously glad that APU is finally ranked, but… WHO THE HECK KEEPS RANKING CHICO STATE?!?!? Do you realize what we’re saying? Both teams have lost to SPU (one on the road, one at home) by roughly the same amount and yet we STILL think that APU deserves to be ranked ahead of Chico considering everything else. We’re also glad to see that Humboldt has been humbled. Everything else is pretty much status quo. With all of the parity, we’re keeping an eye on CU-Irvine and to an extent Dixie State and Dominican, but… It’s a mess. It’s a flat out mess, which is just as well.
We have all the numbers (yes: all the numbers) but we’re not sure what you guys want, so… If you’re here, you’re probably just as basketball-geeky as we are, so we’re going to give you all the numbers. Merry Christmas.
Please keep in mind: We sorted through every schedule of every opponent a west region team plays and we ONLY counted D2 opponents in these records because that’s how it should be. The number of schools that count wins against non D2 opponents is too darn high.
Hawaii Pacific (2-4)
Dominguez Hills (2-4)
Northwest Nazarene (2-4)
Central Washington (2-2)
They do have neutral site losses to Dixie State (4-4) and Dominican (5-3). Basically what this tells us is that UAF has ruled themselves out of at-large contention. Regional road wins are huge and there’s really no excuse for not picking some up if you want to be seriously considered to make the Tourney.
Current D2 Record: 5-2.
Current opponent record: 25-30
At-large bid potential: 0.
We like Fairbanks, love Bangaly and Travante and obviously Almir, and while we think they’re pretty secure in getting a bid to the conference tournament, they’re going to have to win it in order to get a berth in the Big Dance.
Hawaii Pacific (2-4)
Northwest Nazarene (2-4)
Central Washington (2-2)
Upper Iowa (5-8)
Current D2 Record: 5-3
Current Opponent Record: 33-38
At-large bid potential: 0.
Suki drives us nuts, we can just say that. He’s not quite the cancer of Dom Williams, but no coach would green light someone to regularly go 10-21 if they had any better options at all. We consider the Seawolves to be secure in their berth to the conference tournament, but they definitely need the auto-bid in order to become one of sixty-four.
Honestly the opponent record doesn’t even matter because SFU’s not going anywhere without the auto-bid and the odds of them even making the conference tournament are quickly approaching zero.
Colorado Springs (3-5)
Upper Iowa (5-8)
Current D2 record: 4-4
Opponent Record: 34-31
At-large potential: 0
We see their odds of making the conference tournament to be almost 100%. They got Evan Scholten back, he’s looked really good, the Vikings have the history. Do we see them getting the auto-bid? Too soon to say. But they will need it in order to go dancing.
We want to group SPU and WOU together, so the Falcons are being skipped right here, but you can find them farther down.
Hawaii Hilo (0-6)
Monterey Bay (3-6)
Current D2 record: 3-3
Opponent Record: 17-31
At-large potential: 0
Making the conference tournament? 50/50. We see their odds of making the dance as being incredibly small, but the Saints will keep improving and we’ll see where we stand after the first half of the conference round robin.
Black Hills State (2-4)
U of Mary (9-2)
Current D2 record: 3-6
Opponent Record: 45-31
At-large potential: 0
They have zero at-large potential, but they did challenge themselves thoroughly, there’s no denying that, it’s a great schedule, and had they come out on top they’d have every reason to think they were heading to the Dance provided they kept winning. As it is, they’re going to fight for a bid to the conference tournament and then try and use the experience they build in non-con to get that auto-bid and make it happen.
Current D2 record: 2-2
Opponent record: 15-14
At-large potential: 0
On the one hand, we really want to judge this CWU team, but then on the other hand we feel like we don’t have enough yet to make a pronouncement, and yet that in itself lends it to us making a pronouncement. The Wildcats returned almost everything and yet they scheduled themselves pathetically. They should be hoping they make the conference tournament, it’s far from a guarantee, and they missed out on getting two big road wins in Alaska -in both cases by a lot. Those games weren’t close. So we’ll see.
Current D2 record: 2-4
Opponent record: 25-26
At-large potential: 0
There’s really not much to be said. The Crusaders actually scheduled themselves pretty well but ultimately couldn’t do anything with it and then came really close to getting a few wins in Alaska but couldn’t do it. Hopefully they’ve seasoned themselves and with conference play they’ll turn around and at least make the conference tourney? Maybe. Not out of the realm of possibility.
The Cavaliers are cold porridge at this point. If they make the conference tourney it’ll be a miracle. They had a nice mix with MSUB and WOU being their first two conference opponents, but couldn’t get it done. They also had a good chance to learn from their first loss against CU-Irvine, but couldn’t do anything with it -in fact CU-Irvine did a lot with it, beating the Cavs by considerably more. It’s gonna be a rough year, but know that we’re in your corner Baby Bro.
Alright, now let’s talk about the realistic at-larges. And yes -they both are, which is GREAT news for everyone else.
Azusa Pacific (7-3)
East Bay (2-5)
Dixie State (4-5)
Chico State (7-2)
Azusa Pacific (7-3)
Current D2 record: 8-1
Opponent record: 36-35
At-large potential: high
We’re obsessed with the Falcons schedule, we’ll just say that straight up. We know it didn’t end up as quality as they were hoping it would, but they genuinely attempted to schedule really well and regardless as to how it worked out: they won. They have one loss to a 7-1 CU-Irvine team, they have road wins, they have a neutral win, they have home wins.
Their road win against WWU isn’t as quality as it might be but that game always has a lot of emotion and they came in and did what they needed to do, and it seems like it was good mental prep. Same with Azusa Pacific -there was potentially a lot of emotion riding on that game because Azusa, while a very different team this year, did make the Elite Eight last year. They got it done and did so convincingly. And that’s what we think regarding the tourney: It’s always a matter of winning, but this non-conference has indoctrinated this latest group of Falcons in what it takes to win and theoretically they’ll continue to make the statement that they know how throughout conference play.
Monterey Bay (3-6)
Point Loma (5-5)
Fresno Pacific (5-3)
ND de Namur (0-9)
Holy Names (2-7)
Current D2 record: 9-0
Opponent record: 27-45
At-large potential: high
We love this Western Oregon team because they’re coming in with a new-to-them coach and getting it done. New to them, because he’s new to the current crop of guys, but he is a Western Oregon guy -so he gets it. This schedule isn’t as ideal as it might be, but they got it done and decimated it as they should have and that UCSD road win means the world. That in itself is huge, especially because we really, really, really like that UCSD team -they’re our current CCAA obsession, if you follow us on twitter- and so we think that win is going to get more and more quality as the year progresses, which is huge huge HUGE.
We’re waiting for Julian Nichols, Jordan Wiley, and Devon Alexander to really click into gear because it still feels like they haven’t, but luckily… They have the big bad beast that is Andy to make them all look better. Aside from Alex Roth, we feel like we haven’t seen much out of the new guys, but SPU demonstrated last year that you only need four + a coach or two, in order to do pretty well, and we love Julian and Devon in particular so we think they’re going to ultimately be just fine.
From a realistic standpoint: If you’re not a WOU or SPU person, you should be hoping like heck that they win against everyone that isn’t you, because now what your team needs to focus on is simply making the conference tournament. We’ll get more into the wider west region picture (and the potential Regional host) tomorrow, but the quick version is that it’s a wash outside of a few schools. There will be a potential for the GNAC to be a three-bid league, but the only way that happens is if neither SPU nor WOU claims the auto-bid from the GNAC tournament.
We used to be in the camp that “Oh, we’d rather have more teams go, so it’s fine if our team doesn’t win the conference tournament,” but that was a very different time. While we see things getting back to where there were of a couple of teams not needing that auto-bid, after 2014 (one bid year) it just seems like too much of a risk. 2014 saw the Pac-West and CCAA both qualify an auto-bid only entrant, which semi-burst WWU’s bubble. Semi, because if you want to go dancing: WIN. That’s it. WIN.
The good news is: We might get the chance to return the bubble bursting favor this year. But the only way that happens is if WOU and SPU both win, win, win, so grit your teeth and become part of the Wolfpack/Falcon Faithful, and then come conference tournament time you can go back to hating the Falcons like normal. We get the feeling that there’s not nearly so much resentment toward the Wolves, and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t get it because… We hated attending SPU and hated being a part of their athletic department in particular. Good teachers, horrible students, toxic athletic department. Some of our most vivid memories of undergrad include waking up to find that we were throwing ourselves against the wall of our dorm room in hopes of knocking ourselves out cold so we would then have a legitimate excuse to not have to deal with our day.
So yes: We get the hate, we feel it much deeper than likely almost anyone reading this, but basketball over everything and right now you need to root like heck for SPU. The rest of the year you can hate them with our wholehearted approval.
Tomorrow: Discussing the West Region as a whole, potential host sites, etc.
The good news is that the Wolves procured what’s turning out to be the most quality win the GNAC has and will have procured this non-conference. The bad news is that Crusaders may have procured the worst D2 loss our conference will have this season.
Northwest Nazarene 57 @ Cal State LA 70
CSULA led the entire time. NNU dug themselves a hole early. For a while in the second half it looked like it was closing -the Golden Eagles kept sending Bouna to the line and Bouna was making all of them (GO B!!) and then they realized they better stop doing that and that was the closest the Crusaders ever got. The numbers from this game (outside of Bouna) were atrocious on so many levels. We’d started actually getting really excited about the Crusaders and yet… When shots weren’t falling, their defense wasn’t stepping up either. You can have an off-night shooting provided you take your defense all the more seriously. This was a really, really, really bad loss to pick up. CSULA was 0-7. The Crusaders had just beaten Dominican, on apparently what was an off night for the Penguins (overlook factor? potentially) and a good night for NNU. This was not that. This was two relatively evenly matched teams going at it and it did not turn out well for the GNAC.
Highlights: BOUNA!!!!! Full house consisting of 22 points, two boards, one assist, two steals, a block, four fouls and 11/12 on FTs. Off the bench Leeor Konenkov had seven boards and nine points. Those were the highlights. Yikes.
NNU has one more chance to prove their worth in non-conference and that is on Friday against a decent San Francisco State team, so… cross your fingers.
Western Oregon 67 @ UC San Diego 63
Could we be any more proud of WOU? Don’t think so. Honestly, this was a game of fouls. UCSD picked up a lot of really, really stupid ones and WOU did what good teams do and took advantage of it. That was the difference. There were a couple of non-calls that we thought a bit iffy, but… California. This weekend we watched a player get head-locked and horse collared simultaneously with no call, so… Go figure.
Highlights: Devon Alexander had a super game with 12 points, three boards, an assist, and two steals on great shooting; Alex Roth had 11 points and seven boards; Julian Nichols had 11 points; Jordan Wiley had five boards and 15 points; Andy Avgi had a super rough game but picked up four boards and four assists. Off the bench Janvier Alaby five points; and Tanner Omlid had six boards.
The thing about this game is that it happened so late we don’t think the polls will account for it, so unless teams ahead of them lost, WOU isn’t likely to see a bump in the rankings until next week at which point they probably should be bumped up. Last week we had noted that we didn’t necessarily agree with the Wolves ranking not because we don’t believe in them, but because they needed a signature win. This is a signature win. Good team, on the road, best player not playing well, still pulled it out. Awesome. Oddly enough though -we still thing UCSD should probably move up in the rankings, because they were 14th and lost to what is a really, really good WOU team by a mere four.
Simon Fraser @ Western Washington @ 7pm PST
What are we expecting out of this game? That is a very good question. We’re expecting WWU to win, but maybe not by the 25 or so that we’d usually expect. The closest SFU’s gotten to a D2 win is a loss by “7” (because fouling) to an exhausted SMU team that had gone toe-to-toe and lost by three to the Vikings two days earlier. Both teams come into this game very fresh and if the Clan can’t win in this scenario, we’re a little concerned. By that same token: If WWU can’t procure a win by 15+ in this scenario, what does that really mean for the Vikings? We’re not sure. As long as they win, it’s fine, and “as long as they win” is put with a modicum of neutrality because it really just comes down to the fact that they beat SMU and have a few non-conference wins whereas SFU doesn’t. Basically our conference is a bit of a mess, but that’s a discussion for a different day.
Tomorrow we’ll do POW noms and the announcement an hour later, and then Thursday’ll be our discussions post. As always: If you have something you want us to talk about, leave a comment or shout out on Twitter.
Good morning and happy Monday! Great Hawks victory yesterday, good couple of GNAC victories the day before… It’s gonna be a good week.
Northwest Nazarene @ Cal State LA @ 7pm PST
With a record of 0-7 against D2 competition including one loss already to the Crusaders, we’re gonna go ahead and pick NNU to win. However: We’re also going to call for NNU to beat the Golden Eagles more handily than the five points than they beat them by last time. NNU has exceeded all expectations and with great power comes great responsibility, so now we’re counting on NNU to step up their game. We’ll do a final GNAC prognostication on the 29th, but as of now it’s looking like a. things are a mess, and b. NNU is going to be much higher than they were in the pre-season. They really seemed to get a lot out of going up to the Alaska schools and have made tons of progress, so this should be a good game if you’re a Crusader fan.
Western Oregon @ UC San Diego @ 7pm
Game of the week, heck you could even call it the game of the month. #3 Western Oregon of the GNAC vs. #14 UC San Diego of the CCAA. Both are undefeated, both played Monterey Bay (WOU won by 12, UCSD won by 19), but we’re starting to lose our convictions regarding the transitive property of college basketball so we’re not sure how much it matters; that’ll be a discussion for later this week. Both are two really good teams and we have no idea who’s going to win.
As noted last week: We really like UCSD’s schedule, we think they’re very seasoned at this point. They have wins against then-10th ranked Colorado Mines, then-4th ranked Cal Baptist, and a Sonoma State team that’s proven to be solid. This win could be dynamite for the Tritons and with some luck, set us all up for a trip to San Diego. Still -much as we like UCSD, we’re also pretty fond of the Wolves. They return their awesome core, brought in a dynamite coaching staff, and their schedule, while not particularly challenging, has been good practice. WOU’s best win by far comes from the PLNU Sea Lions, also of San Diego, so hopefully they’re able to go in and get one more. It’ll be interesting to see how the Wolves will respond against a team that’ll theoretically truly test them, but… We’ve got faith that they’ll do what needs to be done.
Our plan is to watch both simultaneously for the most part, but likely we’ll end up watching more of the UCSD/WOU game. Good luck to both the Wolves and the Crusaders against the CCAA -looking forward to you guys bringing home a couple of Ws.