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!
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.
Lots to talk about today, including: CU-Portland @ Western Oregon, WOU losing to UAF, SPU losing to SMU, the point of the conference champion auto bid and why Western Oregon still gets to play in the tournament, the GNAC’s ever changing start line-ups, our usual check-ins with the Pac-West and CCAA, national rankings, and regional rankings.
Concordia 74 @ Western Oregon 81
Concordia was in it the whole time but couldn’t pull it out, granted WOU was going deep into their line-up and really rotating guys. Still, Andy Avgi had a less than stellar game, which… Maybe that means teams are finding out how to contain him? Maybe.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had a full house including nine boards and no turnovers; Latrell Wilson had five boards; Jarrett Gray had 9 points; and Riley Hawken had 17 points. Off the bench Davis Nuaimi had 12 points; and James Phillips had six points.
Wolf highlights: Julian Nichols had a fantastic game with 11 boards, five assists, and 14 points on near-perfect shooting; Jordan Wiley had 18 points and five boards; and Andy Avgi had five assists. Off the bench Alex Roth had five points and five boards; and Tanner Omlid didn’t start due to senior night and had 15 points and four boards.
Pretty good stuff all around. Pleased with the Wolves performance. Laughing at the Cavalier one, just ’cause. Good luck with MSUB y’all.
WOU lost to UAF, what does it mean?
Nothing. The Wolves are so far ahead of everyone in the west region that they could have lost last night’s game, lose the game at MSUB, and lose in their first game of the conference tournament and still host. They lost their #1 ranking but that doesn’t matter in any real sense of anything except maybe taking the target off of their backs just slightly.
SPU lost to SMU, what does it mean?
Nothing. Well, it may ultimately have seeding implications but in the D2 tournament seeding matters a heck of a lot less than in the D1 tournament because it has nothing to do with where you’re sent. Your region only has eight teams and the west region has repeatedly proven that the seeds don’t matter -whether it’s because lower seeds are likely to upset higher seeds or because by virtue of having so few teams, really good games get played really early and thus awesome teams get bounced early by other awesome teams as often as not.
Why is WOU still playing in the conference tournament when they have a bid locked up?
Isn’t the point of the auto bid to get more conference teams into the tournament? Doesn’t WOU going waste that spot? The basic reason is that this year we’re getting lucky in the sense that the GNAC is fully locked into likely at least two teams going to the tournament 100%. That doesn’t always happen. The only guaranteed bid in any given year is the autobid spot. And sometimes it’s impossible to tell whether or not the team that won the regular season title would get an at-large bid.
The easiest example is Seattle Pacific vs. Western Washington in 2014. That year WWU had little strength of schedule, SPU had plenty, won the conference regular season title, and had a good resume overall but the GNAC was viewed (rightfully) as the weakest conference in the West by far. Ultimately Seattle Pacific won the tournament and procured the autobid, the CCAA and Pac-West had auto-bid only teams punch their tickets to the Dance, and WWU’s bubble burst. But would the Falcons have made it regardless of winning the conference tournament? Maybe. Not guaranteed. By placing the autobid with the conference tournament winner rather than the regular season champion, you’re betting that your conference is good enough to receive more than one bid. It doesn’t always happen and there needs to be consistency, thus WOU is still in play for winning the conference tournament.
Non-solidified starting line-ups?
Yup. A ton of teams in the GNAC are still shifting their starting line-ups and their rotations even when injury has nothing to do with it.
–UAF is solid.
–UAA is being affected by injury (get better soon Diante!).
–SFU yes, but whatever.
–WWU didn’t quite implode their line-up, but they finally took their do-nothing big out and put in a guy that actually plays with effort and we’re suuuper happy about it. They also only went seven deep against NNU even while being up by 30, which again we’re super happy about because their chemistry has been off and now it appears that they’re only really playing guys who give a crap, which helps a lot.
–SPU, it’s complicated. It appears they’re planning for next year as much as they’re trying to win this year.
–SMU finally took Fred out of the starting line-up, thank God.
–MSUB has line-up movement, but we’re 50/50 on it -we trust their coaches, but 50/50 on its effectiveness and whether or not you could even tell if it did in fact affect things because they’ve been so all over the place in terms of results on any given night.
–CWU is solid and we love their line-up.
–NNU yes, like SFU, that team is such a mess that it’s not super relevant.
–CU-Portland see NNU.
–WOU is solidified and again: We really like their starting five and adore Alex Roth as the sixth man.
Checking in with the Pac-West & CCAA
And boy was this weekend a doozy.
UC San Diego lost to San Marcos by six.
Chico State lost to Cal Poly Pomona by six.
Humboldt State lost to Stanislaus eight.
Cal Poly Pomona lost to Stanislaus by 12.
Humboldt State lost to Chico State by eight.
Chico State is now in first place with a record of 15-3, while UCSD moves into second with a record of 14-4, Cal Poly Pomona is third at 13-6, San Marcos fourth at 11-7, and Humboldt State and Monterey Bay are tied for fifth at 11-8.
Interesting games coming this weekend:
San Marcos @ Humboldt State
San Marcos @ Cal Poly Pomona
Dominguez Hills @ Chico -this is a big game simply because DH has been giving some of the top schools a lot of problems this year and we think that’s a good thing.
CU-Irvine lost to Azusa by 9
BYUH was killed by Chaminade, 86-115
Azusa was killed by BYUH, 61-84
Dominican lost to Dixie State by 10.
CU-Irvine is currently holding onto first at 15-4, Cal Baptist, Azusa Pacific, and Dixie State are all tied for second at 13-5, Hawaii Pacific is fifth at 12-6, and BYU-Hawaii is sixth at 11-8.
Interesting games coming up this weekend:
Point Loma @ Hawaii Pacific
Concordia @ Dixie State
There are a few more potential interesting games involving Hilo, but we’ll see how it plays out.
WHEELING JESUIT IS IN FIRST. Sorry, we’re not right often thus when we are, we enjoy it for all it’s worth.
6. Western Oregon
7. MSU Moorhead
13. Chico State
19. UC San Diego
24. Cal Baptist
25. Cal Poly Pomona
Others receiving votes: Colorado School of Mines (18), Seattle Pacific (13), Azusa Pacific (8), Alaska-Fairbanks (2), Alaska-Anchorage (1).
So lots of west region teams being looked at and valued. We’re not sure about Cal Baptist at 24, but at this point the regions are now off dealing with our own issues and so the national rankings start looking a little odd.
We were going to make our ranking before looking at the one that people smarter than us had come up with, and then we realized we really have no effing clue and are a little bit too close to things at this point, so here’s the official one with us providing color commentary:
1. Western Oregon -wholly 100%, love it, agree, go Wolves, can’t wait to see you guys in Monmouth.
2. Seattle Pacific -WE WANTED TO DO THIS BUT THEN FELT LIKE WE WERE BEING HOMERS AND CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT ALL OF THE ISSUES THE FALCONS HAVE AND… We agree with the placement, but feel uncomfortable.
3. Chico State -They’re coming on at the right time and a part of us feels like they should be ranked ahead of the Falcons because the early season loss was early and the Wildcats have come so far; the lost to CPP doesn’t feel relevant either because we still feel like the Broncos are a really, really good team.
4. UC San Diego -completely agree.
5. Cal Baptist -absolutely -making their moves at the right time.
6. Cal Poly Pomona -definitely.
7. Azusa Pacific -yeah?
8. Alaska-Anchorage -YESSSS.
9. Humboldt State
10. Dixie State
Interesting that UAF isn’t in that conversation. We neither agree nor disagree. On the one hand they did nothing in non-conference. On the other hand, they really don’t have a bad loss in conference play; they’ve lost twice to Anchorage and then split with WOU and SPU. We’re 50/50 on whether or not they have a better resume than Humboldt.
We’ll probably discuss this more on Sunday morning after conference play essentially finishes up (there’s one more game, but neither team is conference tournament bound) and at that point we’ll visit our friend BitoBaca who’s putting up his rankings today at 1pm.
We’ve said before that this is the weird year when we feel like the committee can’t really be wrong, hence why we’re probably both so hesitant to write anything. Because if wanting to predict the bracket completely right is your thing, this year you’re screwed. But the good part is that almost whoever you put (within the 18 teams making their respective conference tournaments) you probably have a pretty legitimate argument. We like the 10 teams above a whole lot and feel really good about the eight and where rankings are and all of that stuff, but again…
At this point we feel like we’ve let ourselves get a bit too close to the situation in terms of wanting the Pac-West to be a one bid conference after doing it to us a couple years ago. Even though we KNOW that WWU should have won more in order not to rely on the autobid. And we don’t regret the end of that game. At all. That’s where we’re at with that, which is why we’re siding with the official poll, because there are just as many arguments saying that ‘No, Cal Baptist is coming on strong at the right time and Azusa is completely legitimate and if you discredit them you also discredit SPU which discredits WOU which discredits UCSD which…’ Rabbit hole. We will say that we don’t think the Pac-West should be a three bid league and so if neither Azusa nor Cal Baptist wins the conference tournament, then things could be more interesting. With the other two conferences: UCSD, Chico State, Western Oregon, and Seattle Pacific all should be in regardless, so if two of those teams win their conference tournaments great, but if they don’t that’s great too.
Alright. Good talk. Chime in with your bracketology thoughts in the comments or on twitter, and we’ll see you tomorrow morning for GNAC game day previews.
On the agenda today: SPU @ Saint Martin’s, SPU’s bubble, State of the West/Rankings, the GNAC race, and GNAC frosh of the year.
SPU 64 @ SMU 68
Well, that happened. Coming into this game we called it; we’ve liked SMU all year and now that Fred finally isn’t starting the Saints have been running and it’s good. And it was a good game. It was fun to watch Gilles and Fred face off. We tend to think Fred is a better defender but Gilles is less problematic with cohesion considering he can actually run. Really interesting to see two drastically different 7’0 European bodies. Gilles looks like a ballet dancer next to Fred’s brontosaurus.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a double-double including 11 rebounds; Brendan Carroll had five boards; Gilles Dierickx had a double double with 11 boards and 10 points; Mitch Penner had five boards. Off the bench Garrett Swanson had 11 points on 7/8 shooting from the line.
Saint highlights: Cole Preston had five boards; Rhett Baerlocher had nine boards and 16 points; Tyler Copp had 12 points. Great play off the bench with Trey Ingram having 21 points; and Brandon Kenilvort having four boards and seven points. We said this on twitter, but: Brandon Kenilvort needs a smaller pair of shorts; the ones he currently wears are limiting his range of motion and impacting his game negatively.
Again: Very good game played by the Saints, shots were on fire, very deserved and earned win. Two incredibly young teams facing off and the Saints got it done, so lots of hope for the future. With SPU, Gabe (their new point guard) is learning and he needs to be broken in and he’s fine. It happens. He’s a frosh and the learning curve is better right now than early next year.
Did SPU’s bubble just burst?
Shockingly no. They have a lot of non-conference and strength of schedule credit. They’re slumping and it’s frustrating, we know that more than anyone outside of their coaching staff, but we trust the process because we haven’t been given any reason to doubt it. In terms of strength of schedule, here’s what the Falcons have:
- OT loss to CU-Irvine (would be 100% in the tournament)
- Win at Dixie State
- Win against BYU-Hawaii
- Win at Chico State (is 100% in the tournament)
- Win against Azusa Pacific
- Win at Alaska-Anchorage
- Two close losses WOU
- All in-conference losses have been within a possession or so.
They need a bounce-back game against Billings on Saturday. It’s going to be rough because MSUB loves to win in the SPU gym (and we support them wholeheartedly in it) and they’re coming on strong at the right time. Hopefully SPU gets it together and takes the Yellowjackets seriously because if they don’t: It could be a very long night.
The State of the West
Is its usual mess, but here’s a compilation of regionally notable results from the last week:
Alaska-Anchorage lost to MSU-Billings
Seattle Pacific lost to Central Washington + Saint Martin’s
Western Washington lost to CU-Portland
Cal Poly Pomona lost to Monterey Bay
San Marcos lost to San Fran State + got killed by Sonoma
UC San Diego lost to Chico State
Dominican lost to Point Loma
CU-Irvine lost to Cal Baptist
1. Western Oregon
8. Chico State
10. MSU Moorhead
13. UC San Diego
20. Cal Poly Pomona
25. Seattle Pacific
Others receiving votes: Cal Baptist (11), Azusa Pacific (5), CO Mines (5), Alaska-Anchorage (1).
No clue what to say about any of that, except maybe we’re surprised that Anchorage getting killed by MSUB managed to still get them a vote? We don’t expect SPU to remain in the rankings after their loss to SMU. CWU it was somewhat justified because WOU’s loss comes from playing at CWU, but… We’re not sure MSUB is seen as good enough to keep SPU in the rankings, even if the Falcons kill them on Saturday -and that’s a big if in regard to winning, much less killing.
The GNAC Tourney Race
The state of the GNAC is getting interesting because of course it is. We thought we had our six teams for the conference locked up but of course we don’t because West Region 2015-2016. You cannot get off Mr. West Region’s Wild Ride. Actually, four spots are locked up; it’s the final two that are going to be brutal, particularly for CWU because they were — that close and then lost to SMU.
We know officially that: Alaska-Fairbanks, Alaska-Anchorage, Seattle Pacific, and Western Oregon are all in the tournament. The Alaskas and WOU still play each other one more time, so we don’t know the order yet, just that they’re in.
The final two bids…
Central Washington is 10-6 and has games at SFU & WWU this weekend before playing host to the Alaska schools next weekend.
Western Washington is 8-8 and plays host to CWU & NNU this weekend before going to Seattle Pacific & Saint Martin’s next weekend.
Saint Martin’s is 7-10, just beat SPU, hosts MSUB on Thursday, and then hosts WWU/SFU next weekend.
MSU-Billings is 6-10, is at SMU on Thursday and SPU on Saturday, before playing host to CU-Portland and Western Oregon next weekend. Good luck with that.
There’s nothing we can even say about any of that. The teams playing WOU… Complete whatever voo-doo you’ve got because you’re gonna need all the help you can get?
Finally: GNAC frosh of the year. We’re going to put up a poll on twitter as well, but here’s what we’re thinking in a non-140 character mandate:
Riley Hawken of CU-Portland. Love his game, he gets boards, he makes his teammates better, love his motor. He’s had a number of really good games and player-of-the-week noms and we’re thrilled he’s starting because we were pushing for it long before he got the nod. Totally believe in the kid and are really excited to watch the rest of his GNAC career.
Trey Drechsel of WWU. Came off of injury in January but up until that point there wasn’t a ton of frosh play and so not too concerned that he missed non-conference; it’s not really going to affect the numbers because Riley didn’t really turn on until conference play either. He’s been starting, he’s great, another high motor guy, we definitely think WWU would be substantially worse without him, love his attitude. Great candidate.
Rhett Baerlocher of SMU. Maybe not as notable of numbers as the other two guys, but we were seriously impressed with his play last night and he’s been coming on strong the longer the season goes and he could very well be the key piece in SMU’s push to make the conference tourney. Very good stuff.
Alright. Good talk, blog. We’ll see you tomorrow at 10am for Game Day Previews.
We’ve already had two other discussions post,
so this one is going to be relatively brief just kidding: UAA @ MSUB. Did UAA just burst their own at-large bubble? Could MSUB mathematically make the conference tourney? Rankings. Brian McGill converts.
UAA 71 @ MSUB 90
Yes. That happened. As noted last night: We only ended up watching the final two minutes and we were wholly stunned. From UAA’s twitter we discovered that MSU-B led the entire time. At halftime they were up by roughly 25. They came out on fire, they stayed on fire, they played defense, and then put an exclamation point on it by not falling into a false sense of security. The last point is huge because it seems like an ongoing issue in our conference: One team goes up big, gets complacent, the other team comes back, and the team that originally led either loses or gets out by the skin of their teeth. Constant vigilance.
Seawolf highlights: Suki Wiggs had 27 points and seven rebounds; Corey Hammell had six boards and 13 points; Brian McGill had five assists and continues his FT streak, going 4/4. Off the bench Christian Leckband had seven points, five rebounds, and four fouls.
Yellowjacket highlights: Preston Beverly had 25 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists -absolutely nuts; Kendall Denham had a great game with 14 points, three rebounds, and three assists while shooting 90% including going 4/4 from the line; Marc Matthews had 12 points, six boards, and five assists; Emmanuel Johnson scored 19 points; and Emmanuel Olufemi had 12 points and five boards. Off the bench Jordan Perry scored eight points. Hella complete and balanced performance by the Jackets.
What’s maybe most interesting about the final score is the Seawolves shot 40%. MSUB was just playing such stifling defense that it appears they couldn’t get many shots off, and then the Yellowjackets took advantage of it at the other end of the court. Syncopated is what the score makes us think, although again: We didn’t watch so we’re not sure.
Did UAA just ruin their chance for an at-large bid?
We’re honestly not sure. Potentially, which sucks. But not entirely. What this is coming back to is strength of schedule. Because there’s been so much parity across all three conferences during conference play, we’ve got about 10 teams with really similar resumes, UAA being among them. The good news for the Seawolves is that no one has particularly good SOS and the early season wins/losses teams have against Cal Baptist are going to be negated by question marks because of the fact that the Lancers are collapsing down the stretch.
It’s hard to truly say where Anchorage falls because there are still six games left to play and you can look at the records of any given team and any given opponent, but this year is chaos and so it really doesn’t matter. We raised the argument super early in the season that we wanted to see the Seawolves win off the tundra, and now it seems like all of the wins off the tundra that they have include asterisks. They won at SPU over winter break. They won in double OT at WWU partly because their coach wasn’t given a technical that he 110% deserved; he made it to center court and three players were having to restrain him. That deserves an ejection + probably missing the next game. And if he misses that next game, do the Seawolves pull it out against SFU? Maybe, maybe not. They let SFU hang around a really, really long time. And now you have their most recent loss to MSUB. It wasn’t close. And you could go “Oh well they’ve been on the road for a week,” yes, welcome to the dog days of the season. This’ll come as a shock, but during the NCAA tournament you’re on the road for a week. Crazy stuff.
Win the conference tournament and the bubble doesn’t matter. If the bubble does matter? Not sure. There are approximately 13 teams that deserve consideration for at-large berths, and we think three of them are relatively safe: WOU (best record, benefit of the doubt fully earned), UCSD (great record, good non-conference), and SPU (good record, great non-con).
Can MSUB still make it into the conference tourney/what would have to happen?
In short, yes they can. And that should worry the Vikings. The Yellowjackets are 2.5 games back of WWU, with their remaining schedule looking as follows:
The good news is they have three home games. The bad news is two of them are against really good teams. The good news is they just beat a really good team. The bad news the remaining teams either match them well or come in as a huge favorite. CU-Portland and SMU should be competitive. WOU, UAF, and SPU are going to be hard, although it should be noted that MSUB doesn’t usually have any type of issue with the SPU gym, so a win there is definitely a possibility.
WWU’s schedule looks like this:
Very similar schedules, but MSUB plays mostly at home whereas WWU has a lot of road games. The Vikings are likely going to have a rough ride. Partly because of all the parity, partly because four away games, and partly because it’s hard to win six straight, and MSUB only needs to win one game they “shouldn’t,” to make it really dicey. The only games we see as a guarantee for the Vikings are @CU-Portland & vs. NNU. That’s it. And we could be wrong about those. WOU is going to be incredibly difficult. CWU is going to be unpleasant. SPU is likely to be challenging. SMU could go either way.
Alright, rankings, holy guacamole, they are a doozy. They’re fine; we see the arguments people are making, but they’re still whoa.
1. Western Oregon -we agree with the ranking, even if it makes us nervous. Stay humble Wolves.
6. UCSD -love it. It’s mostly because other teams lost, but we still love it.
9. Chico State -love Chico, still think Cal Poly Pomona is better; Friday night against UCSD will be interesting.
11. MSU Moorhead
14. Cal Poly Pomona -we get it, they have four losses, but we swear that Dominguez Hills is quality this year and while they slept on CSULA, they beat Chico by 13; that ain’t no foulin’ score.
22. Seattle Pacific -fell three spots after losing to the now-#1 WOU in OT. We have no opinion on this one.
Others receiving votes: Azusa Pacific (2), Alaska-Anchorage (1).
Azusa… We don’t know. We really don’t know. We’ve been watching Joey Schreiber play since high school; now he plays for Azusa, therefore Azusa is now ours and therefore we have no opinion because rankings are what they are.
we think deserves more than one vote. Do we think they’d beat Chico State? Maybe. We honestly really don’t know much at all about Chico State other than that their play-by-play guy is amazing and their biggest statements have been losses to Cal Poly Pomona and Seattle Pacific, but part of that is because the two other good teams they’ve played (Sonoma and Humboldt) are rivals, which… Maybe means we should give them more credit because anything can and will happen in a rivalry game? We still think their non-conference schedule was pathetic, which sadly is still relevant because of the chaos that’s gone on in the regular season. As noted a few days ago: The Chico Wildcat schedule enters its in-conference gauntlet now, so we’ll see how they respond. The Pac-West looks like such a mess that it doesn’t seem like a stretch that both the GNAC and the CCAA would get three bids, but whether or not UAA is one of them will really depend on who wins the GNAC tournament; if it’s SPU or WOU the odds of UAA getting an at-large seem high, whereas we’re starting to lean that Chico will be in no matter what simply because no one else played anyone either.
Not listed there, but Augustana received one #1 vote, while Wheeling received four, and WOU received 11. The Augustana thing is interesting because we contemplated making an argument about leaving Augustana as number one even with two losses because there’s so much parity, the number one spot is basically switching between “who lost most recently” but the top are all only really losing to good teams and the outsider there isn’t playing good teams, so… It’s an interesting idea. Glad to see we weren’t the only ones that thought Wheeling looked really good.
The Consensus is: Brian McGill is awesome.
We know he just won player of the week, but probably one of the best parts of a great weekend was how much we got asked about Brian and how excited people were to talk about him. Western Washington fans know basketball, particularly the ones we sit with, and going into the game we were like ‘Brian McGill is super super good and he makes the people around him better,’ and maybe being a little fan-girly, but by the end of the game everyone around us was like “OH MY GOD, HE’S AMAZING.” He’s not flashy, he gets the job done, he does the little things, and is a very humble player even though he’s arguably the #2 guy in the conference. It was fun to listen to our friends go “Okay, I’m not thrilled with what he’s doing to us, but he’s a really good basketball player -if we have to lose and get torched by someone, he’s fine.”
Game respects game. It also helps that when opponents would go down, Brian was always reaching a out a hand to help them up. Sportsmanship rocks; between his game and his attitude, it wasn’t surprising but it was still awesome how much praise we heard. Even after a 2OT loss, we got tons of questions and gushing about him in the middle of the UAF blowout two days later.
So once again, congrats Brian -more people than you know think you’re fantastic.
We were going to talk about Cal Baptist, but this is long enough. We’ll deal with the Lancers either later this week or next Wednesday.