Tagged: CSU San Marcos

Discussions: March Madness, SOS, D1 Opponents.

We don’t get many statistics back about our readers, but one thing we do get is what country you’re reading from, and as such: We see you Kevin Rima =) ❤

On the horizon for today: Can we pick the Regional host after just one weekend of play? Can we pick the teams likely to make the tournament? Strength of Schedule? And why we don’t pay attention to non-D2 results.

Can you pick the Regional host after just one weekend of play?

No. But we can tell you that a bunch of teams are eliminated. SOS counts officially for D2 now. Here are the teams that by our calculation are still vying for the chance to host:

CCAA
Chico -wins over CU-I and Dominican.
UCSD -wins over Dixie, Azusa, and Point Loma.

Those two are legit in the hunt to host. San Marcos and CSULA haven’t played any D2 opponents yet and so while they’re technically still in the hunt, it seems unlikely. The rest of the teams have either not strong enough wins or losses to teams that are likely middle-of-the-pack in their respective conferences. While there are always exceptions, generally speaking they aren’t regular. The last four years we’ve successfully picked the Region Host in December of that year. This is premature, but not very.

Pac-West
Chaminade -Beat the Alaska schools, still has to play SPU.
Azusa Pacific -lost to UCSD, but their projected strength of schedule is still insane.
Cal Baptist -undefeated with good SOS still to play.

Gray area:
Hawaii Pacific -Beat the Alaska schools, but doesn’t have any strength of schedule besides that. They’ll have to lose a max of one game in conference to make this schedule work.
Point Loma -Lost to WOU and SMU, we think the loss to SMU officially rules them out because we don’t think SMU is anything but an auto-bid tournament team, but PLNU theoretically has plenty of SOS left -they still play SPU and CSULA. We think CSULA will be good in conference, but if you don’t schedule yourself well in non-con there are teams that do and so it becomes a win out scenario.

GNAC
WWU -this one is interesting because we’re not sure they can host because they’re playing at Whatcom Community College, which only seats like 750 people. Maybe Carver will be done in time? Maybe the low capacity isn’t a problem? They’re still definitely in the running via play -two wins on the road and still plenty of SOS available in a road game against UCSD and a neutral site game against perennially good Tarleton State.
SPU -We’re as shocked as anyone with how little they return, and while we don’t think it’s going to be a possibility much longer the fact is they won both games and they have plenty of SOS available with a game at Azusa, a neutral site game against Point Loma, and then games against the Hawaii schools in Hawaii.
CWU -That would be fun. We’d love to see CWU host again because the E-burg drive is our favorite. They won both games in California, although their SOS is suspect because they didn’t blow either team out and the only other west region SOS they have comes from Dixie State. CWU needs to be rooting like heck for SPU, WWU, and WOU in particular during the rest of non-con, because those teams all have better SOS and thus the Wildcats need regular season wins against those teams to look elite.
WOU -Took care of business on the road, but their SOS is also lacking in that all they have left is Dixie State and Westminster (RMAC). We love the Wolves and still think they’ll be fine in terms of making the tournament, but it seems like the odds of doing to the conference schedule what they did last year are much slimmer, and thus it would really help to have scheduled more SOS. In the era that Jim Shaw was at UW, that was the biggest knock on Romar’s teams -they lacked non-conference SOS, and it made Selection Sunday stressful. Granted, the Wolves won’t get sent cross country, but they could get sent to Hawaii. And saying that… Wow, Hawaii, that just sounds horrible. Sarcasm.

We think the Alaska schools are officially out of the run to host because both dropped two games in Hawaii and the only other D2west games they play are against middle-of-the-pack opponents at home this weekend. Either team would need basically an undefeated season in conference or all of the teams above them to completely fall apart. Not just one team above. Every team above from all three conferences. NNU is like CSULA/San Marcos; they just don’t play anyone in non-con and thus will need to run the table in conference and that’s hard to do that even with an NCAA tournament veteran, return-every-key-piece team like WOU had last year; considering what NNU has chronically been, it’s for all intents and purposes impossible.

Strength of Schedule is like applying to med school. There’s the method of having a bunch of extra curriculars, volunteering, and/or being a student athlete and submitting a 3.3 gpa (losing to quality opponents in non-con) vs. only focusing on school, and thus needing the 3.98 (either win out or only lose once in conference play). Two different paths, both a way to the dance, but we see the former as much more preferable to the latter. The autobids are often like the kids that have 2.0s coming out of high school, but score 2350 on the SAT and have their pick of colleges because the reality is they’re smart, they just didn’t care.

In summary, potential hosts still include: UCSD, Chico State, Cal Baptist, Azusa Pacific, Chaminade, WWU, SPU, CWU, and WOU. Oddly enough that’s nine teams -one more team than will be eligible to qualify for the regional, and yet we don’t think those are necessarily the teams that will qualify. It’s much easier to qualify than it is to host, because qualifying allows conference losses, auto bids, that sort of thing. The only way you’re going to host as an autobid is if you’re within those nine teams, and those nine teams are likely to get paired down substantially in the coming weeks.


Who do you think is still in the running for an at large bid?

Well, first of all: UCSD, Chico State, Cal Baptist, Azusa Pacific, Chaminade, WWU, SPU, CWU, and WOU.

But also: CSULA, San Bernardino, Cal Poly Pomona, Dixie State, BYU-Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific, CU-Irvine, Point Loma, UAF, UAA, SMU (technically), and MSUB. The GNAC teams we obviously know more -MSUB returns a ton. They’ve been playing terribly, but they return a bunch of proven-to-play well D2 guys. Same with SMU, it feels unlikely for them to qualify for an at-large bid, but we believe in that team and they host the conference tournament, so it feels like of all years, this could be the year they break through and get that auto bid. Humboldt also seems like they again have the potential for the autobid but aren’t likely for an at-large.

Basically half the teams are still in the running. The conference gauntlet is intense for every conference and we just don’t see any other team being able to overcome their lack of SOS by losing fewer than five conference games. We’re guessing that four is going to be the magic number, and that’s with SOS. A number of the teams listed above will require three losses or less, and more likely two, plus at least a win or two in their respective conference tournament.

We’ll see if we disagree with ourselves by this time next week, or better yet the week after.


Why don’t you count D1/other division games when looking at teams and how good they are?

Because they’re one-offs on both sides. D1 teams will often write off D2 opponents and play down to our level. We as D2 often write off D3/NAIA opponents and do the same thing. EJ Poulsen just had five boards against Lewis and Clark. Who cares? He was probably the tallest guy in the game by four inches and he would never play enough minutes to do that in an actual D2 game. That’s what happens in a lot of D1 games too -they do a lot of player rotation early and then go “oh shoot, these guys are better than we were thinking,” and they clamp down and blow a team out. The other side is they continue to rotate players knowing the talent gap and it remains closer than would be if they were playing for real but the fact is they’re not; it doesn’t count against their SOS to lose to a D2 opponent, even if it is embarrassing.

The only teams that have made the tournament in recent history after beating D1 opponents have been SPU in 2012 (Arizona) and WOU in 2015 (Oregon State) and both were at-large bids, thus still had incredible D2 evidence for being elite in the west. The Arizona and Oregon State games made exactly zero difference, because it’s a one off. Why would anyone put much precedence in one game when there are 25 others against truly similar opponents to look at? It’s just straight up cray, but when you make it to the NCAA D2 West Regional: you’re playing D2 opponents. If you want the D1 games to matter, be like Seattle U., abandon the GNAC and join the ranks of D1. *shakes head* Redhawks are such losers.


Pretty much it for today. Game previews’ll be up tomorrow AM and then… Nightlights? Most likely.

Late Night Hoops: West Region Chaos

HOOOOLY GUACAMOLE. We’re proud of and stunned over the vast majority of the West Region right now because there were SO many close games being played today. Teams were playing up, teams were playing down, and battles were being had up and down the entirety of the west coast (including up in Alaska and out in Hawaii) and WOW.

So let’s talk about it. Here are all of the games that came down to a possession-ish:

GNAC:
Seattle Pacific 74 @ Alaska-Anchorage 71
Northwest Nazarene 70 @ Concordia-Portland 72
MSU-Billings 76 @ Simon Fraser 72

Pac-West:
Fresno Pacific 94 @ Azusa Pacific 90
Hawaii Hilo 80 @ ND de Namur 82
BYU Hawaii 87 @ Point Loma 71 -not a close game, but a big upset
Hawaii Pacific 63 @ Dixie State 84 -also not a close game, but a surprising blowout
Cal Baptist 81 @ Concordia-Irvine 82

CCAA:
San Bernardino State 92 @ Humboldt State 93
Sonoma State 65 @ Dominguez Hills 88 -unexpected blowout, although we’ve been preaching DH since mid-November.
UC San Diego 41 @ Cal Poly Pomona 35 -meditate on this; we’re still confused and are going to end up re-watching it closely.
San Fran State 49 @ Cal State LA 63 -huge upset.

The CCAA Friday night games are what make some of those results particularly interesting. You see: Friday night was normal. Sonoma beat CSULA and San Fran State beat DH, both with roughly 10 point margins.


Records of potential conference tournament-bound teams:

130D2WestStandings

Overall while the GNAC is experiencing chaos and parity, there also is separation. The CCAA, there are seven teams competing for theoretically six bids and it’s going to be a bit chaos-y, but not anywhere close to as nuts as the Pac-West. The Pac-West is a full on glorious mess. Think Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off food fight mess; yes, that good.

We’ve been following the Pac-West but hadn’t looked at the standings and now that we have… We’re aware of just how nuts they truly are: Nine teams are .500 or above in conference and Fresno Pacific is a mere two games out, with two games against 2-10 ND de Namur and a game against 2-11 HNU still to play. Granted, the rest of FPU’s schedule is terrifying, but they upset Azusa tonight AT Azusa, so… Maybe not as undoable as it looked yesterday?

With the GNAC… UAF, UAA, WWU, SPU, CWU, and WOU (in our usual blog order) are all pretty locked into their spots in the conference tournament. While we fully expect 0-12 SFU to beat someone (even someone in the top six) we still don’t expect it to undo the standings. We’re through just over half of conference play and because each pair is represented once in the top six (except the Alaskas, who are both in there) it should be fairly maintainable for all six teams.

As for the CCAA, it’ll get dicey but UCSD, Chico State, and Cal Poly Pomona can probably feel safe about their conference tournament bids. The other four it’s going to be nuts and that’s all we can say. We may be talking about another team here in the coming weeks, it all depends.


The region motto this year might as well be “Expect the unexpected,” and thus the seatbelt sign remains on. We’ve had two games in the second half of conference play and would like to remind you that seatbelts need to remain fastened until conference play comes to a full and complete stop.

What are we thinking in regard to the West Region? Who. The. Falcon. Knows.

Not them. Not the Falcons. That’s just our latest rated ‘R’ term gone ‘G.’

Here’s a west region prognostication maybe with a little bit of seeding but kinda sorta maybe not really who knows. It’s so much chaos it seems ludicrous to make a list like this, particularly with seeding, but… Here we go:

1. Western Oregon -best record, holds the tiebreaker over UCSD and it was great because it was a road win.
2. UC San Diego -great team, think they’re amazing, very solid CCAA resume.
3. CU-Irvine -we’ve liked them since they beat SPU in the first game of the year and continue to believe in them.
4. Seattle Pacific -We’d rather stick Anchorage here, but SOS counts this year and the Falcons undeniably have it.
5. Cal Baptist -another nod because of SOS with Moorhead, but we’re really not sure how we feel placing them here.
6. Chico State -their only SOS continues to be their losses to the Falcons and Cal Poly Pomona by 10 points a piece. They’re a good team, but the game at UCSD on the 12th looms rather large.
7. Alaska-Anchorage -We want them higher, but their biggest win was at SPU a month ago and the Falcons just beat them. Aside from that, they lack a quality road win because their wins against Chaminade and Hawaii Pacific were at home.
8. Azusa Pacific -Between them and BYU-Hawaii it’s not close because BYU-H’s non-conference was a mess while APU’s was quality, plus BYU-H really hasn’t had too bad of a conference schedule so far and it’s about to get brutal.

Shockingly we feel kind of comfortable with that. We don’t think it’s right in the slightest, but we feel like it’s well-reasoned at the very least, which is kind of the best you can go for right now. This is all theoretical physics, basketball edition.


Alright. Now we’re off to go write the GNAC Recaps and maybe start on some of the math for POW stuff because we like doing it by hand rather than letting a program do it for us. Statistics are good therapy, which… With this region, we need it. We need a way to let our brain relax with formulas that are consistent.

Have a great night, thanks for coming on the ride with us, it’s far from over, and for the non-GNAC, West Region people: We’ll catch-up with you on Wednesday for some discussions about national rankings.