Northwest Nazarene 54, Seattle Pacific 73
Seattle Pacific was in control the whole time. The big issue? Turnovers on behalf of the crusaders with a whopping 19. There weren’t a bunch of concerning shooting numbers and the Crusaders rebounded really well -it was simply the turnovers that did them in. Their fouls shooting was less than ideal at 64%, but bigger fish: if they had shot 100% they still would’ve lost by 13. It was the turnovers. But the Crusaders still had a phenomenal season and took advantage of a mediocre GNAC.
NNU highlights: Alex Birketoft had six boards and five points; Erik Kinney had six boards and 16 points on awful shooting; Kevin Rima had three boards and five points along with a nasty five turnovers. Off the bench: Bouna N’Diaye had nine points and three boards.
SPU highlights: Riley Stockton had four boards, five assists, and thirteen points; Matt Borton had six boards and seven points; Mitch Penner had a full house with four boards, four assists, one steal, one block, two fouls, and 12 points; Cory Hutsen went back to normal with three boards and seven points while going 1-4 from the line. Off the bench: Joe Rasmussen had six points; Shawn Reid had 14 points and four boards; and Garrett Swanson had five points.
Not a bad game for the Falcons. They’re going to have their hands full with the Vikings, as everyone does.
Western Washington 88, Western Oregon 79
We called this one. We’re still in the camp that the Vikings’ll win the tournament, although the game against SPU should be really good. It’s not that WOU is bad, it’s that WWU did some major clean-up mid-season, really came together as a team, they’ve been through this before, they know how to win, their underclassmen are stepping up, they’ve bought in, and quite honestly: it’s beautiful to watch.
Viking highlights: RICARDO PLAYED 40 MINUTES, and had five assists and 14 points; Harris Javier had eight points; JEFF PARKER bounced back massively going 8-1o and scoring 20 points; Mac Johnson had eight points, eight assists, and 12 points -c’mon Mac, get a triple double tomorrow, we believe in you! Off the bench: Kyle Impero had eight boards, four assists, and 12 points; Joey Schreiber had 15 points and four boards.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had 13 points; Julian Nichols had five boards, five assists, and 15 points; Jordan Wiley had 13 points; Andy Avgi had a whopping 29 points along with six boards. No bench play.
Neither the Wolves nor the Crusaders drive us insane, so… not really worth it to pick on them now that they’ve lost. The Wolves may or may not still be playing. The Crusaders… eh, we’re not impressed by Mike Wright, but he’s not nearly as bad as some of the other selfish players in our conference, so… not worth it.
Cal Baptist 78, Azusa Pacific 67
Somewhat surprising result, but CBU is a good team and had a lot of motivation. Have a hard time thinking that it’s going to displace APU as the host, but it could. Not entirely sure how much it matters -both schools are in the LA-area, if you won’t cross the metro to see your team play, why would you cross campus? Crossing campus actually includes walking. Yuck. At least if it’s across the city you get to drive /sarcasm.
BYU Hawaii 98, Dixie State 75
That’s a good old fashioned shellacking. Hoping that the committee doesn’t take pity on BYU-H and decide to split the tournament -there’s this uneasy feeling in our gut that it could happen even though we really, really, really don’t want it to. It’s kind of good for the GNAC -BYU-Hawaii beat SPU and CWU by more than SPU and WOU beat Dixie State, so strength of schedule wise it could be good.
Cal Baptist vs. BYU-Hawaii in the championship game: Not sure who to pick; we’re not Pac-West experts by any stretch and this tournament was a bit topsy turvy.
Stanislaus 60, Chico State 72
Not unexpected, not a bad result. Chico is a good team. The game was back and forth for a while before Chico State ultimately got it under control. They’re good but not great. They could win a game in the tournament.
Humboldt State 68, Cal Poly Pomona 78
This game went back and forth until finally Cal Poly Pomona put it away. If you’re Western Oregon, you’re breathing a sigh of relief. Cal Poly Pomona… part of the mediocrity that’s reigning on the west this year. They’re a good team, they’ve been here before, blah blah blah, but there’s no telling what they’ll do against Chico. Those are the top two teams, it wouldn’t be unfortunate for both Chico and Cal Poly Pomona to get a bid, there are arguments for both, but… we’ll see.
Seems a bit silly to discuss this, but… just because people are having thoughts anyway, this is in no way seeded, just the teams that we think are in, on the bubble, or whose bubbles have popped:
Dixie State -really want to put them on the bubble, but don’t think we can do that.
Chico State (if not CCAA winner)
Cal Poly Pomona (if not CCAA winner)
Seattle Pacific* (if not the GNAC winner)
Western Washington* (if not the GNAC winner)
From a GNAC perspective, I really, really, really like WWU. Yes, we’ve been in their corner all year, but they’ve just done so many things coming down the stretch in terms of unselfish play, bench play, rebounding, assisting -all of the things that make up a good team. Their arguably best player had a bad game today, but they still won convincingly over a WOU team firing on all cylinders. At this point, I’d give WWU an at-large ahead of WOU because their non-conference resumes are pretty similar and yet WWU’s been convincing at the end and WOU hasn’t so much.
SPU is a hard thing to say. They’re a good team. They have a better non-conference record than WOU, especially knowing what we know now (BYU-H vs PLNU). They do well even when not firing on all cylinders. However, D1 speak: I’d rather play SPU than Cal Poly Pomona; I’d take SPU over Chico State. I don’t know what I’d tell you in regard to SPU or WOU. I think I’d take SPU over WOU which tends to say that WOU should get the nod, but… that’s all on the basis of Andy Avgi. And as was demonstrated tonight: SPU doesn’t need everyone playing well: just okay. WOU needs all five of their starters firing in order to win.
It’s a big toss-up here in GNAC land. We’ll see what we’re thinking tomorrow. This could change by the time the preview of tomorrow’s games goes up because learning to embrace disagreeing with yourself is a quality part of every college education.
How awesome is this madness? We love it. Game day previews up tomorrow at 10am PST.
Seattle Pacific vs. Northwest Nazarene
The Falcons just beat the Crusaders this past Saturday -they’ve swept them this season, but… the Falcons are an unpredictable team and whether they can take that unpredictability and be productive with it goes both ways; they lost both games at home to the border schools (WWU/SFU) but managed to pull it off against the Alaska schools in Alaska. NNU is more predictable, but… they need every guy to have a good game; SPU has proven that’s not the case. Honestly don’t have a preference for who wins.
Western Oregon vs. Western Washington
This one we’ll take sides, but it’s not because of a dislike of Western Oregon: we’ve been in WOU’s corner all year. There’s just the idea that they don’t need the auto bid, especially because all of the higher seeded teams in the other two conferences won last night. WWU has been our favorite to win the conference tournament ever since they got rid of Jaamon -and that’s good news for WOU. It’s always more fun when more GNAC teams are in attendance at the tournament, especially when it’s far away; it was sad last year when SPU was by themselves (not proverbially -it seriously was sad to be in SoCal without anyone else from the GNAC). Conference pride yo’! It’s going to be a tough match-up, but WWU should be able to pull it off -that’s what we extrapolated from the stats last time the teams played, even factoring in Andy Avgi (who didn’t play the last time the teams met).
Cal Baptist vs. Azusa Pacific
Like SPU/NNU, these two teams literally just played on Saturday and APU won by a lot. Not going to take sides, Azusa should be hosting the Regional, they won by 20 six days ago, so we’ll bet they win again.
Dixie State vs. BYU-Hawaii
Dixie State alllll the way. Not just because they were beaten by SPU and WOU, but because BYU-H is as annoying as CWU. BYU-H does have some quality wins, but they all come on the Islands and not the mainland and yet everyone continues to give them the benefit of the doubt. Yes, they beat Point Loma, but we were never particularly convinced of PLNU, much as we were openly rooting for them. Go Red Storm! This isn’t a prediction that DSU will win -just that we want them to.
Stanislaus vs. Chico State
Rooting for Chico State, they’ll theoretically win. Like Stanislaus, but not as much as Chico. Mac Martin was… horrifying, but the NCAA tournament was worse. This game seems like a formality onto the conference championship game, even if Stanislaus wins it (which seems doubtful).
Humboldt vs. Cal Poly Pomona
Cal Poly Pomona should win -they’re a good team. There’s been some talk that while Chico won the regular season title, Cal Poly Pomona is most likely to take the conference tournament. Love the Jacks, but just think that CPP is going to be too much. No regrets on being wrong though.
The projection is that the regional is going to be hosted at Azusa Pacific, which is super cool. The games are going to be fun to watch, we’ll be watching all six simultaneously -keep up with us on Twitter! We’ll mostly be retweeting and adding color commentary.
HOW AWESOME IS WWU?!?! Knew the Vikings could do it. And actually really, really thrilled with the Crusaders -that was one of those times where it was “don’t give anyone any more motivation to beat a team than they already have.” Was rooting for NNU the whole time -CWU was annoying this year.
Prepare for some tough love:
As a general rule, love the Wildcats. When a team is repeatedly screaming about how legit they are after getting whooped in non-conference -shut-up. Dom Williams is a cancer. Watching CWU go down was a sick type of enjoyment. Realize that’s how it was felt about Jaamon Echols (formerly of WWU), so… selfish play without legitimate production is a big thorn. You can shoot relatively poorly and play unselfishly all you want -not my place to judge (okay it is, but I’ll still pat you on the back).
Someone actually informed me this past weekend that Sango is convinced he’s going to the NBA. I stated that I’d like some of whatever he’s smoking because clearly it’s quality -then again, he lives in the Vancouver metro, so not surprising.
Anyway, tonight’s games! Tough love continued.
WWU 76, UAA 56
Alright, this is the game where I let loose with all of the crap that I’ve been wanting to give some of these teams. WHAT WERE YOU DOING ANCHORAGE?!?!? WWU is a good team, but they’re not good enough to make two of your better guys shoot 2-10 and 6-15 with your best guy going 5-9. You could have waited for better shots, you could have shot at the basket and made sure you recovered the board. Your rebounding wasn’t dismal and was spread out pretty well, but that makes the point all of the better: selfish play got you this. Travis Thompson benefit of the doubt over. You do not go 2-10. Brian McGill is actually more respectable because he realized he was cold and stopped shooting. You had a couple of bench players that were at least doing better -why not go to them? Guess what? Now none of you are playing at the hands of a team you beat twice, because of your refusal to work together. Awesome.
Anchorage highlights: Travis Thompson had six assists; Derrick Fain had 17 points; Brad Mears had six points. Off the bench: Sjur Berg had six boards; Dom Hunter had 10 points; KALIDOU had 10 points and four boards.
WWU doesn’t get a rant because they get picked on a lot. Non-WWU people will be like ‘NO THEY DON’T.’ Yes they do -we’re still harping on Jaamon Echols and he’s not even on the team any more. They get plenty of criticism, it’s just they’ve actually evolved into unselfish play so there’s not much to critique right now. Jeff Parker -your shooting was bad. Why doesn’t it need to be harped on? Because Jeff knows it and is probably embarrassed, as he should be. Travis and Derrick have had game after game of abysmal shooting -clearly they’re not embarrassed enough.
Viking highlights: Anye wasn’t needed much but played 35 minutes (hella deep!), grabbed seven boards, scored 17 points, and picked up a mere two fouls; Mac Johnson had eight boards and nine points. Off the bench: KYLE IMPERO!!!!! Had 16 points, ten boards, five assists, two steals, and a block!!! Joey Schreiber had 25 points, six boards, and two steals. Love that bench play. We’ll also shoutout Ricardo Maxwell for realizing that his shooting was off and picking up a few assists, a couple of steals, and a few fouls instead -he still played 33 productive minutes.
NNU 79, CWU 73
Still jumping for joy. Let the haterade flow Wildcats. You’re going home. Much like Anchorage: selfish, selfish, selfish. But with the demographics of the two schools… hardly surprising. Education < Hoops. WWU has that rep too, but they’re at least good. CWU is where you go if you’re not good enough to go to WWU.
Sorry Vikings -they already hate you, this isn’t adding fuel to the fire, just dousing them with a dose of reality they’re naturally denying anyway. Feel those warm rivalry flames.
The fact that Dom shot 10/21 in this game and we know it’s a good percentage for him? On no other team would the word “good” be in any realm. In fact, any SPU/WWU/WOU player would be nauseated by the number because they know there had to be better shots available.
Wildcat highlights: Terry Dawn had a full house with seven boards, two assists, two steals, a block, and two fouls, along with nine points; Joe Stroud had 12 points and nine boards; Dom Williams had 29 points. Off the bench: Gary Jacobs had five boards on atrocious shooting (2-11); Devin Matthews had 13 points on almost as bad of shooting (2-8) but at least made his free throws. That almost sunk the Crusaders. Thankfully it didn’t.
Crusader highlights: ALEX BIRKETOFT had 14 points and eight boards; Erik Kinney had 17 points, five boards, and two assists; Mike Wright had 20 points, four assists, and three steals; KEVIN RIMA had ten boards, three assists, two steals, and ten points, along with four fouls. Off the bench: Matyas Herring had 13 points.
Nothing particularly alarming from the Crusaders -free throw shooting was only at 68% but they’re going to have their hands so full with the Falcons that the eight percent difference between what they had and what we’d prefer seems minute.
We’re going to briefly touch on what happened in the other two west region conferences:
BYU-Hawaii beat Point Loma -as expected.
Cal Baptist beat Hawaii Pacific -as expected.
Stanislaus beat UC San Diego -as expected.
Humboldt State beat San Bernardino -as expected.
Those are all good results for the GNAC, generally speaking; there’s some gray area because Hawaii Pacific was beaten by Seattle Pacific, so it would behooved us a little bit had they won, but… as a blog we haven’t been impressed with the Seasiders and felt Cal Baptist is a much better team, so it’s good that they won.
Same thing with BYU-H/PLNU; PLNU was beaten by WOU, BYU-H beat SPU, so toss-up there. Strength of schedule lays flat.
UCSD… this is a personal vendetta, but some of the UCSD coaches (in other sports) have a very big reputation of being obnoxious, so we’re happy to see them lose. Stanislaus -if you beat one of us, we’ll automatically root for you in the future under the guise of making ourselves look better.
Humboldt playing San Bernardino is an interesting one because Humboldt beat UAA and WWU beat CSUSB, but we’ve thought the Jacks were a better team this whole time because WWU at that point was particularly impressive, thus this was a good result.
Congrats to both the Vikings and the Crusaders! Love both teams so much. Best of luck tomorrow dealing with the Wolves and the Falcons. Previews up at 10am -we’ll deal with previewing the Pac-West & CCAA games too.
Also, POW noms will still go up for this past week -at some point. Maybe Saturday morning?
We have a friend now! The brand-new CCAA blog. The CCAA blog is undoubtedly more adept than we are because his D2 psychosis has gone on much longer, and we’re so happy to have him!
Their first post is here. It consists of their rankings.
Here are ours:
1. Azusa Pacific -Leaning towards them hosting the regional, it’s great to see them this good, they need to win out but it’s going to be a difficult road in the gauntlet of the end of the Pac-West regular season and their tournament.
2. Cal Baptist -It doesn’t really matter which one of these schools hosts the regional, they play at APU and that game could be huge in determining the host, especially if they both end up in the Pac-West championship game.
3. Western Oregon -best team in a weak GNAC, they’ve got a couple of sure fire guys in Andy Avgi and Julian Nichols, they can play their guys major minutes, they’ve been fairly well tested in terms of close games in conference play, but how do they match-up with the theoretically much stronger Pac-West & CCAA?
4. Cal Poly Pomona -better regional resume than Chico.
5. Point Loma -Elite non-conference resume, but truth be told they barely played anybody -just a bunch of super low level teams; WOU and Cal Poly being the notable exceptions.
6. BYU-Hawaii -dropped three, but they should win out; the fact that they struggle a bit off the Island gives pause; they beat SPU, but PLNU beat WOU, so that’s kind of the tiebreaker here.
7. Dixie State -seemed to have progressed; they have a better regular season record than SPU in a much more challenging conference, feel like they’re getting strong at the right time. It seems odd to put them this low, BUT they had big early season losses to both SPU and WOU.
8. Chico State -love this team, think they’re in a really good position, should win the regular season, but… can they get the auto-bid? The CCAA tournament is going to be interesting.
9. Stanislaus -they play in a more difficult conference than SPU, they’re more consistent, they’ve got experience, they’re going to hold an advantage if/when one of the LA schools hosts the tournament. Doesn’t mean they’ll make it (the odds are against them) but if they do they will have that advantage.
10. Seattle Pacific -this one is hard; SPU has a way better non-conference record than any other GNAC team but WOU; their conference losses to WWU and CWU were rivalry games, which does excuse them a bit more; and they won at Anchorage this past weekend.
Other teams considered for ranking: Western Washington -seems to be back on track; Central Washington -too many terrible non-conference losses, too close of a call against Saint Martin’s. Alaska-Anchorage -just lost at home to SPU. Humboldt State -the CCAA just isn’t strong enough for them to be ranked this year; it was tempting to give them the nod over SPU, but the odds seem very low that Humboldt makes the tournament, whereas SPU still seems like a possibility considering they’re the only GNAC team to beat WOU.
As you can tell between our rankings and the CCAA blog-we disagree. That’s the beauty of college basketball. He’s coming from a CCAA/California perspective. It’s cool that there’s someone to disagree with. See? We can make D2 a thing, we can totally make D2 a thing.
Leave your rankings (and perhaps conference affiliation) in the comments. If enough (say five) people chime in, we’ll compile and do a composite ranking.
There are still two to four regular season games left per team, these games are going to be huge, this is going to be a general West Region post.
- Currently ranked teams/teams getting votes
- Teams that have clinched spots in their respective conference tournaments
- What teams those teams have left to play, the W/L projections or not.
- Regional projection
West Region Ranked Teams:
15. Western Oregon (WOU)
16. Cal Baptist (CBU)
17. Azusa Pacific (APU)
22. BYU-Hawaii (BYU-H)
Cal Poly Pomona, Point Loma, and Chico State all received votes.
West Region Conference Tournament Births
These include the games teams have let to play and the projections; red means they’re likely losses, green means wins, and black means it’s a toss-up. All of the records include toss-up games as losses, just to see the possible scenario; obviously some of these teams play each other, so not everyone is going to lose. Projected conference tournament seeds in parentheses.
Births left: Two.
Projected teams to receive them: Northwest Nazarene and Western Washington
Could sneak in: Simon Fraser
Who would you prefer to play: Simon Fraser
Western Oregon (1)
13-1, 21-3 = 15-3, 23-5
Regional Losses: Point Loma, Azusa Pacific
Last loss: Jan. 1 to Seattle Pacific
Games left to play: WWU, SFU, @UAA, @UAF
Honestly expect them to win every game, but better to throw it in as a toss-up.
Alaska Anchorage (4)
10-4, 14-10 = 11-7, 15-13
Regional Losses: Humboldt State, BYU-H, Sonoma State, Chico State,
Last loss: Feb. 14 to Seattle Pacific
Games left to play: @CWU, @ NNU, Saint Martin’s, WOU
Most brutal remaining schedule.
Central Washington (3)
9-5, 14-7 = 11-7, 16-9
Regional Losses: Numerous -BYU-H, HPU being their non-con losses.
Last loss: Feb. 12 to Western Washington
Games left to play: UAA, UAF, @SPU, @MSUB
Second most brutal remaining schedule, but they get a break unlike Cenazar (CWU/NNU) challengers.
Seattle Pacific (2)
10-5, 18-7 = 12-6, 20-8
Losses: Academy of Art, BYU-H in non-con
Last Loss: Feb. 7 to Simon Fraser
Games left to play: MSUB, CWU, NNU
No road games left. Falcons have been road warriors though, so… hmmm.
Births left: One
Projected team to receive it: Unknown
Will be in: Hawaii Pacific or Dominican
Who would you prefer to play: Dominican.
15-3, 22-4 = 16-4, 23-5
Regional Losses: Cal Poly Pomona
Last Loss: Feb. 7 to Cal Baptist
Teams still to play: CBU & FPU
15-3, 18-6 = 17-4, 20-7
Regional Losses: Western Oregon, Seattle Pacific
Last Loss: Jan. 24 to Azusa Pacific
Teams still to play: @FPU, PLNU
14-3, 20-4 = 16-4, 22-5
Regional Losses: None
Last Loss: Jan. 31 to BYU-H
Games still to play: @FPU, @APU, NDdN
12-5, 18-5 = 15-5, 21-5
Regional Losses: None
Last Loss: Feb. 16 to CBU
Games still to play: Hilo, HNU, Art U.
BYU-H is interesting -they’re on a three game losing streak all to tournament bound teams, but they have three home games coming up to basement dwellers.
12-6, 19-6 = 13-7, 20-7
Regional losses: None
Last loss: Feb. 12 to Hawaii Pacific
Games still to play: NDdN, @ Dixie State
Cal Poly Pomona
Births left: Four
Projected: Humboldt, Stanislaus, UCSD, San Bernardino
Will be in: The four as noted.
Who would you rather play: Not Stanislaus.
Cal Poly Pomona
14-4, 18-5 = 16-6, 20-7
Regional Losses: Point Loma
Last Loss: Feb. 7 to Chico State
Games still to play: CSULA, Dominguez Hills, @ San Bernardino State, @ Humboldt State
Interesting; Bernardino and Humboldt are the CCAA equiv to MSUB and SPU.
14-4, 17-6 = 18-4, 21-6
Regional Losses: Dominican, Azusa Pacific
Last loss: Feb. 14 to Humboldt State
Games still to play: @ Sonoma State, @ San Fran State, Monterey Bay, East Bay.
Chico should get through that wholly unscathed, meaning Cal Poly is the one walking on “ice.”
What does all of that tell us about who’s making the tournament? Very little really, because in the conference tournaments anything can happen. Still, that gives you your 18 teams that could potentially procure your auto bids.
Western Washington (not in, but projected in)
Cal Poly Pomona*
San Bernardino State
Teams denoted with asterisks are suspected to not need the auto bid. The respective conference tournament winners do receive an automatic birth to the NCAA tourney. That means:
Cal Poly Pomona
CCAA autobid (Chico or Stanislaus)
BYU-H/Pac-West auto bid
GNAC auto bid
Bold teams bubbles shouldn’t be able to burst.
BYU-H from the Pac-West is grey area; they’re kind of a bubble team for not needing the auto-bid.
Who has potential to win their conference and procure a birth they otherwise wouldn’t get? Not Point Loma. They’re in too strong of a conference, so even if they do make the championship game of their conference tourney, there are still more deserving teams, because if picking between playing PLNU vs. APU/CBU/BYU-H/DSU, it’ll be PLNU every time.
Stanislaus wants a strong tournament run and they’re the pick for winning the conference tournament and getting that auto-bid. If BYU-H doesn’t win, it’ll be a toss up who makes it between them and Chico State. Which team would you rather play? No clue. BYU-H if the game is played on the mainland, which likely means that Chico would get the nod.
Now, you want to know about the GNAC? Western Oregon is in, for sure, no auto bid needed. And what’s even more frightening: they seem like a big candidate to win the conference tournament. If you’re a WOU person that sounds great, but they’re still not gonna host. Why? Because the Pac-West deserves to host. They’ve been the strongest conference. It will go to one of those teams. Which is unfortunate: We made the case weeks ago that Monmouth would be a terrific place to have the Regional.
Still, it always comes down to who would you rather play? APU, CBU or WOU? As a GNAC person it’s hard to think that you’d want to play WOU, but from a regional perspective, you would. If WOU had been in the Pac-West, would they boast the same record? Doubtful. And everyone’s beaten everyone. Part of this is the new blood issue: the Pac-West teams would much rather play a GNAC team; GNAC teams would likely rather play a Pac-West team; the CCAA teams are brutes and they don’t monkey flyin’ care because they’ll play anyone, anywhere, but… we’ve still got miles to go before that has a chance to happen.
TL;DR, GNAC: Short answer: No, WOU will not host -think SPU not hosting last year.
A post discussing the GNAC conference tourney’ll be up at about 10pm.
First and foremost: Welcome, to our Pac-West and CCAA visitors old and new.
There are so many fun things planned for next week that we’re gonna go ahead and do the official check in with the other two West Region conferences this week.
The first place we’re gonna start is the NABC rankings:
11. Cal Baptist
13. Azusa Pacific
No CCAA and no GNAC representation at all and while it’s hard to speak to the CCAA about whether or not teams could enter into the rankings -going off the fact that the worst team ranked has three losses, it seems unlikely when every CCAA team has a minimum of four.
Current CCAA standings:
Stanislaus -losses are from Chico State & Pomona. Okay.
Pomona -losses are from UCSD, Chico State, CSU-LA. All within a possession. Sure.
Chico State -losses are from Stanislaus, UCSD, Humboldt. Less okay; some of their wins also were far too close for comfort.
UCSD -losses are from Monterey Bay, Stanislaus, and Pomona -acceptable.
So essentially they’ve all beat up on each other with a couple of fluke losses; Humboldt is 6th this year, so hardly a waste. There’ve been a lot of really close games, much like the GNAC. Also much like the GNAC -parity doesn’t mean prosperity. If I’m a CCAA fan, I’d rather have less parity and more odds of making the tournament -right now it’s basically a race to the bottom in regard to the GNAC & CCAA. Luckily for the Californians -they had us beat, hardcore, in non-conference while not doing too badly against the Pac-West.
Current Pac-West standings:
Azusa Pacific -Lost to Dixie State
Cal Baptist -Lost to Dixie State
Dixie State -Lost to Hawaii-Hilo & Cal Baptist
BYU-H -Lost to Hawaii-Hilo & Dixie State
Point Loma -Lost to Cal Baptist, Dixie State, & Azusa Pacific
Hawaii Pacific -Lost to BYU-H twice, Point Loma, and Holy Names
Oddly enough -that’s all good for the GNAC. I personally have never seen more than four teams from one conference make the tournament, but there’s a first time for everything. And those schools look really good. Hawaii Pacific is 6th in conference and the only one called into question. Every other team in the conference has a losing conference record, which doesn’t mean anything in regard to the auto-bid. It’ll be curious to see if Dixie State is peaking too early, and then where the losses fall.
For those from other conferences wanting to know about the GNAC:
Current GNAC standings:
Western Oregon -lost to Seattle Pacific
Seattle Pacific -lost to Western Washington & Central Washington
Central Washington -lost to Northwest Nazarene & Western Oregon
Alaska Anchorage -lost to Seattle Pacific & Western Oregon
Northwest Nazarene -lost to Seattle Pacific & Western Oregon
After that it drops off into 2-5 teams.
Western Oregon -their loss to Seattle Pacific was close and on the road; this week they take on Simon Fraser and Western Washington. WWU is a notoriously difficult place to play and then SFU has their new gimmicky offense but shouldn’t present much of a problem.
Seattle Pacific -both losses were fairly close and in rivalry games. They’ve played an even mix of home and away games -the team they’re yet to play is travel partner MSUB.
Central Washington -their team is deep. Their losses also were fairly close -one was on the road, one was at home. They’ve played almost all home games and as such -their road’ll be more difficult from here on out.
Alaska Anchorage -got blown out by both SPU and WOU, however both games were played on the road and they’ll have far more home games coming up. The Alaska schools are another notoriously difficult place to play.
Northwest Nazarene -on the rise. They got positively blown out by SPU at home and then kept it close against WOU on the road. The SPU loss was a while ago and it’s likely they’re kicking themselves being at home for it -it’ll be hard to get a win against the Falcons on the road, but with the way they’re playing now a win at home seems obvious.
The rest of the teams? There’s still a great deal of parity. In terms of our conference tournament, because Alaska Fairbanks is ineligible, only one team is gonna stay home. We still honestly don’t know a lot because we have no real expectations and so many teams are tied; four teams are tied for second, three teams are tied for seventh, and two teams are tied for ninth. Lots of parity. We’ll take a more in-depth look next week.
Finally, the current bracketology predictions:
Cal Poly Pomona
GNAC team X
GNAC team Y*
Ten teams are listed; asterisks denote bubble teams. Somehow the GNAC has made its way into a second bubble team largely because WOU and Seattle Pacific got at least a couple of wins against the Pac-West and Dixie State is starting to kill everyone. From a GNAC perspective -SMU kept it SO close against Dixie, that loss is likely going to haunt our conference on the whole.
Seeding is still too close to call. Five Pac-West teams seem possible. Maybe not likely, but definitely possible. The only GNAC teams that have done enough in non-conference to get that at large bid are Seattle Pacific and Western Oregon, and it always comes down to the question: Who would you rather play? Answer it and you’ll find your answer of who’s in and who’s out.
In terms the GNAC, much more analysis will be posted next week once the final bit of the first round robin is completed; not sure on the day yet, but if you’re a Pac-West or CCAA person that’s not subscribed -check back on Tuesday or Wednesday.
If you’re a GNAC person that’s not subscribed: SUBSCRIBE! You won’t regret it. There’s so much parity this year that in order to have a clear idea of your team, you have to know about all nine other teams. And that my friends, is the birds and the bees of how the blog was conceived. There might’ve been an undergraduate degree, some arm twisting, and peer pressure involved too, but ya know.
Once again: thank-you for your visits Pac-West & CCAA people. GNAC folks -there’ll be a discussion post tomorrow, so look forward to that; should be posted around 11.
What is each conference’s record vs. the other?
GNAC vs. the Pac-West: 11/30 (36%)
GNAC vs. the CCAA: 2/8 (25%)
Pac-West vs. the GNAC: 19/30 (63%)
Pac-West vs. the CCAA: 13/22 (59%)
CCAA vs. the GNAC: 6/8 (75%)
CCAA vs. the Pac-West: 9/22 (41%)
GNAC vs. the West: 28%
Pac-West vs. the West: 63%
CCAA vs. the West: 50%
What is the signature regional win for the top five teams in each conference?
Azusa Pacific beat Western Oregon & Cal Poly Pomona.
Dixie State beat Stanislaus & Saint Martin’s.
Cal Baptist beat Monterey Bay.
Hawaii Pacific beat Central Washington.
BYU-Hawaii beat Seattle Pacific.
Sonoma State beat Dominican & Alaska-Anchorage.
Cal Poly Pomona beat Azusa Pacific.
Stanislaus beat Dominican & MSU-Billings.
Chico beat Alaska-Anchorage.
Monterey Bay beat Notre Dame de Namur.
Western Oregon beat Dixie State & Monterey Bay.
Seattle Pacific beat Hawaii Pacific.
Western Washington beat San Bernardino State & Hawaii-Hilo.
Central Washington beat Academy of Art.
Simon Fraser beat Holy Names.
Thoughts on bracketology?
Bracketology is something that’s regularly contemplated and yet this year there just isn’t anything to really go on. We need to get through the first round robin. Even then… it’s hard to say, especially in regard to the GNAC. Assuming we only get one bid… it’d be impossible to even guess the seed, even with as bad as we were. If one team were to start slaughtering all conference foes, they could actually work their way up into a higher seed. Or if the other conferences self implode while the GNAC remains intact.
Last year was fairly easy to predict and extrapolate compared to this year, which sounds ludicrous because last year turned into chaos. This year that chaos is more expected and yet… it’s become even more chaotic. Trust me -as soon as there’s something to write about bracketology, it’ll be written and posted.
Name your eight teams?
No. Fine. I hate you. These aren’t seeded at all and aren’t really based off of much.
Cal Poly Pomona
GNAC Team X
Sonoma State hasn’t played anyone. Honestly, that bracket is so rough, we’ll do this again in four weeks once we’ve hit a full round-robin in conference.
With the GNAC… Dreaming of the days when we had four teams in the tourney and Western won it all. Reality is, we’re guaranteed to get one team -who that one team is… it comes down to your own particular perspective ala which team your homerism wins out for.
Is Basketball Fun?
Predictions aren’t quite made to be wrong, but as Oscar Wilde once said, “When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.” Oh well; meaningless speculation is fun. Life is fun. Basketball is not fun. No sir, basketball was fun, basketball is not fun any more, not even a little bit; basketball is zero fun, sir.
Random quotes zooming off into cross applying Remember the Titans to basketball is how we make it fun in the middle of the season when hoops get old.
For those that are new: here at the GNAC Men’s Basketblog, we love our shenanigans posts. Christmas Break has been a nice 10 days or so of minimal basketball, but as we get back into the grind, undoubtedly shenanigans posts will pop up -that is one way we’ll try and combat some of the inevitable stress and keep things fun. Because as noted previously: basketball is a blessing, first and foremost.
Hope your holidays were safe and restful! Individual GNAC team previews will be posted tomorrow and Wednesday.
Holy Names plays @ CSU Monterey Bay, @ CSU Dominguez Hills, and Sonoma State.
Dominican plays @ CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU East Bay, Sonoma State, @ Chico State, and San Francisco State
Cal Baptist plays @ CSU Dominguez Hills, and @ San Francisco State,
Point Loma plays CSU Dominguez Hills, @ Cal Poly Pomona, and Cal State Los Angeles.
Fresno Pacific plays @ Cal State Los Angeles.
Academy of Art plays @ San Francisco State.
Dixie State plays Stanislaus.
A final tally of 19 games involving all but four Pac-West conference schools; the Hawaii schools are too busy playing GNAC schools to get into the mix against the CCAA.
The first thing that stands out is that Dixie State plays CSU-Stanislaus. From a conference perspective, Stanislaus was the team that beat SPU in the tournament during OT, Dixie State beat SPU in OT in non-conference last year, the teams are going to be different but there’s still a connection. Stanislaus is rather reminiscent of MSUB in terms of the GNAC; they got really good as the season progressed and so their conference record didn’t necessarily reflect their capabilities. Always fun to watch those teams.
For the most part the schedule above shows mismatches of the strong playing the theoretical weak. There are only a few tournament teams that play each other. It’s becoming a trend that the tournament teams tend to play smaller division schools. I wish this was more frowned upon; as I’ve noted: I’m a big fan of strength of schedule, just because… compelling match-ups are compelling. While we’ll always say ‘any given year’ c’mon! Let’s get more of the frequent tournament teams playing each other. I grew up in the Pac-10, where beating each other up is not only expected but encouraged.
And unlike football, basketball schedules aren’t set in stone years ahead of time; while there’s some early scheduling, there’s still plenty of room to move even during the month of August. No, there’s probably concern about reputation on a national level and the whole “no one really wins when everyone has an average record” but… even as a REGION, the number of D2 teams we collectively play outside of our region is negligible, plus doesn’t really matter because only one team is gonna make the Elite 8 anyway.
Originally the plan was to post the CCAA, GNAC, and Pac-West D2 non-west region match-ups, but the CCAA is yet to post their composite schedule, so we shall see what’s on the horizon for tomorrow.
Here’s the quick break down of who plays whom:
MSUB plays CSU East Bay & Stanislaus.
UAA plays Sonoma State & Chico State.
SFU plays @ San Francisco State.
UAF plays Humboldt State.
WWU plays San Bernardino.
WOU & NNU both play @ Monterey Bay.
Tiny sample size, a freakishly small 9 games with only one repeated opponent.
Last year we were the Wild and Weak West… San Bernardino State, Chico State, and CSU-Stanislaus were all in the tournament with Chico upsetting and winning the regional as the 4 seed. San Bernardino was an incredibly strong team until the very end, and their game vs. WWU in late December was the perfunctory non-conference mark of last season.
Even more interesting, while CSU-SB vs. WWU may have played a huge role in determining the host, the real prognosticator game was that of the Seattle Pacific @ Chico State, in late November. Chico State beat SPU, SPU won both the regular season and conference title for the GNAC, got bounced in the 1st round of the Regional (by Stanislaus, who upset both Bernardino & Chico in the CCAA tournament), and then as noted: Chico ultimately made the Elite Eight, but they did it by beating Stanislaus.
WWU vs. San Bernardino State this season could be a major determining factor into who hosts the regional, or it could mean absolutely nothing. Much as it’s tempting to say “oh, these are going to be the strong teams, these are going to be the weak teams,” recent history shows it unwise. Any given night. Any given season. There’s a reason we play the games and that’s why…
The Committee is Watching.
As noted: Is really, really, really, REALLY important. Because if there’s a men’s basketball tin foil hat club, it consists of those of us that look at every possession and think “the committee is watching.”
Because they are. Doesn’t matter D1, D2, D3, or NAIA; the committee is always watching. They’re like Santa Claus.
You better play D,
You better fly high,
You better shoot the three, I’m telling you why:
The selection comm is coming to town…
They’re making their lists,
And checking them twice,
Gonna find out who’s half-hearted or tries,
The selection comm is coming to town…
They see you in transition,
They know when you’re in the paint,
They know if you’ve been planting your feet,
So be technically proficient, for goodness sake!
Oh -you better score points,
You better rebound,
You better get down and battle on the ground,
The selection comm is coming to town… ♫
That was fun.
Anyway, last year non-conference hardly told us anything. There was a lot of parity and we were weaker than the CCAA, but other than that? Nothing. Then we went through the first round of the conference round-robin and found out that we knew exactly the same amount that we did before we started conference play.
Non-conference did actually prove to be telling: across all three conferences, everyone ultimately beat each other up during the regular season (except for San Bernardino State) and to a degree in the respective conference tournaments. The GNAC tournament didn’t get rocked, but the other two did, and it was a detriment to the GNAC that we didn’t.
SPU wasn’t going to miss the tournament; their non-conference schedule was less than impressive, but they won the conference outright, the couple of games they lost early they were missing their [arguably] best player, and they proved themselves. If a non-SPU school had won the conference tournament, Dixie State’s bubble would’ve likely burst. Instead, WWU’s went boom and SPU couldn’t even take credit for it; that was the responsibility of CSU-Stanislaus and Chaminade winning their respective conference tournaments.
Hopefully this year is better.
In the coming days we’ll get into breaking down the collective non-conference schedules for the GNAC, Pac-West, and CCAA. We’ll also take a look at the non-west region teams the GNAC will face and see what we can glean from the context of those teams, because:
The selection comm is coming to town… ♫