First and foremost: We owe the Saints cookies. Really good cookies. And this week is nuts and so they may be waiting a week for them, but we promise: We will hold up to our end of the bargain because they may have just sent the Regional to Monmouth. Why wouldn’t it be hosted in Lacey? Because they lost to Point Loma. The only way to give yourself a legitimate shot at hosting is to get through non-con completely unscathed OR go something like 19-1 in conference, and quite frankly: this is the GNAC. Pac-12 football thinks they know the Circle of Suck; oh no, no, no… When you don’t know the final order of 8/11 schools until after the very last conference game has been played, that’s when you really know the circle of suck. At least last year. This year it may be termed the Circle of Strength, in no small part thanks to SMU!
UC San Diego 80 vs. UAF 56 @ WWU
Praise the lawd. Sorry Nooks, love you, but this needed to be how it is.
Nook highlights: Joe Lendway shot well, finishing with 13 points and six boards; and Michael Kluting had a good game with 19 points and five boards.
Oh dear. Still Nooks, learning experience, right? Right.
CU-PDX 69 @ Cal State LA 91
Not surprised on this score; Cal State LA looks really legit this year, so it’s fine from a conference perspective. Learning and growing moment, eh?
Cav highlights: Jarrett Gray had five assists and 14 points; and Christopher Edward had eight boards, 19 points, and five fouls. Off the bench Bryan Michaels had eight points; Deandre Stallings had seven points; and Daniel Thiesen had eight points on perfect shooting.
Quality loss, men.
SPU 77 @ Westminster 83
Honestly we’re not concerned about this loss. They’re RMAC, it was on the road, big whoop. The Falcons didn’t look particularly impressive and it is what it is.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten had six boards; Sam Simpson had five boards and 11 points; Nikhil Lizotte had five boards and 11 points; and Tony Miller had 17 points. Off the bench Braden Olsen had six points; Harry Cavell had 12 points; and Nathan Streufert had seven points and five boards.
WOU 87 @ Notre Dame de Namur 48
There we go.
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid shot fantastically and finished with 11 points and four steals; Ali Faruq-Bey finally was felt with 19 points; and Riley Hawken had 10 points. Off the bench Demetrius Trammell had 10 points; Janvier Alaby had nine points; and Dustin Triano, Brandell Evans, and JJ Chirnside added five points a piece.
SFU 55 @ Point Loma 79
Welcome back to reality Simon Fraser. No, we don’t think you’re going to be the conference basement dweller like you have been, but we also don’t think Point Loma is quite as good as you made them look, which gets complicated when you factor in that you’re not as bad as normal.
Clan highlights: Othniel Spence had 20 points; and Iziah Sherman-Newsome had 10 points.
SMU 93 @ Cal Baptist 88
Saint hightlights: MATT DAHLEN had 16 points and 10 boards for the DOUBLE-DOUBLE; JORDAN KITCHEN had 14 points and seven boards rounded out with a FULL HOUSE; EJ BOYCE had nine points and FIVE assists; LUKE CHAVEZ had 17 points and five assists on GREAT SHOOTING. Off the bench JARED MATTHEWS had 19 points on good shooting; BJ STANDLEY had five points; and TAVIAN HENDERSON had 10 points.
There are no words. We saw this result and started freaking out, and we’re still freaking out this morning. Holy heck Saints, thank-you so much!!
NNU 93 @ Regis 103 in OT
Another loss we don’t really care about because it’s an RMAC opponent and NNU looks good, so whatever.
Obi Megwa had 16 points and seven boards; Nikola Prvulj had 12 points; and Maurice Jones had 18 points, nine boards, and five fouls. Off the bench KHALIL THOMPSON had 29 points on very good shooting; and Marko Lepovic had five points and six boards.
Whatevs NNU, we believe in you and still are ridiculously proud; this loss means nothing and the OT is nice.
There’s gonna be a lot of discussion in the coming week as we get ready to go into the first weekend of conference play. Congrats on lots of great wins and good losses; none of the losses truly matter from an SOS perspective, so life is good.
Yup, it’s going to be a back-to-back post because as much as we love the GNAC -Husky and Seahawks football took priority. And sleep. Sleep took priority. What’s interesting is we were so busy throwing-up the preview (our fingers were barfing) that we didn’t look at ANY of Friday’s numbers yesterday. Nuts. And now not any of Saturday’s numbers. It’s all a surprise o.O
Simon Fraser 81, Lindenwood 73
We weren’t even aware Lindenwood was a D2 school; we assumed it was a school on the prairies of Canada. As it turns out it is D2, so good on the Clan for scheduling them. Yayyy D2 opponents.
Clan highlights: Graham Miller was 7-7 from the line and finished with 18 points and four fouls; Michael Provenzano had seven boards, five assists, and finished with 18 points and four fouls; JJ Pankratz was back in a big way, grabbing nine boards, four blocks, and dropping 24 points while staying out of foul trouble. Off the bench Kedar Wright went 7-9 from the line and finished with 11 points in the Clan’s victory.
Dear President Donald Trump,
Thank-you for making it okay for us to say ‘Go Clan!’ and talk positively about them without being concerned about ending up on a list. Heck, if we’re not careful with all this talk of “Go Clan!” we could ended up nominated for a cabinet position.
The GNAC Men’s Basketblog
Central Washington 99, Dixie State 95 in OT
Yeaaah Wildcats! We is so proud of you. Winning in OT. Yes, it’s for all intents and purposes a home game, but any win against the region is a win we will take. And there were TONS of good numbers, so let’s get started…
Wildcat highlights: NAIM LADD had SEVEN rebounds, two assists, ZERO turnovers, and 25 points; DOM HUNTER had a whopping 33 points while going 10/11 from the line and being good from the field; Jerome Bryant did the rare thing of confusing us with his lack of shooting; he went 1-3 and then made 9-11 from the line and grabbed five boards and had five fouls. Rarely do we think ‘wow, he could have kept shooting’ but this guy did and at the same time we’re excited for him because it shows the valuable trait of knowing his role and doing a darn good job at it. Fouling and drawing fouls? Um, yeah.
Full disclaimer: Power forward is our favorite position by and far, so that position does tend to get a good bit of bias around here.
Seattle Pacific 69, MN-Makato 78
While it’s a good win for MN-Mankato, we’re not convinced it’s a bad loss for SPU because we’d so much rather lose an out-of-region game than an in-region, and Mankato could turn out to be very good; it’s too early in the season to know at this point. We’ll consider it a good learning experience, hopefully.
Falcon highlights: COLEMAN WOOTEN had 16 boards and 24 points on solid shooting; Sam Simpson had eight boards and four assists; Will Parker had five fouls; and Joe Rasmussen had five boards and nine points. Off the bench Sharif Khan had 14 points; and Tony Miller had seven boards.
Alaska-Fairbanks 68, Cal State LA 74
Huge win for the CCAA as a whole. We talk about it all the time, but: Any win in Alaska is a good win because it’s so hard to play up there. We knew CSULA was going to be improved this year, it was just a matter of time.
Nanook highlights: Nahjee Matlock had five boards and five assists; Bangaly had 10 boards and nine points; LaDonavan Wilder had five boards; and Brandon Davis had 16 points and five assists. Off the bench Reece Robinson had six points and four boards; and Michael Kluting had 10 points.
CU-Portland 57, UC San Diego 66
Way closer than anticipated. Yes, it was essentially a home game, but it’s still what we should all consider a very quality loss for the Cavalier program because we love the Cavs and anticipated a blowout so what was everyone else thinking? Yeah. It’s good.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 15 points, Latrell Wilson had five boards; Christopher Edward had a huge game with 10 points and eight boards; and off the bench Davis Nuami had four boards and three assists.
The Tritons play mad D so the numbers are less than they usually would have been for how close it was.
Alaska-Anchorage 75, BYU-Hawaii 50
Confirmed: BYU-H good at home and bad on the road. At least so far. Admittedly it’s hard to play at UAA, but in that we also need to say that: UAA has a huge homecourt advantage. Good for them. Did what needed to be done and there are lots of good numbers.
Seawolf highlights: Suki had 21 points, seven boards, and three assists; Corey Hammell had a double-double with 12 boards and 10 points; and Connor Devine had 17 points and eight boards on good shooting. Off the bench Augustus Simmers had 10 points; Damien Fulp had 10 points while perfect from the line; nad Sjur Berg had five boards.
Western Oregon 93 vs. San Fran State 99 in 3OT
Oh dear. We’d say this game was a mess on both sides but it wasn’t. San Fran State played within themselves and used it to win the game in a hard place to play. They had surprisingly few bad numbers for the fact that the game went to 3OT. Not the case with the Wolves. Still, as bad as the numbers were they stayed in it.
Wolves highlights: Bryan Berg had 15 points and five boards; Tanner Omlid had eight boards, seven assists, four steals, two blocks, and assorted other stuff while securing a full house; Ali Faruq-Bey had eight boards; Buster Souza had a “break-out” game with seven boards and fourteen points with the only passable shooting on the Wolves. Off the bench Yanick Kulich had seven boards; and Malik Leaks had six boards and nine points -guess if you can survive that surname in elementary school, you can do anything.
Saint Martin’s 60 @ Sonoma State 77
Oh dear. Growing pains. It’s okay Saints, this is going to happen. Quality loss? Perhaps. At least Tyler Copp played moderately well, because outside of him there really are very few highlights.
Saints highlights: Tyler Copp had four boards, four assists, zero turnovers, and 20 points; Brandon Kenilvort had 17 points; and off the bench Rohjhae Colbert had five boards.
Overall an interesting day for the GNAC and West Region as a whole. Not bad nor good; this day was neutral all the way around, which is interesting of itself. We honestly haven’t looked at Saturday’s results except for CWU (they keep playing early so we keep seeing those results) and so… We’ll see in a little bit.
Congrats and good effort to all involved, GNAC or otherwise.
We don’t get many statistics back about our readers, but one thing we do get is what country you’re reading from, and as such: We see you Kevin Rima =) ❤
On the horizon for today: Can we pick the Regional host after just one weekend of play? Can we pick the teams likely to make the tournament? Strength of Schedule? And why we don’t pay attention to non-D2 results.
Can you pick the Regional host after just one weekend of play?
No. But we can tell you that a bunch of teams are eliminated. SOS counts officially for D2 now. Here are the teams that by our calculation are still vying for the chance to host:
Chico -wins over CU-I and Dominican.
UCSD -wins over Dixie, Azusa, and Point Loma.
Those two are legit in the hunt to host. San Marcos and CSULA haven’t played any D2 opponents yet and so while they’re technically still in the hunt, it seems unlikely. The rest of the teams have either not strong enough wins or losses to teams that are likely middle-of-the-pack in their respective conferences. While there are always exceptions, generally speaking they aren’t regular. The last four years we’ve successfully picked the Region Host in December of that year. This is premature, but not very.
Chaminade -Beat the Alaska schools, still has to play SPU.
Azusa Pacific -lost to UCSD, but their projected strength of schedule is still insane.
Cal Baptist -undefeated with good SOS still to play.
Hawaii Pacific -Beat the Alaska schools, but doesn’t have any strength of schedule besides that. They’ll have to lose a max of one game in conference to make this schedule work.
Point Loma -Lost to WOU and SMU, we think the loss to SMU officially rules them out because we don’t think SMU is anything but an auto-bid tournament team, but PLNU theoretically has plenty of SOS left -they still play SPU and CSULA. We think CSULA will be good in conference, but if you don’t schedule yourself well in non-con there are teams that do and so it becomes a win out scenario.
WWU -this one is interesting because we’re not sure they can host because they’re playing at Whatcom Community College, which only seats like 750 people. Maybe Carver will be done in time? Maybe the low capacity isn’t a problem? They’re still definitely in the running via play -two wins on the road and still plenty of SOS available in a road game against UCSD and a neutral site game against perennially good Tarleton State.
SPU -We’re as shocked as anyone with how little they return, and while we don’t think it’s going to be a possibility much longer the fact is they won both games and they have plenty of SOS available with a game at Azusa, a neutral site game against Point Loma, and then games against the Hawaii schools in Hawaii.
CWU -That would be fun. We’d love to see CWU host again because the E-burg drive is our favorite. They won both games in California, although their SOS is suspect because they didn’t blow either team out and the only other west region SOS they have comes from Dixie State. CWU needs to be rooting like heck for SPU, WWU, and WOU in particular during the rest of non-con, because those teams all have better SOS and thus the Wildcats need regular season wins against those teams to look elite.
WOU -Took care of business on the road, but their SOS is also lacking in that all they have left is Dixie State and Westminster (RMAC). We love the Wolves and still think they’ll be fine in terms of making the tournament, but it seems like the odds of doing to the conference schedule what they did last year are much slimmer, and thus it would really help to have scheduled more SOS. In the era that Jim Shaw was at UW, that was the biggest knock on Romar’s teams -they lacked non-conference SOS, and it made Selection Sunday stressful. Granted, the Wolves won’t get sent cross country, but they could get sent to Hawaii. And saying that… Wow, Hawaii, that just sounds horrible. Sarcasm.
We think the Alaska schools are officially out of the run to host because both dropped two games in Hawaii and the only other D2west games they play are against middle-of-the-pack opponents at home this weekend. Either team would need basically an undefeated season in conference or all of the teams above them to completely fall apart. Not just one team above. Every team above from all three conferences. NNU is like CSULA/San Marcos; they just don’t play anyone in non-con and thus will need to run the table in conference and that’s hard to do that even with an NCAA tournament veteran, return-every-key-piece team like WOU had last year; considering what NNU has chronically been, it’s for all intents and purposes impossible.
Strength of Schedule is like applying to med school. There’s the method of having a bunch of extra curriculars, volunteering, and/or being a student athlete and submitting a 3.3 gpa (losing to quality opponents in non-con) vs. only focusing on school, and thus needing the 3.98 (either win out or only lose once in conference play). Two different paths, both a way to the dance, but we see the former as much more preferable to the latter. The autobids are often like the kids that have 2.0s coming out of high school, but score 2350 on the SAT and have their pick of colleges because the reality is they’re smart, they just didn’t care.
In summary, potential hosts still include: UCSD, Chico State, Cal Baptist, Azusa Pacific, Chaminade, WWU, SPU, CWU, and WOU. Oddly enough that’s nine teams -one more team than will be eligible to qualify for the regional, and yet we don’t think those are necessarily the teams that will qualify. It’s much easier to qualify than it is to host, because qualifying allows conference losses, auto bids, that sort of thing. The only way you’re going to host as an autobid is if you’re within those nine teams, and those nine teams are likely to get paired down substantially in the coming weeks.
Who do you think is still in the running for an at large bid?
Well, first of all: UCSD, Chico State, Cal Baptist, Azusa Pacific, Chaminade, WWU, SPU, CWU, and WOU.
But also: CSULA, San Bernardino, Cal Poly Pomona, Dixie State, BYU-Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific, CU-Irvine, Point Loma, UAF, UAA, SMU (technically), and MSUB. The GNAC teams we obviously know more -MSUB returns a ton. They’ve been playing terribly, but they return a bunch of proven-to-play well D2 guys. Same with SMU, it feels unlikely for them to qualify for an at-large bid, but we believe in that team and they host the conference tournament, so it feels like of all years, this could be the year they break through and get that auto bid. Humboldt also seems like they again have the potential for the autobid but aren’t likely for an at-large.
Basically half the teams are still in the running. The conference gauntlet is intense for every conference and we just don’t see any other team being able to overcome their lack of SOS by losing fewer than five conference games. We’re guessing that four is going to be the magic number, and that’s with SOS. A number of the teams listed above will require three losses or less, and more likely two, plus at least a win or two in their respective conference tournament.
We’ll see if we disagree with ourselves by this time next week, or better yet the week after.
Why don’t you count D1/other division games when looking at teams and how good they are?
Because they’re one-offs on both sides. D1 teams will often write off D2 opponents and play down to our level. We as D2 often write off D3/NAIA opponents and do the same thing. EJ Poulsen just had five boards against Lewis and Clark. Who cares? He was probably the tallest guy in the game by four inches and he would never play enough minutes to do that in an actual D2 game. That’s what happens in a lot of D1 games too -they do a lot of player rotation early and then go “oh shoot, these guys are better than we were thinking,” and they clamp down and blow a team out. The other side is they continue to rotate players knowing the talent gap and it remains closer than would be if they were playing for real but the fact is they’re not; it doesn’t count against their SOS to lose to a D2 opponent, even if it is embarrassing.
The only teams that have made the tournament in recent history after beating D1 opponents have been SPU in 2012 (Arizona) and WOU in 2015 (Oregon State) and both were at-large bids, thus still had incredible D2 evidence for being elite in the west. The Arizona and Oregon State games made exactly zero difference, because it’s a one off. Why would anyone put much precedence in one game when there are 25 others against truly similar opponents to look at? It’s just straight up cray, but when you make it to the NCAA D2 West Regional: you’re playing D2 opponents. If you want the D1 games to matter, be like Seattle U., abandon the GNAC and join the ranks of D1. *shakes head* Redhawks are such losers.
Pretty much it for today. Game previews’ll be up tomorrow AM and then… Nightlights? Most likely.
On the agenda for today: Last night’s game, the updated rankings, this year’s rebounding compared to last, mid-season
Saint Martin’s 46 @ Seattle Pacific 65
Almost exactly what you’d hope if you’re an SPU fan, exactly what you’d grudgingly accept if the Saints are more your style. We didn’t expect anything because this is the GNAC, where the defense is made up and only the very last points matter. Although not in this game -the defense actually did a somewhat okay job, so good on the Falcons. Their shooting was completely okay, so really great for them. SMU did have a lot of chuck-ups, but it is what it is.
Saints highlights: Tyle Copp had eight points; Fred Jorg had 14 points and five boards; the team had a mere eight turnovers.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a full house including six boards and eight assists; Gilles Dierickx had fie boards, three blocks, and 12 points; Mitch Penner had 13 points. Off the bench Coleman Wooten had seven points and four boards; Joe Rasmussen had 10 points; and Kevin Johnson had five points in limited minutes.
Good defense by the Falcons, good effort by the Saints. The Saints had more boards than expected, so… E for exceeds expectations. Can’t wait to watch both the Falcons and the Saints take on the Yellowjackets. The Saints and the Jackets match-up pretty well and then the Falcons and the Yellowjackets have a fun rivalry, so pretty cool stuff to come this week, although… The big ones of course are WOU at the Alaskas.
Individual rebounding numbers are down, but it’s very possible that team rebounding numbers are up. Last year we wouldn’t note a guy’s boarding unless it was over ten; this year that number is five because it seems more guys are up for grabbing them, which is awesome. We’ll look into it further here, but definitely something to keep in mind. The numbers in terms of what we look at in regard to POW stuff are interesting because with that number we’re thinking there’s far more distribution this year than there was last year in regard to spreading the love and more guys getting in on the action, which could be signs of good or could be signs of bad. Now that trends are starting to establish we’re able to take a closer look and so… We’ll see.
Last year we did a ton of mid-season stuff -teams, underclassmen, all that jazz, this year we’re not sure if we’re going to do the mid-season blog blitz, but there’s a possibility. If you reaaaally want to see it, leave a comment and it may inspire us to actually go through a bunch of it.
The big news of the weekend is that chaos has erupted in the CCAA:
- Cal Poly Pomona lost to Cal State LA
- Humboldt lost to Dominguez Hills
- UCSD lost to Monterey Bay
- Cal Poly Pomona lost to Dominguez Hills
Honestly we’re not too shocked about Dominguez Hills being a middle-of-the-pack team; we’ve been saying it since fairly early in non-conference, but 3/4 best CCAA teams going down spells p-p-p-parity. Which is what’s reigning in the GNAC, so frankly it’s good news for us considering non-conference was mostly a wash although we were reticent to admit it.
Relevant news from the Pac-West:
-Fresno Pacific blew out BYU-Hawaii (good for WOU/SMU, bad for SPU, WWU, and CWU).
-Azusa Pacific narrowly beat Cal Baptist.
There’s also some other stuff of parity being implicated but it’s too circular to make it worth getting into because the teams are ranked; just know that it’s happening.
After that mess, here are the rankings:
7. MSU Moorhead
8. Western Oregon
15. Cal Baptist
16. Cal Poly Pomona
19. Chico State
22. Azusa Pacific
Receiving votes: Seattle Pacific (17), Alaska Anchorage (14), Humboldt State (1).
We’re ridiculously glad that APU is finally ranked, but… WHO THE HECK KEEPS RANKING CHICO STATE?!?!? Do you realize what we’re saying? Both teams have lost to SPU (one on the road, one at home) by roughly the same amount and yet we STILL think that APU deserves to be ranked ahead of Chico considering everything else. We’re also glad to see that Humboldt has been humbled. Everything else is pretty much status quo. With all of the parity, we’re keeping an eye on CU-Irvine and to an extent Dixie State and Dominican, but… It’s a mess. It’s a flat out mess, which is just as well.
We have all the numbers (yes: all the numbers) but we’re not sure what you guys want, so… If you’re here, you’re probably just as basketball-geeky as we are, so we’re going to give you all the numbers. Merry Christmas.
Please keep in mind: We sorted through every schedule of every opponent a west region team plays and we ONLY counted D2 opponents in these records because that’s how it should be. The number of schools that count wins against non D2 opponents is too darn high.
Hawaii Pacific (2-4)
Dominguez Hills (2-4)
Northwest Nazarene (2-4)
Central Washington (2-2)
They do have neutral site losses to Dixie State (4-4) and Dominican (5-3). Basically what this tells us is that UAF has ruled themselves out of at-large contention. Regional road wins are huge and there’s really no excuse for not picking some up if you want to be seriously considered to make the Tourney.
Current D2 Record: 5-2.
Current opponent record: 25-30
At-large bid potential: 0.
We like Fairbanks, love Bangaly and Travante and obviously Almir, and while we think they’re pretty secure in getting a bid to the conference tournament, they’re going to have to win it in order to get a berth in the Big Dance.
Hawaii Pacific (2-4)
Northwest Nazarene (2-4)
Central Washington (2-2)
Upper Iowa (5-8)
Current D2 Record: 5-3
Current Opponent Record: 33-38
At-large bid potential: 0.
Suki drives us nuts, we can just say that. He’s not quite the cancer of Dom Williams, but no coach would green light someone to regularly go 10-21 if they had any better options at all. We consider the Seawolves to be secure in their berth to the conference tournament, but they definitely need the auto-bid in order to become one of sixty-four.
Honestly the opponent record doesn’t even matter because SFU’s not going anywhere without the auto-bid and the odds of them even making the conference tournament are quickly approaching zero.
Colorado Springs (3-5)
Upper Iowa (5-8)
Current D2 record: 4-4
Opponent Record: 34-31
At-large potential: 0
We see their odds of making the conference tournament to be almost 100%. They got Evan Scholten back, he’s looked really good, the Vikings have the history. Do we see them getting the auto-bid? Too soon to say. But they will need it in order to go dancing.
We want to group SPU and WOU together, so the Falcons are being skipped right here, but you can find them farther down.
Hawaii Hilo (0-6)
Monterey Bay (3-6)
Current D2 record: 3-3
Opponent Record: 17-31
At-large potential: 0
Making the conference tournament? 50/50. We see their odds of making the dance as being incredibly small, but the Saints will keep improving and we’ll see where we stand after the first half of the conference round robin.
Black Hills State (2-4)
U of Mary (9-2)
Current D2 record: 3-6
Opponent Record: 45-31
At-large potential: 0
They have zero at-large potential, but they did challenge themselves thoroughly, there’s no denying that, it’s a great schedule, and had they come out on top they’d have every reason to think they were heading to the Dance provided they kept winning. As it is, they’re going to fight for a bid to the conference tournament and then try and use the experience they build in non-con to get that auto-bid and make it happen.
Current D2 record: 2-2
Opponent record: 15-14
At-large potential: 0
On the one hand, we really want to judge this CWU team, but then on the other hand we feel like we don’t have enough yet to make a pronouncement, and yet that in itself lends it to us making a pronouncement. The Wildcats returned almost everything and yet they scheduled themselves pathetically. They should be hoping they make the conference tournament, it’s far from a guarantee, and they missed out on getting two big road wins in Alaska -in both cases by a lot. Those games weren’t close. So we’ll see.
Current D2 record: 2-4
Opponent record: 25-26
At-large potential: 0
There’s really not much to be said. The Crusaders actually scheduled themselves pretty well but ultimately couldn’t do anything with it and then came really close to getting a few wins in Alaska but couldn’t do it. Hopefully they’ve seasoned themselves and with conference play they’ll turn around and at least make the conference tourney? Maybe. Not out of the realm of possibility.
The Cavaliers are cold porridge at this point. If they make the conference tourney it’ll be a miracle. They had a nice mix with MSUB and WOU being their first two conference opponents, but couldn’t get it done. They also had a good chance to learn from their first loss against CU-Irvine, but couldn’t do anything with it -in fact CU-Irvine did a lot with it, beating the Cavs by considerably more. It’s gonna be a rough year, but know that we’re in your corner Baby Bro.
Alright, now let’s talk about the realistic at-larges. And yes -they both are, which is GREAT news for everyone else.
Azusa Pacific (7-3)
East Bay (2-5)
Dixie State (4-5)
Chico State (7-2)
Azusa Pacific (7-3)
Current D2 record: 8-1
Opponent record: 36-35
At-large potential: high
We’re obsessed with the Falcons schedule, we’ll just say that straight up. We know it didn’t end up as quality as they were hoping it would, but they genuinely attempted to schedule really well and regardless as to how it worked out: they won. They have one loss to a 7-1 CU-Irvine team, they have road wins, they have a neutral win, they have home wins.
Their road win against WWU isn’t as quality as it might be but that game always has a lot of emotion and they came in and did what they needed to do, and it seems like it was good mental prep. Same with Azusa Pacific -there was potentially a lot of emotion riding on that game because Azusa, while a very different team this year, did make the Elite Eight last year. They got it done and did so convincingly. And that’s what we think regarding the tourney: It’s always a matter of winning, but this non-conference has indoctrinated this latest group of Falcons in what it takes to win and theoretically they’ll continue to make the statement that they know how throughout conference play.
Monterey Bay (3-6)
Point Loma (5-5)
Fresno Pacific (5-3)
ND de Namur (0-9)
Holy Names (2-7)
Current D2 record: 9-0
Opponent record: 27-45
At-large potential: high
We love this Western Oregon team because they’re coming in with a new-to-them coach and getting it done. New to them, because he’s new to the current crop of guys, but he is a Western Oregon guy -so he gets it. This schedule isn’t as ideal as it might be, but they got it done and decimated it as they should have and that UCSD road win means the world. That in itself is huge, especially because we really, really, really like that UCSD team -they’re our current CCAA obsession, if you follow us on twitter- and so we think that win is going to get more and more quality as the year progresses, which is huge huge HUGE.
We’re waiting for Julian Nichols, Jordan Wiley, and Devon Alexander to really click into gear because it still feels like they haven’t, but luckily… They have the big bad beast that is Andy to make them all look better. Aside from Alex Roth, we feel like we haven’t seen much out of the new guys, but SPU demonstrated last year that you only need four + a coach or two, in order to do pretty well, and we love Julian and Devon in particular so we think they’re going to ultimately be just fine.
From a realistic standpoint: If you’re not a WOU or SPU person, you should be hoping like heck that they win against everyone that isn’t you, because now what your team needs to focus on is simply making the conference tournament. We’ll get more into the wider west region picture (and the potential Regional host) tomorrow, but the quick version is that it’s a wash outside of a few schools. There will be a potential for the GNAC to be a three-bid league, but the only way that happens is if neither SPU nor WOU claims the auto-bid from the GNAC tournament.
We used to be in the camp that “Oh, we’d rather have more teams go, so it’s fine if our team doesn’t win the conference tournament,” but that was a very different time. While we see things getting back to where there were of a couple of teams not needing that auto-bid, after 2014 (one bid year) it just seems like too much of a risk. 2014 saw the Pac-West and CCAA both qualify an auto-bid only entrant, which semi-burst WWU’s bubble. Semi, because if you want to go dancing: WIN. That’s it. WIN.
The good news is: We might get the chance to return the bubble bursting favor this year. But the only way that happens is if WOU and SPU both win, win, win, so grit your teeth and become part of the Wolfpack/Falcon Faithful, and then come conference tournament time you can go back to hating the Falcons like normal. We get the feeling that there’s not nearly so much resentment toward the Wolves, and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t get it because… We hated attending SPU and hated being a part of their athletic department in particular. Good teachers, horrible students, toxic athletic department. Some of our most vivid memories of undergrad include waking up to find that we were throwing ourselves against the wall of our dorm room in hopes of knocking ourselves out cold so we would then have a legitimate excuse to not have to deal with our day.
So yes: We get the hate, we feel it much deeper than likely almost anyone reading this, but basketball over everything and right now you need to root like heck for SPU. The rest of the year you can hate them with our wholehearted approval.
Tomorrow: Discussing the West Region as a whole, potential host sites, etc.
The good news is that the Wolves procured what’s turning out to be the most quality win the GNAC has and will have procured this non-conference. The bad news is that Crusaders may have procured the worst D2 loss our conference will have this season.
Northwest Nazarene 57 @ Cal State LA 70
CSULA led the entire time. NNU dug themselves a hole early. For a while in the second half it looked like it was closing -the Golden Eagles kept sending Bouna to the line and Bouna was making all of them (GO B!!) and then they realized they better stop doing that and that was the closest the Crusaders ever got. The numbers from this game (outside of Bouna) were atrocious on so many levels. We’d started actually getting really excited about the Crusaders and yet… When shots weren’t falling, their defense wasn’t stepping up either. You can have an off-night shooting provided you take your defense all the more seriously. This was a really, really, really bad loss to pick up. CSULA was 0-7. The Crusaders had just beaten Dominican, on apparently what was an off night for the Penguins (overlook factor? potentially) and a good night for NNU. This was not that. This was two relatively evenly matched teams going at it and it did not turn out well for the GNAC.
Highlights: BOUNA!!!!! Full house consisting of 22 points, two boards, one assist, two steals, a block, four fouls and 11/12 on FTs. Off the bench Leeor Konenkov had seven boards and nine points. Those were the highlights. Yikes.
NNU has one more chance to prove their worth in non-conference and that is on Friday against a decent San Francisco State team, so… cross your fingers.
Western Oregon 67 @ UC San Diego 63
Could we be any more proud of WOU? Don’t think so. Honestly, this was a game of fouls. UCSD picked up a lot of really, really stupid ones and WOU did what good teams do and took advantage of it. That was the difference. There were a couple of non-calls that we thought a bit iffy, but… California. This weekend we watched a player get head-locked and horse collared simultaneously with no call, so… Go figure.
Highlights: Devon Alexander had a super game with 12 points, three boards, an assist, and two steals on great shooting; Alex Roth had 11 points and seven boards; Julian Nichols had 11 points; Jordan Wiley had five boards and 15 points; Andy Avgi had a super rough game but picked up four boards and four assists. Off the bench Janvier Alaby five points; and Tanner Omlid had six boards.
The thing about this game is that it happened so late we don’t think the polls will account for it, so unless teams ahead of them lost, WOU isn’t likely to see a bump in the rankings until next week at which point they probably should be bumped up. Last week we had noted that we didn’t necessarily agree with the Wolves ranking not because we don’t believe in them, but because they needed a signature win. This is a signature win. Good team, on the road, best player not playing well, still pulled it out. Awesome. Oddly enough though -we still thing UCSD should probably move up in the rankings, because they were 14th and lost to what is a really, really good WOU team by a mere four.
Simon Fraser @ Western Washington @ 7pm PST
What are we expecting out of this game? That is a very good question. We’re expecting WWU to win, but maybe not by the 25 or so that we’d usually expect. The closest SFU’s gotten to a D2 win is a loss by “7” (because fouling) to an exhausted SMU team that had gone toe-to-toe and lost by three to the Vikings two days earlier. Both teams come into this game very fresh and if the Clan can’t win in this scenario, we’re a little concerned. By that same token: If WWU can’t procure a win by 15+ in this scenario, what does that really mean for the Vikings? We’re not sure. As long as they win, it’s fine, and “as long as they win” is put with a modicum of neutrality because it really just comes down to the fact that they beat SMU and have a few non-conference wins whereas SFU doesn’t. Basically our conference is a bit of a mess, but that’s a discussion for a different day.
Tomorrow we’ll do POW noms and the announcement an hour later, and then Thursday’ll be our discussions post. As always: If you have something you want us to talk about, leave a comment or shout out on Twitter.
Good morning and happy Monday! Great Hawks victory yesterday, good couple of GNAC victories the day before… It’s gonna be a good week.
Northwest Nazarene @ Cal State LA @ 7pm PST
With a record of 0-7 against D2 competition including one loss already to the Crusaders, we’re gonna go ahead and pick NNU to win. However: We’re also going to call for NNU to beat the Golden Eagles more handily than the five points than they beat them by last time. NNU has exceeded all expectations and with great power comes great responsibility, so now we’re counting on NNU to step up their game. We’ll do a final GNAC prognostication on the 29th, but as of now it’s looking like a. things are a mess, and b. NNU is going to be much higher than they were in the pre-season. They really seemed to get a lot out of going up to the Alaska schools and have made tons of progress, so this should be a good game if you’re a Crusader fan.
Western Oregon @ UC San Diego @ 7pm
Game of the week, heck you could even call it the game of the month. #3 Western Oregon of the GNAC vs. #14 UC San Diego of the CCAA. Both are undefeated, both played Monterey Bay (WOU won by 12, UCSD won by 19), but we’re starting to lose our convictions regarding the transitive property of college basketball so we’re not sure how much it matters; that’ll be a discussion for later this week. Both are two really good teams and we have no idea who’s going to win.
As noted last week: We really like UCSD’s schedule, we think they’re very seasoned at this point. They have wins against then-10th ranked Colorado Mines, then-4th ranked Cal Baptist, and a Sonoma State team that’s proven to be solid. This win could be dynamite for the Tritons and with some luck, set us all up for a trip to San Diego. Still -much as we like UCSD, we’re also pretty fond of the Wolves. They return their awesome core, brought in a dynamite coaching staff, and their schedule, while not particularly challenging, has been good practice. WOU’s best win by far comes from the PLNU Sea Lions, also of San Diego, so hopefully they’re able to go in and get one more. It’ll be interesting to see how the Wolves will respond against a team that’ll theoretically truly test them, but… We’ve got faith that they’ll do what needs to be done.
Our plan is to watch both simultaneously for the most part, but likely we’ll end up watching more of the UCSD/WOU game. Good luck to both the Wolves and the Crusaders against the CCAA -looking forward to you guys bringing home a couple of Ws.
For a lot of these guys it’s the last game they’ll play before Thanksgiving and while the vast majority won’t get to go home… All have more than earned the right to celebrate. Congrats to Saint Martin’s and Northwest Nazarene for getting it done!! Hope you guys enjoyed the very well deserved wins.
Central Washington 95, BYU Hawaii 86
We’re not even sure what to say other than: We called it. Lots of good numbers. Pretty much the only bad number came via Naim Ladd and his 2-9 shooting. Other than that, great and fairly complete performance by the Wildcats, so good day.
Highlights: Joey Roppo finished with 20 points, going 6-9 on threes; Gary Jacobs grabbed seven boards, five assists, three steals, and two fouls on his way to 22 points; Joe Stroud added six boards and 13 points along with four fouls; Devin Matthews went 8-10 from the line and finished with 16 points. Good team effort from the Wildcats, getting these two wins are big, especially because it’s literally the only non-conference they play, so really it helps all GNAC teams in some minimal way.
MSU-Billings 82, Black Hills State 80
No clue what to say about this game. Black Hills went 10-19 last year with MSUB killing them 79-61, so going off of that this win is happy but still concerning. Are the MSUB Yellowjackets out of the woods yet? No. The monsters are not yet trees. They’re still monsters and MSUB scheduled themselves very well. Part of that could be teams overlooking them thinking “yeah, we’ll schedule MSUB” and then MSUB thinking of the overlook factor. We’re not sure.
The Jackets haven’t had Momir Gataric, so that could also be playing a big role because he was huge at the end of last year.
Highlights: Marc Matthews had 24 points, six boards, and two steals but all was negated by 5 turnovers; Emmanuel Johnson had 11 points; Jace Anderson had 13 points and four assists; Christian Evans had 17 points while playing a whopping 37 minutes. Off the bench Jordan Perry had 11 points.
Northwest Nazarene 80, CSU-Los Angeles 75
The Crusaders overcame some disastrously selfish shooting and nasty turnovers to ultimately win the game. CSULA is generally speaking not a good team, so we’ll cover this in the discussions post this week, but for conference basement dwellers you basically have two options: Schedule good teams and hope you get good transfers and upset them, or schedule similarly placed teams and hope that it gets you experience and leads you to upsetting conference teams. This is the latter of those two options, we’ll see if it pays off.
Highlights: Joel Devastey had five boards; Bouna N’Diaye had 12 points; Gonzo Santana had four assists; Detwon Rogers had seven boards and 15 points; Mike Wright had 28 points and eight assists with just two turnovers. Off the bench Pol Olivier had three assists; and Kyle Bailey had five boards and eight points.
Seattle Pacific 86, Hawaii Hilo 73
Score ultimately ended up closer than what the game was. Had the huge potential for a let-down and they overcame it. They had Mitch Penner back, but still no Brendan Carroll. The Falcons went 2-2 on this weekend and hopefully it helped prepare them for next weekend because their schedule is brutal from here on out.
Highlights: BRYCE LEAVITT had a full house on good to great shooting finishing with 21 points, four assists, eight rebounds, a block, a steal, and two fouls; Garrett Swanson had seven boards, four fouls, and 16 points; Will Parker had two assists and three steals. Off the bench Mitch Penner had 17 points on 9-11 free throw shooting. Again, congrats to the Falcons for avoiding the let down.
CSU-Dominguez Hills 81, Alaska-Anchorage 78
There were a number of good things about this game and a number of bad things. The bad things largely fell into the fact that both Suki and Diante weren’t shooting well and ultimately the Seawolves (still without Brian McGill) couldn’t overcome it. The good was that there were few turnovers. Another bad thing was that there was very little defense.
Highlights: Corey Hammell had a double double with 10 boards and 17 points; Suki had nine assists and six boards while playing 40 minutes and shooting terribly; Spencer Svejcar had five boards, four assists, and 20 points. Off the bench Christian Leckband had five points and four boards, along with three blocks. The Seawolves were super close to getting it done and ultimately just couldn’t, but hopefully a good learning loss.
Colorado Christian 89, Simon Fraser 79
Another day, another learning experience. Some positively horrifying turnover issues. There were still plenty of good moments though and again: non conference is all about building experience. Colorado Christian is a good RMAC team.
Highlights: Max Barkeley had 22 points and just ONE turnover; Michael Harper had a full house including 15 points, but none of it really matters because he had seven turnovers; JJ Pankratz also had a full house including eight boards, eight points, three assists, and four blocks. Off the bench Oshea Gairey had fourteen points, although four turnovers. Pretty much it. Defense would have been nice. The good news is SFU is making progress, so… more to come.
Saint Martin’s 90, CSU-Monterey Bay 85
Good win for the Saints, super proud of them. Learning how to win is part of the process and they’re in the midst of a massive rebuild, so really good to see. Lots of super good numbers, but not very much defense. Still, a win is a win, and… Shooting 90% as a team on free throws can make us forgive you for a lot.
Highlights: Cole Preston played a whopping 40 minutes and finished with 19 points and five assists; Tyler Copp had 14 points; Jordan Kitchen had a full house including 10 points and two blocks in just 23 minutes;. Off the bench Rhett Baerlocher added four boards and four points.
Overall, a pretty good day for the GNAC. With SFU and UAA -all we ask is that you learned a lot from your losses. Granted, we also ask that of the winning teams -there’s always TONS of room for improvement. So glad to finally have Andy Avgi back, other players we hope to see again soon include: Almir Hadzisehovic, Brian McGill, Brendan Carroll, Trey Ingram, and
Stay warm and hydrated. Player of the week nominations will be up tomorrow at 10am with the winner up at 11.
Last year we did an absolute TON about the non-conference schedule. This year because so few guys are coming back and we really don’t know what to expect out of our own conference there’s not nearly as much, BUT we will go through some of the stuff here and discuss what we like and don’t like. Hint: We don’t like weak non-conference opponents & non-west region games.
- Alaska Anchorage @ Cal Baptist.
- WOU vs. Point Loma -not a tourney team, but close.
- Seattle Pacific @ Dixie State.
- Western Washington vs. BYU-Hawaii
- Seattle Pacific vs. BYU-Hawaii
- Seattle Pacific vs. Azusa Pacific
- Seattle Pacific @ Chico State
Here’s the sitch as to why that list so heavily favors the Falcons: SPU plays four tournament teams. SPU was a tournament team. Yes, they lost almost everything, BUT much as we don’t talk about it: their roster isn’t unrecognizable.
The games that are highlighted are games that are going to tell us things. If Anchorage keeps it close against CBU or beats them, that could be really good. If WOU beats the pants off of Point Loma, again, good. All of the BYUH games are big.
Here’s the break down of each school and their West Region opponents:
Cal State Dominguez Hills
Not a bad schedule. Should be pretty interesting, they should be able to at least be in every game and win 2-3 of them.
Cal State Dominguez Hills
This is gonna be a bit of a challenge. Only Dominguez Hills is gonna be a gimme on that schedule, so… we’ll see what they do. It’ll be great to compare the Seawolves performance against CBU vs. CU-Portland’s. Hawaii Pacific is another great comparison school.
@ CSU Monterey Bay
Disappointing. It’s hard to say that we don’t expect them to lose. It’ll be great if they can get a win, but if they can’t, well, it’s SFU.
So unappetizing. They do play a couple of other D2 opponents that aren’t west region, but… eh. The BYU-Hawaii game is going to be full of intrigue. Both games are completely winnable, so… We shall see. It doesn’t do our conference any favors, that’s for sure. We need WWU to start playing in more in-region and fewer cupcakes, especially now that SOS is officially being considered for bids.
Cal State East Bay
Pretty near perfect. It’s entirely chock full of West Region teams, lots of ways to test themselves before conference play, it might not always be ideal results but they’re gonna learn from it and be that much stronger than they would be playing cupcakes. This schedule is designed to show them who they are and figure out how to make their weaknesses strengths; the only guarantee we see is East Bay. If they can somehow miraculously win five of these games… it’ll help everyone, conference wide. Good luck Falcons, we believe in you.
Good schedule considering it’s a new coaching staff and some young but good guys. It should test them and teach them and give us a fair bit of information. Like the match-ups because it should bend but not break them; the games should be close, although no predicting who’ll win.
SPU + MSUB = FOREVER. Though far more brutal on the side of the Yellowjackets. Chico State, Dixie State, Azusa, heck even Dominican? Yikes. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Jackets go 0-4. That’s okay, it won’t be the end of the world for our conference, no one is really expecting MSUB to be super good, so if they pull a couple of upsets it’s great, but if they don’t it’s par for the course.
Not digging this. Kind of a lose-lose. If they win both, it’s only two games. If they lose both, it’s a big yikes. If they split winning against BYU-H and losing to Hawaii Hilo everyone’s gonna cringe, and if they beat Hawaii Hilo and lose to BYUH it’s just par for the course.
San Francisco State
Yikes. That’s pretty much NNU in a nutshell until we see otherwise. With Alex and Erik this schedule would be doable and teach them a lot. Without those two… It honestly doesn’t matter who they play. At least they’re gonna lose against mediocrity so it won’t make the other conferences look extra good?
They’re trying to make the Concordias rivals, which is kind of stupid honestly. Dixie State and Cal Baptist will probably brutalize them, so hopefully they can win against their sibling. Their non-con is mostly NAIA, which makes sense and isn’t the worst thing this year because the big problem is they just can’t prepare because regardless of whom they play: they don’t return enough. So we’ll see. They could do really well. You never know.
CSU Monterey Bay
Notre Dame de Namur
Ewww. C’mon WOU, you knew you were going to be better than that and this isn’t going to teach you anything. It’s also not doing our conference any favors, much less yourselves. You want to compete for an at-large NCAA bid? Prove your strength of schedule. SPU does that -you don’t. Heck, Anchorage does that. MSUB does that. If you’re counting on an at-large bid -you just made it that much more difficult for you AND all ten other conference teams. If SOS was being counted last year… Iffy. Your entire schedule would have rested on a win against Dixie, a couple of close losses to APU & Point Loma, a quality-ish loss to SPU on the road, and then a 2OT win against the Falcons at home.
That’s what we’re thinking. Excited to dive in.