All in one convenient location with listed seedings. Going up an hour (or two) before the Discussions post, just ’cause.
The CCAA played their first round last night because they have eight teams in play. The bold teams won. Right now these are just the seeds, but we’ll put up what the brackets ended up as on Saturday night.
1. Chico State
2. UC San Diego
3. Cal Poly Pomona
4. Humboldt State
5. Monterey Bay
6. San Fran State
7. Sonoma State
8. Cal State LA
So yup, Chico State is out of contention for the auto-bid. We’re not worried; our CCAA counterpart is. When SPU gets bounced in the first round of the GNAC tourney he can watch us freakout while he sits there and goes “You guys are fine.”
1. Azusa Pacific
2. Dixie State
3. Cal Baptist
4. Hawaii Pacific
APU and Dixie both have a first round BYE.
1. Western Oregon
4. Seattle Pacific
5. Central Washington
6. Western Washington
WOU and UAF both have a first round BYE.
Games start on Thursday. The CCAA games continue on Friday. By Sunday night we’ll know who’s going to Monmouth.
HOOOOLY GUACAMOLE. We’re proud of and stunned over the vast majority of the West Region right now because there were SO many close games being played today. Teams were playing up, teams were playing down, and battles were being had up and down the entirety of the west coast (including up in Alaska and out in Hawaii) and WOW.
So let’s talk about it. Here are all of the games that came down to a possession-ish:
Seattle Pacific 74 @ Alaska-Anchorage 71
Northwest Nazarene 70 @ Concordia-Portland 72
MSU-Billings 76 @ Simon Fraser 72
Fresno Pacific 94 @ Azusa Pacific 90
Hawaii Hilo 80 @ ND de Namur 82
BYU Hawaii 87 @ Point Loma 71 -not a close game, but a big upset
Hawaii Pacific 63 @ Dixie State 84 -also not a close game, but a surprising blowout
Cal Baptist 81 @ Concordia-Irvine 82
San Bernardino State 92 @ Humboldt State 93
Sonoma State 65 @ Dominguez Hills 88 -unexpected blowout, although we’ve been preaching DH since mid-November.
UC San Diego 41 @ Cal Poly Pomona 35 -meditate on this; we’re still confused and are going to end up re-watching it closely.
San Fran State 49 @ Cal State LA 63 -huge upset.
The CCAA Friday night games are what make some of those results particularly interesting. You see: Friday night was normal. Sonoma beat CSULA and San Fran State beat DH, both with roughly 10 point margins.
Records of potential conference tournament-bound teams:
Overall while the GNAC is experiencing chaos and parity, there also is separation. The CCAA, there are seven teams competing for theoretically six bids and it’s going to be a bit chaos-y, but not anywhere close to as nuts as the Pac-West. The Pac-West is a full on glorious mess. Think Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off food fight mess; yes, that good.
We’ve been following the Pac-West but hadn’t looked at the standings and now that we have… We’re aware of just how nuts they truly are: Nine teams are .500 or above in conference and Fresno Pacific is a mere two games out, with two games against 2-10 ND de Namur and a game against 2-11 HNU still to play. Granted, the rest of FPU’s schedule is terrifying, but they upset Azusa tonight AT Azusa, so… Maybe not as undoable as it looked yesterday?
With the GNAC… UAF, UAA, WWU, SPU, CWU, and WOU (in our usual blog order) are all pretty locked into their spots in the conference tournament. While we fully expect 0-12 SFU to beat someone (even someone in the top six) we still don’t expect it to undo the standings. We’re through just over half of conference play and because each pair is represented once in the top six (except the Alaskas, who are both in there) it should be fairly maintainable for all six teams.
As for the CCAA, it’ll get dicey but UCSD, Chico State, and Cal Poly Pomona can probably feel safe about their conference tournament bids. The other four it’s going to be nuts and that’s all we can say. We may be talking about another team here in the coming weeks, it all depends.
The region motto this year might as well be “Expect the unexpected,” and thus the seatbelt sign remains on. We’ve had two games in the second half of conference play and would like to remind you that seatbelts need to remain fastened until conference play comes to a full and complete stop.
What are we thinking in regard to the West Region? Who. The. Falcon. Knows.
Not them. Not the Falcons. That’s just our latest rated ‘R’ term gone ‘G.’
Here’s a west region prognostication maybe with a little bit of seeding but kinda sorta maybe not really who knows. It’s so much chaos it seems ludicrous to make a list like this, particularly with seeding, but… Here we go:
1. Western Oregon -best record, holds the tiebreaker over UCSD and it was great because it was a road win.
2. UC San Diego -great team, think they’re amazing, very solid CCAA resume.
3. CU-Irvine -we’ve liked them since they beat SPU in the first game of the year and continue to believe in them.
4. Seattle Pacific -We’d rather stick Anchorage here, but SOS counts this year and the Falcons undeniably have it.
5. Cal Baptist -another nod because of SOS with Moorhead, but we’re really not sure how we feel placing them here.
6. Chico State -their only SOS continues to be their losses to the Falcons and Cal Poly Pomona by 10 points a piece. They’re a good team, but the game at UCSD on the 12th looms rather large.
7. Alaska-Anchorage -We want them higher, but their biggest win was at SPU a month ago and the Falcons just beat them. Aside from that, they lack a quality road win because their wins against Chaminade and Hawaii Pacific were at home.
8. Azusa Pacific -Between them and BYU-Hawaii it’s not close because BYU-H’s non-conference was a mess while APU’s was quality, plus BYU-H really hasn’t had too bad of a conference schedule so far and it’s about to get brutal.
Shockingly we feel kind of comfortable with that. We don’t think it’s right in the slightest, but we feel like it’s well-reasoned at the very least, which is kind of the best you can go for right now. This is all theoretical physics, basketball edition.
Alright. Now we’re off to go write the GNAC Recaps and maybe start on some of the math for POW stuff because we like doing it by hand rather than letting a program do it for us. Statistics are good therapy, which… With this region, we need it. We need a way to let our brain relax with formulas that are consistent.
Have a great night, thanks for coming on the ride with us, it’s far from over, and for the non-GNAC, West Region people: We’ll catch-up with you on Wednesday for some discussions about national rankings.
Ha, and we’re late again. Still, it’s just our usual discussions post, including the results of the Tuesday night game.
WWU 104 @ SFU 60
WESTERN WASHINGTON FINALLY PLAYED DEFENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles. Granted it was against 0 and whatever SFU, but still. Defense existed. Now the Vikings just need to translate it to other teams, MSUB being the first of them. While it was in fact kind of an iffy game for the Clan, they did one thing very well: Free throws. 80%. Very solid, good job Clansmen.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had seven assists and 13 points; Kyle Impero had six boards and three assists; Trey Drechsel continues to impress with 10 boards and six assists; BLAKE BOWEN ACTUALLY FUNCTIONED!!!!!!!! And functioned incredibly well, coming out like whoa: six boards and 24 points; Jeffrey Parker had 13 points. Off the bench Brad Wallace had 10 points; Colby Mitchell had 11 points; and Blake Fernandez had 11 points as well.
Clan highlights: Oshea Gairey went 7/8 from the line; Michael Harper had 12 points; JJ Pankratz had an impressive game with a full house, eight boards and 12 points; Tyrell Lewin had 11 points; and off the bench Graham Smith grabbed four boards.
We’re happy times like 12 million to see the Vikings act like the Vikings we know and love. It was cool to see Blake Fernandez get in the game. With the Clan the big question is where did Gibran go? He’d been having some really good games and then didn’t start this one, so… The flu hit late this year, hopefully that was it? Great game to both teams.
Checking in with the Pac-West, we find some chaos:
Hawaii Pacific beat Cal Baptist
Hawaii Hilo beat Hawaii Pacific
Cal Baptist scraped by BYU-H by four
Dominican beat Azusa Pacific
Cal Baptist got past Hawaii Hilo
So much for Cal Baptist being the clear leader in the west region.
Checking in with the CCAA: their chaos has abated a bit, but it was because opportunity didn’t per say present itself; Cal Poly Pomona beat Humboldt by seven or eight, Monterey Bay beat East Bay. Nothing surprising, nothing alarming for the losing teams either though.
This week’s rankings are a douzy. The rest of the country has apparently entered chaos too or we’re better than I’m giving us credit for (that would be nice, booo cynical blogger) and so… Here we go. Promise these are real:
3. MSU Moorhead
4. Western Oregon -we like it; they got two big wins against the Alaska schools and the Alaska schools are still looking really good.
12. UC San Diego -yup.
13. Cal Poly Pomona -yup.
16. Chico State -sure.
19. Azusa Pacific -yup, although inevitably they’ll drop because Dominican has that nasty loss to NNU.
23. Cal Baptist -this might be too far of a plunge considering the other chaos
26. Seattle Pacific -we’re sooo torn. They play the Alaska schools in Alaska
Yes, we included SPU at 26 because why not. We hadn’t wanted them ranked and then the other regions got a good dose of chaos and now we’re looking at them going “Well, they do have wins against APU and Chico as well as an OT loss to WOU, which is better than what UCSD has against them, so hmmm…”
Other GNAC teams receiving votes: Alaska-Anchorage 6.
Alaska-Anchorage… Seawolves, Seawolves, Seawolves. Part of us is like “Eh, they have that win against SPU, throw them in the rankings.” The other part of is going “They didn’t do anything in non-conference and every other currently ranked west region team did.” There’s also the side that every other currently ranked West region team has a conference loss to an opponent they shouldn’t have necessarily lost to. This means that instead of being good for Anchorage, it looks far more excusable for Seattle Pacific. And Anchorage is a good team -we’re not doubting that at all, but in a space with so few spots, are they top 25? That’s the question. Do they match others? Right now we’re back to looking at non-conference and the answer is ‘no.’ We don’t know what we think in regard to it being possible, even if they were to beat the Falcons this weekend (and if we’re honest: we wholly expect them to).
Finally, here is a west region prognostication that we’re going to throw up but… Who knows, really? These are just eight teams.
Cal Poly Pomona
UC San Diego
Why did we exclude SPU? Because we hate them. Duh. No. It’s because they need to get past these Alaska games and then we’ll see. Until they do that, Alaska-Anchorage gets the nod over them because of the head-to-head. We’ll talk more about it tomorrow, because we’re side-eyeing ourselves going “You left the Falcons out and put in Humboldt? You’re an idiot.” But we’ll talk more about why tomorrow.
Yes it’s brief. Tomorrow’ll be a game day preview and then another discussions post regarding what we’re thinking about the conference standings, what various vague pronouncements we make mean, and that sort of thing.
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.
And the GNAC sweeps the day!
As noted: We really like(d) the team the Penguins (that is Dominican) had been putting forth and then… The Crusaders go and procure some strength of schedule!! Being wrong has never been so right. Actually, it was last year when we were wrong then about NNU too, so… We’re comfortable with being wrong in situations like this.
Dominican 81 @ Northwest Nazarene 88 in OT
Really, really good game. Tons of back and forth. Both teams ended up with 44 rebounds a piece, with DU holding just a slight edge in terms of turnovers; the Crusaders had 11 vs. the Penguins 9. Still, NNU pulled it out and we could not be more proud of them.
Highlights: Joel Devastey had five boards and 15 points; BOUNA had NINE BOARDS, THREE ASSISTS, one steal, SIX BLOCKS, three fouls, and 17 points for the full house; Nikola Pruvulj had five boards and 14 points; Detwon Rogers had five boards; Mike Wright played 44 out of 45 minutes (ouch), had five boards, six assists, and a whopping 26 points on not bad shooting. Off the bench: Marko Lepovic had four points and four boards.
Honestly, we didn’t get to watch this game -we simply followed along with the stats, but from what we gather NNU played some of their best defense. There was a good bit of questionable shooting on behalf of Dominican. While it’s a great victory to get and it definitely starts pushing the Crusaders into the conversation of 5-7 in the GNAC, the fact is we lean toward it saying more about Dominican than it does about NNU. It’s good to see that the Crusaders learned from their Alaskan expedition, but now let’s see them pummel CSULA.
Azusa Pacific 54 @ Seattle Pacific 71
SPU led by 14 or so throughout most of it. They started off with a 9-0 run, which was cool. They got more bench rotation than anyone anticipated, but it was such a highly anticipated game that they still didn’t want to rotate too much. Maybe the biggest parts of this game is to take a look at the Falcons’ defense and the Cougars’ ability to rebound. The Falcons missed a lot of them, which in a sense makes sense. If it had been closer, we feel like SPU would have been a bit more tenacious at the boards but because they led by 10+ for the vast majority maybe it didn’t seem as pressing. So that tells you that APU put forth a great effort, but SPU keeps chugging along.
Highlights: Bryce Leavitt had seven boards and 11 points; Gilles Dierickx had eight boards, four blocks, and 19 points; Mitch Penner had five boards and 16 points; Garrett Swanson had eight points. Off the bench Nathan Streufert had six points on 3/3 shooting; and Joe Rasmussen threw his weight around picking up four fouls in 12 minutes.
Overall a great day of basketball for the GNAC. Congrats to both the Falcons and Crusaders on a couple of well-earned victories over quality Pac-West foes.
Game day previews will be up tomorrow for NNU/CSULA and WOU/UCSD, and then we’ll go ahead and probably do POW on Wednesday because SFU, WWU, SPU, MSUB, and WOU all play a mere one D2 opponent this week and so it seems fair enough. With NNU, we’ll figure something out; whether it’s averages or just the best game is yet to be decided.
Because you totally care about this after watching the Warriors/Celtics game. Hoooly guacamole, that was incredible. And some good northwest guys; Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, Klay Thompson (although Klay was injured).
Still… We’ve gotta talk about MSUB, right?
Azusa Pacific 82 vs. MSU-Billings 64
It looks like exactly what we expected, but it sort of wasn’t? Almost? MSUB hung around for a good long time in the first half. APU would start slacking, MSUB would step on the gas and get close, APU would go again before slacking off, then MSUB would take the reigns. Then the Cougars of APU figured out that they needed to simply play good basketball and their good basketball won over MSUB’s valiant effort. So largely it was exactly what we expected, but it was still interesting to see that Pac-West teams are fading and letting people hang around.
Highlights: Jace Anderson had 12 points, Christian Evans had five boards. Off the bench: Preston Beverley had nine points and five boards. Were there other guys that scored? Yes. But their shooting percentages were so bad that they’re not worth a mention.
We’re sure MSUB is relieved to be playing NAIA Northwest, although… Maybe not. They put up a heck of a fight against SPU. We flipped between that game and the Dubs game and honestly it was bordering on a straight-up disaster there for a while. If the guys from Northwest didn’t exhaust themselves too much, tomorrow could be a good chance for them to upset.
Alright, on with today’s games:
Dominican @ Northwest Nazarene @ 1pm PST
We’ve really liked what we’ve seen out of the Penguins thus far and yet NNU held their own pretty well against the Alaska schools, so while we feel like it could be closer than we would have projected before the season, we still expect Dominican to lay the smack down -although obviously won’t be unhappy if we turn out to be wrong.
Azusa Pacific @ Seattle Pacific @ 7pm PST
One of the marquee non-con games on the schedule for all 11 teams, much less the Falcons. If you recall from the discussions post: Azusa Pacific isn’t currently ranked, although we think they should be. It should be a really good game. Last night Azusa was attempting to take MSUB not as seriously as they might and as noted: MSUB would creep back up. Seattle Pacific played an NAIA school and decided to try and rest their starters and it didn’t work out very well, although no doubt got the underclassmen some experience, so both of these teams are definitely anticipating each other and we’ll see what happens.
Nightlights? Maybe. Always a possibility. Otherwise we’ll see you tomorrow at 11am.
OUR FIRST ACTUAL WEDNESDAY DISCUSSION POST IN FOREVER! Nutso November; wait eleven months for it, wonder for four weeks why the heck we missed it, get done and inevitably within a week go “that was so much fun! Why can’t it be like that all the time?” Because everyone would die and that would be bad.
WOU 92 @ CU-Portland 58
Pretty typical result. Pretty sure the closest CU-Portland ever legitimately got was 13 points. There was a spot there when the Wolves had four and the Cavaliers had three that was a bit interesting, but the next thing we knew it was 16-3 favoring WOU. Good news for the conference. We’ll talk about that more later.
CU-Portland highlights: Latrell Wilson had 23 points on decent shooting; Tyler Gutierrez had 10 points. Off the bench Daniel Duitsman had six points; Riley Hawken added 5; James Phillips another five points. Pretty much it.
Western Oregon highlights: Andy Avgi had 27 points and six boards; Jordan Wiley had 21 points; Alex Roth had nine boards; Devon Alexander had five assists. Off the bench Kadeem Strickland had 13 points, five assists, and three steals; JJ Chirnside had six points; and Tanner Omlid had five points and five boards.
Overall a pretty ho-hum game. Congrats to the Wolves on getting it done, just as we knew they could.
Strength of Schedule Stuff?
Last night we posted a tweet saying we hoped Western Oregon would win by 40 and that any team with legitimate tournament aspirations should hope the same. Why? Because We’re going to get real here: CU-Portland’s chances of making the conference tournament aren’t particularly high with what they’ve demonstrated in non-conference. We’ve kind of been skimming how the conference has collectively been doing against the Pac-West and CCAA and the good news is, it isn’t horrible. We’re at about .500 in regard to the Pac-West and .500 in regard to the CCAA. The problem with those numbers is that very few of the teams that we won against have winning records. Some of that is intentional, some not. The Hawaii schools were anticipated to be better, as was Dixie State; that’s a huge chunk of GNAC vs. Pac-West. With the CCAA, less so? For the most part the CCAA schools have been pretty much as expected, although we are excited about Monterey Bay sitting at 5-1; go Otters.
You can now dunk in warm-ups without picking up a technical?
Yes, and we’ll reveal something personal about ourselves: We’re white. We can jump out of the gym. We love dunking, think it’s great, had the privilege of witnessing both Nate Rob and Terrance Ross during their respective collegiate careers, however: In our lives, there was no devastation if one went down. There’s a story that floats around about once upon a time when some deep bench dwellers decided to dunk during tertiary warm-ups. Not thrilled about it, but okay, whatever, one of them tears an ACL, big whoop. Then a starter got in on it. A chronically injured starter. There is no point risking a season dunking during warm-ups. None. There are too many bad ways to come down and plenty of other, safer ways to get your plyometrics on. For those that choose to dunk during warm-ups: Good luck with those knee injuries.
Are a complete and total mess, still. Lots of West Region teams are ranked and it’s so complicated we’re just gonna go in order:
- 4th = Western Oregon: No losses, but their only good win is at home against Point Loma.
- 5th = Cal Poly Pomona: No losses, good road wins against PLNU and Azusa.
- 10th = Cal Baptist; agree-ish. They have one loss, but it’s against 22nd ranked UCSD.
- 16th = Seattle Pacific; agree-ish. Good win against Chico; only loss was against 5 and 1 CU-Irvine in OT on a neutral court.
- 22nd = UCSD; disagree. Undefeated with good wins against 18th ranked Colorado School of Mines and 10th ranked Cal Baptist.
- 23rd = Chico State; disagree. They fell a bit too far. While SPU’s loss against CU-I doesn’t look great, SPU is still ranked 16th.
Other west region teams receiving votes:
- CWU received 7; meh -two wins on what’s essentially home-court against two non-ranked teams.
- Western Washington received 6; meh -three losses, two against non-ranked teams.
- Azusa Pacific 4; total and complete BS. They have one loss and it was against Cal Poly Pomona. While the Cougars haven’t really played anybody, neither has WOU and they’re ranked 4th. APU beat the Wolves in March, APU’s made the tourney two straight years, and quite frankly: they deserve a bigger benefit of the doubt.
We saw that the SIDs put out a ranking. We’re really tempted to do one ourselves, but we’ll hold out for the December dead period. Basically there’s a lot of parity and ultimately the CCAA seems to come out on top. Here’s what teams we’re impressed with so far in relatively no particular order: Azusa Pacific, Cal Baptist, Cal Poly Pomona, Chico State, Dominican, Point Loma, Seattle Pacific, Sonoma State, UCSD, and Western Oregon. Out of ten teams, that’s four from the Pac-West, two from the GNAC, and four from the CCAA -pretty balanced, which is cool. The big problem right now is that the RPI of the GNAC is terrible; the vast majority of the wins come against teams in those conferences with losing records.
Of course, it’s December. We’re not sure how much the list above is going to hold up. We know UAF, UAA, WWU, and CWU are all jumping at the bit to be in that conversation, so we’ll see how that plays out. Dixie State, is of course a team that’s usually solid so we’ll see about them. There should be at least one somewhat okay (or good) Hawaii school, eventually, this year. CCAA-wise San Fran State is still undefeated with the wins coming against D2 competition. Humboldt is undefeated but largely hasn’t played anyone but NAIA schools, so 50/50 on that. Part of it is just where they play -much like MSUB is surrounded by the Frontier Conference, the Jacks are surrounded by the Cal Pac and Cascade conference, and you want to be on good terms with those schools even if it doesn’t help you as much as it could.
Tomorrow is the first BIG day of conference play and previews’ll be up mid-morning per usual.
It was a rough day. Two Pac-West teams collapsed down the stretch and the GNAC failed to take advantage of it. CU-PDX is having some growing pains. WOU and SPU played a couple of ugly games, but at least got it done.
Dominican 74 vs. Alaska-Fairbanks 69
The good news is that this game was ultimately as evenly matched as we thought it would be. The bad news is the GNAC did not come out on top and this one hurts and hurts big because it wasn’t an actual road game; it was a neutral site and Dominican was collapsing down the stretch and UAF did nothing. While getting a win at UAF will always be seen as quality, this loss diminishes the strength of what a win against UAF means at home, and that is bad for all GNAC teams -UAF most definitely included.
Highlights: Bengaly Kaba had nine boards and nine points; Joe Slocum had a full house consisting of five boards, three assists, two steals, one block, four fouls, and 10 points; Trevante Williams had four assists, two steals, and 18 points; Almir had five boards, two assists, and 11 points. Off the bench Brandon Davis was again providing quality minutes with five boards, three assists, and 16 points.
No truly horrible numbers from a team standpoint, although there were some bad numbers from various people, but… We won’t get into that. You know you who are.
Cal State East Bay 57, Seattle Pacific 71
Don’t let the score fool you -this game was garbage. It had the potential to be a let down game and 100% was. It’s good to see the Falcons get this win rather than giving it up ala their loss to Concordia Irvine, but at the same time we’re really not happy with it because it was so sloppy.
Highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a full house with seven boards, five assists, two steals, two blocks, four fouls, and 11 points; Mitch Penner had a full house with seven boards, two assists, a steal, two blocks, three fouls, and 24 points. Off the bench Sam Simpson had nine points and Nathan Streufert had 14 points and four boards.
Concordia Irvine 97, Concordia Portland 78
Not as bad as yesterday, but much worse than they did against CU-Irvine previously. Sad moment to realize that they weren’t fired up to get a redemption victory. Oh well.
Highlights: Drew Martin had 18 points; Davis Nuami had six assists, two steals, and 10 points; Latrell Wilson had 17 points; Tyler Gutierrez had 13 points. Off the bench Jarrett Gray had seven points and three boards.
The team finished with a whopping 20 turnovers, which will never be a recipe for success. Concordia-Irvine was NAIA D1, whereas Concordia-Portland was NAIA D2, so… You could make an argument that it makes sense that CU-I is having an easier time, except that’s BS because there’s this thing called recruiting, and it can be pretty cool if you do it right. C’mon CU-PDX, you can do this, we believe in you.
Dixie State 75, MSU-Billings 72
SO. MUCH. RAGE. Really MSUB, really? You couldn’t get this freaking win even though Dixie State was doing everything in their power to hand it to you? We mentioned Dominican collapsing down the stretch… Dixie was literally trying to vomit this win on top of you and you couldn’t do it even at home. Shame on you.
Highlights: Marc Matthews had 22 points; Emmanuel Johnson had eight boards and seven points; Christian Evans had seven boards and 12 points. Off the bench Jordan Perry had another really good game finishing with seven boards, three assists, and fourteen points.
Let’s hope you learned your lesson and will now take advantage of teams properly when they attempt to gift you a win. Got it? Good. Glad we could have this talk, Yellowjackets.
Holy Names 75, Western Oregon 84
Another let down game, although how you play a let down game when you played Monterey Bay we’ll never figure out, but go figure. Call it playing down to the competition, WOU did just that.
Highlights: Devon Alexander had a full house with seven boards, one assist, three steals, one block, three fouls, and eight points (on less than stellar shooting); Julian Nichols had six boards, six assists, two steals, three fouls, and 16 points; Andy Avgi had a great game grabbing five boards, one assist, three steals, and 29 points, while shooting 80% on 10 FTs. Off the bench Kadeem Strickland grabbed four assists and a steal, while JJ Chirnside had five points and three boards.
We wouldn’t call this a good day for the Wolves considering the team they were facing was 1-6, but they got it done and that’s exactly what good teams do, so onward.
Because SFU is in fact playing two D2 games this week, just today and tomorrow, we’re gonna go ahead and postpone the POW nominations and announcement until Tuesday. Tomorrow we’ll check in with the D2 non-conference schedule and discuss what we know so far. Yes, SFU will play a game tomorrow as well, but that’s easy to modify when they win 😉
The WWU & SFU game previews will be up in an hour.
Yeah, all of this stuff is up late -yesterday was kind of a big deal in our world because we were at Apple Cup all day and then got to go home, obsess about, and then freak out through the Chico State/SPU game. Exhaustion would be a good word for what’s going on.
UAF vs. Dominican @ MSUB @ 2pm PST.
Game of the day. This should be a really good game. Dominican is all pumped after a good win against MSUB, UAF is all mad after a loss to Dixie State, both teams feel that it’s well within reach to be bound for the tournament, and a win would be valuable for both programs. UAF really needs to clamp down on their shooting and take smart shots rather than any shots available. We want to see movement. Glad this game is being broadcast out of MSUB -not sure if we’ll get commentary, but it should be noted that in terms of the GNAC the MSUB commentators are by far our favorites.
Concordia-Irvine vs. Concordia-Portland
Second match-up of these two teams. Would love it for CU-PDX to have a bounce back game and say “Hey, we only lost to these guys by 10 last time, we can do it this time,” but… Losing by 30 in the manner that they did is just a bit demoralizing, so… We doubt it. But we’ll see.
Holy Names vs. Western Oregon @ ND de Namur
Can’t spell slaughter without laughter and WOU should be laughing all the way home.
Cal State East Bay vs. Seattle Pacific @ Chico State
Beware of the let down game. We think SPU is going to get it done, they should get it done, but last night’s game was exhausting and so it wouldn’t surprise us if CSU-East Bay hangs around for a while. Ideally that doesn’t happen, but we shall see. Hopefully it doesn’t turn into a “youth moment” for the Falcons of losing yet another game that should have been won, but… We’re pretty wary.
Dixie State @ MSU-Billings
Could be interesting. Dixie didn’t shoot particularly well last night so they’re going to want to bounce back. It seems unlikely that MSUB would procure a win against Dixie after losing by a lot to Dominican, so… Not betting on that. Should be a good win for the Rebels, but as always we’ll be crossing our fingers for the GNAC upset.
It’s going up late so we’re just gonna jump right in:
Dixie State 71, Alaska-Fairbanks 58
Joe Slocum needs to be benched. We’re kind of fed up and done with him at this point because we expected an extra year would do him a solid. A couple years ago UAF had four good guys and Joe was that fifth starter that wasn’t great but was better than the bench. We figured this year he’d had a redshirt year, he plays guard which means the entire offense flows through him, and we were so ready to go “Solid returning pieces, experienced point guard, bam, this is gonna be good.” No. Although this loss wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
Highlights: Bengaly Kaba had five boards, four assists, one steal, one block, three fouls, and 10 points for the full house; Trevante Williams had four steals; Almir had five boards, three blocks, and four fouls. Off the bench Brandon Davis had seven points.
Nothing really to write home about. Lots of bad shooting. This game was wholly winnable and they didn’t do it and it’s a stain on our conference, and it’s a big stain on UAF because they don’t have an opportunity to procure another quality “neutral” win let alone a quality non-conference road win. Now they’re looking at going into WOU, WWU, and SPU as necessary wins to prove their worth. Good luck Nooks.
Western Oregon 81 @ Notre Dame de Namur 51
Lots of good numbers, but now we’re just flat-out worried about Julian Nichols. Another bad game and this was against ND de Namur of all teams. Other than that though, it was a very well spaced win, lots of time for the bench folks, good experience builder, yada yada yada.
Highlights: Alex Roth had 13 points; Julian Nichols had four assists; Jordan Wiley had 15 points; Andy Avgi had 24 points, seven boards, one assist, and three steals. Off the bench Kadeem Strickland had 11 points and four assists.
Wolves did exactly what they were expected to do and with that: continuing on the grind.
Dominican 92 @ MSU-Billings 74
Good team effort, not horrible numbers, questionable shooting. With the last, we’ll commend-ish Dominican’s defense. The reality is this is exactly what Dominican wanted to do and wanted to prove. Dominican has tended to exist either as one of the lower seeds in the tournament or just missing out, so this win against MSUB helped them on that quest. MSUB is a well coached team and it wasn’t ugly per say, but it bordered on it. Losing by 20? Yeah. Borders on it at the very least.
Highlights: Marc Matthews had five boards, four assists, a steal, a block, three fouls, and eight points; Jace Anderson had 17 points; Christian Evans had 10 points and five boards; Cade Alcorn had five boards. Off the bench Preston Beverly had 12 points and six boards; Jordan Perry had 16 points, six boards, and four assists.
Really like what MSUB is getting out of their bench. Remember, last year Western Washington only went seven deep so it’s totally possible to have some amount of success even while having a very short bench.
Concordia-Portland 70 @ Cal Baptist 102
Lots of really horrible, nasty numbers to the point that we can’t overlook it even for the conference baby brother. You’re our baby brother, that means you represent us, and it means you better do it with some level of respectability even if you’re getting blown out. The shooting numbers were vomit inducing. You guys all play D2 basketball, it ain’t D1, but you’ve still supposedly proven that you function on a relatively high level on a basketball court and these numbers do not do that.
Highlights: Tyler Gutierrez had fourteen boards. Off the bench: James Phillips had seven points; Jarrett Gray had five points. The team overall had a low number of turnovers, but… the other team was able to grab 65 rebounds. 65. There were were a grand total of 101 rebounds grabbed in this game. That is some really, really, really bad shooting.
Seattle Pacific 62 @ Chico State 50
We’re going to try really, really, really hard not to down play this win even though everything in us wants to because that’s how we watch WWU and SPU -great, you won by double digits, you messed up here, and here, and that can never happen again, but… It was a positively brilliant game for both teams. Chico State was picked to finish first in the CCAA, they’ve gone to the tournament the last couple of years, they’re incredibly well coached, and if you’re looking for a basketball game to watch: Watch a Chico State home game; their broadcaster is the cream of the crop.
Highlights: Bryce Leavitt had fourteen rebounds, five assists, and sixteen points. Gilles Dierickx four boards, 20 points and two fouls; Mitch Penner had six boards and 10 points; Garrett Swanson had seven boards, two assists, seven points, and three fouls.
This win is big. It is a true road win, it’s against a well coached team that made the tournament and that’s projected to make the tournament again. SPU executed as flawlessly as we’ve ever seen, their defense was stifling, and while they were doing it… It still almost wasn’t enough. Chico crept back in after the Falcons were up 16. SPU shot 75% from the free throw line and needed every single one of those shots. The boards that were being grabbed… If you want to see why basketball is a beautiful and kinetic game, watch the tape of this one, it was pretty freakin’ textbook in terms of fundamental basketball. Did everyone have a great game? No. But every single person visibly did their job with the mindset that “It doesn’t matter what I do, it matters what we do.” And what they did was go into Chico State and procure a win.
Tonight’s game previews will be up in an hour, just in time for UAF to take on Dominican.