Lots to talk about today, including: CU-Portland @ Western Oregon, WOU losing to UAF, SPU losing to SMU, the point of the conference champion auto bid and why Western Oregon still gets to play in the tournament, the GNAC’s ever changing start line-ups, our usual check-ins with the Pac-West and CCAA, national rankings, and regional rankings.
Concordia 74 @ Western Oregon 81
Concordia was in it the whole time but couldn’t pull it out, granted WOU was going deep into their line-up and really rotating guys. Still, Andy Avgi had a less than stellar game, which… Maybe that means teams are finding out how to contain him? Maybe.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had a full house including nine boards and no turnovers; Latrell Wilson had five boards; Jarrett Gray had 9 points; and Riley Hawken had 17 points. Off the bench Davis Nuaimi had 12 points; and James Phillips had six points.
Wolf highlights: Julian Nichols had a fantastic game with 11 boards, five assists, and 14 points on near-perfect shooting; Jordan Wiley had 18 points and five boards; and Andy Avgi had five assists. Off the bench Alex Roth had five points and five boards; and Tanner Omlid didn’t start due to senior night and had 15 points and four boards.
Pretty good stuff all around. Pleased with the Wolves performance. Laughing at the Cavalier one, just ’cause. Good luck with MSUB y’all.
WOU lost to UAF, what does it mean?
Nothing. The Wolves are so far ahead of everyone in the west region that they could have lost last night’s game, lose the game at MSUB, and lose in their first game of the conference tournament and still host. They lost their #1 ranking but that doesn’t matter in any real sense of anything except maybe taking the target off of their backs just slightly.
SPU lost to SMU, what does it mean?
Nothing. Well, it may ultimately have seeding implications but in the D2 tournament seeding matters a heck of a lot less than in the D1 tournament because it has nothing to do with where you’re sent. Your region only has eight teams and the west region has repeatedly proven that the seeds don’t matter -whether it’s because lower seeds are likely to upset higher seeds or because by virtue of having so few teams, really good games get played really early and thus awesome teams get bounced early by other awesome teams as often as not.
Why is WOU still playing in the conference tournament when they have a bid locked up?
Isn’t the point of the auto bid to get more conference teams into the tournament? Doesn’t WOU going waste that spot? The basic reason is that this year we’re getting lucky in the sense that the GNAC is fully locked into likely at least two teams going to the tournament 100%. That doesn’t always happen. The only guaranteed bid in any given year is the autobid spot. And sometimes it’s impossible to tell whether or not the team that won the regular season title would get an at-large bid.
The easiest example is Seattle Pacific vs. Western Washington in 2014. That year WWU had little strength of schedule, SPU had plenty, won the conference regular season title, and had a good resume overall but the GNAC was viewed (rightfully) as the weakest conference in the West by far. Ultimately Seattle Pacific won the tournament and procured the autobid, the CCAA and Pac-West had auto-bid only teams punch their tickets to the Dance, and WWU’s bubble burst. But would the Falcons have made it regardless of winning the conference tournament? Maybe. Not guaranteed. By placing the autobid with the conference tournament winner rather than the regular season champion, you’re betting that your conference is good enough to receive more than one bid. It doesn’t always happen and there needs to be consistency, thus WOU is still in play for winning the conference tournament.
Non-solidified starting line-ups?
Yup. A ton of teams in the GNAC are still shifting their starting line-ups and their rotations even when injury has nothing to do with it.
–UAF is solid.
–UAA is being affected by injury (get better soon Diante!).
–SFU yes, but whatever.
–WWU didn’t quite implode their line-up, but they finally took their do-nothing big out and put in a guy that actually plays with effort and we’re suuuper happy about it. They also only went seven deep against NNU even while being up by 30, which again we’re super happy about because their chemistry has been off and now it appears that they’re only really playing guys who give a crap, which helps a lot.
–SPU, it’s complicated. It appears they’re planning for next year as much as they’re trying to win this year.
–SMU finally took Fred out of the starting line-up, thank God.
–MSUB has line-up movement, but we’re 50/50 on it -we trust their coaches, but 50/50 on its effectiveness and whether or not you could even tell if it did in fact affect things because they’ve been so all over the place in terms of results on any given night.
–CWU is solid and we love their line-up.
–NNU yes, like SFU, that team is such a mess that it’s not super relevant.
–CU-Portland see NNU.
–WOU is solidified and again: We really like their starting five and adore Alex Roth as the sixth man.
Checking in with the Pac-West & CCAA
And boy was this weekend a doozy.
UC San Diego lost to San Marcos by six.
Chico State lost to Cal Poly Pomona by six.
Humboldt State lost to Stanislaus eight.
Cal Poly Pomona lost to Stanislaus by 12.
Humboldt State lost to Chico State by eight.
Chico State is now in first place with a record of 15-3, while UCSD moves into second with a record of 14-4, Cal Poly Pomona is third at 13-6, San Marcos fourth at 11-7, and Humboldt State and Monterey Bay are tied for fifth at 11-8.
Interesting games coming this weekend:
San Marcos @ Humboldt State
San Marcos @ Cal Poly Pomona
Dominguez Hills @ Chico -this is a big game simply because DH has been giving some of the top schools a lot of problems this year and we think that’s a good thing.
CU-Irvine lost to Azusa by 9
BYUH was killed by Chaminade, 86-115
Azusa was killed by BYUH, 61-84
Dominican lost to Dixie State by 10.
CU-Irvine is currently holding onto first at 15-4, Cal Baptist, Azusa Pacific, and Dixie State are all tied for second at 13-5, Hawaii Pacific is fifth at 12-6, and BYU-Hawaii is sixth at 11-8.
Interesting games coming up this weekend:
Point Loma @ Hawaii Pacific
Concordia @ Dixie State
There are a few more potential interesting games involving Hilo, but we’ll see how it plays out.
WHEELING JESUIT IS IN FIRST. Sorry, we’re not right often thus when we are, we enjoy it for all it’s worth.
6. Western Oregon
7. MSU Moorhead
13. Chico State
19. UC San Diego
24. Cal Baptist
25. Cal Poly Pomona
Others receiving votes: Colorado School of Mines (18), Seattle Pacific (13), Azusa Pacific (8), Alaska-Fairbanks (2), Alaska-Anchorage (1).
So lots of west region teams being looked at and valued. We’re not sure about Cal Baptist at 24, but at this point the regions are now off dealing with our own issues and so the national rankings start looking a little odd.
We were going to make our ranking before looking at the one that people smarter than us had come up with, and then we realized we really have no effing clue and are a little bit too close to things at this point, so here’s the official one with us providing color commentary:
1. Western Oregon -wholly 100%, love it, agree, go Wolves, can’t wait to see you guys in Monmouth.
2. Seattle Pacific -WE WANTED TO DO THIS BUT THEN FELT LIKE WE WERE BEING HOMERS AND CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT ALL OF THE ISSUES THE FALCONS HAVE AND… We agree with the placement, but feel uncomfortable.
3. Chico State -They’re coming on at the right time and a part of us feels like they should be ranked ahead of the Falcons because the early season loss was early and the Wildcats have come so far; the lost to CPP doesn’t feel relevant either because we still feel like the Broncos are a really, really good team.
4. UC San Diego -completely agree.
5. Cal Baptist -absolutely -making their moves at the right time.
6. Cal Poly Pomona -definitely.
7. Azusa Pacific -yeah?
8. Alaska-Anchorage -YESSSS.
9. Humboldt State
10. Dixie State
Interesting that UAF isn’t in that conversation. We neither agree nor disagree. On the one hand they did nothing in non-conference. On the other hand, they really don’t have a bad loss in conference play; they’ve lost twice to Anchorage and then split with WOU and SPU. We’re 50/50 on whether or not they have a better resume than Humboldt.
We’ll probably discuss this more on Sunday morning after conference play essentially finishes up (there’s one more game, but neither team is conference tournament bound) and at that point we’ll visit our friend BitoBaca who’s putting up his rankings today at 1pm.
We’ve said before that this is the weird year when we feel like the committee can’t really be wrong, hence why we’re probably both so hesitant to write anything. Because if wanting to predict the bracket completely right is your thing, this year you’re screwed. But the good part is that almost whoever you put (within the 18 teams making their respective conference tournaments) you probably have a pretty legitimate argument. We like the 10 teams above a whole lot and feel really good about the eight and where rankings are and all of that stuff, but again…
At this point we feel like we’ve let ourselves get a bit too close to the situation in terms of wanting the Pac-West to be a one bid conference after doing it to us a couple years ago. Even though we KNOW that WWU should have won more in order not to rely on the autobid. And we don’t regret the end of that game. At all. That’s where we’re at with that, which is why we’re siding with the official poll, because there are just as many arguments saying that ‘No, Cal Baptist is coming on strong at the right time and Azusa is completely legitimate and if you discredit them you also discredit SPU which discredits WOU which discredits UCSD which…’ Rabbit hole. We will say that we don’t think the Pac-West should be a three bid league and so if neither Azusa nor Cal Baptist wins the conference tournament, then things could be more interesting. With the other two conferences: UCSD, Chico State, Western Oregon, and Seattle Pacific all should be in regardless, so if two of those teams win their conference tournaments great, but if they don’t that’s great too.
Alright. Good talk. Chime in with your bracketology thoughts in the comments or on twitter, and we’ll see you tomorrow morning for GNAC game day previews.
Hi West Region folks! On the agenda today: Losses in the Pac-West & CCAA, as well as the WOU/SPU game up in the GNAC, and if WOU doesn’t host then who should?
If you’ve been reading this blog since August 2015 or before, go ahead and skip to the next section; this is just the regional format of D2, provided for the new-to-D2 people.
A question was broached last night about D2 and who’s who and what’s what and we have a couple of pages up about it under “the kingdom” “other kingdoms” and “the empire,” but it’s maybe not as clear as it might be, so we’ll go over it just a bit now:
How many teams play in March? 64.
How many regions are there? Eight.
How many bids does each region get? Eight.
8 x 8 = 64. Pretty simple.
But the big difference between D1 and D2 is that we’re limited by region. We like the system better than the D1 system because we like being able to stalk the other teams we’re potentially playing all year, and have an idea of who we’re gonna match-up with, but the one drawback is that you can end up with what’s essentially three number one seeds all in the same region.
That happened to the D2 west most recently in 2013; Western Washington was ranked 2nd, Cal Poly Pomona was ranked 3rd, and Seattle Pacific was ranked 4th. Cal Poly Pomona exited in the round of 32, Seattle Pacific the round of 16, and Western Washington at made it to the Elite Eight/Final Four, although didn’t win the title.
Still: We think the geographic defined regions work well because if you want to win a national championship, you have to beat everybody; it doesn’t matter where you’re from, where you’re ranked, or how you’re seeded. When it comes down to it: Win. That’s it. That’s all you’ve gotta do. And look no further than D1 Duke’s propensity to lose in the 2nd round to see that it truly doesn’t matter who and where you play.
Pac-West games of note this past week:
HPU 83 @ APU 80
CBU 88 @ Dixie 94 in OT
Hilo 86 @ Dom. 76
Dominican is currently just edging out BYU-H for the 6th spot in the Pac-West, while Hilo is near the bottom.
Hilo lost to CWU/SPU/SMU, while Dominican lost to NNU while beating UAF & MSUB. Additionally Dominican has losses to Sonoma & Chico, and wins over Monterey Bay and Stanislaus.
Hawaii Pacific is currently 3rd in the Pac-West and has losses to both of the Alaska schools and a win over Western Washington.
Neither Hilo nor HPU played any crossover with the CCAA.
Pac-West Relevant Standings:
CU-Irvine is 14-2
APU is 10-4
HPU is 10-5
CBU is 9-5
Dixie is 8-5
Dominican is 8-6
BYU-H is 9-7
Chaminade is 8-7
And CU-Irvine isn’t eligible for the Regional and thus we assume isn’t going to the conference tournament either.
CCAA games of note this past week:
DH 62 @ CSULA 69
HSU 59 @ SFSU 85
CSULA 59 @ San Marcos 55
UCSD is 13-2
Chico is 12-2
CPP is 11-4
San Marcos is 9-5
Humboldt is 9-6
Monterey Bay is 8-7
Sonoma is 7-8
SFSU is 6-9
Humboldt lost big to SFSU and we’d say we’re surprised but we’re not. The SOS in the CCAA is minimal at best; UCSD is fine, but no one really played anyone and in conference play everyone has questionable losses.
GNAC games of note this past week:
UAA 108 @ WWU 105 in OT
UAF 78 @ WWU 64 -doesn’t mean much in regard to standings, but it was a surprisingly thorough blowout.
WOU 84 @ SPU 82 in OT
Really the GNAC isn’t that interesting at the moment because the spots in the conference tournament are theoretically completely solidified. The order of the finish isn’t, but there’s a pretty big gap between the top six and the bottom five.
That’s the gap you’re looking at. Within the groups (those in the conference tournament and those not in the conference tournament) there’s tons of parity, but is it stuff that non-GNAC people need to be concerned about? Not really.
UAA beating WWU theoretically basically affirms the fact that the Seawolves should get an at-large bid, even if they pick up a loss to WOU and/or at CWU. CWU has a pretty good home court advantage and is great about getting up for big games, so definitely something to at least look at as a potential to happen. While the Seawolves SOS isn’t great, it’s better than teams of similar records in the Pac-West and CCAA, so this year they should get the nod.
The WOU @ SPU game… It was intense. It was everything we expected and more. The Falcons went up by a lot and were up by quite a bit at half time but we didn’t buy it for a second. That’s not how these two teams play. We knew it would come down to the end and it did and the Wolves pulled out the victory and in doing so could have reserved themselves the spot of West Region host over SPU, which… Doesn’t make a ton of sense if you look at the standings, because right now UAA has a better record than SPU, and yet… UAA has a much harder remaining schedule, and no Strength of Schedule, while the Falcons have Strength of Schedule and only play two games that come in as question marks.
UAA notably has: @MSUB, vs. UAF, @CWU, and vs. WOU; four out of their remaining six games are rough. MSUB at home would be fine, but as we regularly say: It’s hard to play in Billings. MSUB on the road is brutal, doesn’t matter who you are.
SPU notably has: vs. WWU, @ CWU.
While every game each team plays is up for grabs, particularly in a year like this, at the same time you have to think rationally, weighing it all. We know that every game is losable for both teams, but we also know that every game is winnable because SPU and UAA are two very good teams, and with that: The Seawolves may very well get the win against WOU, particularly because the Wolves are playing up in Alaska and playing up in Alaska is brutal. Really brutal. They have incredible home court advantage. But the Wolves are a really, really, really good team.
Looking at “potential” West Region hosts:
CU-I isn’t eligible.
APU just lost to FPU, HPU, and Dominican.
Cal Baptist just lost to Dixie State and has a loss to UCSD in non-con.
HPU got swept by the Alaska schools + five in-conference losses.
UCSD has a couple of big losses to Humboldt and Monterey Bay, and plays Chico on Friday.
Chico has a brutally back-loaded schedule and still has to play CPP, UCSD, Humboldt, and DH.
CPP has two losses to UCSD.
In the GNAC:
WOU has a road win over UCSD, two wins over SPU, and thus far: Only one in-conference loss and it’s on the road to a CWU team that’s for sure making the conference tournament.
SPU has two losses to WOU, but also boasts wins against Chico, APU, Dixie, BYU-H, and an overtime loss to CU-Irvine. In terms of SOS, this is the cream of the D2West crop.
UAA isn’t relevant because they have a comparable number of losses with SPU, without the strength of schedule to counterbalance.
WOU beating SPU theoretically seals the region’s fate that we’re bound for Monmouth, because even with an expected level of chaos it would be hard for WOU to lose enough and other teams to win enough that the tournament would go elsewhere. But even if it did, we see UCSD and SPU being the big schools to be considered, even with the kind of chaos that might go on, because the fact is:
THIS ISN’T THE SEC; THIS IS PAC-12 COUNTRY. PLAY DIFFICULT SCHEDULES. WIN AGAINST GOOD TEAMS.
We really don’t want SPU to host, but if chaos happens and it’s basically drawing a name out of a hat in regard to hosting: The Falcons wholly deserve it because they schedule fearlessly, and they always have -even before SOS was counted. While WOU went down and played at UCSD, it was only one game and we don’t buy that the Wolves thought it would be a tough game. We’d been preaching how much we liked the Tritons all year, but no one really started taking them seriously until late November, early December.
SPU? The Falcons scheduled Elite Eight participant Azusa, perennial powers Chico State, Dixie State, and BYU-Hawaii, and a CU-Irvine team that was seen as a huge threat to pull a Cal Baptist/Azusa Pacific and come in and immediately dominate (which they have). And they won every game except the one against CU-Irvine. No one matches the Falcons strength of schedule. No one. The Falcons played a more difficult non-con than most of the other potential at-large teams combined. Ryan Looney scheduled his guys a death march of non-con and especially in this first year of SOS being official criterium: if WOU doesn’t get the bid to host, SPU should. Not because they’re the team most likely to make it to the Elite Eight -honestly we have no clue, because we’d place our bets on ineligible CU-Irvine- but because the region-wide pathetic non-conference scheduling has got to stop.
Sorry to the teams that played the top schools and are now being insinuated as “pathetic non-conference opponents.”
POW Noms & Winner’ll go up at 10 and 11am, respectively.
Lots of stuff on the agenda today, where to even begin? We’ll start with the fact that the internet was down at work until almost 1:30, thus the late posting.
-CU-Irvine isn’t eligible for the tournament.
-UAA’s losses to SPU/SMU.
-WOU as the #1 seed.
-SOS on SOS
-The 4-1-1 on who writes this blog.
CU-Irvine isn’t eligible for the Regional.
We got official confirmation that’s the case and so we’ll go over our seedings once again probably on Sunday, but as much as they’re getting taken out, we suspect that the team that will ultimately be the “last team in” is impossible to say. This year in particular, bids are at a premium; too many teams with too many similar resumes and then you have to 100% take into account the autobid out of each respective conference tournament. When it’s all said and done, even with the extra spot via CU-I, multiple teams are going to get “left out” because welcome to Selection Sunday.
What does it mean that UAA lost to SMU/SPU?
Honestly, we really don’t think it matters a ton. Just about everyone has questionable in-conference losses and UAA matches up just fine with Humboldt State, Chico State, and some of the Pac-West schools. A loss to SMU while not ideal, especially from an out-of-conference perspective, looks totally okay when you compare to the other teams we selected as likely to get bids to the tournament. There’s still a lot of games left to play, but briefly: Cal Poly Pomona lost to Cal State LA, Western Oregon lost to Central Washington, Azusa lost to Fresno; and that’s just one example from each conference, when there are multiple.
Considering WOU as the #1 Seed -even over SPU.
There was an argument made that if Seattle Pacific beats Western Oregon this weekend and games play out as expected (ha, yeah right) then SPU will host the tournament. We’re not sure. There are too many variables between now and then, but the key one people will zoom in on is strength of schedule. The Falcons kill the Wolves in regard to SOS and yet… Two home losses. Two pretty good home losses, but both saw the Falcons choke, really choke. WOU gets it done. WOU gives up leads, but they get it done. Again, this is a bad week to discuss it because the teams are about to play each other, but… We’ll see. We’ll come back to this one next week. And probably every week after that if we’re being honest because this year the bracketology posts are going to be a lot more numerous due to all of the parity.
SOS on SOS.
What does that even mean? Save our School on Strength of Schedule. And luckily every other West Region team from top to bottom is responding to your particular school’s call. The only school we’ve found with true SOS is Seattle Pacific and even that is worse than it usually would have been. We love those coaches to the moon and back, partly because they do schedule themselves so well, but this year both Dixie and BYU-Hawaii was worse than anticipated, and thus SPU’s strength of schedule is less than anticipated even while being the West Region team with the best SOS. That helps everyone out. Welcome to the D2 West 2015-2016, where strength of schedule is graded on a curve.
It’s funny to look at the national rankings because our west region ones feel really different.
3. Western Oregon -big game this week, but a loss to Seattle Pacific shouldn’t drop them much if it happens.
8. MSU Moorhead
10. UC San Diego -two great wins over Humboldt and CPP.
14. Chico State -they still have no strength of schedule and we still worry about it.
18. Cal Poly Pomona -If you’re going to lose in the CCAA, a loss to UCSD is your best option.
19. Seattle Pacific -wins over the Alaska schools in Alaska; always very challenging, although we get the feeling they would have gotten back into the Top 25 regardless as to who they played as long as they won.
Receiving votes: Cal Baptist (10), Azusa Pacific (1).
Cal Baptist -it’s being pointed out that they have five D2 losses and yet all of those losses are quality, and the rest of their schedule is 50/50 so we’ll see. They play a lot of teams that are building momentum at the right time -Dixie State, BYU-H, CU-Irvine.
Azusa Pacific -we love them, we believe in them, we’re positive they deserve more than one vote (probably in the realm of 10 to 15) but for now agree that ranking them is a little questionable.
We reached 100 Followers!
You guys are amazing. Even those of you that don’t officially follow us in any capacity but still come check in and read the blog. Quality, not quantity. Pretty esoteric subject; D2 men’s basketball in the Pacific Northwest.
We remember our first day when the project went live and we got our first individual follower: the Sunshine Conference commissioner. We remember weeks later when we finally came clean to our coach about the project and he looked at us and went ‘NO ONE CAN KNOW. I MEAN NO ONE. CAN. KNOW.’ And while the information about who we are has existed under the “Our Story,” tab since last January, for those that aren’t so fond of inductive logic… We got a question last night that may help you:
Are you Falcon Girl? You’re not Falcon Girl.
Au contraire; yes, yes I was, and part of me always will be. Because I’m boring and don’t drink nor get high, Falcon Girl was a way to blow off steam. Cawing started during my first year when we were playing a team in non-conference and I wanted to do something while the opponent shot free throws; I started cawing as a joke, they missed almost all of them, and the tradition was born.
As you’ve probably gathered from reading the blog: I wasn’t the most fond of attending SPU. Now that Erin O’Connell is gone things are a little better, but… my beloved Home-Away-From-Home has become Home-Home and I couldn’t ask for two better D2 programs to call “mine.” Granted: between Ryan Looney’s scheduling habits, my commitment to away games, and my decision that blogging would be the best way to stay involved post graduation -the entire west region/GNAC is pretty much mine =) Such a huge blessing and you (yes even YOU) are a part of it, so thank-you for helping bring joy to my life -unless, that is, you’re an SPU alum or staff member that regularly bullied me, told me I was a disgrace to our university, and openly stated that girls can’t know anything about men’s basketball. If you’re one of those people: Geht zu höllen.
If one person writes it, why do you use the term ‘we’ and always talk in the possessive plural?
Because it’s socially unacceptable to do anything by yourself. Just a habit developed because when you mention you went to Chico/Alaska/Arizona (grad school games) by yourself, people give you really weird looks. Um, if I waited to find another person my age to do the stuff I want to do and budget for the stuff I tend to prioritize budgeting for, I’d be waiting forever. Also I’m kind of picky (ahem, very very very picky) about my inner circle and so most stuff I prefer to do by myself anyway. If we’re being honest, life isn’t the best fit for me -although it’s definitely gotten a lot better since graduating from SPU.
Alright. Good talk, Blog. Game previews’ll be up tomorrow at 10am.
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.
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.
MSUB 61 @ UAA 81
Pretty par for the course. We’re disappointed in Jamie Stevens for not trying something to contain Suki, but oh well. Guess that’s him doubting his own player personnel, which is sad because we actually kinda sorta believe in these guys; they definitely have their moments. UAA is a good team though, so… Wouldn’t be surprised to see them ranked in the future here if they continue doing what they’ve been doing.
Yellowjacket highlights: Kendall Denham had 12 points, Jordan Perry had 13 points, six boards, and five assists; Emmanuel Olufemi had six boards; and Emmanuel Johnson had five boards and three assists off the bench.
Seawolf highlights: Suki had 21 points, eight boards, six assists, and two steals (whoaaa, hello well-rounded); Diante Mitchell had nine points; Spencer Svejcar had five boards and 19 points; and Corey Hammell had 10 boards. Off the bench Christian Leckband had 16 points; and Brian McGill had seven points.
Anchorage got it done. 95% expected and we’re proud of them as such. Keep grinding.
Why do we always designate the city for Concordia-Portland? Because we sort of, kind of, deal with schools across the country and there are 15 Concordia schools. Our graduate team just played the NAIA Concordia from Nebraska and so between them, CU-Irvine, the D3 Concordia that seems to get referenced fairly frequently, and our own Concordia, it has the potential to get really confusing. Better just keep it blog official by doing the Concordia-Portland/CU-Portland/CU-PDX designation.
Does OT affect the POW nominees? It can. Usually it doesn’t. Sometimes it can be bad; if you miss a bunch of shots or turn the ball over a ton, it definitely doesn’t help you. While it adds how many minutes guys play and can up the free throw number, because we do it by school and not by best numbers, it generally doesn’t bump anyone out of nomination that otherwise would have been. In regard to the winner, we’ve never seen it push someone into winning that otherwise wouldn’t have because generally speaking guys aren’t playing two OT games in a row and even if they are, if they’re playing two 45+ minute games in a row and still have the stamina shoot well and play good D and all of that… It’s wholly earned.
Burnt out already? Getting there and getting there fast. You’d think adding one more team into the mix wouldn’t really be that intense and yet… It’s seeming to be the straw. We love the project, we love all of you guys for reading it, but on a scale of one to burnt out, we’re getting there, even though we know that in two short months we’ll be wishing we had blogging to do. So if it’s seeming to get a little cryptic and/or more snarky than usual: We’re doing our best. It’s January in the pacific northwest; we need to up our Vitamin D intake.
Why didn’t we do a preview for yesterday’s game? Because we didn’t. Because we figured Anchorage would blow MSUB out and it’s better to ask forgiveness. There was just nothing really to say about it. When we started the blog we were committed to not making predictions or anything like that, then we fell into a rut of doing it, and now we’re not as into it any more, so… That’s where we’re at. Inevitably a part of it is that it used to be easier to predict GNAC games and now it’s not, so why do it when a lot of them are truly pick ’ems.
5. Cal Poly Pomona -Good win at Stanislaus and very convincing win against Chico State.
8. Cal Baptist -did what they needed to do against FPU and Chaminade.
10. MSU Moorhead
11. Western Oregon -win your games and go down; that’s what happens when your key strength of schedule drops games like they’re hot. Looking at you SPU; this is your fault.
14. UC San Diego -Sounds good to us. Their website was down at the time this post was being written, so we’ll talk about them next week.
25. Chico State -Yes, they beat Humboldt, that’s a rivalry game; they lost by a lot to Cal Poly Pomona, so… The Wildcats should. not. be. ranked.
Seattle Pacific (5) -??????????????? We’ve been saying for a few weeks that we don’t want them ranked, but how bad they actually are we’re still yet to figure out. The Western Oregon game was odd, to put it lightly.
Humboldt (4) -lost in a rivalry game to Chico, votes are fine but whether or not they should actually be ranked is still up for debate, so we’re good with this.
Alaska Anchorage (3) -We’re veering on the side that we’d like to see them in the spot at 25th over Chico, if a West Region team has to be there.
Azusa Pacific (1) -close wins against Dixie State and Chaminade
Central Washington (1) -Guessing this is coming from
Pretty much where we’re at. Game previews’ll be up tomorrow at 10am.
Should there have been a post yesterday? Maybe. Probably. But a minor concussion got in the way of it, so… That was exciting and terrifying; if our posts this week seem a little off, that’s why.
On the agenda for today: The first Cenazar game, the MSUB/Carroll game, neutralizing Suki, rankings, and power rankings.
Central Washington 98 @ Northwest Nazarene 72
We’d say this was expected, but at this point no result is expected. While we knew the Wildcats were more than capable of doing it, at the same time we knew that NNU is totally capable of keeping it close, if not winning, so what on the surface feels like an obvious result actually isn’t.
Wildcat highlights: Joey Roppo had nine points; Gary Jacobs had 18 points and five boards; Joe Stroud had 16 points, six boards, and a full house; Devin Matthews had 13 points and five assists. Off the bench Naim Ladd had 15 points in fourteen minutes; Drake Rademacher had eight points; Jerome Bryant had seven points and five boards; and Desmond Ross had five points.
Crusader highlights: Joel Devastey had 17 points and eight boards; Bouna had 14 points and nine boards. Off the bench Nikola Prvulj had 12 points; Leoor Konenkov had six points; and Marko Lepovic had five points.
Overall a pretty typical story; it went back and forth for a while and then CWU put it away and won convincingly.
We’ll be brief: Billings lost to Carroll by 13 playing their usual guys their usual minutes. Carroll is a really good NAIA team that only has one loss to a fellow NAIA school and is currently undefeated in three conference games.
That being said: WHAT THE HECK, BILLINGS. DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU JUST DID TO ANY CREDIBILITY WE WERE HOPING TO HAVE?! Granted Carroll is contemplating a move to D2 and so we kind of assume that’s how they’re recruiting -we haven’t heard the latest in that regard- but we’d love to have them in our conference. The deadline to submit an NCAA application for the year is February 1st, so… If they are, we’ll hear something soon.
We got to see Suki game planned for, for the first time in-conference. We’ll get more chances in the coming weeks -we’re really excited to see what Jamie Stevens, Jim Shaw does, and what Tony Dominguez does. There are a lot of great coaches in our conference, but those guys have the player personnel to actually accomplish what they want, theoretically, so we look it as a mark on them as for what their teams do against him. It sounds kind of ridiculous to discuss game planning for a player -ideally you play your game and they play theirs- but Suki is so much the focus of that offense that it would be stupid not to contemplate the dos and don’ts in regard to Anchorage.
This past week we got to see what Ryan Looney did and his strategy of letting Suki do what he wanted and then have his guys avoid fouling him at all costs was brilliant. Suki goes to the line WAY too much and he takes so many shots but usually only shoots like 35%. The Falcons are known for being a team that’s incredibly good defensively. If the Falcons hadn’t choked in regard to rebounding (among other things) it would have been fine. We liked the strategy, but because it’s what we probably would have done, we’re really interested to see what the other coaches come up with.
7. Cal Poly Pomona -lost to UCSD. Dropped two spots. Seems fair.
10. Cal Baptist -Didn’t play, but moved up due to the losses of other teams.
14. Western Oregon -Lost to CWU. Dropped 11 spots. Sadly they likely fell this far because of the conference chaos that happened; it would be one thing to drop a game and have SPU beat the Alaska schools convincingly; it’s entirely different to have them get swept. SOS matters and WOU didn’t have too much of it as it was, and now their opponent that does have some form of it got beat twice.
17. UC San Diego -Beat CPP, lost to Humboldt State; dropped four spots. The four spots feels right, but at the same time… CPP is still ranked so highly. It’s likely on some level reverberating because WOU lost to CWU and SPU lost to the Alaska schools. It’s all SOS. It’s all connected, particularly in regard to the west region.
20. Chico State -WHY IS CHICO STATE STILL RANKED?!?!?! Their schedule doesn’t have ANYTHING on it, except a loss to Seattle Pacific. Put Humboldt in this spot, if nothing else.
24. Seattle Pacific -Lost to UAA & UAF. We’re honestly really shocked they’re still ranked.
Others receiving votes: Azusa Pacific (8), Humboldt State (5), Alaska-Fairbanks (3), Alaska-Anchorage (2). Humboldt should be ranked; Chico State should merely be receiving votes; Azusa Pacific 50/50; We’re not sure why CU-Irvine isn’t getting any votes at all; and then the Alaska schools are benefitting from the Falcon Effect.
This week we feel the need to do a power ranking.
1. Alaska Anchorage. Beat Seattle Pacific, somewhat convincing win at SMU.
2. Alaska Fairbanks. Again, beat Seattle Pacific, survived SMU.
3. Central Washington. Beat Western Oregon, avoided the upset against Concordia-Portland. Their near loss is why they’re so low.
4. MSU-Billings. Good wins over SFU & WWU; succeeded in playing their own game. This doesn’t take the Carroll game into account.
5. CU-Portland. Got their first conference win against NNU, almost got a win at CWU, good place to be. Lots of hope.
6. Western Oregon. Picked up a loss at CWU, but killed NNU. Upsets were going to happen, we knew that, it’s not the biggest deal. They don’t have something to be really excited about from this last weekend, but spiraling isn’t a concern because it was just one game. Totally fine.
7. Simon Fraser. Mainly because it’s hard for this fanbase to spiral downward because there really are no expectations what-so-ever. Kinda neutral.
8. Saint Martin’s. The way they lost these games is wholly unacceptable for any program. The lack of fundamentals and effort was disturbing. Why are these guys playing college basketball at all? The fact that they don’t want to was clearly on display particularly against Anchorage. They had every chance to win that game and they didn’t.
9. Northwest Nazarene. How many expectations can you really have and yet… They’ve shown flashes of brilliance and they stay with teams for a full half before getting blown out, so if they know they can do that, how do they let themselves get blown out?
10. Western Washington. This is Tony Dominguez’s third year with his own guys and he’s still not contending for an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament. The play of the guys was uninspired and we just don’t know what to do with this team.
11. Seattle Pacific. They know what we think. They know what we know. It is what it is. This is where they belong.
Game previews’ll be up tomorrow morning at the usual time.
Because there isn’t a new poll this week, we’ll go ahead and do a West Region ranking by what we’ve gleaned through our analysis of non-conference. It’s going to be more in-depth than usual, because what else do we have to do on Christmas Eve Eve? First the list, then the explanations.
1. Western Oregon
2. Cal Poly Pomona
3. Seattle Pacific/UC San Diego
5. Cal Baptist
6. Azusa Pacific
7. Point Loma
9. Chico State
10. Humboldt State
1. Western Oregon (8-0). This position ultimately came down to “best win” and the Wolves took it. Their best win is at UCSD, getting it done 67-63. The Wolves take on Seattle Pacific on January 7, so that’ll be a very anticipated match-up. Not really much to say about these guys -they get it done, they get rest where they can, Andy is amazing, their point guard play needs to step up quite a bit. If you’re a regular reader you know we love Julian Nichols and think he’s awesome, but he just hasn’t put it on display this year as much as we anticipated.
2. Cal Poly Pomona (9-0). We like the Broncos a lot, their SOS not withstanding. Their best win is a close one at Point Loma, the Broncs escaped 54-53. They play at UCSD on January 2nd, so we’ll definitely be watching that game with bated breath to see what happens. In one sense it really doesn’t matter because UCSD and CPP are both two very good teams, but we feel like UCSD is much more thoroughly seasoned at this point, so… Maybe the Broncos’ll prove us wrong, maybe they won’t, but we’re 99% sure we’re going to be witnessing a really, really good game.
3. Seattle Pacific (8-1) & UC San Diego (9-1). We’ve been meditating on this and looking at the numbers and then meditating some more and then looking at the numbers some more and ultimately we just couldn’t make a decision on which team we think is more capable. Both are getting tested really soon as noted above, so that’ll be good, but even after those “big” tests we’re not sure if we’ll feel comfortable making a distinction even still. Both are two super good, super well tested teams. In that sense, we feel like the Tritons hold a slight edge because the Tritons faced CBU and WOU, but when it comes to opponent records the Falcons own the slight edge (36-35) to the Tritons (47-47). We like both teams, we think both are great, both are super good defensively, both have fantastic coaching staffs, both have really dedicated guys. It’s a complete wash and honestly that fact makes us happy. We get to indulge in watching two really good teams -what more could you want?
5. Cal Baptist (10-2). At this point it’s not record so much, but what you’ve done with that record and the Lancers have done a lot. CBU’s most quality win is against MN-Moorhead, but they’ve also got a couple of quality losses in regard to UCSD and Azusa Pacific (quality + rivalry in the case of the Cougs). UCSD came down to free throws, so while the gap was bigger than it might have been (9) it was a pointed nine. It was within reach. We really like their SOS, they’ve got a good GNAC win over Alaska-Anchorage, they’ve got a crazy good win over Point Loma, absolutely brutalizing the Sea Lions 98-73. We like the path they’re on, they’ve already got good Pac-West wins against APU and Dixie State, and we’ll see what they do in the coming conference portion of the schedule.
6. Azusa Pacific (7-3). SOS is our MO. They have three losses but they come against Cal Poly Pomona, Seattle Pacific, and at Point Loma in OT. We’re a big believer in winning on the road because in the case of APU -they’re guaranteed to be on the road for the Regional and so what are they going to play like? The Cougars best win is a close one against rival CBU and on their horizon is a chance to beat the Lancers again. Will they? We’ll see. It’s on the 16th.
7. Point Loma (5-5). This is a little bit of a reach considering how badly they got beat by CBU, but we do want to at least acknowledge heavily their schedule. Their losses literally come via Western Oregon, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Baptist, a heartbreaker against Dixie State, and a free throw final against CU-Irvine. We respect that a lot. We think they’re well seasoned. Do we truly expect them to make the regional? Maybe not. We think they’ll definitely be in play for it, but while they have a win against APU, they have that awful devastation against CBU. Still, San Diego is becoming a lively place for D2 basketball and the Sea Lions are 100% a part of it and we’re proud of them. Now get some big wins. Next opportunity is against CU-Irvine on the 13th.
8. CU-Irvine (7-1). Seems a little far for a team that only has one loss, but that loss comes against San Marcos (3-5) and their win was against SPU on a neutral court in OT while the Falcons were playing their first game with what’s essentially a brand new roster. They have another decent win against Point Loma and because CU-I winning definitely helps the GNAC (they played CU-P twice, along with SPU once) we need to see them get some quality wins now. Dixie State could potentially be a quality win, Point Loma could be another potentially quality win, they don’t play CBU until the 30th of January, but hopefully the Eagles keep winning and they’ll build toward that.
9. Chico State (7-2). The issue we’re having with Chico is that they just don’t have any good wins. They have some okay wins (Dominican [6-4], SFSU [5-3]) and a quality-ish loss against Seattle Pacific, but the game against SPU was at home -not on the road. They lost to Sonoma, but that’s a rivalry so we’re not particularly concerned with it. Obviously because of the GNAC tie, we want Chico to do well, and then they benefit by being in the CCAA this year with having some good chances to get quality wins.
10. Humboldt State (5-1). There was some thought of putting someone else here, but no one has the loss-credibility yet besides PLNU. However: the Jacks barely have the win credibility, even at 5-1. Their wins come against Holy Names (2-9), CSULA (2-7), Sonoma State (6-4), SFSU (5-3), and Fresno Pacific (5-3), with their loss being to San Marcos (3-5). We liked Humboldt last year, we’re definitely not against the potential that the Jacks could be really good, we just haven’t seen enough yet to really say either way. They don’t have a good win and they do have a bad loss, but they are 5-1 and hence they’re ranked 10th.
Other teams we’re keeping an eye on: Alaska-Anchorage (5-3), Alaska-Fairbanks (5-2), Western Washington (4-4), Dixie State (4-5), Dominican (6-4), BYU-H (5-3), Dominguez Hills (4-4), and Sonoma State (6-4).
In a sense this list is kind of striking because there are seemingly very distinct tiers within the region, which doesn’t always happen.
Tier one: Western Oregon, Cal Poly Pomona. Guaranteed 99.9% to make the regional; we don’t like saying 100%, just ’cause.
Tier two: UC San Diego, Seattle Pacific, Cal Baptist. 90% chance of making the regional as of now. All three teams look really good and did enough during non-conference that provided they keep winning, they shouldn’t have to worry about their bubbles bursting. Fans of these teams: We recommend worrying anyway.
Tier three: Azusa Pacific, CU-Irvine, Chico State, Point Loma. Four above average teams. We won’t be surprised if any of these teams make the tournament, but we also won’t be surprised if one or more gets left out after conference play and particularly after the respective conference tournaments are said and done.
Tier four: The Alaskas, Western Washington, Humboldt State, Sonoma State, Dixie State, BYU-Hawaii. Six teams with the potential to come in and win their respective conference tournament and procure an auto bid. From where we stand now, there’s no way for one of these teams to get into the tournament via an at-large bid.
The Alaskas didn’t prove they can play off the tundra and the GNAC is too weak to get enough quality road wins to prove otherwise. Western Washington has a big history of making the championship game, they got Evan back, but teams above them have proven that they can win while not firing on all cylinders -the Vikings haven’t. Humboldt State was talked about above. Sonoma has been interesting, no great wins, but some good wins. Dixie seems to be improving, they have a couple quality-ish losses against SPU and APU; we’ll see what they do in conference. BYU-H was an absolute mess on the mainland, but they’ve done well on the Islands, so… Hopefully winning close to home taught them how to win and they’ll be able to do more of it from now on.
On the agenda for tomorrow: Discussing the Transitive Property of College Basketball.
First, a tangent: The rankings will be announced any time now, there’s some thought that WOU should move into the #1 ranking, but we honestly are really 50/50, not because we don’t believe in the Wolves and want them to be #1, but because it’s subjective. Current #1 West Liberty killed a 1-5 Central State team, and then #2 Augustana murdered a 3-8 Wayne State team, so… Both did exactly what they needed to do to remain in those positions. #4 Moorhead beat 6-6 Northern State by 11, which isn’t great, so it shouldn’t cause them to rise. Cal Poly Pomona at #5 beat East Bay by 10, but East Bay has been giving everyone problems this year (Chico, SPU, now CPP) so seems par for the course. We’re curious to see if UCSD goes anywhere. We’re not in the camp that they necessarily need to move up, but we’re definitely in the camp that they shouldn’t move down considering they’re 9-1 with the one loss coming against the #3 Wolves and there are six one-loss teams ahead of them.
Aside from those pressing points -we’ll share our opinion on the rest of the actual tangible poll tomorrow. Moving on.
Some years it’s obvious who the Regional host is going to be, other years less so. The GNAC hasn’t hosted a regional since 2013 when Western Washington hosted it. In 2014 it was held at San Bernardino State and in 2015 Azusa Pacific. This year, we don’t see the trend of a SoCal school hosting it changing because:
a. SPU’s planned strength of schedule didn’t work out.
b. WOU’s lack of strength of schedule is glaring.
Strength of schedule is official criteria this year and while we think at this point they’re 100% on a trajectory to win an at large bid, we see the host site going to a SoCal school.
As it stands:
The GNAC is 16-15 against the Pac-West, 7-7 against the CCAA.
The Pac-West is 16-15 against the CCAA.
The West Region as a whole is 15-4 against non-west, while our non-west opponents are 45-42 overall.
So that would make you think “Okay, we’re going to Monmouth.” Hold on there Wolves. The CCAA is 61-48 overall (this takes into account west region, non-west region, and four-ish games of conference play). Yes, the GNAC has only played two conference games, but remember: Conference games add losses as well as wins, so we’re inclined to think it’s a wash at this point. Yeah, more games have been played; the other conferences have more teams.
Here’s what we’re looking at in terms of West Region potential hosts:
Humboldt -They’re 5-1 and their SOS is lacking massively, but they had a really good team last year, they return a lot, they haven’t played anybody, but at 5-1 it’s too early to officially rule them out. At this point, any one loss team has to be considered because they’re a one loss team a third of the way through the season. What do we think of heading to Arcata? Great. It’s roughly a 10 hour drive from Seattle and a seven hour drive from SoCal, so very central location, the campus is beautiful, and it would just be fun to get up there because we haven’t been in NorCal in a super long time (we as in the Regional; we as in us personally went to NorCal last week).
Cal Poly Pomona -currently undefeated at 9-0, like Western Oregon have a glaring lack of SOS, but we think CPP will have a chance to bump their strength of schedule more than the Wolves, because we see more schools in the CCAA being in serious consideration for at-large bids. The Broncos most quality non-conference wins are against Azusa Pacific (7-3) and Point Loma (5-5) but during the regular season they’ll be playing Humboldt (5-1), Chico (7-2), and UCSD -all other contenders for at large bids. What do we think of heading to Pomona? We’re down. SoCal in the Spring is always good. No complaints.
UCSD -currently 9-1 with their only loss being against undefeated WOU. They just played a really weird game against San Marcos where they managed to win going 4-5 in the final minutes due to foul outs and injuries. We like this team. We like this coaching staff. Because they’re CCAA they will get tested during the regular season, but they were also tested during non-conference. The Tritons have quality wins against Colorado Mines (6-3), Cal Baptist (10-2), and they only lost to WOU by four. Hopefully the WOU loss served as quality education because honestly the Tritons made some really, really stupid decisions during that game -they totally could have won it, to the point that it veers on the territory of a non-loss for the Wolves because it was that close. What do we think of heading to San Diego? Honestly, it’s a PITA. The flights from Seattle to SD are way over priced, but… again, SoCal in the Spring can’t complain, plus it’s a great location for the vast majority of teams looking the tournament.
Seattle Pacific -Currently 8-1, their one loss is to 7-1 CU-Irvine; they have wins over Chico State and Azusa Pacific, so definitely the best SOS in the GNAC, but we think they were intending to include BYU-H and Dixie State as part of their SOS and at this point they’re not. SPU just seems to kind of always get screwed in regard to hosting and honestly -we’d rather go somewhere fun during the Spring rather than stay home, so… Either way. The Falcons aren’t going to really get tested much during the regular season -there’ll definitely be scares, everyone wakes up to play them, so @ MSUB’ll be rough, the Alaska schools are always brutal, CWU hopefully they’ll escape without injuries, the second WWU game should test them, and then of course WOU x2 will be terrifying, but… WOU in all honesty is less scary than the others because if you lose to WOU you know it’s another tourney bound team so it doesn’t matter quite as much.
Western Oregon -Currently undefeated, as noted we don’t think they’re going to move into a #1 ranking, we’ve said before that we like the idea of heading to Monmouth, but we don’t think it’s going to happen because the Wolves SOS is 100% atrocious and it was intended to be bad. It wasn’t a case like SPU where they scheduled theoretically good teams and then those teams weren’t as good as anticipated -they scheduled down in regard to matching up with NDdN, FPU, and HNU in particular. With all they had coming back, there’s really no excuse. We’ve noted this before: D2 schedules have some pre-standing arrangements, but they’re largely very movable for your personnel. We’re guessing that if WOU had reached out in interest of playing some of the projected top CCAA/Pac-West teams, they would have gotten an affirmative because CPP’s SOS sucks too and that would have been a really good match-up. You’re no longer “saving” yourself by scheduling bad teams -not that we ever thought it was a good idea regardless of SOS counting, because of that little thing called personal integrity. Any game, anywhere, any time. That has always been our policy and it’s served us well.
We’ll say this right now: We don’t see a Pac-West team hosting the tournament this year. It’s most likely going to be a CCAA team or Western Oregon. But we’re going to go through and talk about a few teams with potential, just incase all heck breaks loose.
Azusa Pacific -At 7-3, this seems 100% unlikely, but we’ll include it just because you have to admit that those three losses come @ SPU, against Cal Poly Pomona, and at Point Loma in overtime. Point Loma has five losses, but those losses come against Western Oregon, Cal Poly Pomona, Dixie State, CU-Irvine, and Cal Baptist. Five losses are enough for us not to include PLNU in our discussion of hosts, but we will give them due credit that the schedule has been brutal. Still, play good teams and win. We like Azusa, we respect their record, but hosting isn’t gonna happen. Tournament bound minus the hosting? We like their chances.
Cal Baptist -Good win against #4 MN-Moorhead, killed the Sea lions of Point Loma, narrowly got beat by Azusa, somewhat quality win against Alaska-Anchorage, they’re yet to play CU-Irvine, so those two games loom large on the schedule. We don’t see them hosting but we do see them making the tournament.
CU-Irvine -This is kind of the ‘x’ factor team of the Pac-West. If a PW team is going to host, it’ll likely be CU-Irvine, which is just fine with us; SoCal, + one of our favorite colleagues lives in that area, so that works. CU-Irvine is famous around this blog for being SPU’s one loss, the Eagles themselves have a loss against San Marcos but from our understanding that’s a long-standing NAIA D1 rivalry, so… We look at that differently. Anything can happen in a rivalry game. We anticipate CU-I being ranked officially this week, we like it because it helps our conference SOS. It seems unlikely that the Eagles host -they’d basically have to go undefeated in conference play for it to happen, because their only quality win is against SPU and that was in OT on a neutral court, so… Still more than Chico has, but we’re looking forward to following them during conference play and seeing what happens. The Eagles are going to serve as the GNAC blog Pac-West pet until further notice.
The short version of that is we see Western Oregon, UCSD, and Cal Poly Pomona as being the teams likely to host, with Seattle Pacific, CU-Irvine, and Humboldt being other remote possibilities. We think Humboldt will pick up some losses in a hurry now that they’re playing actual teams (we complain about WOU & CPP’s SOS, but Humboldt is so much worse), with CU-Irvine the Pac-West doesn’t seem to have the collective SOS to make it a possibility, and then SPU is suffering not only from a lack of conference SOS, but also from a lack of signature non-conference win -which, yes, is frustrating because they tried and they won good games during non-conference but it likely wasn’t enough.
We like the thought of the Regional going to Cal Poly Pomona or UCSD largely because we don’t want to stay home in Seattle, SoCal is nice, and the infrastructure for hosting such a tournament in Monmouth is there but not desirable.
A post about the West vs. the Rest will be up in an hour and then tomorrow’ll be a nice big discussion about the rankings.
Just thought we’d put up a quick post while waiting for the selection show to start:
Humboldt State vs. Western Oregon
We like the Jacks, we’ve been disappointed in the Wolves. WOU won the regular season title, but they’ve gotten really bad as of late. Let’s take a look at notable losses and wins for both teams throughout the season:
Western Oregon: 23-6 overall, 15-3 in conference.
Non conference: Lost to Point Loma by 10, barely beat Fresno Pacific, lost to Azusa Pacific by 17, beat Dixie State by 15.
Conference: Three losses: WWU, SPU, and UAA; didn’t have their best player (Andy Avgi) in the WWU loss and lost by 20+.
Conference tourney: Lost to WWU by 10, firing on all cylinders.
Humboldt State: 22-8 overall, 15-7 in conference.
Non conference: Didn’t really play anyone; beat Alaska Anchorage & Alaska Fairbanks.
Conference: 7 losses, including to Dominguez Hills (terrible), Sonoma State, San Fran State, San Bernardino (2x), and Cal Poly Pomona.
Conference tourney: Beat San Bernardino by 5, lost to Cal Poly Pomona by 10.
Not sure what to tell you on that. WOU has losses to five conference tournament teams and four tournament-bound teams while having victories over only two assuredly bound tournament teams. HSU has losses to three conference tournament teams and while having victories over only one NCAA tournament bound team.
Can you punish a team for not playing anybody? That’s how the D1 tournament works, but SOS isn’t supposed to come to D2 until next year. HSU finished their season with three great wins and one palatable loss to a team that they’d beaten a week earlier. WOU finished their season with two losses and an unpalatable win. However -WOU won their conference regular season title. The team WOU was at the end of the season would have never done that.
It’s incredibly hard to say. From a blog perspective, we won’t be annoyed if Humboldt State goes over Western Oregon, but at the same time we’re not against Western Oregon making the tournament either. It’s really iffy, because Humboldt is much more consistent. Our MO with making the tournament is always: who would we rather play? The other team will get the nod. We’d honestly rather play Humboldt because with the Jacks you know what you’re getting and can prepare for it -not the case with the Wolves. So we’re back to the same place.
Again: we’ll stick with our decision to give WOU the nod, but if the Jacks made it instead of the Wolves there’ll be no hard feelings. If you want to go to the tourney: win games. Both of these teams have reasons for being there, and both have reasons for being excluded. We’ll side with WOU on this one largely because of strength-of-schedule despite a weak conference.
The selection show is a mere half-hour away!