UAA 68 @ UAF 61
Exciting game. It was looking dicey for a long time and then we believe Spencer Svejcar hit a three and then the Seawolves were able to walk it up and mostly keep it out of reach.
Seawolf highlights: Suki had eight boards; Diante Mitchell had 21 points; Spencer Svejcar made a statement, getting a double-double with 24 points and 10 boards; Corey Hammell went 4-4 from the line and grabbed 11 rebounds; and Connor Devine grabbed five boards. No real bench play.
Nook highlights: Nahjee had 18 points; Bangaly had five boards and a full house; LaDonavan had six boards; and Brandon Davis played 40 minutes and finished with a full house among 19 points and three steals. Also no real bench play.
NNU 68 @ SPU 83
Falcons showing their youth, but getting it done much better. Even last week, they weren’t able to close games like this and tonight they did. The Crusaders played really hard and did their best to exploit, but ultimately couldn’t quite get it done.
Crusader highlights: Bouna went 9-11 from the line; Kaileb Rodriguez had 14 points; Maurice Jones had a double-double including 14 boards; and off the bench Nikola Prvulj had five points.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten had 14 points and seven boards; Tony Miller had 24 points; Joe Rasmussen had 14 points and six boards; and Olivier-Paul Betu had six assists. Off the bench Nathan Streufert had seven boards along with a full house; and Hunter Eisenhower had nine points.
This is potentially a big statement for the Falcons -it says that they’re finding themselves, which on a team as young as they are is big. This Falcons team had no concept of how to win earlier this year and slowly but surely they’re learning. As for NNU, no big deal. The conference is a mess. The Crusaders are still a super great and talented team.
CU-PDX 74 @ SFU 73
SFU was — that close to winning and then they committed a stupid foul and they didn’t. The Cavs got out by the skin of their teeth, but it is what it is and was what it was. Congrats Cavs, you done got lucky.
Cav highlights: Drew Martin had 13 points; Christopher Edward had nine points, 10 boards, and four steals among other stats meriting a full house, Jarrett Gray had 10 points; and Harris Taylor had 19 points. Off the bench Latrell Wilson had 18 points.
Clan highlights: Kedar Wright had 21 points and five boards; Iziah had 15 point,s, five boards, and four steals; Michael Provenzano had 21 points; and off the bench Tyrell Lewin had six boards.
WOU 63 @ WWU 73
This game was a mess. Both teams are good, but it was seriously an ugly game of basketball that the players knew was ugly, thus they made it even uglier by getting all chippy. Because the game was so ugly, the chippyness wasn’t entertaining -it was just desperate. Congrats to the Viks on ultimately getting it done.
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid had 19 points; Ali had 20 points and five boards; JJ Chirnside had five boards; and off the bench Bryan Berg had five points; while Isaiah Edwards had five boards.
Viking highlights: Taylor Stafford had 26 points as well as four boards, four assists, and four steals; Logan Schilder had seven boards; and Daulton Hommes had seven boards. Off the bench Deandre Dickson had an awesome eight boards and 18 points; and Trevor Jasinsky had five boards.
Yeesh. We’re glad this game is over. Interesting for the Wolves though -their game was ugly against the Falcons too and they got away with it; can’t do that against WWU.
MSUB 74 @ UAF 83
Close the whole game. Agonizing. The parity continues. The Nooks played really well, finally. Great game from them, super proud!
Yellowjacket highlights: Preston Beverly had nine boards and finished with a full house; Marc Matthews had 19 points and six boards; and Kamal Tall had eight boards. Off the bench Kendall Denham had 11 points; and Cade Alcorn had five boards.
Nook highlights: Nahjee had five boards and six assists; Bangaly had 10 points; LaDonavan had 13 points; Zach Pederson made a statement with a double double of 11 boards and 11 points; and Brandon Davis played another 40 minute game, finishing with 22 points. Off the bench Michael Kluting had nine points.
Again, congrats to the Nooks on a great performance. Good luck to the Yellowjackets against the Seawolves.
CWU 79 @ SMU 80
This game was insane. Naim Ladd didn’t play, Fuquan shut down Fred, and the Wildcats still almost pulled it off. We admittedly fell asleep watching it, but… That was because of the insanity that’s been going on in our state this week. It ultimately had a 9:15 start time because both Cascade passes are closed, thus CWU had to go down around and up. Yup -what would have/should have been a two hour bus ride turned into six. For those that don’t live here -pretty much all of western Washington shutdown on Monday due to snow and then Tuesday due to ice. The entire week has been weird. It’s now 55 degrees outside. Go figure.
Wildcat highlights: Jawan Stepney had 17 points; Fuquan turned in a classic center performance with a double double of 15 boards and 14 rebounds while missing three shots from the line; and off the bench Cameron Burton had six boards and eight points; while Sage Woodruff continues to make a mark with 14 points.
Saint highlights: Cole Preston rocked it yet again, playing 40 minutes and scoring 15 points and dishing out 10 assists for the double-double; Rhett Baerlocher had 20 points and eight boards; and off the bench Trey Ingram added 14 points; and Brandon Kenilvort a double-double with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Big congrats to the Saints, huge win. CWU, we still believe. Not in your bubble, your bubble has now official burst, but we still know you’re a great team and are proud of you all the same =)
What a night. It was incredible. Everyone played really hard (minus the Westerns) and it was a night to be proud of -even the Westerns.
Happy New Year Blog Fam!!
The last day of 2016 was an interesting day of basketball, very fun, and shockingly we were relatively correct. We told you: this season is nuts, these games are ridiculous; take your victories where you can get them.
NNU 64 @ WOU 59
Talk about a heck of a come back. At the end of the first NNU was down 20. Dead on the court. But whatever their halftime consisted of it worked, and they came back to beat the Wolves. We’re guessing forcing turnovers had a considerable amount to do with it -WOU had 14, which is ridiculously uncharacteristic. Constant vigilance.
Crusader highlights: Bouna N’Diaye played a full forty minutes, had a full house, including eight boards and 30 points; Maurice Jones also played 40 full minutes, and had a full house with 16 points and 10 boards among other stats. The rest of the team played as a team, acknowledged that it was better with the ball in their hands, no one tried to play hero ball, and they got the team win. Congrats to the teamwork of all the Crusaders.
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid had a double double with 23 points and 11 boards; Buster Souza had eight boards. Off the bench Akil Reese had a full house; and Demetrius Trammell had 11 points.
Huge game for NNU, not super concerning for WOU, although they’re rapidly approaching needing the auto bid. Not sure what was with the collapse, but it is what it is. This season it’s hard to be freaked out by any one game because the majority are a coin flip.
MSUB 100 @ WWU 93
Can we get a what? what? Honestly the WWU numbers weren’t bad in the slightest, Billings just beat them. No one played any defense, and these were two very evenly matched teams. Not super surprising because WWU is essentially a brand new team, whereas the core of MSUB has been together for three years. That’s the type of recipe that leads to an upset and it happened.
Yellowjacket highlights: Preston Beverly had a full house including six boards and 15 points; Marc Matthews also had a full house with eight boards, five assists, and 28 points; and Jace Anderson had 18 points. Off the bench Kendall Denham had 10 points; Zach Lessinger had eight points; and Cinco Duro had six points.
Viking highlights: Taylor Stafford had four boards, four steals, and 27 points; Logan Schilder had seven boards; Daulton Hommes had a full house including a double double with 20 points and 10 boards; and Jeffrey Parker had 12 points and five boards. Off the bench Deandre Dickson continues to impress with 18 points and six boards; and Trevor Janisky had five boards.
Very little defense by either team. Good free throw shooting by both teams.
CWU 80 @ CU-PDX 73
The Cavaliers had a lead and then kept it close for the most part but just couldn’t do it. Still a good game for them, especially with Davis Nuaimi being so off. Next time?
Wildcat highlights: Naim Ladd had five assists; Dom Hunter had a double double with 18 points and 10 boards; Jawan Stepney had 12 points and five assists; Sage Woodruff started and had 14 points and nine boards; Fuquan Niles had 11 points and seven boards; and off the bench Marc Rodgers had seven points.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had six boards; Christopher Edward had 14 points and 10 boards; Jarrett Gray had nine points and five boards. Off the bench Bryan Michaels had six boards; and Tre’ Vance had 12 points and seven boards.
Not the shiniest game, but definitely fun to watch, great effort across both teams, acceptable shooting numbers in regard to not being devoid of defense and yet taking smart shots for the most part. We continue to be impressed by the play of Naim Ladd -partly because he’s small, but largely just because he’s scrappy as all heck.
SPU 79 @ UAF 77
For a while there it looked like we were going to be really wrong, then it looked like we would be really wrong in the opposite direction, and then we mostly ended up right. Not that any of it matters, but it is funny. We feel so clueless than any bone the universe throws us, we’ll take.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten had a double double with 11 boards and 22 points; Tony Miller also had a double-double with 32 points and 10 boards; and off the bench Sharif Khan had nine points and six boards.
Nook highlights: Nahjee Matlock had five boards, four assists, and three steals; Bangaly had 11 points; Zach Pederson had 17 points; and Brandon Davis had 12 points. Off the bench Michael Kluting had five boards.
Solid numbers on both sides, for the most part. The Nooks violated the Falcons in terms of shooting within the paint, but it is what it is. SPU just doesn’t have size to match with anyone because they refuse to play the two guys that have size and aren’t terrified of physical play against opponents.
SMU 49 @ UAA 55
Saints and anyone else that wants any success against UAA: DO NOT SEND SUKI WIGGS TO THE LINE. HE WILL MAKE ALMOST EVERY SINGLE ONE. DO NOT DO IT. P.S. Good job Suki!
Saint highlights: Trey Ingram had 10 points; Cole Preston had 16 points; and Jordan Kitchen had six points while going 3/4. Maybe the most alarming thing was the number of turnovers, but honestly it wasn’t a horrible game; it was just hard. Good shots, okay shooting percentages, just going against a very good team with a great home court advantage.
Seawolf highlights: Suki Wiggs had five boards and was 12/14 from the line; Diante Mitchell had seven boards, four assists, and 13 points; and Corey Hammell had seven boards.
Impressive feat by the Saints. They need to pull games like this out from now on. They managed to shut down Corey Hammell AND Connor Devine, AND Spencer Svejcar, which is seriously impressive. The bad games of those guys are the good games of just about anyone else, so seriously awesome.
Great day of basketball. Numbers were good all the way around. Parity fully on display. It’s been forever since we’ve done player of the week, but that’ll be up tomorrow -very exciting stuff.
Yup. We’re posting this tonight because it’s 9pm pacific and why not?
Western Oregon 71 @ MSU-Billings 79
Can we pretend that we predicted that? We wouldn’t consider eight points to be a blow-out, especially not in a game that essentially reached eighty. We said that this result was possible. MSUB is a very experienced team, WOU is talented but still inexperienced. It’s easier to win at home than on the road. It’s hard to win at MSUB in general. All of that makes a recipe for MSUB to “upset” the Wolves, but… All the rest of y’all should hold your horses, because what’s that? WOU gained some experience? WOU experienced a road GNAC loss. WOU will theoretically be evolving. Now that the road loss is under their belt, they should be able to take and make quite a bit out of it so it happens less in the coming games.
Sounds like a plan. MSUB… Doesn’t need to learn anything from the win. MSUB is actually arguably the second most experienced team in the conference. Why they’re losing to Frontier schools is anyone’s guess. What happened to Kendall Denham, who knows?
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid had a full house with five rebounds, six assists, and five steals among other stats; Yanick Kulich had a good night with 16 points; Ali Faruq-Bey had 19 points; and Malik Leaks was kept quiet, but that’s a credit to the Yellowjackets -he was finally placed in the starting line-up (go Malik!) and we credit him with being hard to guard, so learning experience for him. Off the bench Demetrius Trammell had seven points.
Yellowjacket highlights: Preston Beverly had 13 points and eight boards; Marc Matthews had 20 points; and off the bench Kendall Denham had nine points; while Zach Lessinger had nine boards. Not too many Yellowjacket highlights because overall they had an incredibly balanced performance and moved the basketball a lot, if not distributed particularly well. Their A/TO suggests they didn’t, but the win and array of players with points says otherwise.
There’s a reason we don’t write these posts at night and it’s because we tend to write in the style of Aziz Ansari doing a Joe Biden impression -goofily apathetically enthusiastic.
POW noms and announcement in the AM.
Round robin chart up “soon.”
Why is blogging happening so late this year? Because we’re used to knowing something. We’re used to being able to extrapolate meaning out of all of this data, but this year the data is meaningless. We ended up in basketball really randomly and, via the demographic we came from, we’re aware that if we can’t make sense of these numbers -no one can.
If someone tells you they can make sense of them, they’re lying. It’s like someone saying they can drive in the snow in Seattle. We grew up driving in eastern Washington, Idaho, and Montana snow and through those mountain passes in the winter. We can drive in the snow just fine. We cannot drive in the snow in Seattle because Seattle usually sits around 20 degrees when it snows (even at night) and warms up as sunlight hits it, thus it’s nothing but a mess of ice with the constant thaw-refreeze-thaw that happens as any given day-of-snow goes on.
It’s impossible drive in Seattle in the snow.
It’s impossible to take any meaning out of these numbers.
And that’s why we’re struggling to put up posts on time. It’s not that we don’t care, it’s not that we’re not following things insanely closely, it’s that as much as we love highlighting these guys… We want the highlights to be real. And right now without context we don’t know what real is.
For the (ahem Central) people that are like “you just don’t care as much because SPU is a mess” um, it’s a pretty darn good year for our alma mater to be a mess considering with the level of parity, we essentially have 11 teams in the GNAC in play.
Yes. 11. 11 teams. Simon Fraser, welcome to the Club.
There are definite player highlights from the past weekend we can touch on…
NNU 53 “@” CSU East Bay 71
-Bouna N’Diaye went 7-9 from the field, finishing with 14 points
-Maurice Jones went 6-7 from the field, finishing with 17 points and eight boards.
NNU 68 @ Chico 79
-Bouna N’Diaye and Kalieb Rodrieguez both finished with 17 points apiece.
Funny/fun game just because they actually got Chico to push the tempo. Usually Chico is a defensive grind it out, which is incredible, but can be fun to see the points rise. We like Chico. They and UCSD are “our” CCAA teams.
WOU 65 “@” Westminster 58
-Tanner Omlid had 10 boards, five steals, and 23 points.
-Malik Leaks had 10 points off the bench.
WOU 73 @ Dixie State 78
-Tanner Omlid had 7 assists and zero turnovers.
Once again… We really have to compliment WOU on how well they take care of the basketball. Another funny thing because along with lack of SOS, how many turnovers those mid-2000s Romar teams had was the other major complaint. The Wolves definitely have that one taken care of; and WOU’s SOS is admittedly better this year than last.
SFU 67 “@” CU-Irvine 80
-TYRELL LEWIN HAD 24 POINTS ON 12-12 SHOOTING.
-JJ Pankratz had 19 points.
MSUB 86 “@” Western State (CO) 77
-Kendall Denham had 14 points off the bench.
MSUB 83 @ Colorado Mesa 68
-Jace Anderson went 6-6 from the line and finished with 22 points.
SPU 79 “@” Point Loma 86
-Tony Miller had 11 boards
SPU 73 @ Azusa Pacific 68
-Coleman Wooten had 14 boards.
Fresno Pacific 58 “@” UAF 74
-Bangaly Kaba went 9-10 from the line and finished with 17 points.
Fresno Pacific 66 @ WWU 75
-Jeffrey Parker went 7-7 from the line and finsihed with 21 points.
Essentially those were the best numbers the games had to offer. We’re only doing that because the rest… Our arms are crossed and we’re waiting. We believe in all of them, but this isn’t little league. Some will score more, some will score less. Some teams will win more, some teams will win less. And the numbers will matter. Eventually.
Conference play starts tonight. CU-PDX @ WOU. The obvious thing is that WOU is going to beat Concordia and we feel pretty confident in that pick. We’re very proud of Tanner. If you make our pre-season all conference team and then play well, you’ll be in our good book for a long time. If you play badly, we’ll openly complain about you the following year even if you’re sitting within earshot.
We’ll do POW here in a bit, although the nominations and award will probably be in the same post since so few teams played two actual D2 games. Still means just as much, but most of the time we try not to bombard people with posts.
Other than that… We see a Phil Jackson-style shenanigans post in the near future, no pun intended.
On the agenda for today: MSUB @ Chadron State, NNU/Sleeper Teams and their bullies, SFU’s schedule, and our posting schedule issues.
MSU-Billings 89 @ Chadron State 69
Just how bad is Chadron State? Answer -them playing in the RMAC may inadvertently cause some of the other RMAC teams to violate the Geneva Convention. It has been said that Green circle runs at The Summit At Snoqualmie are the Bunny Hill at Stevens Pass. Lower-mid teams in the GNAC are JV teams in the RMAC. The RMAC is typically a very, very good conference. So that could actually mean that MSUB just beat a good team by a lot. We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime:
Yellowjacket highlights: Preston Beverly had 13 points; Marc Matthews had 12 points and five boards; Kamal Tall had 11 points and six boards; Kendall Denham had 11 points off the bench; and Christian Evans had an insane double double of 23 points and 11 boards off the bench.
Good showing by the Jackets. The rest of you can thank MSUB -they’re a huge part of the reason we don’t write anything about non-D2 games; we love them, but they have a habit of losing to a whole smattering of NAIA teams from the Frontier conference, which is in fact wayyy weaker than the Cascade Conference. GNAC teams often play Cascade teams, but we consider those loses/close wins to be relatively okay because the Cascade Conf. is legit. As we’ve noted before: they often send four teams to a 16 at-large, 32 team overall tournament.
When sleeper teams wake-up.
We’re using NNU as the example because it’s the most recent and they had a schedule quirk that makes it even better:
During the year that NNU got really good once they got Alex Birketoft into their line-up, they played SPU three times. They played them once in December before they had him, and twice in a row in March; once as the regular season cap, and the other in the conference tournament. Okay, NNU played a game in between that, but for SPU it was twice in a row.
The first time SPU blew them out by 30. Okay, whatever, they didn’t have Alex, they were yet to get insane. The second time, SPU got to hear about NNU being soooo good and upsetting WOU on the road (something SPU couldn’t do) and so on and so forth, wow, NNU is great. While normally SPU might keep things humane or overlook the Crusaders because they like them (Christian schools, no real recruiting battles, etc.) this time it was like “NNU thinks they’re so good and are going to come in here and upset us, so let’s kill them.” And they did. And then they did it again out in Billings six days later.
We never know what to think of sleeper teams. We always hope that there is one because they’re so fun and dynamic. Two full years later we’re still mad that we didn’t get to see NNU in person that year. We were originally going on the SPU trip, but ended up going to MSUB at CWU instead (hella good game, btw) and so it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, but… Alex, Erik, Kevin. The dream. When Bouna could still be our obsession as the 6th man. And Kendall Denham was a breaking out starting freshman rather than a bench junior. We miss Kendall in the starting line-up, cm bck bby.
We look forward to hopefully another sleeper team this year, although we have no inclination as to who it’ll be because we don’t consider SMU a sleeper. Other people do, we don’t.
On SFU playing tournaments with SPU:
SPU: If you set up these games with us, we’ll bring SFU -guaranteed win against a D2 opponent, plus either a good win or a quality loss against us.
California schools: Deal!
SFU: Ummmmm Falcons, I thought you said there’d be an overlook factor???? Falcons??? FALCONS??? DON’T MAKE US GET OUR BOWS AND ARROWS. WE BEAT YOU TWO YEARS AGO YOU STUPID RETRIEVER BIRDS.
NNU your loss to College of I is completely irrelevant because they in fact are in the Cascade Conference, which is the class of NAIA D2.
We’re from the Cal-Pac, so we’re not even biased when we say that -Cascade is just straight up baller.
Why has the posting schedule been all messed up this year?
A number of reasons:
a. At the beginning of the year 10/11 teams were complete unknowns.
b. Now all 11 teams are completely unknown. SFU has had some good moments, UAA has had some bad moments, but none of that means anything because every conference seems to be in flux.
c. 35+ teams in the West Region are in flux. It makes things more complicated, it makes the extrapolation of data that much more meaningless, and while we’ll speculate on stuff all day long, how much of it any given person needs to read in a blog post is a different matter.
d. We’re finally working 40 (read: 50) hours a week at a somewhat big-person job and it’s exciting and we love it, but we’re yet to catch a rhythm yet and with how much variability there’s been in what’s going on with any conference team, there’s simply less blogging to be done this year so far. Things’ll mellow out and ramp up as we get into conference play.
Alright. Game previews’ll be up Friday morning, go dawgs, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
First and foremost: We do not count transfers before they hatch. See the ‘Jake Ehlers’ Rule under our Table of Contents.
That being said: Are you ready? Hold onto your shorts ’cause it’s about to look ridiculous, but we promise with what we currently have to go on -it’s not. We like our justifications, which says something because often times we don’t.
1. Alaska-Anchorage. It’s not close. They’ve proven so much more with the guys they return than any other team in the conference that we’re already anticipating booking our tickets to Anchorage for the NCAA tournament. They are deep. And well-tested. Other teams return a lot, but most of them were really bad. The Seawolves basically return everyone they need. It’s fantastic. Go UAA.
Key Returners: Suki Wiggs, Corey Hammell, Sjur Berg, Spencer Svejcar, Diante Mitchell, + more.
2. Western Oregon. Again it’s not close. They return a lot. They lose a lot, but they return a lot. It’s reminiscent of SPU two years ago; yeah, they lost a few major guys but they have guys that have been in waiting that we think aren’t going to miss a beat. With their success, we anticipate them getting the right transfers. They should also procure a trip back to the Regional without much issue.
Key Returners: Tanner Omlid, Alex Roth, Janvier Alaby.
3. Saint Martin’s. This is where it gets to be a complete mess. We ultimately picked SMU because they have a for sure proven center -you gotta have someone that can bang down low. They return plenty of other stuff too and then also proved that this team, keyword team, can dig in and win when it matters down the stretch.
Key Returners: Fred Jorg, Tyler Copp, Trey Ingram, Rhett Baerlocher, and Jordan Kitchen, + more.
4. Western Washington. They return just about everybody needed on a team that was a major disappointment. We think this team is addition by subtraction. They return a core of guys that all try really freaking hard every single second they’re in the game. Do they lose height? Yes. Does it matter? Not necessarily. You can play short as long as every single guy is committed to playing hard 110% of the time.
Key Returners: Trey Drechsel, Jeffrey Parker, Brad Wallace, Isom Brown, Evan Scholten, Brett Kingma.
5. MSU-Billings. Another team that returns a ton but did very little last year. We think that’s going to change because all of the guys have a year in the system and with MSUB it seems to be feast or famine; either they’re playing cohesively and are a good team, or they are a flaming pile of …. fill in the blank. We think this year is going to be an up year.
Key Returners: Kendall Denham, Marc Matthews, Jace Anderson, Emmanuel Olufemi, Preston Beverly.
6. Alaska-Fairbanks. The Nanooks owe this spot purely to Bangaly. Never underestimate a good power forward. The Nooks also have a good home [tundra] advantage. They don’t return much, but Bangaly was able to create like Elsa (from ‘Frozen’) last year and brought tons of energy. They were surprisingly good and we think he’s going to give them a lot to work with once again.
Key Returners: Bangaly Kaba, Zach Pederson, Brandon Davis.
7. Central Washington. They don’t return much, but they do have a good home court advantage. We also really do believe in Terry Dawn.
Key Returners: Terry Dawn, Naim Ladd, Drake Rademacher.
8. Northwest Nazarene. Prime example of a bad team that returns a lot, so they have to be a little better, right?
Key Returners: Nikola Prvulj, Bouna N’Diaye, Pol Olivier, Marko Lepovic.
9. CU-Portland. This is mostly our faith in their coaching staff. They won a lot on the NAIA level so at some point it will start transferring to the D2 level, we hope. They don’t return much, but maybe?
Key Returners: Drew Martin, Tyler Gutierrez, Davis Nuaimi.
10. Simon Fraser. We were going to put them last per usual and then we realized if you made us pick between facing Hidde Vos and JJ Pankratz or Joe Rasmussen and Will Parker, we’d pick the latter two; thus, SFU gets the nod. Their culture desperately needs a re-haul, and honestly we’re starting to kind of feel bad for them. We know they wouldn’t eliminate men’s football and basketball, but seriously: they have so many other sports that are actually good, that we feel like those two sports are just a big money sink.
Key Returners: JJ Pankratz, Hidde Vos.
11. Seattle Pacific. Someone asked us about our projected starters and we intentionally left out Will Parker because we refuse to accept that he has any business still playing for SPU, much less starting for the Falcons. Joe Rasmussen is in that same boat, but 6’8 guys are far less expendable than 5’10 ones. This is going to be a mess and only partly because of the coaching change.
Key Returners: [former assistant, now Head Coach] Grant Leep.
If anyone wants to talk us off the ledge, commiserate, or jump for joy with us (we are genuinely excited for the Seawolves and very curious about the land Wolves), leave a comment!
We’ve already had two other discussions post,
so this one is going to be relatively brief just kidding: UAA @ MSUB. Did UAA just burst their own at-large bubble? Could MSUB mathematically make the conference tourney? Rankings. Brian McGill converts.
UAA 71 @ MSUB 90
Yes. That happened. As noted last night: We only ended up watching the final two minutes and we were wholly stunned. From UAA’s twitter we discovered that MSU-B led the entire time. At halftime they were up by roughly 25. They came out on fire, they stayed on fire, they played defense, and then put an exclamation point on it by not falling into a false sense of security. The last point is huge because it seems like an ongoing issue in our conference: One team goes up big, gets complacent, the other team comes back, and the team that originally led either loses or gets out by the skin of their teeth. Constant vigilance.
Seawolf highlights: Suki Wiggs had 27 points and seven rebounds; Corey Hammell had six boards and 13 points; Brian McGill had five assists and continues his FT streak, going 4/4. Off the bench Christian Leckband had seven points, five rebounds, and four fouls.
Yellowjacket highlights: Preston Beverly had 25 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists -absolutely nuts; Kendall Denham had a great game with 14 points, three rebounds, and three assists while shooting 90% including going 4/4 from the line; Marc Matthews had 12 points, six boards, and five assists; Emmanuel Johnson scored 19 points; and Emmanuel Olufemi had 12 points and five boards. Off the bench Jordan Perry scored eight points. Hella complete and balanced performance by the Jackets.
What’s maybe most interesting about the final score is the Seawolves shot 40%. MSUB was just playing such stifling defense that it appears they couldn’t get many shots off, and then the Yellowjackets took advantage of it at the other end of the court. Syncopated is what the score makes us think, although again: We didn’t watch so we’re not sure.
Did UAA just ruin their chance for an at-large bid?
We’re honestly not sure. Potentially, which sucks. But not entirely. What this is coming back to is strength of schedule. Because there’s been so much parity across all three conferences during conference play, we’ve got about 10 teams with really similar resumes, UAA being among them. The good news for the Seawolves is that no one has particularly good SOS and the early season wins/losses teams have against Cal Baptist are going to be negated by question marks because of the fact that the Lancers are collapsing down the stretch.
It’s hard to truly say where Anchorage falls because there are still six games left to play and you can look at the records of any given team and any given opponent, but this year is chaos and so it really doesn’t matter. We raised the argument super early in the season that we wanted to see the Seawolves win off the tundra, and now it seems like all of the wins off the tundra that they have include asterisks. They won at SPU over winter break. They won in double OT at WWU partly because their coach wasn’t given a technical that he 110% deserved; he made it to center court and three players were having to restrain him. That deserves an ejection + probably missing the next game. And if he misses that next game, do the Seawolves pull it out against SFU? Maybe, maybe not. They let SFU hang around a really, really long time. And now you have their most recent loss to MSUB. It wasn’t close. And you could go “Oh well they’ve been on the road for a week,” yes, welcome to the dog days of the season. This’ll come as a shock, but during the NCAA tournament you’re on the road for a week. Crazy stuff.
Win the conference tournament and the bubble doesn’t matter. If the bubble does matter? Not sure. There are approximately 13 teams that deserve consideration for at-large berths, and we think three of them are relatively safe: WOU (best record, benefit of the doubt fully earned), UCSD (great record, good non-conference), and SPU (good record, great non-con).
Can MSUB still make it into the conference tourney/what would have to happen?
In short, yes they can. And that should worry the Vikings. The Yellowjackets are 2.5 games back of WWU, with their remaining schedule looking as follows:
The good news is they have three home games. The bad news is two of them are against really good teams. The good news is they just beat a really good team. The bad news the remaining teams either match them well or come in as a huge favorite. CU-Portland and SMU should be competitive. WOU, UAF, and SPU are going to be hard, although it should be noted that MSUB doesn’t usually have any type of issue with the SPU gym, so a win there is definitely a possibility.
WWU’s schedule looks like this:
Very similar schedules, but MSUB plays mostly at home whereas WWU has a lot of road games. The Vikings are likely going to have a rough ride. Partly because of all the parity, partly because four away games, and partly because it’s hard to win six straight, and MSUB only needs to win one game they “shouldn’t,” to make it really dicey. The only games we see as a guarantee for the Vikings are @CU-Portland & vs. NNU. That’s it. And we could be wrong about those. WOU is going to be incredibly difficult. CWU is going to be unpleasant. SPU is likely to be challenging. SMU could go either way.
Alright, rankings, holy guacamole, they are a doozy. They’re fine; we see the arguments people are making, but they’re still whoa.
1. Western Oregon -we agree with the ranking, even if it makes us nervous. Stay humble Wolves.
6. UCSD -love it. It’s mostly because other teams lost, but we still love it.
9. Chico State -love Chico, still think Cal Poly Pomona is better; Friday night against UCSD will be interesting.
11. MSU Moorhead
14. Cal Poly Pomona -we get it, they have four losses, but we swear that Dominguez Hills is quality this year and while they slept on CSULA, they beat Chico by 13; that ain’t no foulin’ score.
22. Seattle Pacific -fell three spots after losing to the now-#1 WOU in OT. We have no opinion on this one.
Others receiving votes: Azusa Pacific (2), Alaska-Anchorage (1).
Azusa… We don’t know. We really don’t know. We’ve been watching Joey Schreiber play since high school; now he plays for Azusa, therefore Azusa is now ours and therefore we have no opinion because rankings are what they are.
we think deserves more than one vote. Do we think they’d beat Chico State? Maybe. We honestly really don’t know much at all about Chico State other than that their play-by-play guy is amazing and their biggest statements have been losses to Cal Poly Pomona and Seattle Pacific, but part of that is because the two other good teams they’ve played (Sonoma and Humboldt) are rivals, which… Maybe means we should give them more credit because anything can and will happen in a rivalry game? We still think their non-conference schedule was pathetic, which sadly is still relevant because of the chaos that’s gone on in the regular season. As noted a few days ago: The Chico Wildcat schedule enters its in-conference gauntlet now, so we’ll see how they respond. The Pac-West looks like such a mess that it doesn’t seem like a stretch that both the GNAC and the CCAA would get three bids, but whether or not UAA is one of them will really depend on who wins the GNAC tournament; if it’s SPU or WOU the odds of UAA getting an at-large seem high, whereas we’re starting to lean that Chico will be in no matter what simply because no one else played anyone either.
Not listed there, but Augustana received one #1 vote, while Wheeling received four, and WOU received 11. The Augustana thing is interesting because we contemplated making an argument about leaving Augustana as number one even with two losses because there’s so much parity, the number one spot is basically switching between “who lost most recently” but the top are all only really losing to good teams and the outsider there isn’t playing good teams, so… It’s an interesting idea. Glad to see we weren’t the only ones that thought Wheeling looked really good.
The Consensus is: Brian McGill is awesome.
We know he just won player of the week, but probably one of the best parts of a great weekend was how much we got asked about Brian and how excited people were to talk about him. Western Washington fans know basketball, particularly the ones we sit with, and going into the game we were like ‘Brian McGill is super super good and he makes the people around him better,’ and maybe being a little fan-girly, but by the end of the game everyone around us was like “OH MY GOD, HE’S AMAZING.” He’s not flashy, he gets the job done, he does the little things, and is a very humble player even though he’s arguably the #2 guy in the conference. It was fun to listen to our friends go “Okay, I’m not thrilled with what he’s doing to us, but he’s a really good basketball player -if we have to lose and get torched by someone, he’s fine.”
Game respects game. It also helps that when opponents would go down, Brian was always reaching a out a hand to help them up. Sportsmanship rocks; between his game and his attitude, it wasn’t surprising but it was still awesome how much praise we heard. Even after a 2OT loss, we got tons of questions and gushing about him in the middle of the UAF blowout two days later.
So once again, congrats Brian -more people than you know think you’re fantastic.
We were going to talk about Cal Baptist, but this is long enough. We’ll deal with the Lancers either later this week or next Wednesday.
Whoa. Two OT games, one of them being double OT and actually a better game than the great game we anticipated, even. With that, let’s dive in:
UAF 78 @ SFU 68
*shrugs* Well, we did say that this could happen. It took a long time for UAF to actually walk it up on the Clan -it was close for a very, very long time, then the Nooks almost pulled away before the Clan pulled them back in. Good to see a score like this, sort of? Wouldn’t necessarily say it was good defense so much as shots not falling, but… Again: Overlook factor. Big. We always talk about it and the Nooks lingered in the trap for a very long time.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly had five boards; Joe Slocum had 10 points and five boards; Travante Williams had eight boards and 13 points, along with a full house; Brandon Davis had five boards; Almir had a monster night going 9/12 and grabbing six board to finished with 24 points. Off the bench Alex Duncan and Neal Chavez had six points a piece.
Clan highlights: Oshea Gairey had 17 points; Michael Harper had a great game with 23 points and six boards; and off the bench Hidde Vos had eight points, while Graham Smith had five points.
The Clan will beat someone this year. It wasn’t the Nooks, we don’t expect it to be the Seawolves, but keep your eyes and ears open because no one goes 0-20.
CWU 88 @ MSUB 78
Big game. It’s hard to play in Billings, they have a great homecourt advantage, but the Wildcats pulled it out. Do we see the Wildcats contending for an at-large berth? Not at all. Because incest. And Simon Fraser as incest on top of it. But they will have a chance to challenge for the conference auto-bid.
Wildcat highlights: Joey Roppo had 15 points; Gary Jacobs had 20 points and 14 rebounds on perfect free throw shooting; Joe Stroud had 10 points and eight boards; Devin Matthews had 12 points and five boards; and fff the bench Drake Rademacher had eight points.
Yellowjacket highlights: Preston Beverly had 21 points and nine rebounds; Kendall Denham had 13 points; Marc Matthews had five boards and four assists; Jordan Perry had 10 boards, eight points, and five fouls; and off the bench Emmanuel Olufemi had 13 points.
Crazy intense game, great job by both teams.
WOU 74 @ SMU 62
This game makes us laugh, mainly because we called it. WOU gonna WOU and SMU gonna SMU, but we saw both sides of both teams until WOU finally put the game away. Great job by the Saints for staying in it for so long -if we saw correctly, they stayed in it until about five minutes left in the game.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had 13 points; Julian Nichols 17 points while going 9/9 from the line; and Andy Avgi had 18 points, nine boards, and five blocks, rounded out by a full house. Off the bench Kadeem Strickland had 10 points; and Alex Roth had eight boards.
Saint highlights: Cole Preston had 17 points and four assists; Jordan Kitchen had 9 points; Fred Jorg had 14 points; and off the bench Trey Ingram had 14 points and five boards. Brandon Kenilvort also had five boards off the bench.
Congrats to WOU on pulling it out -it was dicey there, but you got your heads in the game. Good luck to the Saints against a Concordia team on the rise.
CU-PDX 54 @ SPU 76
That score is a bit misleading -Concordia led for a bit in the first half (ten minutes-ish) but then the Falcons decided to get serious and put it away as appropriate. To be fair Concordia did play some legitimate defense -the Falcons had tons of missed shots and a lot of their numbers are nauseating.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 12 points and seven boards; and John Erickson had 10 points off the bench.
Falcon highlights: Brendan Carroll had seven boards; Gilles Dierickx had 11 boards; Mitch Penner had a crazy amazing game going 14-16 from the field and grabbing eight boards; GARRETT SWANSON HAD SEVEN BOARDS; we shout because that’s a miracle for that kid. Off the bench Coleman Wooten had five boards; and Gabe Colosimo had 15 points.
UAA 108 @ WWU 105 in 2OT
We’ve gotta be serious: This is definitely in our top 5 favorite attended collegiate games ever. Among those games is Gonzaga @ Washington of ’05-’06, aka the Brandon Roy/Adam Morrison battle, so very high praise. Ridiculously proud of both teams, especially the Seawolves because THEY MADE THEIR DARN FREE THROWS. And they won. As noted on Twitter: this definitely helps the Seawolves in their quest for an at-large berth, while it doesn’t affect the Vikings too much because they have no shot at an at-large and they’re pretty much guaranteed to make the conference tourney and shoot for the autobid anyway.
Seawolf highlights: Suki Wiggs had 10 boards, four assists, and shot 75% from the line on 20 shots, only to be rounded out with a full house and culminating in 33 points; COREY HAMMELL HAD 15 BOARDS AND 13 POINTS and went 7/7 from the line -we love his game so much; Brian McGill went 15-15 from the line and finished with 31 points; and off the bench Christian Leckband had six boards and five points.
Viking highlights: Kyle Impero had 37 points, six boards, and five assists; Trey Drechsel had 18 points and a full house; Blake Bowen had seven boards; and Jeffrey Parker had 25 points. Off the bench Brett Kingma had eight points and Colby Mitchell had six points.
The game was nuts, somehow Coach Oz avoided a technical. It was kind of awkward; we were telling the people we were sitting with a story about his propensity for technicals before looking up and realizing he was standing literally right in front of us. Luckily at the end of OT at least two of his players restrained him after he’d already gotten almost to center court, no joke. We swear by nutso coaches, so we love Coach Oz, but… Really: He deserved a technical. The other big thing was that the Seawolves managed to shut down Ricardo Maxwell and the Vikings managed to shut down Spencer Svejcar, so good on that respective defense.
Yes, it’s up late. Throw tomatoes. We’ve actually been working, and then are still recovering from the WWU/UAA game and going over every second of it because IT WAS AMAZING. So thanks to both the Vikings and Seawolves for that.
Game previews’ll be up tomorrow at 11am.
Lots of good games played by lots of guys; this is the first week where only one spot is being donated and there are multiple guys actually getting missed -that’s a good thing. There’s still tons of parity and while there were lots of great single game performances, there were only a few guys that were great on both days.
UAF: Travante Williams – a couple of really balanced performances against Spartin; good number of rebounds, assists, points, free throw makes, all of that good stuff.
UAA: Brian McGill -made his debut back in the starting line-up against SPU, but had a couple of consistent days, which is great. Lots of assists, which we love to see because his vision and unselfishness has long epitomized his game.
SFU: JJ Pankratz -just squeaked in, almost had some friendly fire, but triumphed over it; he’s the most consistent guy the Clan has by a long shot.
WWU: Kyle Impero -another super consistent guy; his shots haven’t been falling, but he’s great on defense and always involves his teammates, his motor never stops.
SPU: Mitch Penner -Still waiting for his rebounding to bounce back, but absolutely put the team on his back in regard to scoring and assisting against the brutal back-to-back that is Bankorage.
SMU: Cole Preston -made his free throws, grabbed boards, and assisted his teammates on both nights. Love it.
MSUB: KENDALL DENHAM IS BOUNCING BACK!!!!!! So excited to see the sophomore get out of his slump and help propel his team to victory, particularly with his commitment to defense.
CWU: Devin Matthews -grabbed boards, made his shots; quintessential ‘big’ responsibilities.
NNU: Joel Devastey -another big getting it done, grabbing boards and making shots.
CU-P: Donated to Tanner Omlid of WOU; Tanner had a fantastic game against NNU in respect to grabbing boards, and then shot 100% against CWU. Even if it was “only” five shots, it’s still very impressive.
WOU: Are you really wondering? OF COURSE IT WAS ANDY. Shootin’, assistin’, boardin’, avoiding getting fouled. That’s just Andy for you.
Fun week, lots of parity. Winner’ll be up in an hour.
Hooooly guacmole, last night was FUN. Lots of GNAC nights are fun, but… What’s that? More chaos? Sure, why not.
Northwest Nazarene 59 @ Western Oregon 62
The Crusaders were in this almost the whole time. The Wolves built up a lead as they are wont to do, the Crusaders came back in and stayed back in. There were moments where just as you thought WOU would pull away for good the Crusaders took it back. Ultimately the win was not to be theirs, but valiant effort all the same. We’re impressed.
Crusader highlights: Joel Devastey had a good game with eight boards and two assists; Bouna had seven boards, five assists, and 13 points; Detwon Rogers had five boards; Mike Wright had five boards and 16 points. Off the bench Gonzo Santana had five points; and Marko Lepovic had seven points and six boards.
Wolf highlights: Julian Nichols had five boards and three assists, while going 10/12 from the line; Tanner Omlid had a fantastic game as a starting forward, finishing with 13 boards, three assists, three steals, five blocks, two fouls, and seven points for the full house; Jordan Wiley had 12 points and five boards; and the always amazing Andy had eight boards and 18 points, rounded out with a full house. No real bench play, although Alex Roth provided four fouls.
Central Washington 102 @ CU-Portland 75
CWU was on a mission after the close loss against WWU and knowing they have to play WOU this weekend. Concordia didn’t truly stand a chance.
Wildcat highlights: Joey Roppo had 29 points, five boards, and went 7-7 from the line; Terry Dawn had six boards and fourteen points, along with four fouls; Joe Stroud had an amazing game with a full house including seven boards, four blocks, and 17 points; Devin Matthews had seven boards, six assists, and 10 points. Off the bench Naim Ladd had seven boards and 12 points on improved shooting; Drake Rademacher had 12 points; and Chris-Michael Garret had four assists and four fouls.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 22 points; Latrell Wilson had 14 points; Riley Hawken had nine boards. Off the bench Jace Cates had 13 points and four boards; Davis Nuaimi had seven points; and James Phillips had five points.
CWU had a largely perfect game, except for their defense but… Best defense is a good offense, eh? While Riley Hawken of CU-Portland didn’t have a great game, the biggest thing to note is how many mistakes and traps he refused to fall into -that’s huge, huge, HUGE, so very proud of him for that. Keep building Riley, you’re already good and you’re going to be great.
MSU-Billings 64 @ Western Washington 79
WWU IS FINALLY ACTING LIKE WWU!!!!!! In the last few weeks the Vikings have clicked and clicked big and it’s so fun to watch. We’ve said all year that we like the line-up they have and the guys in the program but it hadn’t been cohesive, and… They’re starting to heat up at exactly the right time.
Yellowjacket highlights: Kendall Denham had five boards, four assists, three steals, and 12 points; Emmanuel Johnson had 25 points; and off the bench Preston Beverley had a crazy amazing 11 boards, four assists, and 14 points for the double-double.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 4 assists and 12 points; Kyle Impero had 17 points, 10 boards (dat double-double), five assists, and four steals; Trey Drechsel had seven boards and three steals; and Jeffrey Parker had five boards. Off the bench Evan Scholten had six boards and nine points; and Colby Mitchell had 10 points.
Blake Bowen went back to normal and how did Brett Kingma end up with five fouls? Like seriously. So confusing.
Saint Martin’s 73 @ Alaska-Anchorage 70
This game was terrifying and amazing and WHAAAAT!??! Part of us is like “oh lord, the Falcons are going to die on Saturday” but the other part of us is like “WHO CARES, THIS GAME WAS INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!” Ridiculously proud of SMU for finally pulling a game like this out -we knew they could do it, always did, we’ve always believed in this team. Still -Anchorage put up a very good fight so congrats to the Seawolves.
Saint highlights: Cole Preston had six boards and seven assists; Jordan Kitchen had two blocks and 13 points; Rhett Baerlocher had five boards and nine points; Fred Jorg had five assists and 16 points. Off the bench TREY INGRAM had four assists and five points -welcome back Trey!! He hasn’t been gone, but his numbers have been. Hopefully this does it and means the sophomore slump is over!
Seawolf highlights: Suki had seven boards and went 6/7 from the line, along with a full house; Corey Hammell had 16 poitns, six boards, and three assists. Off the bench Christian Leckband had five boards and 11 points; and the always ballin’ Brian McGill had seven assists, two steals, and 16 points.
Really exciting game, close pretty much the whole time, lots of pins and needles involved. Congrats once again to the Saints -we knew you could do it.
Seattle Pacific 79 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 69
Whoaaa, SPU went up by 22 and UAF battled it back but ultimately couldn’t do it. Still, a very valiant effort by the Nooks -we totally thought you were going to win, especially in the last five minutes. UAF is very difficult to play at and we’re still stunned that the Falcons got the win, to the point that we almost feel like apologizing to the Nooks. Go figure.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had six boards; Brendan Carroll had 15 points and six boards; Mitch Penner had a huge 29 points and five assists; and Coleman Wooten started for the first time and finished with SEVEN boards. Off the bench Gabe Colosimo had 13 points and three steals; Garrett Swanson had seven points; and Joe Rasmussen grabbed five boards and committed five fouls in nine minutes.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly had five boards; Travante Williams had 19 points and seven boards; Joe Slocum had four steals; Almir had his way with the Falcons, picking up 18 points and six boards. Very little bench play.
The Falcons were up by a lot and almost choked then managed not to. Fairbanks is an incredibly difficult place to play, so good on them for battening down the hatches and surviving the blizzard. Almir completely had his way with Gilles, which is both hilarious and completely expected. FYR all day.
Ultimately a great night of basketball and one that provided plenty of ammunition for Saturday. Cannot wait to watch those games -it’s going to be a great day of basketball with lots of close match-ups, so… We’ll see. Game previews’ll be up at 11am PST.