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.
The good news is that the Wolves procured what’s turning out to be the most quality win the GNAC has and will have procured this non-conference. The bad news is that Crusaders may have procured the worst D2 loss our conference will have this season.
Northwest Nazarene 57 @ Cal State LA 70
CSULA led the entire time. NNU dug themselves a hole early. For a while in the second half it looked like it was closing -the Golden Eagles kept sending Bouna to the line and Bouna was making all of them (GO B!!) and then they realized they better stop doing that and that was the closest the Crusaders ever got. The numbers from this game (outside of Bouna) were atrocious on so many levels. We’d started actually getting really excited about the Crusaders and yet… When shots weren’t falling, their defense wasn’t stepping up either. You can have an off-night shooting provided you take your defense all the more seriously. This was a really, really, really bad loss to pick up. CSULA was 0-7. The Crusaders had just beaten Dominican, on apparently what was an off night for the Penguins (overlook factor? potentially) and a good night for NNU. This was not that. This was two relatively evenly matched teams going at it and it did not turn out well for the GNAC.
Highlights: BOUNA!!!!! Full house consisting of 22 points, two boards, one assist, two steals, a block, four fouls and 11/12 on FTs. Off the bench Leeor Konenkov had seven boards and nine points. Those were the highlights. Yikes.
NNU has one more chance to prove their worth in non-conference and that is on Friday against a decent San Francisco State team, so… cross your fingers.
Western Oregon 67 @ UC San Diego 63
Could we be any more proud of WOU? Don’t think so. Honestly, this was a game of fouls. UCSD picked up a lot of really, really stupid ones and WOU did what good teams do and took advantage of it. That was the difference. There were a couple of non-calls that we thought a bit iffy, but… California. This weekend we watched a player get head-locked and horse collared simultaneously with no call, so… Go figure.
Highlights: Devon Alexander had a super game with 12 points, three boards, an assist, and two steals on great shooting; Alex Roth had 11 points and seven boards; Julian Nichols had 11 points; Jordan Wiley had five boards and 15 points; Andy Avgi had a super rough game but picked up four boards and four assists. Off the bench Janvier Alaby five points; and Tanner Omlid had six boards.
The thing about this game is that it happened so late we don’t think the polls will account for it, so unless teams ahead of them lost, WOU isn’t likely to see a bump in the rankings until next week at which point they probably should be bumped up. Last week we had noted that we didn’t necessarily agree with the Wolves ranking not because we don’t believe in them, but because they needed a signature win. This is a signature win. Good team, on the road, best player not playing well, still pulled it out. Awesome. Oddly enough though -we still thing UCSD should probably move up in the rankings, because they were 14th and lost to what is a really, really good WOU team by a mere four.
Simon Fraser @ Western Washington @ 7pm PST
What are we expecting out of this game? That is a very good question. We’re expecting WWU to win, but maybe not by the 25 or so that we’d usually expect. The closest SFU’s gotten to a D2 win is a loss by “7” (because fouling) to an exhausted SMU team that had gone toe-to-toe and lost by three to the Vikings two days earlier. Both teams come into this game very fresh and if the Clan can’t win in this scenario, we’re a little concerned. By that same token: If WWU can’t procure a win by 15+ in this scenario, what does that really mean for the Vikings? We’re not sure. As long as they win, it’s fine, and “as long as they win” is put with a modicum of neutrality because it really just comes down to the fact that they beat SMU and have a few non-conference wins whereas SFU doesn’t. Basically our conference is a bit of a mess, but that’s a discussion for a different day.
Tomorrow we’ll do POW noms and the announcement an hour later, and then Thursday’ll be our discussions post. As always: If you have something you want us to talk about, leave a comment or shout out on Twitter.