Tagged: NSIC

Discussions: WOU as #1?

Publishing this an hour earlier than normal because we’re hearing rumblings that WOU may debut as the number one ranked team and so we thought we’d throw in our two cents because why not?

Well, here’s why not: We really do not pay attention to what’s going on with teams outside of the Region, for the most part. We keep a loose thread of what’s going on with:

Midwestern State -because they adopted us last year when we crashed the South Central Regional.
MSU-Moorhead -because GNAC teams played them early in the year.
Tarleton State  -because GNAC teams frequently play the Riders in non-con.

Still; we never like to miss a good chance to talk out of our rear-end, so down the rabbit hole we go. It should be noted that records listed are in-conference, not overall.

Here are the two teams ranked ahead of WOU and what they did this past week:

#1 Augustana (SD) (17-1): Lost at Northern State (10-8), then won at #8 MN-Moorhead because of course.
#2 Fairmont State (WV) (13-3): Lost to #6 West Liberty and #4 Wheeling Jesuit, it appears as though by free throws, so take the point differentials with a grain of salt.

Fairmont is going to fall, but by how much? And does it mean that WOU moves into the top spot? We have a stigma against teams we like holding the top spot ever since senior year when SPU became the number one team and then fell on our feathers against Dixie State. On the one hand, we have no problem with WOU being ranked number one: they’ve earned it, they’re a great team, we’re excited to have them hopefully host the Regional; on the other hand, because of superstition, part of us hopes the nod goes to Wheeling Jesuit.

#4 Wheeling Jesuit (15-1) -upset #2 Fairmont State (13-3), and beat Shepherd (6-10) by 8.
#5 Lincoln Memorial (16-0) -blew out two teams by 30 a piece.
#6 West Liberty (14-2) -beat #2 Fairmont State, beat Shepherd by 12.

Wheeling also gets credit in upsetting the former number one that is now #6 West Liberty earlier this year. They are a really good team with really good SOS, partly because their conference in particular (the Mountain East) seems incredibly brutal.

The obvious question to look at with Wheeling as the 4th is who the #3 team played and what their SOS is like. Oh wait.

#3 Western Oregon -beat #19 Seattle Pacific (10-4), and beat Saint Martin’s (4-10) by 12.

………………………. We really don’t know. Again: We love the Wolves, we believe in the Wolves, and in that we don’t want them to pick up the #1 ranking. That being said, from a rational standpoint, we’re incredibly torn.

We like the argument for Wheeling Jesuit, we like the argument for Lincoln Memorial because we’re not passionately vested in their SOS, and we like the argument for West Liberty to be back in the #1 spot. The thing about WOU and Wheeling is that each only played one difficult game. While we know the Wolves struggled a bit early in the SMU game… We don’t count that as a reason to hold them back. The big question is: How big was the SPU win? How good is SPU?

The Wolves got a road win, which is always huge, but… SPU. An area that’s out of our expertise in regard to difficulty playing there. The Falcons are a good team and that doesn’t change just because of the setting. WOU is a good team and their play doesn’t change with their setting either. Whether or not WOU is hard to play at is also unknown by us because SPU can always be counted on to struggle at WOU, regardless as to the record of either team. Much like WWU @ UAF, the Falcons could win a national title and yet would still almost be guaranteed to have a loss in Monmouth on their schedule.

With that:

WOU beat the #19 team and a team with a record of 4-10 in conference.
Wheeling Jesuit beat the #2 team in the country and a team that’s 6-10.

The thing is though: We’re starting to believe in the GNAC. We’re so beyond thrilled with UAA’s play, even with the losses to SPU and SMU, that we don’t think those two losses matter. Suki, Brian, and Corey are the real deal. Spencer Svejcar was fairly quiet this weekend but is also a baller. Christian Leckband is a heck of a 6th man. The NCAA Tournament is about winning when it counts. UAA went toe-to-toe with WWU and down the stretch they got it done. Is WWU a super crazy amazing team this year? No. But the Seawolves took on a (perennial power) team looking to upset them, went to 2OT, and got out of it, all on the road.

WOU was down by as much as 14 against SPU and came back and won. We’ve seen the Wolves go down and come back a lot, but doing it on the road against a somewhat legitimate team like SPU is impressive. Somewhat legitimate because they have no functional big men, their best point guard is in a massive shooting slump, their small forward shoots and misses until the kangaroos come home, and that leaves you with their one amazing wing in Mitch Penner and thus he becomes the guy every team focuses on. And yet he still miraculously had a really good game against WOU -and this is with him underachieving in regard to rebounding.

After all of that… We love WOU. We believe in them. We watched SPU almost make it to the Sweet 16 last year, with only four functioning players. We love Andy, Julian, Jordan, Alex, Devon, and Tanner; we truly consider their lineup to have six starters. And we don’t think that they should get the nod over Wheeling Jesuit. Not this week. But if/when they get the sweep in Alaska, we’ll be the first to say “Give ’em the #1.”

Oh and we expect SPU to stay in the rankings, despite the loss. There also is the potential they move up. While as of last week they had one of the higher loss totals of the ranked teams, SOS will save you. Their losses come via CU-Irvine, UAA, UAF, and WOU x2; all teams with winning records that are/would be guaranteed bids in the respective conference tournaments.


Our usual Wednesday discussions about the reality of the rankings will be up tomorrow at 10am.

The West vs. “The Rest.”

Why we felt the need to do this, we’re not sure. RPI is a brat and a half to calculate on the D2 level because everyone counts their non-D2 wins as wins (which they’re not -they’re simply non-losses) so to the SIDs and committee members reading this: You’re sort of welcome. Only sort of, because it really doesn’t matter.

WestVsTheRest

Basically we kicked the butts of the non-west region schools we played, but none of them are doing particularly fantastically except for MN Moorhead, so… Thanks to the Dragons for the OOR (out of region) legitimacy that splitting with you guys brought. RMAC/South Central Region -You’re our OOR buddy, we had fun attending your Regional last year, and we believe in you and your teams, so those games should increase in quality as conference play goes on.

Ultimately after going through all of the non-west region stuff, we circled back around to our original belief that none of it truly matters because of the small chance that any given team is going to match-up with one of these regions in the post-season, and the fact that if and when they do meet up -there’ll be another two thirds of the season between now and then.

Still -interesting and fun numbers. We have all of them, so if you’re curious about a particular context or something such, feel free to ask questions in the comments or on twitter.

Discussions: GNAC vs. the Rest

We have all the numbers (yes: all the numbers) but we’re not sure what you guys want, so… If you’re here, you’re probably just as basketball-geeky as we are, so we’re going to give you all the numbers. Merry Christmas.

Please keep in mind: We sorted through every schedule of every opponent a west region team plays and we ONLY counted D2 opponents in these records because that’s how it should be. The number of schools that count wins against non D2 opponents is too darn high.

Alaska Fairbanks

Home wins:
Hawaii Pacific (2-4)
Chaminade (3-3)
Dominguez Hills (2-4)
Northwest Nazarene (2-4)
Central Washington (2-2)

Road wins:
None

Neutral wins:
None.

They do have neutral site losses to Dixie State (4-4) and Dominican (5-3). Basically what this tells us is that UAF has ruled themselves out of at-large contention. Regional road wins are huge and there’s really no excuse for not picking some up if you want to be seriously considered to make the Tourney.

Current D2 Record: 5-2.
Current opponent record: 25-30
At-large bid potential: 0.

We like Fairbanks, love Bangaly and Travante and obviously Almir, and while we think they’re pretty secure in getting a bid to the conference tournament, they’re going to have to win it in order to get a berth in the Big Dance.

Alaska-Anchorage

Home wins:
Chaminade (3-3)
Hawaii Pacific (2-4)
Northwest Nazarene (2-4)
Central Washington (2-2)

Neutral wins:
Upper Iowa (5-8)

Road wins:
None.

Current D2 Record: 5-3
Current Opponent Record: 33-38
At-large bid potential: 0.

Suki drives us nuts, we can just say that. He’s not quite the cancer of Dom Williams, but no coach would green light someone to regularly go 10-21 if they had any better options at all. We consider the Seawolves to be secure in their berth to the conference tournament, but they definitely need the auto-bid in order to become one of sixty-four.

Simon Fraser

Home wins:
None

Neutral wins:
None

Road wins:
None

Honestly the opponent record doesn’t even matter because SFU’s not going anywhere without the auto-bid and the odds of them even making the conference tournament are quickly approaching zero.

Western Washington

Home wins:
Saint Martin’s
Simon Fraser

Neutral wins:
Colorado Springs (3-5)
Upper Iowa (5-8)

Road wins:
None

Current D2 record: 4-4
Opponent Record: 34-31
At-large potential: 0

We see their odds of making the conference tournament to be almost 100%. They got Evan Scholten back, he’s looked really good, the Vikings have the history. Do we see them getting the auto-bid? Too soon to say. But they will need it in order to go dancing.


We want to group SPU and WOU together, so the Falcons are being skipped right here, but you can find them farther down.


Saint Martin’s

Home wins:
Hawaii Hilo (0-6)

Neutral wins:
Monterey Bay (3-6)

Road wins:
Simon Fraser

Current D2 record: 3-3
Opponent Record: 17-31
At-large potential: 0

Making the conference tournament? 50/50. We see their odds of making the dance as being incredibly small, but the Saints will keep improving and we’ll see where we stand after the first half of the conference round robin.

MSU-Billings

Home wins:
None

Neutral wins:
None

Road wins:
Black Hills State (2-4)
U of Mary (9-2)
CU-Portland (0-6)

Current D2 record: 3-6
Opponent Record: 45-31
At-large potential: 0

They have zero at-large potential, but they did challenge themselves thoroughly, there’s no denying that, it’s a great schedule, and had they come out on top they’d have every reason to think they were heading to the Dance provided they kept winning. As it is, they’re going to fight for a bid to the conference tournament and then try and use the experience they build in non-con to get that auto-bid and make it happen.

Central Washington

Home wins:
None

Neutral wins:
Hawaii-Hilo (0-6)
BYU-Hawaii (5-3)

Road wins:
None

Current D2 record: 2-2
Opponent record: 15-14
At-large potential: 0

On the one hand, we really want to judge this CWU team, but then on the other hand we feel like we don’t have enough yet to make a pronouncement, and yet that in itself lends it to us making a pronouncement. The Wildcats returned almost everything and yet they scheduled themselves pathetically. They should be hoping they make the conference tournament, it’s far from a guarantee, and they missed out on getting two big road wins in Alaska -in both cases by a lot. Those games weren’t close. So we’ll see.

Northwest Nazarene

Home wins:
CSULA (2-7)
Dominican (6-4)

Neutral wins:
None

Road wins:
None

Current D2 record: 2-4
Opponent record: 25-26
At-large potential: 0

There’s really not much to be said. The Crusaders actually scheduled themselves pretty well but ultimately couldn’t do anything with it and then came really close to getting a few wins in Alaska but couldn’t do it. Hopefully they’ve seasoned themselves and with conference play they’ll turn around and at least make the conference tourney? Maybe. Not out of the realm of possibility.

CU-Portland

Home wins:
None

Neutral wins:
None

Road wins:
None

The Cavaliers are cold porridge at this point. If they make the conference tourney it’ll be a miracle. They had a nice mix with MSUB and WOU being their first two conference opponents, but couldn’t get it done. They also had a good chance to learn from their first loss against CU-Irvine, but couldn’t do anything with it -in fact CU-Irvine did a lot with it, beating the Cavs by considerably more. It’s gonna be a rough year, but know that we’re in your corner Baby Bro.


Alright, now let’s talk about the realistic at-larges. And yes -they both are, which is GREAT news for everyone else.

Seattle Pacific

Home wins:
BYU-Hawaii (5-3)
Hawaii-Hilo (0-6)
Azusa Pacific (7-3)

Neutral wins:
East Bay (2-5)

Road wins:
Dixie State (4-5)
Chico State (7-2)
SFU (0-7)
Azusa Pacific (7-3)

Current D2 record: 8-1
Opponent record: 36-35
At-large potential: high

We’re obsessed with the Falcons schedule, we’ll just say that straight up. We know it didn’t end up as quality as they were hoping it would, but they genuinely attempted to schedule really well and regardless as to how it worked out: they won. They have one loss to a 7-1 CU-Irvine team, they have road wins, they have a neutral win, they have home wins.

Their road win against WWU isn’t as quality as it might be but that game always has a lot of emotion and they came in and did what they needed to do, and it seems like it was good mental prep. Same with Azusa Pacific -there was potentially a lot of emotion riding on that game because Azusa, while a very different team this year, did make the Elite Eight last year. They got it done and did so convincingly. And that’s what we think regarding the tourney: It’s always a matter of winning, but this non-conference has indoctrinated this latest group of Falcons in what it takes to win and theoretically they’ll continue to make the statement that they know how throughout conference play.

Western Oregon

Home wins:
Monterey Bay (3-6)
MSUB (3-6)
CU-PDX (0-6)

Neutral wins:
Point Loma (5-5)
Fresno Pacific (5-3)
ND de Namur (0-9)

Road wins:
Holy Names (2-7)
UCSD (9-1)

Current D2 record: 9-0
Opponent record: 27-45
At-large potential: high

We love this Western Oregon team because they’re coming in with a new-to-them coach and getting it done. New to them, because he’s new to the current crop of guys, but he is a Western Oregon guy -so he gets it. This schedule isn’t as ideal as it might be, but they got it done and decimated it as they should have and that UCSD road win means the world. That in itself is huge, especially because we really, really, really like that UCSD team -they’re our current CCAA obsession, if you follow us on twitter- and so we think that win is going to get more and more quality as the year progresses, which is huge huge HUGE.

We’re waiting for Julian Nichols, Jordan Wiley, and Devon Alexander to really click into gear because it still feels like they haven’t, but luckily… They have the big bad beast that is Andy to make them all look better. Aside from Alex Roth, we feel like we haven’t seen much out of the new guys, but SPU demonstrated last year that you only need four + a coach or two, in order to do pretty well, and we love Julian and Devon in particular so we think they’re going to ultimately be just fine.


From a realistic standpoint: If you’re not a WOU or SPU person, you should be hoping like heck that they win against everyone that isn’t you, because now what your team needs to focus on is simply making the conference tournament. We’ll get more into the wider west region picture (and the potential Regional host) tomorrow, but the quick version is that it’s a wash outside of a few schools. There will be a potential for the GNAC to be a three-bid league, but the only way that happens is if neither SPU nor WOU claims the auto-bid from the GNAC tournament.

We used to be in the camp that “Oh, we’d rather have more teams go, so it’s fine if our team doesn’t win the conference tournament,” but that was a very different time. While we see things getting back to where there were of a couple of teams not needing that auto-bid, after 2014 (one bid year) it just seems like too much of a risk. 2014 saw the Pac-West and CCAA both qualify an auto-bid only entrant, which semi-burst WWU’s bubble. Semi, because if you want to go dancing: WIN. That’s it. WIN.

The good news is: We might get the chance to return the bubble bursting favor this year. But the only way that happens is if WOU and SPU both win, win, win, so grit your teeth and become part of the Wolfpack/Falcon Faithful, and then come conference tournament time you can go back to hating the Falcons like normal. We get the feeling that there’s not nearly so much resentment toward the Wolves, and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t get it because… We hated attending SPU and hated being a part of their athletic department in particular. Good teachers, horrible students, toxic athletic department. Some of our most vivid memories of undergrad include waking up to find that we were throwing ourselves against the wall of our dorm room in hopes of knocking ourselves out cold so we would then have a legitimate excuse to not have to deal with our day.

So yes: We get the hate, we feel it much deeper than likely almost anyone reading this, but basketball over everything and right now you need to root like heck for SPU. The rest of the year you can hate them with our wholehearted approval.

Tomorrow: Discussing the West Region as a whole, potential host sites, etc.

D2 Tip-Off Day One

Obviously we really don’t know a heck of a lot about what these results mean, but… Some of these players had seriously good games, looking at you Cory Hammell and Ricardo Maxwell.

Alaska Anchorage 84, Upper Iowa 81

Upper Iowa is in the Northern Sun conference and finished with a conference record of 12-10 last year and played one game in the conference tournament. Sounds like a good match-up for the Seawolves and it turns out that it was -the Seawolves won in a close one and as projected -had transfers step-up. The good news is -the transfers stepped up and they got the win; the bad news is, the overall production was relatively atrocious. Anchorage wants to be treated same as the contenders? With numbers like this with the Vikings or Falcons, we’d be pissed despite the win, particularly at Suki. Who does he think he is? Dom Williams? Jaamon Echols? Yikes.

Player highlights: Suki Wiggs had 20 points; Diante Mitchell had 12; Spencer Svejar had 14; SJUR BERG had 11 rebounds; Cory Hammell had a double-double with 10 boards and 18 points on not bad shooting. Off the bench, Christian Leckbend added in six boards; Tayler Thompson added 7 boards. Pretty much it. Ridiculously proud of Sjur and Corey!!!!!! Alright -Suki, Diante, and Spencer were horrible, but the rest of you guys were great. We is proud of you!

Western Washington 95, UC Colorado Springs 84

UC Colorado Springs was actually witnessed in person by us last year in the second round of the NCAA Tournament where they got blown out by Tarleton State – a team that we’d watched WWU play earlier in the year- so overall not a surprising result but a very good one for the Vikings. This is a good win, nice way to start the season, even if Colorado Springs didn’t really return anything (we’re not sure and too lazy to find out).

Player highlights: RICARDO MAXWELL HAD 27 POINTS!!!!! Little off on his field goals, but easily forgivable because is was seriously only a tiny bit off and he went 12-13 on free throws along with picking up SEVEN assists; Kyle Impero had an awesome 9 rebounds, five assists, three steals, FIVE FOULS, and fourteen points; Jeff Parker had 7 boards and 23 points while making ALL of his free throws; Mac Johnson had a FULL HOUSE with six boards, three assists, two steals, a block, three fouls, and nine points, although his free throws need help. Off the bench: Brett Kingma had 15 points.


Overall, a great first day of basketball for the GNAC. Can’t want to see the stats from today. Congrats to both the Vikings and Seawolves on their respective victories.