Sort of more than one game. We’re going to talk about the Pac-West and CCAA, but… As much as we know quite a bit, we feel like if anyone tells you that they know a lot this year: they’re lying. We follow the region as closely as anybody, and we can’t figure it out.
All times pacific standard.
Cal Baptist vs. Azusa Pacific @ 2pm.
We’ll be watching for a bit and then following the rest on our phone. We have no idea what’s going to happen. It should be crazy. The teams played each other really closely during the regular season. APU seems like slightly more of a bubble team than Cal Baptist. There are a few former beloved GNAC players involved in the game: Alex Birketoft, Kalidou Diouf, and Joey Schreiber. Good luck to all three, plus all of their respective teammates.
UC San Diego vs. Humboldt State @ 5:05pm
Another game that we don’t know what’s going to happen. They split during the regular season. Humboldt State is fighting for the auto-bid, UCSD should be safe, but obviously would still love to win. No clue on this one. Part of us says “UCSD” and part of us says “No, Humboldt is going to want it way more.” So we shall see.
Alaska-Fairbanks vs. Western Oregon @ 5:30pm
Who knows. We love how strong UAF has come on and we feel like WOU has been waning just slightly. WOU had a heart attack of a game vs. SPU and yet we feel like it prepared them pretty well for today because it was such a defensive grind-it-out and Andy Avgi was actually rather shut down, so look for him to bounce back. On the other hand: UAF had a game vs. WWU where they got to be all-offense, all the time, so playing defense shouldn’t be too bad because they’ve got their offensive urges out of their system. Travante had a good game, Joe Slocum had a fantastic game, Bangaly was okay but look for him to bounce back. Almir had his best game in a while. Great preparation to take on the mighty Wolves of Western Oregon, so… Should be good. Can’t wait to watch it.
1. Western Oregon
The rest? Who knows. We suspect that even tomorrow when we know who the three autobids are, we’re still going to have no idea how to seed them. So much parity.
Teams that are on the bubble:
Azusa Pacific, Cal Baptist, UC San Diego, Chico State, Cal Poly Pomona, Humboldt State, Seattle Pacific, Alaska-Anchorage, Alaska-Fairbanks.
We think that Humboldt and UAF will only get the nod if they get the respective autobids, which should add substantially more fervency to their play, which is why we suspect they’ll win. If they do win and the following happens (seeds arbitrary except WOU):
1. Western Oregon
3. UC San Diego
4. Humboldt State
5. Azusa Pacific
6. Cal Baptist
We figure that Cal Baptist, Azusa Pacific, and UCSD are all in, regardless of today’s result. So who gets the final three spots?
7. Chico State
8. Seattle Pacific
If UAF and/or Humboldt State lose, it’ll be Cal Poly Pomona vs. Alaska-Anchorage.
Let’s compare those two teams in regard to conference losses and non-conference wins.
Cal Poly Pomona (22-7)
Non-conference: Won at Azusa Pacific and beat Point Loma at home.
Conference losses: UCSD x3, Cal State LA, Dominguez Hills, Monterey Bay, and Stanislaus.
Non-conference: Lost to Cal Baptist, Colorado Springs, and Dominguez Hills; beat Upper Iowa.
Conference losses: Western Oregon (x2), Saint Martin’s, Seattle Pacific, MSU-Billings, Central Washington, and Western Washington.
It’s weird to look at Cal Poly Pomona and go “well, they had a good non-conference schedule” but compared to Anchorage they did. Looking at it this way, Anchorage’s best hope is that UAF and Humboldt both lose because the Nooks and Jacks have by far the worst SOS of anyone in contention.
Seattle Pacific should be in because their record is 22-8, their SOS is the best in the region, and they lost to #1 seed WOU by less than Cal Poly Pomona lost to UCSD. Chico State should be in because they won the CCAA, have a record of 22-6, and their non-conference was middle-of-the-pack.
That’s where we’re at. We’ll see where we’re at either later tonight or tomorrow morning. Our bracketology obsession would suggest you’ll see a post later tonight.
Good luck to all six teams; be safe, have fun, west coast is best coast.
It’s going up late so we’re just gonna jump right in:
Dixie State 71, Alaska-Fairbanks 58
Joe Slocum needs to be benched. We’re kind of fed up and done with him at this point because we expected an extra year would do him a solid. A couple years ago UAF had four good guys and Joe was that fifth starter that wasn’t great but was better than the bench. We figured this year he’d had a redshirt year, he plays guard which means the entire offense flows through him, and we were so ready to go “Solid returning pieces, experienced point guard, bam, this is gonna be good.” No. Although this loss wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
Highlights: Bengaly Kaba had five boards, four assists, one steal, one block, three fouls, and 10 points for the full house; Trevante Williams had four steals; Almir had five boards, three blocks, and four fouls. Off the bench Brandon Davis had seven points.
Nothing really to write home about. Lots of bad shooting. This game was wholly winnable and they didn’t do it and it’s a stain on our conference, and it’s a big stain on UAF because they don’t have an opportunity to procure another quality “neutral” win let alone a quality non-conference road win. Now they’re looking at going into WOU, WWU, and SPU as necessary wins to prove their worth. Good luck Nooks.
Western Oregon 81 @ Notre Dame de Namur 51
Lots of good numbers, but now we’re just flat-out worried about Julian Nichols. Another bad game and this was against ND de Namur of all teams. Other than that though, it was a very well spaced win, lots of time for the bench folks, good experience builder, yada yada yada.
Highlights: Alex Roth had 13 points; Julian Nichols had four assists; Jordan Wiley had 15 points; Andy Avgi had 24 points, seven boards, one assist, and three steals. Off the bench Kadeem Strickland had 11 points and four assists.
Wolves did exactly what they were expected to do and with that: continuing on the grind.
Dominican 92 @ MSU-Billings 74
Good team effort, not horrible numbers, questionable shooting. With the last, we’ll commend-ish Dominican’s defense. The reality is this is exactly what Dominican wanted to do and wanted to prove. Dominican has tended to exist either as one of the lower seeds in the tournament or just missing out, so this win against MSUB helped them on that quest. MSUB is a well coached team and it wasn’t ugly per say, but it bordered on it. Losing by 20? Yeah. Borders on it at the very least.
Highlights: Marc Matthews had five boards, four assists, a steal, a block, three fouls, and eight points; Jace Anderson had 17 points; Christian Evans had 10 points and five boards; Cade Alcorn had five boards. Off the bench Preston Beverly had 12 points and six boards; Jordan Perry had 16 points, six boards, and four assists.
Really like what MSUB is getting out of their bench. Remember, last year Western Washington only went seven deep so it’s totally possible to have some amount of success even while having a very short bench.
Concordia-Portland 70 @ Cal Baptist 102
Lots of really horrible, nasty numbers to the point that we can’t overlook it even for the conference baby brother. You’re our baby brother, that means you represent us, and it means you better do it with some level of respectability even if you’re getting blown out. The shooting numbers were vomit inducing. You guys all play D2 basketball, it ain’t D1, but you’ve still supposedly proven that you function on a relatively high level on a basketball court and these numbers do not do that.
Highlights: Tyler Gutierrez had fourteen boards. Off the bench: James Phillips had seven points; Jarrett Gray had five points. The team overall had a low number of turnovers, but… the other team was able to grab 65 rebounds. 65. There were were a grand total of 101 rebounds grabbed in this game. That is some really, really, really bad shooting.
Seattle Pacific 62 @ Chico State 50
We’re going to try really, really, really hard not to down play this win even though everything in us wants to because that’s how we watch WWU and SPU -great, you won by double digits, you messed up here, and here, and that can never happen again, but… It was a positively brilliant game for both teams. Chico State was picked to finish first in the CCAA, they’ve gone to the tournament the last couple of years, they’re incredibly well coached, and if you’re looking for a basketball game to watch: Watch a Chico State home game; their broadcaster is the cream of the crop.
Highlights: Bryce Leavitt had fourteen rebounds, five assists, and sixteen points. Gilles Dierickx four boards, 20 points and two fouls; Mitch Penner had six boards and 10 points; Garrett Swanson had seven boards, two assists, seven points, and three fouls.
This win is big. It is a true road win, it’s against a well coached team that made the tournament and that’s projected to make the tournament again. SPU executed as flawlessly as we’ve ever seen, their defense was stifling, and while they were doing it… It still almost wasn’t enough. Chico crept back in after the Falcons were up 16. SPU shot 75% from the free throw line and needed every single one of those shots. The boards that were being grabbed… If you want to see why basketball is a beautiful and kinetic game, watch the tape of this one, it was pretty freakin’ textbook in terms of fundamental basketball. Did everyone have a great game? No. But every single person visibly did their job with the mindset that “It doesn’t matter what I do, it matters what we do.” And what they did was go into Chico State and procure a win.
Tonight’s game previews will be up in an hour, just in time for UAF to take on Dominican.