Rollins 73, Saint Martin’s 67
Rollins is from the Sunshine State Conference and came into this game with a 4-4 record. They ultimately beat Saint Martin’s in a close one. Tyler Copp had a decent game –16 points, went 5-6 on free throws; Tyler Idowu had a double-double with 14 rebounds and 18 points, whilst picking up just one foul; Riley Carel had five assists and two steals whilst scoring eight points in 27 minutes off the bench. Not a bad game; the Saints could’ve had it but didn’t. That’ll be something to change down the line.
Dixie State 67, Saint Martin’s 62
The Saints were in it the whole way and again could’ve had it but didn’t. We tend to harp on Riley around here and today is no exception: He played 32 minutes off the bench, went 7-8 on free throws with five rebounds, four assists, six steals, and four player fouls -all of which are impressive; however, he had four turnovers and went 2-8 and 0-2 from the field respectively, which is never gonna work. At least two of the turnovers in particular were totally unnecessary -guys were wide open but he chose to play selfishly instead. In better news: Trey Ingram had nine points; Tyler Idowu went 4-4 and 5-8 with seven boards; and Brent Counts had some good moments ultimately grabbing six boards and eight points.
Seattle Pacific 76, Dixie State 66
This game was nothing short of hilarious: Seattle Pacific was down by A LOT early (something like 15-2) and yet finally displayed some moderately decent back up center play and things finally evened out. They changed their starting line-up yet again, which initially looked like a bad decision but ultimately turned out okay. Shawn Reid was positively out of his mind -went 12-15 and 5-7 from three, ultimately ending up with 30 points; Mitch Penner went 7-9 from the free throw line and with four rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block, and two player fouls picked up a full house along with 12 points; Brendan Carroll added eight points, Garrett Swanson nine points, and Riley Stockton 7 assists. This was a good gut check game against D2 competition for the Falcons.
Seattle Pacific 74, Rollins College 54
No let down game for the Falcons; heavy minutes were back in full force. Riley Stockton had a particularly interesting stat line -he scored no points on 0-8 shooting, but still grades out more than decently because he picked up nine assists, six boards, and a block; Brendan Carroll added 12, Matt Borton added 11 points and seven rebounds; Mitch Penner chipped in a double-double with ten boards and ten points; Cory Hutsen went 9-10 from the field and 3-4 on free throws for a whopping 21 points. Not much drama in this game, but again: good to avoid the let down.
Tarleton State 72, Western Washington 66
The shooting percentages on this team are nothing short of mortifying for all involved, but we’ll get onto the good news: Kyle Impero had eight boards; Jaamon Echols had 21 points; Anye Turner added 14 points and five fouls; Joey Schreiber had ten points. Fairly nice balance in terms of rebounding, but their assist numbers need severe amounts of help.
Western Washington 72, San Bernardino State 66
This is good. This is much better. San Bernardino is a much worse team than Tarleton State, but oh well -we’ll take what we can get. Jaamon massively improved his shooting percentage, ultimately finishing 5-8 from the field and 7-8 on free throws for 18 points in 31 minutes; Mac Johnson had 11 points and 11 rebounds; Ricardo Maxwell chipped in 15 points and ultimately while assists still need work it was a decent game. It felt like the Vikings were more playing down to their level of competition than the score really indicates, which wouldn’t be a bad thing except how low can and will the GNAC go on any given night? Something we’ll be yet to see.
Player-of-the-week nominees will be posted later today, non-Vegas games hopefully tomorrow, player-of-the-week soon after, and then individual team previews will start going up by early next week at the latest.
The GNAC faces a grand total of nine different non-west division two schools over the course of 12 games. The schools come from three different regions and four different conferences, with an independent thrown in simply for pleasure.
Most interesting is that no west-region school would face any of the teams until the Final Four, and thus these games could help set the tone for what’s seen as a strong region vs. a weak region.
The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference:
CWU and SPU play Minnesota-Crookston.
Minnesota-Crookston finished an impressive 1-21 in conference and 4-23 overall. The games are being played in the Seattle Pacific gymnasium and so it’s a literal home game for the Falcons and a virtual one for the Wildcats. While CWU will inevitably have some growing pains this year, seeing as they lost everybody on a team that finished a disappointing 8-10 in conference and 12-14 overall, this game should be a good chance to do some happy growing early in the year. SPU regardless as to the fact that they lost most of their scoring, shouldn’t have any issues considering the potential scoring threats they have waiting in the wings, no pun intended.
UAF plays Minnesota-Moorhead.
Minnesota-Moorhead finished in a three-way tie for first place in their division and a three way tie for 3rd place in their conference with a 15-7 conference record, and a 21-8 record overall. Ultimately, the school did not make the tournament nor did anyone else in their division; the Northern Sun received one auto-bid and one at large bid, both to schools in the other division. UAF is another GNAC team that suffered catastrophic losses, but they’re playing a virtual home game at UAA. The Alaska advantage is huge and Moorhead seems likely to overlook that little fact, thus while it seems likely that the Dragons will win -the Nooks should at least put up a fight.
The Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association:
SPU plays Washburn.
Washburn finished 5th in the MIAA with a conference record of 10-9 and overall record of 17-10. The conference itself sent four teams to the regional, and so while Washburn didn’t make the tournament, they were likely a very good team. This game is being played in Hawaii and so neither school is expected to hold an advantage nor disadvantage, and it should serve as a relatively good test for SPU with victory eventually being secured by the Falcons.
The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference:
WOU and SMU play Colorado Christian.
Colorado Christian finished 13-9 in conference and 18-15 overall, good for a 7th place standing in a difficult conference. WOU finished 4th and SMU finished 8th last year. Both teams return good cores of players. WOU finished 10-8 and 18-12; SMU finished 8-10 and 9-17. No team of the three made the tournament. The games are being played in Monmouth, thus it’s a home game for WOU. Generally speaking you never know what WOU is going to do, and so the match-up should be interesting; SMU, it’ll be a matter of whether or not they can solidify their identity this early in the season. If the Saints can, the odds seem good for a close game; if they can’t, it’ll likely be a blowout.
MSUB plays Black Hills State.
Both teams are the Yellowjackets. Black Hills State finished 8-14 in conference and 10-16 overall; MSUB finished 8-10 in conference and 12-15 overall. Black Hills State was by and far in the stronger conference, and the Montana Yellowjackets lost a fair bit of their core, but… This is actually a rivalry game. Anything can happen in a rivalry game. Black Hills killed MSUB last year, so it seems like the revenge factor might be there. MSUB is playing at home and they generally have a great home court advantage, but the wildcard of this year: the game lands the day before Elk and Deer season end. No prediction.
The Lone Star Conference:
NNU plays at Texas A&M Kingsville. NNU finished second to last with a 5-13 record in conference and a 7-19 record overall. TAMU-Kingsville finished 7-7 in conference and 19-9 overall. NNU has some interesting transfers coming in that could lead to big things, but it seems likely that Kingsville wins the game easily.
NNU and WWU both play Tarleton State.
NNU, as noted, was second to last in our conference, whereas WWU was second from the top although didn’t make the tournament. Tarleton won their conference with a 12-2 record and a 28-3 record overall. They made the tournament as the 2 seed and progressed to the round of 32, losing by a mere six points. Tarleton, like WWU, is a good team year in and year out; the match-up against NNU shouldn’t be a problem, and the match-up in Vegas with Western Washington should be one of the better games on the GNAC’s non-conference slate.
The Sunshine State Conference:
SPU & SMU play Rollins.
Rollins finished 14-13 overall last year and 8-8 in a conference that sent half their teams to the NCAA tourney, although they themselves didn’t go. Teams are different year to year and even day to day, but judging where each team finished and knowing how both SPU and SMU prepare… St. Martin’s and Rollins should be a fairly compelling match-up, but Rollins definitely holds the advantage. This is the first game either team plays in Vegas, and so the legs should be nice and fresh, which will hopefully lead to a competitive game.
Seattle Pacific is a different story; they’ll have played what’s likely to be a very exhausting game against Dixie State the day prior, and thus… they could be in kill mode, they could be in let-down mode, or they could be in “let’s get this over with mode;” we’ll have to see. It might be a good mis-match in SPU’s favor, or it might be a hard fought battle. It is doubtful, however, that the Falcons’ll get blown out.
Regardless of what actually happens, we’ll hope both GNAC teams show up in “WE LIVE IN CONSTANT DRIZZLE, TAKE YOUR SUNSHINE AND SHOVE IT,” mode. Not because the Sunshine State Conference isn’t fantastic, but simply because you know, stereotypes.
WWU plays Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras. The team finished 2-10, and in the games they won had a combined margin of victory of four points. WWU is expected to have a great time on their vacation to Puerto Rico.
That is the D2 non conference for the GNAC; is the analysis in-depth? No. Because it doesn’t matter a ton anyway: the odds of a repeat game between one of the schools this calendar year is small, and the teams would be vastly different anyway. The implication overall will be basic: if we win, it won’t really say a lot; if we lose, it’ll say that we’re not as strong as we could be.
Thoughts on the DII Bulletin Pre-Season Top 25 is up next.