We’re going to go ahead and do the UAF/UAA preview first to get it out of the way:
Anything can happen in a rivalry game and neither team has looked particularly impressive thus far, although Anchorage definitely more so than Fairbanks. We’re curious to see what Jacob Lampkin does against the Nooks, but that’s pretty much it.
Now, for the Bracketology:
Teams that we think have a legit shot at an at-large bid even if they lose several games during conference play:
Cal State LA -they got killed by Cal Baptist, but it was on the road and they played non-con largely within the region with a solid mix of A-B-C teams.
UCSD -While they have three losses, those three losses come from Azusa Pacific, Cal Baptist, and Dixie State; all traditionally strong teams. They also have a win against WWU -another team that projects to be strong.
San Marcos -Solid non-con; only loss was a blowout against CU-Irvine, and they have wins against both Azusa Pacific and CU-Portland, both of whom project as middle-of-the-pack teams in their respective conferences. They’re honestly the epitome of a bubble team in regard to how non-con looks.
Cal Baptist -Only loss comes from a surprisingly good SMU team.
CU-Irvine -Only loss is to Seattle Pacific, has wins against San Marcos (A), Central Washington (B-), and Chico (B+).
Point Loma -They have wins against an SMU team that beat Cal Baptist, and a Simon Fraser team that doesn’t look as bad as it usually does. Their losses come from GNAC-leading WOU and a good UCSD team.
Western Oregon -Our choice for now to host the regional; they got through a quality non-con schedule completely unscathed and then their formal travel partner upset Cal Baptist for them.
Saint Martin’s -Stellar non-con, only loss is to Point Loma, and they have a win over Cal Baptist. Love it.
Seattle Pacific -We’re not thrilled with how the Falcons have looked as of late, but the fact is: They have wins over CU-Irvine and Dixie State, one of their losses was on the road in 2OT, and then the other loss was D2 but non-west region on the road.
MSUB -isn’t on this list because while undefeated, they play the bulk of their non-con schedule in a few weeks.
Teams to keep an eye on despite a meh non-con:
Cal Poly Pomona -Lost to Azusa Pacific, beat Dixie State, but both were home games and that was the entirety of their D2 non-con.
Chico State -Lost a close one on a neutral court to CU-Irvine, killed Biola and Dominican; this is a terrible non-con schedule, just saying.
San Fran State -Lost to CU-Portland on a neutral court, beat NNU in OT on the road, barely beat Academy of Art & Dominican. All four teams project to be B & C teams in their respective conferences, so while SFSU has an okay record right now, we’re not impressed.
Dixie State -They went through a positively brutal non-con, with losses coming via Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State LA, Western Oregon, and Seattle Pacific, and then their one win was against UCSD. Do they need to have a great regular season? Yes. Should they be able to do it? Absolutely. Dixie usually gets better as the year goes on, and again: they couldn’t have tested themselves any more in non-con.
Azusa Pacific -Another brutal non-con, and they have wins against UCSD, Cal Poly Pomona, and an SFU team that isn’t as bad as it normally is. Their losses come via WOU and San Marcos, so completely legitimate.
Chaminade -We want to see them win on the mainland. They barely beat Dominguez Hills, and while they beat the Alaska schools in Alaska, the Alaska schools are worse than normal this year.
Shockingly, we’re going to do the GNAC differently, because despite a meh non-con, almost every team is still in contention. Here are the teams that we think could only lose one or two games in conference, otherwise they’ll rely entirely on the auto-bid:
UAF -They barely played anyone and they only beat Hawaii Pacific.
UAA -Playing Holy Names is subtraction by addition. We get that they didn’t return anything, but they were projected to be wayyy better than they’ve proven thus far.
CWU -Played no one except CU-I and Hilo in non-con and they lost to CU-I at that. Sorry, but seriously two schools? Nope.
The good news for the three schools above is that CWU is a notoriously hard place to play, as are the Alaska schools, and then the conference tournament is hosted in Alaska. The bad news is that if everybody beats everybody and everyone ends up with four or five losses, they’re not going to deserve nor should they get the benefit of the doubt.
Is there quite a bit of the benefit of the doubt being given by teams that have proven themselves in the past, particularly in the Pac-West? Yes. But regeneration is much easier than starting from the bottom, and it’s such a big everybody’s-beaten-everbody-except-WOU that it’s what we’re going with. It’s awesome. It should be a really fun regular season.
And yes: the GNAC came out looking fantastic in non-con. Congrats in particular to CU-Portland, Northwest Nazarene, and Simon Fraser for still being in contention for at-large bids!
One question we’re now contemplating… If by February 1st it looks like neither Alaska school is going to make the conference tournament, is there any way we can send it back to Lacey instead? Just thinking out loud here.
Have fun, be safe, go GNAC!
Yes there are other games being played besides our numbered days, but close enough.
Dixie State 86 @ WOU 97
Got it done. This should be a win that we look at and go “absolutely quality,” later in the season. Dixie is super well coached and amazingly they start off strong and then tend to get even stronger, and so… Big praise to the Wolves. Dixie is always in contention for the West Regional and usually makes it, so this win helps everyone.
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid had 19 points and 12 boards among a full house of stats; Darius Luborn had five assists; and Riley Hawken had a great bounce-back game with 21 points and eight boards. Off the bench Demetrius Trammmell made noise with 24 points on great shooting -this time 6-9 from the line; Vince Boumann impresses yet again with a double double of 15 points and 10 boards while going 7-8 from the field; and Ali Faruq-Bey had six points.
Congrats to the Wolves on a great win!
CWU 60 vs. CU-Irvine 65 @ SPU
Good lord, don’t let this score fool you: CU-I did everything in their power to Coug It (that is: clutch defeat from the jaws of victory) after being up by 18 part way through the second half and then… CWU took it seriously and CU-I didn’t.
Wildcat highlights: Khalil Shabazz eight boards; Jawan Stepney had 21 points on good shooting; Fuquan Niles had 14 boards and eight points; and off the bench Malik Montoya had four boards.
Big praise again to the Wildcats for being in it the whole time and continuing to grind. Almost got it done! Next time.
CU-PDX 78 vs. Academy of Art 71 @ NNU
Maybe a little bit of a let-down game, but the Cavs still got it done and came back after being down at the half. Way to go guys!
Cav highlights: Jace Cates had 10 points; Cody Starr had nine points; Jarrett Gray went 10-10 from the line and finished with 20 points; and Christopher Edward had 18 points and 13 boards while being great from the field. Off the bench Bryan Michaels had 11 points and six boards; while Deandre Stallings had seven points.
Good job Cavs, keep it going! We believe in you.
Hawaii-Hilo 59 @ SPU 90
This game looked like it was going to be interesting for the first ten or so minutes, and then it wasn’t, but we’re okay with that.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten had 11 points, five boards, and five assists while going 4-5 from the field; Sam Simpson bounced back with 14 points; Nikhil Lizotte had 11 points; and Tony Miller had 22 points and nine boards. Off the bench Braden Olsen had six points and six assists; Harry Cavell had eight points and four boards; Hunter Eisenhower had five points; and EJ Poulsen and Nathan Streufert both added four boards as well.
Congrats to the Falcons on the win, now go beat Dixie State! Yay SOS. We get concerned.
Holy Names 74 @ UAA 80
This is another score to not let fool you; Anchorage didn’t stay on it -they attempted to lose, it had been a blow-out. The good news is they still got it done, so non-conference wins for the GNAC, woo-hoo!
Seawolf highlights: Jacob Lampkin had a “quiet” game with only 12 points, 10 boards, and a full house; DJ Ursery had 15 points and six boards; and Josiah Wood had 11 points. Off the bench Malik Clements had seven points and six boards; Brennan Rymer had six points; and Brian Pearson had six points while going 4-4 from the line.
Thank-you Seawolves! We’ll always take a non-con win in any way, shape, or form.
SFSU 92 @ NNU 75
The Crusaders were in it, they were in it and going for it and then the final result happened, but it was still a valiant effort and much experience gained.
Crusader highlights: Carlos Garcia had six boards; Obi Megwa had 13 points; Nikola Prvulj was back in action and had 10 points; and Maurice Jones had 26 points and 12 boards.
Back on it NNU, we believe! Although maybe not against Metro State -we like being wrong though, so upset them!
Overall not a bad day of GNAC play. As you can probably tell -we walk around wringing our hands about conference SOS and this day didn’t stop the practice, but again: A big thanks to WOU.
Game previews for Tuesday will be up on Tuesday and then we’ll probably wait to do POW on Wednesday because then we can include SMU & UAF as well, so that’ll be good.
Good luck to the Nanooks against HNU tomorrow.
Lots of great moments to be proud of and excited about, teams doing what we know they can and getting it done! NNU is looking better than normal, which is great for everyone much less them =) Way to go Crusaders.
CWU 84 vs. Hilo 79 @ SPU
It looks closer than it was; CWU turned off the gas after having a huge lead. Oh well, got the ‘W’ that’s what counts.
Wildcat highlights: Khalil Shabazz had 25 points and was 9-11 from the line; Marc Rodgers had eight points; and Fuquan Niles was a fantastic 6-7 from the field, 5-6 from the line, and finished with 17 points and 11 boards. Off the bench Malik Montoya had 10 points; and Coleman Sparling had six points and five boards.
Way to get it done Wildcats!
Azusa Pacific 87 @ WOU 99
Pretty much what we expected and numbers from the usual guys. Good performance, solid, looking long and strong.
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid had 15 points, five boards, and five steals among other stats for a full house; Darius Luborn had seven boards; Riley Hawken had five boards; JJ Chirnside had 10 points and five boards also rounding out with a full house. Off the bench Malik Morgan had nine points; Demetrius Trammell proved his sixth man expertise scoring 24 points on great shooting including 6-8 from three; Janvier Alaby had 10 points; and Vince Bouman 18 points while going 6-7 from the field.
Congrats on a nice win Wolves!
SFSU 97 @ CU-PDX 102
HECK YES CONCORDIA-PORTLAND!!!!!! We knew you could do it.
Cav highlights: Cody Starr had 22 points and 10 assists for the double-double; Jarrett Gray had 22 points and five assists; and Christopher Edward had 14 points and 11 boards. Off the bench Bryan Michaels had a massive 25 on good shooting and while going 6-7 from the line; and Taylor Harris also shot well, finishing with 13 points.
Great job to the Cavs! Ridiculously proud of you.
CU-Irvine 56 @ SPU 79
Ooookay. We’ll take it. We’re confused about whether or not we still think CU-I is a good team though; we’ll have to wait and see and cross our fingers as a conference.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten had nine points and five boards; and Sam Simpson had six boards. Off the bench Braden Olsen had seven points; Harry Cavell had 11 points; Hunter Eisenhower had 11 points; and Nathan Streufert had eight points, seven boards, and a whopping seven blocks.
Congrats & thank-you for getting the ‘W’ Falcons! Our conference SOS largely depends on you.
Holy Names 55 @ UAA 63
Not the distribution we were expecting, but UAA won and that’s what counts.
Seawolf highlights: Maleke Haynes had eight assists; Jacob Lampkin continues to impress with a double-dobule of 17 points and 14 boards; DJ Ursery had 19 points and five boards; and off the bench Drew Peterson had12 points and six boards while being 4-4 from the line.
Thanks for getting it done Seawolves.
Academy of Art 76 @ NNU 84
Picking up those non-con wins NNU! Nicely done.
Crusader highlights: Obi Megway ahd 23 points; Jayden Bezzant had 17 points and six boards among a full house; Maurice Jones is Maurice Jones -he had 27 points and 12 boards while being 8-9 from the line. Off the bench Sam Roth had eight points and six boards; while Olamilekan Adetunji had four boards.
Usually in past years NNU would have won by one or two against Art U.; this is marked improvement. Congrats to the Crusaders!
Win the day we did! GNAC goes 6/6 and life is good.
And our bracket. In D2 it’s funny -predicting the bracket is the real game to win; forget the games, the games you’re invested in because you want your team to win. Right now we’ve been procrastinating on posting a bracket all day because the idea of being wrong kills us, even though… It’s D2 basketball. Why does being right in predicting a bracket matter? Yeah, yeah, yeah, pale blue dot, giant universe among some insane multiverse, are we a computer sim? Nothing really matters, blah blah blah, insert existential crisis here.
Instead, let’s talk about the GNAC championship game:
#4 WOU 69 @ #1 WWU 71
First and foremost: We were wrong. Taylor Stafford is the real deal, especially when you watch him in person. Now, how well that’ll translate to anything else, we have no idea. But for D2 basketball, dude is legit. The game itself was frustrating, exactly as WOU intended. WOU as these games have depicted epitomizes the defensive grind it out games that are amazing to watch in person and at the time they’re being played, but that seem useless to re-watch because there are too many variables and “how do they get this stuff to even work?” because some of it is dumb luck and some of it is incredibly calculated. Big props to WOU for almost taking down what is a very good WWU team.
How good is this WWU team? Naturally we’re not sure. This entire year has felt like an episode of the Twilight Zone. The numbers they put up are mediocre, which speaks to WOU, but also doesn’t speak well of WOU, because WOU’s entire game is treading water. There’s a joke about the BYU-Hawaii admissions decision comes from throwing all of the applications in the air and picking the ones that land in particular places -that is the WWU vs. WOU game. Even in hindsight, now that we know who won (congrats Viks) we still don’t know who we’d pick to win because on paper WWU should win about 8/10 times, but paper isn’t reality.
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid went 8-10 from the line and had six boards; Ali played well and ended up with 16 points; and off the bench Demetrius Trammell lost his mind in the best way possible, scoring 33 points and being 6-6 from the line.
Viking highlights: Taylor Stafford had 33 points; Blake Fernandez had five boards; Daulton Hommes had 10 points and seven boards; and off the bench Deandre Dickson had 10 points and seven boards.
Our favorite part of the game was watching WWU’s Brad Wallace -he didn’t put up particularly interesting numbers, but the dude is a mule. He’s short, he’s sturdy, he’s stubborn, and we’re pretty annoyed he’s a senior because we’d rather keep him for another year. He really just did not give one single crap and for the 22 minutes he was in, he was basically like ‘I’M GOING TO RUN YOU OVER!!!!!!!!’ and then did it. One of those players that you can’t exactly figure out what they do, but they make life easier/more difficult, depending if they’re on your team or the opposing team. Super awesome. We had a blast watching, so thanks Brad!
Now, let’s get into D2 bracketology. At this point, the bracket is set; it just hasn’t been announced yet. We’ve been contemplating our bracket all weekend and still don’t feel confident, but whatever. This seeding is an approximation, although we have no expectation that it’ll be reality:
UCSD -not because they’re necessarily the best team in the Region overall, but because they’ve succeeded in jumping through the hoops most recently and do deserve to host. They beat the opponent with the best record in their conference Championship game and did so convincingly, which says that they’re hot right now and that’s important. Slightly worse record than HPU, but have played what we believe to be a harder schedule.
Hawaii Pacific -We have nothing against Point Loma (we loved them last year because they always schedule so well, and now they have our former coach, so what’s not to love?) but Point Loma had a bad record this year and only squeaked into the tournament by virtue of the Pac-West saying that CU-Irvine wasn’t eligible, just incase they won the tournament. That doesn’t scream “we’re so awesome,” about HPU -especially because the Sea Lions remained in the game for a long time. HPU didn’t break it open until there were about eight minutes left.
San Francisco State -We think losing to UCSD is more respectable than barely squeaking by a depleted WOU team that had played a 3OT game the night before, and only got that far because the opposing team’s (and the conference’s) best rebounder wasn’t playing.
Western Washington -This is too low and had they blown out WOU, we might suggest they host. They’re the GNAC regular season and tournament champions. Great team, good players, pleased with them, but until they make it to the Final Four we personally won’t be convinced. There was so much carnage in the GNAC this year and they still left it up to chance until about a week left, losing games in particular to MSUB (apathy) and at Anchorage. We’ll excuse @ Fairbanks because the Viks always lose at Fairbanks; they did last time they won a title too.
Cal Baptist -we love their strength of schedule in non-con, they’re a good team, their losses come via Dixie, HPU, and PLNU in the tournament (hi, try not playing apathetically) and they have a win over UCSD in non-con, but we’re not really convinced of that; so does WWU and while both CBU and WWU are good teams, there was clearly something up in December with the Tritons.
Chico State -Good non-con, good in conference, had a string of losses mid-season which we assume saw a player injured, but came back from it strong. Only losses are to tournament-bound teams, with the exception of Cal Poly Pomona, and that was a close loss, plus CPP notoriously has a good program. Probably caught the rebuilding on a good night.
Sonoma State -They have two head scratching losses (Dominguez Hills and Cal Poly Pomona) but otherwise their in-conference losses from from SFSU. They have wins over Chico State and UC San Diego, their non-con wasn’t atrocious, and if you’re looking for a trendy upset pick, you should go with the Seawolves because of that info.
Dixie State -This is actually just “who can we rule out?” Dixie scheduled themselves well in non-con, but didn’t really do anything impressive, including losing to a CWU team that didn’t even make the conference tourney. They lost in conference to the teams above and more, they lack a signature win, but we like what the other teams available bring to the table even less, so we’re going with Dixie.
Burst bubbles: UAA. Had UAA made it to the Championship game of the GNAC tourney, we would take them over Dixie State in a heartbeat. We have no idea why Corey Hammell didn’t see more minutes, but whatever the reason, we don’t trust them to have him going into the NCAA Tourney and that’s the difference in whether or not we think these Seawolves could make a run. If the committee has more info than we do and know that Corey is going to play -by all means, Alaska-Anchorage is a better option than Dixie, they should be in it. But if UAA doesn’t have him, it’s a waste of a spot in our opinion.
There’s a ton of post season blog stuff and catching up on player of the week and updating the chart and all kinds of stuff that’ll go on intermittently this month as we watch WWU, hopefully make a deep run, in the NCAA tourney. More stuff is coming -this is far from the end, there’s tons to talk about in such a weird year.
Selection show starts in five minutes……… Update: it started in 25 minutes; the GNAC website was wrong. Starts at 8pm best coast time.
#4 Western Oregon vs. #1 Western Washington…
Looks like it’ll tip right around 7:35. We’ll also be paying close attention to the CCAA championship game, which features SFSU and UCSD. We have a situation on our hands that means all of a sudden WWU is back in the discussion of hosting the Regional, which means… Rock meet hard place.
If WWU wins and UCSD loses, there’s no reason not to send the Regional to Whatcom. If WWU wins and UCSD wins, then there’s an interesting discussion to be had. Looking at UCSD’s schedule, they’ve lost three conference games: San Marcos, Chico State, and Sonoma. Chico State is in the tourney, as far as we’re concerned. So is SFSU, regardless as to whether or not they beat UCSD tonight. That implies that UCSD has greater strength of schedule than the Vikings, and that would be true.
The GNAC has been a mess this year, with the sloppy games never seemingly ending. And it was all just stupid sloppy and a lack of commitment to fundamentals by all involved -ick. If Western Washington wins this game, the GNAC should be a one bid league. WWU has conference losses to MSUB, UAF, and UAA. They have wins against everyone else. And yet UCSD has wins against Regional bound teams. While WWU absolutely killed the Tritons in non-con, that was a long time ago.
It’s all moot if WWU loses the championship game -in that case, have fun in San Diego y’all. The good news with that is it means two GNAC teams will be going. Yeah, WWU can make their own schedule look weaker by winning. Go figure.
So, to summarize:
WWU wins, UCSD loses, WWU should host.
WWU wins, UCSD wins, it’ll be a discussion that arguably should favor UCSD.
WWU loses, UCSD wins, we’ll feel comfortable sending the regional to San Diego.
WWU loses, UCSD loses, we’re going to veer on the side that UCSD should host because UCSD beat another Regional-bound team to win, whereas WWU didn’t.
Now let’s preview the WWU vs. WOU game:
Western Washington is the conference regular season champion. They’re a great rebounding team -everyone on that team rebounds. They out-rebounded their opponent 39-26 last night. Um, yeah. That being said: their defense lacks at times; that team that they massively out-rebounded was in it until the very end. They have a lot of very good players, and Taylor Stafford tends to get the glory as their best player, and while he is, there are a lot of other people on this team that do a lot of good things that make what Taylor does possible.
Western Oregon played a 3OT game last night against a UAA team that was missing their key senior post presence in Corey Hammell. Western Oregon’s best player is a guy by the name of Tanner Omlid -notable for getting at least one triple double, keeping his turnovers low, and motivating his teammates whether he’s on the court or on the bench. Tanner Omlid is the best player in the game, period. We’re excited we get to keep him for another year.
That being said: having the best player doesn’t mean you win.
WOU had an impressive number of players last night that were able to be counted on to go in, give the starters a breather, and not get behind, with their best bench player being Demetrius Trammell. He is distinctively their 6th man, so we don’t really consider him a part of their bench. If WOU has to use the bench to tread water, that’s going to be difficult against this Vikings team because the Vikings are approximately nine guys deep, even with a starter out due to injury.
WOU has the most talented player. WWU is deeper. If the Vikings allow Tanner Omlid (and to a degree Demetrius Trammell) to put the rest of the team on their back, the Wolves have a very good shot at winning. If they can eliminate most of the production of those guys, they should be fine.
We honestly don’t have a prediction because the conference has been such a mess, we know both of these teams so well, we know what both are capable of at their best, we know what both are like when they’re playing uninspiredly, and there’s just no telling which two teams out of those four options are going to actually show up tonight.
Good luck to all -we believe in y’all, play hard, be strong, be safe, go GNAC!
The season is dimming, bubbles are shifting, and it’s time to regularly take a look at what’s going on with the other two conferences.
For our new readers, a Summary:
In NCAA Division II basketball, the Big Dance is literally split up Regionally. That means we know our potential post season opponents 24/7 365.25 days a year. For us in the West Region, it includes schools in the GNAC, Pac-West, and CCAA -see the “Cast of Characters” tab if you want to know who each specific school is.
The #1 seed in the Regional, generally speaking, hosts. If the #1 seed isn’t in the main 48, then the Regional is split between a school in the main land and then the #1 seeded school.
We’ve joked that we wanted to see a year in which the seeding was:
5. Hawaii Pacific
7. Simon Fraser
Not because we hate the CCAA by any stretch, but just because those schools are the most remote and spread out locations, with the added bonus of SFU, the only metropolitan location, requiring a passport and Canada having a history of not allowing players from certain countries.
For all of y’all, remember: We’re used to knowing things. Last year we put up a prognostication, Bit-o-Baca put up a prognostication, and then the committee produced the actual Bracket, and not only were all of the teams the same for all three, all of the match-ups were the same, while all of the seedings were different. Usually we have a pretty good grasp as to what’s going on -not this year.
That being said: WE’RE GOING TO HAWAII. Maybe; and not us personally, but the Regional should be split in terms of being hosted by Hawaii Pacific and Cal Baptist.
Chico State imploded this weekend. They’re still great, their bubble didn’t burst in the slightest, but they’re no longer in contention to host after losses to both Sonoma (rivalry!) and San Francisco State. SF State is legit and we get that rivalry is as rivalry does, but there are teams that haven’t faltered. Don’t let certain trends fool you -getting the nod to specifically host the Regional is ridiculously hard. All that being said:
What’s your opinion on the #1 Seed hosting the Regional?
Honestly, we don’t think it’s fair when an LA school hosts it and other LA schools get to play in it. This year if it does get split between CBU and HPU, we’d like to see no other Hawaii school playing in Hawaii and no other SoCal school playing in SoCal, but it won’t happen because on the surface it doesn’t make financial sense. There’s a legitimate argument that even when WWU hosted the tournament, the SPU games were dead -even though SPU is only two hours away.
Our legitimate argument is that if the tournament was consistently hosted in a central location that already has good fans and good infrastructure, it would become a big thing yearly for the locals to be excited about attending. We host our conference tournament at SMU every year and it’s great. The location is central located, the facility is nice, parking is easy, and the locals actually come out and watch non-SMU teams play.
What school could/would do that on a Regional level?
Easy: Chico State.
They have a strong men’s basketball program and athletic department, they make the tournament regularly, it’s a big gymnasium, their locals genuinely care about basketball, they’ve got the best radio play-by-play guy in D2, and location wise it’s perfect:
-It’s at least an hour drive for every other NorCal school.
-It’s six to eight hours for the SoCal schools.
-It’s 10-12 hours for most of the GNAC schools.
Entirely driveable for the vast majority of teams. Alaskas, Hawaiis, and MSUB being the exception. Every other school IN THE ENTIRE REGION can drive there within 13 hours.
In D2, you have to look at your primary target demographics as to who actually is attending the games. In reality, it’s parents of players and locals. Chico State has great locals and is a good location for the vast majority of West Region parents. Literally the only knock on Chico is that there’s not a super convenient major airport, but that’s true with almost every school. The only schools that have convenient major airports are Dominican, Dominguez-Hills-ish, and Concordia-Portland. Every other location is either remote (see: Honolulu and Anchorage) and/or you need a car.
Chico hosting permanently won’t happen, and we’re honestly fine with the #1 seed hosting, but it is an interesting discussion none-the-less.
What’s your current bracket?
Ooooh, good question. We’ll be honest: We haven’t paid any attention to rankings this year, because we figure we know better than the voters. “All you’ve said for months is that you don’t know.” Exactly. Any ranking someone comes up with regarding schools in the D2 West is completely meaningless because the vast, vast, vast majority of games are pick ’ems, even when the game ends up being a blow out. MSUB beat WWU, got killed by SMU, and then blew out a very good and proven CWU at CWU. Oookay. Nothing makes any sense. Literally 10 teams are still in the running for making the conference tournament, that’s how much parity there is.
|D2 West Bracketology|
|1||CBU||HPU||Beat CBU recently.|
|2||HPU||CBU||Lost to HPU recently.|
|3||WWU||SFSU||Beat Chico State, non-con continues to look impressive.|
|4||UCSD||UCSD||Best non-con in the CCAA, even with a loss to Chico.|
|5||Chico||Sonoma||Legit wins against Chico and UCSD.|
|6||CWU||UAA||Currently up on WWU by half a game and they split in their meetings.|
|7||Dixie||Dixie||Hasn’t yet played HPU/CBU.|
|8||SFSU||WWU||Swept by the Alaska schools, Texas A&M Commerce is 7-5 in conference.|
At this point we don’t expect that bracket to hold in the slightest because there are too many games left to be played and all three conferences are clouded in parity. It’s great, eh? CWU is currently out but we don’t necessarily expect them to stay out either because one of the schools in another conference loses twice or because they procure wins at the Alaska schools or something as such. There’s still tons of variability, but it is fun to look at a snapshot of what things look like this week, and we had a blast looking at our seeding from two weeks ago simply because it’s never not a well reason argument, the arguments just change as you get more evidence.
If I’m a CWU fan, should I be freaking out right now?
No. You still get to go play the Alaskas and there are plenty of other difficult and interesting match-ups in the other two conferences as well.
If I’m a UAA fan, should I feel safe?
Absolutely not. Your bubble is a redhead’s skin after 10 hours in the sun without sunscreen. Not only do you still have to face Billings, you still have to face NNU and CWU, plus add in the fact that there are a lot of impressive games that can be won in the CCAA and Pac-West still.
Think we’re a genius? Think we’re an idiot? Have a solid argument as to why we’re slightly wrong? Tell us about it on Twitter or in the comments!
This was largely written on Wednesday 1/25.
When we last checked in with them, we had the following information:
San Fran State
Who’s still in the run to host?
Chico State -close losses to UCSD and CPP, but that’s it.
UCSD -dropped their last two games to San Marcos and Sonoma.
Hawaii Pacific -shockingly only has one loss. The region getting split is actually starting to look like a possibility.
San Fran State -out; losses to UCSD and Chico, without the SOS from non-con that those schools have.
Cal Baptist -one loss, that being to Dixie State; Dixie State is a really good team; not in the running to host due to losing to CWU, but a good team all the same.
WWU -added, because while they had a questionable non-con, they only have one in conference loss thus far, and are looking super deep.
Do we know who’s hosting?
At this point no.
Prediction: Split regional. Hawaii Pacific and either WWU or Cal Baptist.
WWU is currently playing at Whatcom Community College, and they’re eligible to bid to host the tournament, but unless the Regional gets split, we don’t support it. The gym is just too tiny. We would make the same argument with CU-Portland -the Whatcom and CU-PDX gyms only hold maybe 1200 people, which yeah the non-local rounds tend to be fairly empty, but we worry about opposing fans being able to get Sweet 16 tickets, especially if say we ended up with a WWU/CWU match-up.
100% Guaranteed making the regional as of last check:
San Fran State
Western Washington is definitely still in, but what about the other schools?
Cal Baptist = yes
WWU = yes, 100%.
Chico = yes
San Fran State -downgraded to the bubble, see below.
Hawaii Pacific = Yes; their spot is now officially safe. The only question mark they have is that they beat the Alaska schools in Hawaii; UAF has looked questionable, Anchorage has been good but not the elite team we projected them as before the season, thus non-road wins and not as quality as anticipated.
Here are the bubble teams from before, minus the guaranteeds:
UCSD -100% in provided their skid stops now.
Chico -100% in provided they stay on the trajectory they are now.
San Fran State -bubble team, but a solid bubble; losses to Chico and UCSD, as well as an okay-ish loss to WOU in 3OT in non-con on the road.
East Bay -Now 5-6 in conference.
Cal Baptist -100% in.
Hawaii Pacific -100% in.
Dixie State -true bubble team; they’re really good, their SOS is good, but bubble.
Azusa Pacific -Now 5-6 in conference; relatively good non-con schedule, thus we still see them as a threat for the autobid, but they’re not on the bubble for a bid without it.
Western Washington -100% in; only have a GNAC loss to MSUB.
Central Washington -true bubble team, they’re tied for 2nd in the GNAC right now, but their lack of non-con puts them on the bubble.
Alaska-Anchorage -true bubble team, they’re tied for 2nd in the GNAC and that loss to Hawaii Pacific is looking really good.
Seattle Pacific -we said last time it was their coaching staff; a 40 point loss and they switched it up. We don’t quite consider them turned around, but they’re theoretically no longer in free fall, which they were through the first half of conference play.
Saint Martin’s -they’re in position to make the conference tournament and they need to win it in order to get a bid. They’re good, but they’re very up and down.
MSU-Billings -We have no idea what’s going on with this team. They beat WWU in Bellingham, beat UAA and WOU in Billings, and then lost by 50 to SMU in Lacey. Zoinks. They have good and experienced players with a good and experienced coaching staff, plus super soph Preston Beverly, but………….. What’s going on??
Not sure where WOU was on that list last time, but we will note now that they’re definitely a threat to get the conference autobid. They’re finding themselves again after being rather up and down.
At half way through conference play, who are you eight teams in the tournament?
San Fran State
1. Cal Baptist co-host
2. Hawaii Pacific co-host
3. Western Washington
4. UC San Diego
5. Chico State -this feels low, but UCSD non-con + head to head.
6. Central Washington
7. Dixie State
8. San Fran State -good schedule
We went with the co-hosting, because while HPU has lost to Cal Baptist, Cal Baptist lost to Dixie, which is in the 2nd half of the seeds and has a loss to CWU, thus we feel that it could be merited to split the Regional. We’re fine with Cal Baptist hosting, we’re certainly not trekking out to Hawaii, but for now we’re going with the split -maybe just because it would be a bit exciting. West Coast Pride, split regional, unique to us because as far as we know there’s no Puerto Rico teams in a conference -they’re all independent.
What’s your crazy prediction?
That three unexpected teams get the autobids. We couldn’t tell you who in the other two conferences, but in the GNAC every single team that makes the conference tournament will be seen as a threat. Lucky for WWU, they should be safe regardless. There’s a ton of implications within the bubble teams, basically:
UCSD lost to WWU (quality)
Dixie lost to CWU (quality)
UAA lost to HPU (quality)
UCSD lost to Chico (quality)
SFSU lost to WOU (quality-ish)
And then CBU lost to Dixie, but quality loss and quality win, respectively.
The thing with that mess is we couldn’t tell you which bubbles would burst if three unexpected teams got the autobids. SFSU, Dixie, and maybe CWU? CWU has a pretty strong bubble (that’s a good thing) because they’ll have a lot of head-to-heads with a potential GNAC bubble burster that gets the autobid, and then the victory over Dixie State. If Azusa gets the autobid in the Pac-West that would speak even more to CWU not having their bubble burst. But Chico is amazing, WWU is amazing, and that doesn’t even get into CBU and HPU.
The one knock on Chico is lack of SOS, which is the same knock on HPU, which calls our prediction of CBU into hosting into question, because if Chico gets the nod it’ll only be Chico. Chico’s only black mark on their schedule is the lack of SOS. Otherwise they’re golden. Same with WWU. WWU even has a coveted in-region road victory against a most-likely tournament bound team in UCSD -and that wasn’t close; they blew the Tritons out big.
Overall, we still feel like we really don’t know anything, which is odd, but when we feel like we do know something, y’all’ll be the first to find out.
After one weekend of play, we told you teams that were still officially in the running to host the Regional:
Nine teams could’ve potentially hosted, when there are only eight bids. Here are the teams from that list still in the running, along with the reasons as to why:
Chico -still in, still definitely; they’ve only dropped one game and that was to a very good UCSD team. We think at this point, provided they don’t self implode, they’re making the Regional 100%. Hosting is the question.
UCSD? – definitely maybe; they only have losses to WWU and Cal Baptist, but now they’re in the awkward position of needing to hope that CBU does incredibly well, but still loses three or four games to knock them out of hosting.
Chaminade -No; not the convincing strength of schedule and winning numbers to split the regional. Their best win is against SPU and that win doesn’t look very good this year. They also have a lot of losses already, even with leaving out the D1 losses.
Azusa Pacific -No. Lost to SPU, beat WOU, their record is 7-7, nope.
Cal Baptist -Absolutely. Even with the mess of parity, their only loss is to Dixie State and they played both Cal Poly Pomona and UCSD in non-con. Great strength of schedule.
WWU -We’re still not sure if they’re even eligible to host because of playing at Whatcom and the logistical/infrastructure nightmare that would be, but we don’t think they’re going to host unless other teams majorly implode. The Vikings simply don’t have the West Region SOS nor the out of region wins. They have a massively good win at UCSD, but that’s literally the only amazing highlight of their non-conference.
SPU -LOL. No. But last time we didn’t want to include them; we had to.
CWU -They have a great record, with only losses to Mankato and Anchorage on their sheet, but again: they lack strength of schedule. Although we’d kill for the Regional to be hosted in Ellensburg -definitely our favorite GNAC trip.
WOU -No. Too many losses and too many other teams without losses to their big tests in non-conference.
We had Hawaii Pacific on our “ish” list and while they’ve now won out, they still don’t have the strength of schedule and we don’t see them getting through the conference season with a max of two losses, which is what they’d need, in order to split the regional. It’s true that Cal Baptist/Chico/UCSD could implode and that could shove it Hawaii Pacific’s way, but… We’d assume the selection committee would rather keep the region together and with SOS being such a new criterium, weight it heavily.
Is there anyone we want to add to the list? Yes and in a big way:
San Francisco State. They’ve won out in non-conference and are currently undefeated, although their strength of schedule is somewhat lacking; their best win is @ WOU and that went to triple OT in the first game of the season. Right now they’re our pick to host the Regional as of now, because just win baby, win!
The Regional could end up being split between SFSU and Hawaii Pacific, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but… We still feel like hosting is Cal Baptist’s to lose. Being undefeated is one thing, but being truly tested before conference play is another and Cal Baptist definitely has the latter.
What teams do we have making the Regional 100%?
San Fran State
Here’s a list of all of the teams that are currently in control of their own destiny regarding making the Regional:
San Fran State
East Bay -only two losses come via SF State and Western Washington, but they got killed by both. We’ve liked East Bay for a while -they give teams fits at Mac Martin every year.
Hawaii Pacific -they’re only a maybe, because they didn’t play any true road games in non-con.
Azusa Pacific -they’re currently 7-7, but they have wins over Dixie State and Western Oregon, as well as a couple of potentially quality losses to West Texas A&M & Seattle Pacific-ish.
The following looks excessive, but seriously: We can justify it.
Western Washington -because duh. The two teams they just lost to by a collective five points or so will likely be 1-2 in the Lonestar Conference and both are 100% in the South Central Regional.
Central Washington -why they lost to Anchorage, we don’t know, they have the most minimal of non-con, but if they win 14 games in conference, there’s no reason they wouldn’t be in the tournament.
Alaska-Anchorage -lose one more game and we say they no longer control their own destiny, but they have a good team and for right now: they are in control.
Seattle Pacific -We constantly talk crap about the Falcons, but the fact is that they have SOS, have a history of doing well, and we firmly believe that it’s the coaching staff holding this team back -not the players. When the coaching staff decides they want to win, they’ll be able to.
Saint Martin’s -they did what they needed to in non-con. Every conference team is going to lose multiple games. Non-con saves them. They’re in control right now.
MSU-Billings -they are as close to not being in control as you can possibly get, but while they lost in non-con, it was to East Bay and Cal Baptist on the road, which looks legit.
We originally had WOU on that list, but we honestly hadn’t looked at just how bad their non-conference went. They have no SOS, what-so-ever. They don’t control their own destiny -they need other teams to lose in order to make it in. When we think about it, would we take a 17-1 WOU team over a 17-1 Hawaii Pacific/Dixie/Azusa/UCSD/Chico/San Fran/East Bay? No. East Bay is the only ‘maybe’ in there, and all of that requires those teams to lose.
14 teams. Eight spots. Five at-large. We think the five at-large bids are already spoken for. This is a year when the auto-bid is going to be dire. We have no idea what’s going to happen at all. Literally, the prediction posts are going to be 100% pointless. We just don’t know.
In the GNAC, here’s what’s happened so far:
MSUB beat WOU
Concordia beat MSUB
NNU beat Anchorage
Pick ’em Games:
UAA @ CWU = UAA
UAF @ CWU = CWU
WWU @ SPU = WWU
There’ve only been 10 conference games played and three of them were upsets while three of them there was no way to pick a winner prior. It’s just going to get worse. If this blog has taught us one thing in regard to predicting basketball games: the more knowledge we have, the less we know. Darn all of these really good players that we know can completely change a game on any given night!
If you have something you want us to discuss tomorrow, tweet at us or leave in the comments -otherwise, we’ll catch you guys on Thursday for the game previews.
Alright, here we go. It’s late but it’s still here and that’s what counts, eh? The good news is that all of the math is already done for POW so that’ll go up tomorrow morning on schedule.
Central Washington 93 vs. MN-Mankato 104
The Wildcats got outside themselves =( It was totally within their range and they could have had it and they panicked and it didn’t happen, but we’re still so proud of them. As noted yesterday: It wouldn’t surprise us if Mankato is a very, very good team.
Wildcat highlights: Naim Ladd had 18 points; Dom Hunter had 27 points; Terry Dawn had six boards; Jawan Stepney had 15 points and five boards; and off the bench Sage Woodruff had five boards.
Simon Fraser 73, Lindenwood 72
SFU vs. Lindenwood round two and SFU squeaked out another one. Nicely done Clan. Plenty of good numbers to go around, so we’ll jump right in.
Clan highlights: Iziah Sherman-Newsome had eight boards and 10 points; Graham Miller had 9 points and five boards; Michael Provenzano had another good game with 14 points and five boards, along with five fouls; JJ Pankratz had 9 points and five boards; and Tyrell Lewin had 14 points and six boards. Off the bench Andrew Williamson had 9 points; and Hidde Vos had eight points.
Western Washington 94, Holy Names 68
Can’t spell ‘slaughter’ without ‘laughter’? The numbers aren’t as good as they could be, but there are a lot of good ones and we’re very satisfied with WWU.
Vikings highlights: Taylor Stafford had 17 points and 11 boards; Trey Drechsel had 14 points and five boards; Logan Schilder had 10 points, seven boards, and five blocks -good to see the 7’0er getting aclimated; Daulton Hommes had 13 points and six boards; and Jeffrey Parker had a full house with 24 points and seven rebounds, among other stats. Off the bench Trevor Jasinsky had seven points.
Seattle Pacific 72 vs. Dixie State 74 in OT
Dixie State won. We’re not very happy. But it does create a lot parity because it wasn’t a good loss. Dixie State is yet to get a good win. They have good losses, but not any good wins, and a brand new SPU team that doesn’t return anything does not count as a quality win. But looking at the numbers SPU decided they didn’t give a crap about rebounding, so… They get what they get.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten played 40 minutes and had eight rebounds; Sam Simpson had six boards; and Joe Rasmussen had five fouls. Off the bench Sharif Khan had 10 points; and Tony Miller had 21 points and seven boards.
We consider this game to be a complete mess and with a slightly more experienced team the Falcons would have had it, but the fact is they don’t have that experience this year and they can’t get away half-trying like they have in the past. Hopefully they learned something -if they didn’t, their SoCal games this coming week are going to be felt widely and painfully on a conference level.
Alaska-Fairbanks 71 vs. BYU-Hawaii 68
Praise Nooks. They got it done. It was desperate considering BYU-H only used six players (essentially five) but it’s still a ‘W.’
Nanook highlights: Nahjee Matlock had 13 points and five assists; Bangaly Kaba had 14 points and seven boards; LaDonavan Wilder had seven boards; Zach Pederson had 15 points and six boards; Brandon Davis had 12 points, five boards, six assists, five steals, a block, four fouls, and zero turnovers in a perfect full house. Off the bench Michael Kluting had eight points and six boards.
Alaska-Anchorage 73, Cal State LA 68
Thank God, the Seawolves got out of this. Suki was more off on free throws than we’re used to seeing, so that was interesting. Corey Hammell finally had a Corey Hammell game, so that was good. Mixed bag, but what can we say? The Seawolves got it done and we are incredibly relieved.
Seawolves highlights: Suki Wiggs had 27 points and six boards; Corey Hammell had 12 points and 11 boards; and Connor Devine had 12 points and six boards. No real bench play, which is mildly concerning but Sjur Berg saw almost no minutes, so… Maybe means nothing.
CU-Portland 62, San Francisco State 86
The Gators were in ‘steamroll’ mode. That’s okay. We’re still proud of the Cavs for the progress they’re clearly making. We think they’re going to make some noise in conference -Christopher Edward, among others, is for real.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 14 points; Christopher Edward had a double-double with 10 boards and 10 points; off the bench Davis Nuaimi had five assists; and Taylor Harris had 11 points.
Saint Martin’s 75, San Bernardino State 80
The Saints ALMOST got the win but couldn’t pull it off likely due to a slow 7’0er. He goes in for the tip and nothing else. We like Fred a lot, but… Winning the tip doesn’t matter if he can’t even be counted on to grab one measly board. Naim Ladd is 5’7 and had seven the other night, so… Get with it Fred. You’ve got five fouls. Use them.
Saints highlights: Cole Preston had five boards and 17 points; Rhett Baerlocher had seven boards; Tyler Copp bounced back and had 16 points; Brandon Kenilvort had five boards; and off the bench Trey Ingram had 15 points.
MSU-Billings 50 vs. Cal State East Bay 54
Close and hard fought game but ultimately MSUB couldn’t pull it out. Quite honestly it bugs us because MSUB returns so much, so… Yellowjackets: What are you doing? We know East Bay’s place in conference tends to make them look worse than they are (truly an any given night team) but you were at home and have so many returners. Hmmm. We expect more of you Yellowjackets. Next week, perhaps.
Yellowjacket highlights: PRESTON BEVERLY had a huge game wiht 14 points and 25 points on good shooting; and Christian Evans had five boards.
To be fair, some of the lacking in highlights is because it was a low-scoring game, but… Shooting numbers were also bad.
Western Oregon 63 vs. UC San Diego 75
The Tritons read Western Oregon like a book. They came in apparently very prepared and essentially just shut the Wolves down completely. WOU still had few turnovers, so UCSD could have maybe forced them better, but… This was revenge for the Sweet 16 game and they got it.
Wolves highlights: Ali Faruq-Bey had six boards; and off the bench Demtrius Trammell had 11 points; while Yanick Kulich had 19 points and seven boards; and Malik Leaks had seven points.
Yup. That minimal. Looking forward to the Wolves bouncing back after a painful weekend.
Northwest Nazarene 84 vs. Colorado Christian 103
Weeee. Eeeee. Okay, honestly not surprising because Colorado Christian is often good, as the RMAC is usually really good. This is a quality loss if we’ve ever seen it.
Crusader highlights: Bouna N’Diaye had six boards; Jalen Shepard had nine assists and 16 points, whoa; Kaileb Rodriguez had 25 points and 12 boards for the double-double; Maurice Jones had 13 points and five fouls. Off the bench Pol Olivier had six points.
Overall a mis-mash of a weekend. We’re not as concerned as we expected ourselves to be, mostly because it does look like so much parity across the region that we feel like if a few teams clamp down and others buck up, things’ll be just fine.
POW noms up tomorrow at 10am, with the announcement at 11.
We’re going to post these in reverse order and then swap the times because we want what times the games are being played at to be at the top, but we’re writing this one first because last night was whoa. On a lot of levels. We don’t know whether to climb into our conspiracy bunker of “ZOMG the GNAC is so bad, we’re going to be a one bid league” or “Our region looks okay and has parity all up and down, so we’ll be fine.”
November. Beautiful November.
All times pacific.
Central Washington vs. MN-Mankato @ 12:30
Want CWU to win sooo badly, it should be a battle, we’re ready for it to be a battle, and we’re ready to see the Wildcats come out on top.
Simon Fraser vs. Lindenwood @ 2pm
We somehow missed that Lindenwood is actually a D2 school; we assumed they were a Canadian school. They’re D2. And SFU beat them yesterday, but it was close, so we’ll see what happens today.
Western Washington vs. Holy Names @ 2pm
WWU gets it done, no problem, no doubt. They’re at home, HNU is never good, it’ll be fine. WWU’s got actual teamwork this year and no drag-their-feet post players, which makes everything better.
Seattle Pacific vs. Dixie State @ 3pm
No idea. The Falcons just lost to Mankato, but we don’t know what that means -we actually haven’t even looked at the numbers. CWU beat Dixie in overtime yesterday, Dixie has some mad strength of schedule and so they’ve played good teams are already well-seasoned. Dixie State has often beat the Falcons at home in non-conference and were responsible for dislodging SPU’s number one ranking a few years ago, so… What can we say? Those proud bearers of the confederate flag are probably going to win.
Alaska-Fairbanks vs. BYU-Hawaii @ 3pm
Seasiders just got killed by UAA. Time for the Nooks to get it done too. UAF wins big.
Alaska-Anchorage vs. Cal State LA @ 5pm
CSULA is starting to come into its own with a win over UAF yesterday, but so is UAA and… “The Seawolves up there in their hella nice lair” will take care of the Eagles just fine. Yes, we just plagiarized ourselves, we’re okay with that.
CU-Portland vs. San Francisco State @ 5pm
SFSU just won a triple over time game against WOU. We’re not sure whether that means this is a prime chance for CU-Portland to upset SFSU because they’re exhausted and likely to over look the Cavs, or if they’re going to get killed because SFSU is going to be like “WE JUST BEAT THE WOLVES, WE CAN DO ANYTHING!” and be in steamroll mode. We shall see.
Saint Martin’s vs. San Bernardino @ Sonoma State @ 5:30
The Saints got straight-up murdered by Sonoma last night, which actually doesn’t hurt our conference that badly because WWU had a convincing win over them last week without blowing them out, so Sonoma is looking good. Also tells you that there may be some separation between WWU and SMU, which wouldn’t be surprising, but still leaves plenty of room for the idea that both are good teams. Bernardino took CWU to OT but CWU got the win, it seems likely that Bernardino will win this one, but who knows. We love the Saints -they could absolutely bounce back.
MSU-Billings vs. Cal State East Bay @ 6pm
MSUB has a great homecourt advantage and yet East Bay is one of those teams that always gives GNAC teams problems, even when they’re lower-middle of the CCAA. Not sure what’s going to happen with this one. Nothing would surprise us in any direction unless both teams ended up scoring under 50. That would surprise us.
Western Oregon vs. UC San Diego @ 7pm
We cannot wait for this game. UCSD is boasting mad SOS, WOU just lost a triple OT game to SFSU, it’s in the New PE Building, what is going to happen? UCSD just had a heck of a time against CU-Portland, so we have no idea what to expect out of this game.
Northwest Nazarene vs. Colorado Christian @ 7pm
Who knows? We want NNU to win, we somewhat expect them to lose, but that’s just because “oh NNU,” and prior conceptions from previous years, but that’s not fair now is it? NNU hasn’t even played any D2 games this year. Who knows what might happen?