#3 WWU vs. #6 Chico State @12pm pacific.
We love Chico, full disclaimer. They’re one of our CCAA teams, with the other being UCSD. That being said, we like WWU’s chances. The teams share similar records, with Chico being 25-7 and WWU being 25-5. Their mutual opponents include CSU East Bay, Sonoma State, and UCSD, with the following results:
WWU 107, EB 81
Chico 78, EB 66
WWU 72, Sonoma 64
*Chico 53, Sonoma 50
*Chico 50, Sonoma 66
WWU 104, UCSD 81
Chico 56, UCSD 60
Chico 64, UCSD 59
Not much info to be gleaned because we assume UCSD was missing someone during the WWU game, Chico vs. Sonoma is a rivarly, and East Bay is usually in the bottom third of the conference. On the surface it looks like WWU is a much better team, but… They barely escaped against a WOU team that had only taken UAA to triple OT the night before via UAA (and the conference’s) best rebounder being out through the entire second half. And while that may scream ‘parity’ and that WWU has risen above that parity, there’s no telling exactly how much they’ve risen above it.
Taylor Stafford is the real deal, Jeffrey Parker has moments of being the real deal, Blake Fernandez has been great, Deandre Dickson is streaky but has his moments, Daulton Hommes consistently does good things for the team, Brad Wallace decided that he didn’t care how tall he was in the WOU game and just decided to go for it, which was awesome. We know a lot about the WWU team, we have a great respect and fondness for them, but this is the 2016-2017 season, which if anything has proven one thing: There are no guarantees. Chico always recruits well and is super well coached, we feel like they’re far more tested than WWU (see: four teams in the tournament vs. one), but…
Prediction: WWU wins. This is a homer pick. We know they’re capable, but we also know the Region is crazy, so we’re crossing our fingers just incase.
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.
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!
We mean previewing in a very abbreviated way. Mostly this is a chance to tell you what time any game is going to be played at because for the vast majority we have no clue what to expect. How about we promise NightLights tonight after all of these games go down? That seems better.
All times Pacific Standard.
SFU vs. Hawaii Hilo @ 3pm
SFU just lost to Quest, so we’re thinking Hilo is going to win.
MSUB @ Cal Baptist @ 4pm
Cal Baptist is ranked 9th in the pre-season poll. Good luck MSUB! Procure us/UAA some strength of schedule by either playing them tough or getting a win!
CWU vs San Bernardino @ 5pm
Very excited to see what the Wildcats do and hopefully pick up some SOS with a nice win against CSUSB!
WWU @ Sonoma State @ 5:30
They better bleeping win, after almost beating Washington. Let’s go Viks!
WOU @ Point Loma @ 5:30
We loved Point Loma last year and this year we’re not sure we can root against them at all no matter what, even when rationally we desperately want/need the Wolves to beat them and beat them good. C’mon WOU, you can do this. *cries*
UAA @ Chaminade @ 7:30
The Seawolves also better bleeping win. C’mon Suki, you’re our pre-season player of the year -that means you have to make us proud or we’ll sit behind you and talk mess in the future. Judging by the way you play the game of basketball you’d probably be okay with that, so we’re good. P.S. Good luck Corey Hammell, Sjur Berg, etc!
CU-PDX @ Monterey Bay @ 7pm
Expecting the worst, hoping for the best. Good luck Cavaliers!!
SPU vs. Humboldt @ 7pm
Humboldt was really good last year. *covers eyes* C’mon Falcons! They have so much history of regenerating that we feel ridiculous for doubting, but… They return NOTHING. Not even their head coach.
SMU @ Fresno Pacific @ 8pm
So freaking excited for this game. It should be fairly evenly matched, so… We’ll see. Good luck Saints!!
UAF @ Hawaii Pacific @ 9:30
This falls into the CWU category -we’re really, really, really curious. Good luck Nooks!
NNU is playing an NAIA game, so… Pray for them? They should be fine. Simpson is usually upper middle in their conference, and hasn’t been to the NAIA tournament in a while (we only know this because they’re our grad school rival) so the Crusaders should have a good chance to see what they’ve got.
Alright. Night Lights tonight will go up initially around 10pm and then we’ll update them after that so Fairbanks is included. We’ll be on twitter periodically, so feel free to @ us with your thoughts on any given game.
Let’s go GNAC -Great is in our name, time to prove it.
All in one convenient location with listed seedings. Going up an hour (or two) before the Discussions post, just ’cause.
The CCAA played their first round last night because they have eight teams in play. The bold teams won. Right now these are just the seeds, but we’ll put up what the brackets ended up as on Saturday night.
1. Chico State
2. UC San Diego
3. Cal Poly Pomona
4. Humboldt State
5. Monterey Bay
6. San Fran State
7. Sonoma State
8. Cal State LA
So yup, Chico State is out of contention for the auto-bid. We’re not worried; our CCAA counterpart is. When SPU gets bounced in the first round of the GNAC tourney he can watch us freakout while he sits there and goes “You guys are fine.”
1. Azusa Pacific
2. Dixie State
3. Cal Baptist
4. Hawaii Pacific
APU and Dixie both have a first round BYE.
1. Western Oregon
4. Seattle Pacific
5. Central Washington
6. Western Washington
WOU and UAF both have a first round BYE.
Games start on Thursday. The CCAA games continue on Friday. By Sunday night we’ll know who’s going to Monmouth.
HOOOOLY GUACAMOLE. We’re proud of and stunned over the vast majority of the West Region right now because there were SO many close games being played today. Teams were playing up, teams were playing down, and battles were being had up and down the entirety of the west coast (including up in Alaska and out in Hawaii) and WOW.
So let’s talk about it. Here are all of the games that came down to a possession-ish:
Seattle Pacific 74 @ Alaska-Anchorage 71
Northwest Nazarene 70 @ Concordia-Portland 72
MSU-Billings 76 @ Simon Fraser 72
Fresno Pacific 94 @ Azusa Pacific 90
Hawaii Hilo 80 @ ND de Namur 82
BYU Hawaii 87 @ Point Loma 71 -not a close game, but a big upset
Hawaii Pacific 63 @ Dixie State 84 -also not a close game, but a surprising blowout
Cal Baptist 81 @ Concordia-Irvine 82
San Bernardino State 92 @ Humboldt State 93
Sonoma State 65 @ Dominguez Hills 88 -unexpected blowout, although we’ve been preaching DH since mid-November.
UC San Diego 41 @ Cal Poly Pomona 35 -meditate on this; we’re still confused and are going to end up re-watching it closely.
San Fran State 49 @ Cal State LA 63 -huge upset.
The CCAA Friday night games are what make some of those results particularly interesting. You see: Friday night was normal. Sonoma beat CSULA and San Fran State beat DH, both with roughly 10 point margins.
Records of potential conference tournament-bound teams:
Overall while the GNAC is experiencing chaos and parity, there also is separation. The CCAA, there are seven teams competing for theoretically six bids and it’s going to be a bit chaos-y, but not anywhere close to as nuts as the Pac-West. The Pac-West is a full on glorious mess. Think Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off food fight mess; yes, that good.
We’ve been following the Pac-West but hadn’t looked at the standings and now that we have… We’re aware of just how nuts they truly are: Nine teams are .500 or above in conference and Fresno Pacific is a mere two games out, with two games against 2-10 ND de Namur and a game against 2-11 HNU still to play. Granted, the rest of FPU’s schedule is terrifying, but they upset Azusa tonight AT Azusa, so… Maybe not as undoable as it looked yesterday?
With the GNAC… UAF, UAA, WWU, SPU, CWU, and WOU (in our usual blog order) are all pretty locked into their spots in the conference tournament. While we fully expect 0-12 SFU to beat someone (even someone in the top six) we still don’t expect it to undo the standings. We’re through just over half of conference play and because each pair is represented once in the top six (except the Alaskas, who are both in there) it should be fairly maintainable for all six teams.
As for the CCAA, it’ll get dicey but UCSD, Chico State, and Cal Poly Pomona can probably feel safe about their conference tournament bids. The other four it’s going to be nuts and that’s all we can say. We may be talking about another team here in the coming weeks, it all depends.
The region motto this year might as well be “Expect the unexpected,” and thus the seatbelt sign remains on. We’ve had two games in the second half of conference play and would like to remind you that seatbelts need to remain fastened until conference play comes to a full and complete stop.
What are we thinking in regard to the West Region? Who. The. Falcon. Knows.
Not them. Not the Falcons. That’s just our latest rated ‘R’ term gone ‘G.’
Here’s a west region prognostication maybe with a little bit of seeding but kinda sorta maybe not really who knows. It’s so much chaos it seems ludicrous to make a list like this, particularly with seeding, but… Here we go:
1. Western Oregon -best record, holds the tiebreaker over UCSD and it was great because it was a road win.
2. UC San Diego -great team, think they’re amazing, very solid CCAA resume.
3. CU-Irvine -we’ve liked them since they beat SPU in the first game of the year and continue to believe in them.
4. Seattle Pacific -We’d rather stick Anchorage here, but SOS counts this year and the Falcons undeniably have it.
5. Cal Baptist -another nod because of SOS with Moorhead, but we’re really not sure how we feel placing them here.
6. Chico State -their only SOS continues to be their losses to the Falcons and Cal Poly Pomona by 10 points a piece. They’re a good team, but the game at UCSD on the 12th looms rather large.
7. Alaska-Anchorage -We want them higher, but their biggest win was at SPU a month ago and the Falcons just beat them. Aside from that, they lack a quality road win because their wins against Chaminade and Hawaii Pacific were at home.
8. Azusa Pacific -Between them and BYU-Hawaii it’s not close because BYU-H’s non-conference was a mess while APU’s was quality, plus BYU-H really hasn’t had too bad of a conference schedule so far and it’s about to get brutal.
Shockingly we feel kind of comfortable with that. We don’t think it’s right in the slightest, but we feel like it’s well-reasoned at the very least, which is kind of the best you can go for right now. This is all theoretical physics, basketball edition.
Alright. Now we’re off to go write the GNAC Recaps and maybe start on some of the math for POW stuff because we like doing it by hand rather than letting a program do it for us. Statistics are good therapy, which… With this region, we need it. We need a way to let our brain relax with formulas that are consistent.
Have a great night, thanks for coming on the ride with us, it’s far from over, and for the non-GNAC, West Region people: We’ll catch-up with you on Wednesday for some discussions about national rankings.
Because there isn’t a new poll this week, we’ll go ahead and do a West Region ranking by what we’ve gleaned through our analysis of non-conference. It’s going to be more in-depth than usual, because what else do we have to do on Christmas Eve Eve? First the list, then the explanations.
1. Western Oregon
2. Cal Poly Pomona
3. Seattle Pacific/UC San Diego
5. Cal Baptist
6. Azusa Pacific
7. Point Loma
9. Chico State
10. Humboldt State
1. Western Oregon (8-0). This position ultimately came down to “best win” and the Wolves took it. Their best win is at UCSD, getting it done 67-63. The Wolves take on Seattle Pacific on January 7, so that’ll be a very anticipated match-up. Not really much to say about these guys -they get it done, they get rest where they can, Andy is amazing, their point guard play needs to step up quite a bit. If you’re a regular reader you know we love Julian Nichols and think he’s awesome, but he just hasn’t put it on display this year as much as we anticipated.
2. Cal Poly Pomona (9-0). We like the Broncos a lot, their SOS not withstanding. Their best win is a close one at Point Loma, the Broncs escaped 54-53. They play at UCSD on January 2nd, so we’ll definitely be watching that game with bated breath to see what happens. In one sense it really doesn’t matter because UCSD and CPP are both two very good teams, but we feel like UCSD is much more thoroughly seasoned at this point, so… Maybe the Broncos’ll prove us wrong, maybe they won’t, but we’re 99% sure we’re going to be witnessing a really, really good game.
3. Seattle Pacific (8-1) & UC San Diego (9-1). We’ve been meditating on this and looking at the numbers and then meditating some more and then looking at the numbers some more and ultimately we just couldn’t make a decision on which team we think is more capable. Both are getting tested really soon as noted above, so that’ll be good, but even after those “big” tests we’re not sure if we’ll feel comfortable making a distinction even still. Both are two super good, super well tested teams. In that sense, we feel like the Tritons hold a slight edge because the Tritons faced CBU and WOU, but when it comes to opponent records the Falcons own the slight edge (36-35) to the Tritons (47-47). We like both teams, we think both are great, both are super good defensively, both have fantastic coaching staffs, both have really dedicated guys. It’s a complete wash and honestly that fact makes us happy. We get to indulge in watching two really good teams -what more could you want?
5. Cal Baptist (10-2). At this point it’s not record so much, but what you’ve done with that record and the Lancers have done a lot. CBU’s most quality win is against MN-Moorhead, but they’ve also got a couple of quality losses in regard to UCSD and Azusa Pacific (quality + rivalry in the case of the Cougs). UCSD came down to free throws, so while the gap was bigger than it might have been (9) it was a pointed nine. It was within reach. We really like their SOS, they’ve got a good GNAC win over Alaska-Anchorage, they’ve got a crazy good win over Point Loma, absolutely brutalizing the Sea Lions 98-73. We like the path they’re on, they’ve already got good Pac-West wins against APU and Dixie State, and we’ll see what they do in the coming conference portion of the schedule.
6. Azusa Pacific (7-3). SOS is our MO. They have three losses but they come against Cal Poly Pomona, Seattle Pacific, and at Point Loma in OT. We’re a big believer in winning on the road because in the case of APU -they’re guaranteed to be on the road for the Regional and so what are they going to play like? The Cougars best win is a close one against rival CBU and on their horizon is a chance to beat the Lancers again. Will they? We’ll see. It’s on the 16th.
7. Point Loma (5-5). This is a little bit of a reach considering how badly they got beat by CBU, but we do want to at least acknowledge heavily their schedule. Their losses literally come via Western Oregon, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Baptist, a heartbreaker against Dixie State, and a free throw final against CU-Irvine. We respect that a lot. We think they’re well seasoned. Do we truly expect them to make the regional? Maybe not. We think they’ll definitely be in play for it, but while they have a win against APU, they have that awful devastation against CBU. Still, San Diego is becoming a lively place for D2 basketball and the Sea Lions are 100% a part of it and we’re proud of them. Now get some big wins. Next opportunity is against CU-Irvine on the 13th.
8. CU-Irvine (7-1). Seems a little far for a team that only has one loss, but that loss comes against San Marcos (3-5) and their win was against SPU on a neutral court in OT while the Falcons were playing their first game with what’s essentially a brand new roster. They have another decent win against Point Loma and because CU-I winning definitely helps the GNAC (they played CU-P twice, along with SPU once) we need to see them get some quality wins now. Dixie State could potentially be a quality win, Point Loma could be another potentially quality win, they don’t play CBU until the 30th of January, but hopefully the Eagles keep winning and they’ll build toward that.
9. Chico State (7-2). The issue we’re having with Chico is that they just don’t have any good wins. They have some okay wins (Dominican [6-4], SFSU [5-3]) and a quality-ish loss against Seattle Pacific, but the game against SPU was at home -not on the road. They lost to Sonoma, but that’s a rivalry so we’re not particularly concerned with it. Obviously because of the GNAC tie, we want Chico to do well, and then they benefit by being in the CCAA this year with having some good chances to get quality wins.
10. Humboldt State (5-1). There was some thought of putting someone else here, but no one has the loss-credibility yet besides PLNU. However: the Jacks barely have the win credibility, even at 5-1. Their wins come against Holy Names (2-9), CSULA (2-7), Sonoma State (6-4), SFSU (5-3), and Fresno Pacific (5-3), with their loss being to San Marcos (3-5). We liked Humboldt last year, we’re definitely not against the potential that the Jacks could be really good, we just haven’t seen enough yet to really say either way. They don’t have a good win and they do have a bad loss, but they are 5-1 and hence they’re ranked 10th.
Other teams we’re keeping an eye on: Alaska-Anchorage (5-3), Alaska-Fairbanks (5-2), Western Washington (4-4), Dixie State (4-5), Dominican (6-4), BYU-H (5-3), Dominguez Hills (4-4), and Sonoma State (6-4).
In a sense this list is kind of striking because there are seemingly very distinct tiers within the region, which doesn’t always happen.
Tier one: Western Oregon, Cal Poly Pomona. Guaranteed 99.9% to make the regional; we don’t like saying 100%, just ’cause.
Tier two: UC San Diego, Seattle Pacific, Cal Baptist. 90% chance of making the regional as of now. All three teams look really good and did enough during non-conference that provided they keep winning, they shouldn’t have to worry about their bubbles bursting. Fans of these teams: We recommend worrying anyway.
Tier three: Azusa Pacific, CU-Irvine, Chico State, Point Loma. Four above average teams. We won’t be surprised if any of these teams make the tournament, but we also won’t be surprised if one or more gets left out after conference play and particularly after the respective conference tournaments are said and done.
Tier four: The Alaskas, Western Washington, Humboldt State, Sonoma State, Dixie State, BYU-Hawaii. Six teams with the potential to come in and win their respective conference tournament and procure an auto bid. From where we stand now, there’s no way for one of these teams to get into the tournament via an at-large bid.
The Alaskas didn’t prove they can play off the tundra and the GNAC is too weak to get enough quality road wins to prove otherwise. Western Washington has a big history of making the championship game, they got Evan back, but teams above them have proven that they can win while not firing on all cylinders -the Vikings haven’t. Humboldt State was talked about above. Sonoma has been interesting, no great wins, but some good wins. Dixie seems to be improving, they have a couple quality-ish losses against SPU and APU; we’ll see what they do in conference. BYU-H was an absolute mess on the mainland, but they’ve done well on the Islands, so… Hopefully winning close to home taught them how to win and they’ll be able to do more of it from now on.
On the agenda for tomorrow: Discussing the Transitive Property of College Basketball.
OUR FIRST ACTUAL WEDNESDAY DISCUSSION POST IN FOREVER! Nutso November; wait eleven months for it, wonder for four weeks why the heck we missed it, get done and inevitably within a week go “that was so much fun! Why can’t it be like that all the time?” Because everyone would die and that would be bad.
WOU 92 @ CU-Portland 58
Pretty typical result. Pretty sure the closest CU-Portland ever legitimately got was 13 points. There was a spot there when the Wolves had four and the Cavaliers had three that was a bit interesting, but the next thing we knew it was 16-3 favoring WOU. Good news for the conference. We’ll talk about that more later.
CU-Portland highlights: Latrell Wilson had 23 points on decent shooting; Tyler Gutierrez had 10 points. Off the bench Daniel Duitsman had six points; Riley Hawken added 5; James Phillips another five points. Pretty much it.
Western Oregon highlights: Andy Avgi had 27 points and six boards; Jordan Wiley had 21 points; Alex Roth had nine boards; Devon Alexander had five assists. Off the bench Kadeem Strickland had 13 points, five assists, and three steals; JJ Chirnside had six points; and Tanner Omlid had five points and five boards.
Overall a pretty ho-hum game. Congrats to the Wolves on getting it done, just as we knew they could.
Strength of Schedule Stuff?
Last night we posted a tweet saying we hoped Western Oregon would win by 40 and that any team with legitimate tournament aspirations should hope the same. Why? Because We’re going to get real here: CU-Portland’s chances of making the conference tournament aren’t particularly high with what they’ve demonstrated in non-conference. We’ve kind of been skimming how the conference has collectively been doing against the Pac-West and CCAA and the good news is, it isn’t horrible. We’re at about .500 in regard to the Pac-West and .500 in regard to the CCAA. The problem with those numbers is that very few of the teams that we won against have winning records. Some of that is intentional, some not. The Hawaii schools were anticipated to be better, as was Dixie State; that’s a huge chunk of GNAC vs. Pac-West. With the CCAA, less so? For the most part the CCAA schools have been pretty much as expected, although we are excited about Monterey Bay sitting at 5-1; go Otters.
You can now dunk in warm-ups without picking up a technical?
Yes, and we’ll reveal something personal about ourselves: We’re white. We can jump out of the gym. We love dunking, think it’s great, had the privilege of witnessing both Nate Rob and Terrance Ross during their respective collegiate careers, however: In our lives, there was no devastation if one went down. There’s a story that floats around about once upon a time when some deep bench dwellers decided to dunk during tertiary warm-ups. Not thrilled about it, but okay, whatever, one of them tears an ACL, big whoop. Then a starter got in on it. A chronically injured starter. There is no point risking a season dunking during warm-ups. None. There are too many bad ways to come down and plenty of other, safer ways to get your plyometrics on. For those that choose to dunk during warm-ups: Good luck with those knee injuries.
Are a complete and total mess, still. Lots of West Region teams are ranked and it’s so complicated we’re just gonna go in order:
- 4th = Western Oregon: No losses, but their only good win is at home against Point Loma.
- 5th = Cal Poly Pomona: No losses, good road wins against PLNU and Azusa.
- 10th = Cal Baptist; agree-ish. They have one loss, but it’s against 22nd ranked UCSD.
- 16th = Seattle Pacific; agree-ish. Good win against Chico; only loss was against 5 and 1 CU-Irvine in OT on a neutral court.
- 22nd = UCSD; disagree. Undefeated with good wins against 18th ranked Colorado School of Mines and 10th ranked Cal Baptist.
- 23rd = Chico State; disagree. They fell a bit too far. While SPU’s loss against CU-I doesn’t look great, SPU is still ranked 16th.
Other west region teams receiving votes:
- CWU received 7; meh -two wins on what’s essentially home-court against two non-ranked teams.
- Western Washington received 6; meh -three losses, two against non-ranked teams.
- Azusa Pacific 4; total and complete BS. They have one loss and it was against Cal Poly Pomona. While the Cougars haven’t really played anybody, neither has WOU and they’re ranked 4th. APU beat the Wolves in March, APU’s made the tourney two straight years, and quite frankly: they deserve a bigger benefit of the doubt.
We saw that the SIDs put out a ranking. We’re really tempted to do one ourselves, but we’ll hold out for the December dead period. Basically there’s a lot of parity and ultimately the CCAA seems to come out on top. Here’s what teams we’re impressed with so far in relatively no particular order: Azusa Pacific, Cal Baptist, Cal Poly Pomona, Chico State, Dominican, Point Loma, Seattle Pacific, Sonoma State, UCSD, and Western Oregon. Out of ten teams, that’s four from the Pac-West, two from the GNAC, and four from the CCAA -pretty balanced, which is cool. The big problem right now is that the RPI of the GNAC is terrible; the vast majority of the wins come against teams in those conferences with losing records.
Of course, it’s December. We’re not sure how much the list above is going to hold up. We know UAF, UAA, WWU, and CWU are all jumping at the bit to be in that conversation, so we’ll see how that plays out. Dixie State, is of course a team that’s usually solid so we’ll see about them. There should be at least one somewhat okay (or good) Hawaii school, eventually, this year. CCAA-wise San Fran State is still undefeated with the wins coming against D2 competition. Humboldt is undefeated but largely hasn’t played anyone but NAIA schools, so 50/50 on that. Part of it is just where they play -much like MSUB is surrounded by the Frontier Conference, the Jacks are surrounded by the Cal Pac and Cascade conference, and you want to be on good terms with those schools even if it doesn’t help you as much as it could.
Tomorrow is the first BIG day of conference play and previews’ll be up mid-morning per usual.
Simon Fraser 59 @ Sonoma State 76
Let’s be realistic: Sonoma State came into this game at 5-1; it was going to take amazing performances from everyone to win and the Clan really only got a great performance out of one guy. The shooting was bad, generally speaking, and there’s a difference between good shooting vs. good defense. While the Seawolves of Sonoma definitely played some good defense… We tend to think that much of the blame falls on the guys for taking the shots and not distributing, not moving the ball. Play your own game. They do what they do, you do what you do. And SFU could have played a lot better defense to make this closer.
Highlights: Max Barkeley, whoa, had five boards, an assist, two steals, three fouls, and a whopping 28%, going 7-8 from the line; Michael Harper had six boards and two assists. Decent team rebounding effort.
Max Barkeley did his darndest to keep them in it, hitting some great threes down the stretch, but the Seawolves stayed the course. SFU definitely goes deep into their bench, which is great, but… The Clan’s in between a rock and hard place. We’ve seen teams win on the back of one player (see: Anchorage/Suki Wiggs) and we’ve seen teams lose on the back one player (see: SFU/Sango Niang last year). We’ve seen teams have a really short bench and make the tourney, we’ve seen teams have a long bench and not make it. There’s really no method, just whatever works, and we’re starting to wonder if SFU needs to drastically shorten their bench.
Western Oregon @ CU-Portland @ 7pm PST.
Hello new “rivalry.”
Today is the first day of conference play with Western Oregon taking on Concordia-Portland at CU-PDX. Welcome to the GNAC baby bros. We’d encourage the Wolves to be nice, but… That’s not the GNAC. And honestly, it won’t be good for our conference if this game is close. At this point in non-conference, what we’re needing to do is prove that our strong teams are really strong because of how many losses we picked up. WOU is still unscathed and we look forward to them continuing that tonight.
Good luck to both the Wolves and Cavaliers.
And the Clan’s game tomorrow.
WWU @ Hawaii Pacific @ 4pm PST
Hawaii Pacific is 0-2 against the GNAC, having lost to both Alaska schools. Time for WWU to make them 0-3. If WWU fails to do that, Viking fans you have permission to grab a beverage of choice and chug until you feel content -no judgement.
SFU @ CSU Monterey Bay @ 5pm PST
Like Hawaii Pacific, Monterey Bay is 0-2 against the GNAC with their losses coming against SMU and WOU, respectively. SFU fans, today is your day. Prepare your body for the win. If you drink after this, we will judge you because wins should be soaked in -not stupored in. And if you drink after SFU losses in general, you’re probably not sober right now anyway so it doesn’t matter, eh? But today. Today is the day no booze will be necessary.
SFU @ Sonoma State @ 2pm PST tomorrow.
This is going to be a challenging game. We’re friends with some Chico people and they hate playing Sonoma. Admittedly there’s a rivalry, so it’s a little different, but if Chico fears Sonoma that means you should too. The Wolves’ record makes that fear even more pronounced: They have wins against Dominican, Holy Names, and Dixie State, plus a close loss to Academy of Art -which they avenged handsomely by killing them by 20 in their next meeting. We’re not saying “Be afraid” (okay, maybe we are a little bit) we’re saying “Bring your “A” game.”
Good luck Vikings & Clan. Make the GNAC proud!