Looking at this for the first time is honestly our own personal Christmas morning, so let’s get started!
vs. Chaminade @ UAA
vs. Hawaii Pacific @ UAA
vs Holy Names x2
vs. UCSD @ WWU
Judgement: The saving grace of this schedule is the neutral site game against UCSD. There are no true road games and that makes us cringe.
vs. Hawaii Pacific
vs. Holy Names x2
Judgement: We get it: they play D1 games in the Great Alaska Shootout, but we maintain our stance that D1 vs. D2 games don’t mean a thing. This schedule is weak, but UAA is definitely rebuilding, so it’s fair enough, but it won’t help them come tournament time.
vs. Hawaii-Hilo @ WWU
vs. ND de Namur @ WWU
vs. Azusa Pacific @ PLNU
Judgement: It’s a good schedule. We’re honestly judging Ryan Looney far more for scheduling SFU than anything else. Then again… He did lose to them at home, on homecoming with a tournament-bound SPU team, so… C’mon Clan! Get that W! We believe in you.
vs. ND de Namur
vs. East Bay
vs. Harding @ Hawaii
vs. Tampa @ Hawaii
Judgement: We’re comfortable with this schedule. The last two are D2, but not D2 west, so less than ideal but far preferable to a non-D2 school. The Vikings don’t like to test themselves early and yet it usually works out just fine, so… Different philosophies. All good.
WHOA website update. It no longer looks like something straight out of 2002.
vs. Sonoma State @ East Bay
@ East Bay
vs. Dixie State @ Westminster (SLC)
Judgement: Typical quality SPU schedule. Last year of the Falcons playing Dixie in-region; the Rebs switch to the RMAC next year.
vs. Fresno Pacific @ WOU
vs. PLNU @ WOU
@ Monterey Bay
vs. Academy of Art @ Cal Baptist
@ Cal Baptist
Judgement: We love this schedule. It’s going to test them really well and give them every opportunity to make the tournament. We also love this schedule because they posted it at the beginning of August, which makes our life a heck of a lot easier when the round-robin gets switched up.
vs. East Bay @ East Bay
vs. Sonoma @ East Bay
vs. University of Mary
vs. Chadron State
Judgement: We’re comfortable with this schedule. They play two true D2 west road games and then against some Northern Sun foes, which is typical for MSUB. It’s not great by any stretch, but it should be fine.
vs. San Bernardino @ CU-Portland
vs. Monterey Bay @ CU-Portland
vs. Hilo @ SPU
vs. CU-Irvine @ SPU
Judgement: We consider this a very quality schedule, are proud of the Wildcats, and hopefully they’ll go 4/4 -it would really help our conference as a whole.
vs. San Fran State
vs. Academy of Art
Judgement: Not sure who the latter two schools will be, but we consider this an okay schedule. With Maurice Jones on that team, maybe it’s a little weaker than we’d like, but it’ll be fine. Very appropriate for NNU, should put them in a good position come conference play.
vs. Monterey Bay
vs. San Bernardino
vs. San Fran State @ NNU
vs. Academy of Art @ NNU
@ San Marcos
Judgement: Nothing but our highest applause and considering they bring back Christopher Edward, we feel completely confident in their ability to get it done and get our conference some nice SOS points. Way to go Cavs!! We’re rooting for you.
vs. Point Loma
vs. Fresno Pacific
vs. Azusa Pacific
vs. Dixie State
@ Holy Names
@ ND de Namur
@ Tarleton State
Judgement: We love it. It’s going to test them really, really well and it’s going to give them some breathing room come conference play, which is actually nice for everyone else because it means more chances for the GNAC to get more than one team into the D2 west.
Overall: We’re really excited and really pleased with the scheduling done by the vast majority of the conference. We should be in a good position to stake some claim on depth and then have an interesting year of conference play. Going to be great.
A reminder: GET YOUR FLU SHOT!! The GNAC Plague will inevitably go around and there’s much less of a chance for it to spread if everyone’s gotten their flu shot.
GIF anticipations up on Wednesday, our pre-season poll next Monday.
Better late than never!
Suki Wiggs -Alaska-Anchorage; Sr.
Taylor Stafford -Western Washington; Sr.
Maurice Jones -Northwest Nazarne; Jr.
Christopher Edward -CU-Portland; Jr.
Tanner Omlid -Western Oregon; Jr.
Spencer Svejcar -Alaska-Anchorage; Sr.
Daulton Hommes -Western Washington; RS Fr.
Tony Miller -Seattle Pacific; Fr.
Preston Beverly -MSU-Billings; So.
Drew Martin -CU-Portland; Sr.
Brandon Davis, Corey Hammell, Diante Mitchell, Cole Preston, Deandre Dickson, Gavin Long, Fuquan Niles, Dom Hunter, and Bouna N’Diaye.
This was actually a really fun year for player-of-the-year with how much parity there was and how well they compared to each other in regard to production and team impact. It’s fun having so many underclassmen on these teams because we to keep most of them.
We’re about four weeks out and we absolutely cannot wait.
Player-of-Last-Year will be up in an hour.
‘Not’ is not a verb. ‘Is’ is a verb.
A grammar lesson courtesy of the GNAC Men’s Basketblog.
The point is: We’re here. We’re still going strong with blogging this year. We’re going to get around to naming our player-of-the-year and all-conference teams from last year at some point… Technically we don’t actually have to start blogging until November, but we feel the need to remind you guys that we’re just as addicted as ever, but… Last year may have caused a bit of a basketball existential crisis.
Last year we didn’t find out three of the teams that were making the tournament until after conference play ended.
That’s the epitome of great in regard to being a GNAC basketball junkie, as we pride ourselves on being, and yet as it comes to blogging… What’s the point of pre-season blogging? What’s the point of speculation? The most correct thing we wrote last year in regard to almost anything was just straight up admitting “We don’t know,” or “It’s too close to call,” or “It’s anybody’s game.” Those statements proved to be 100% true, even in games where one team ended up winning more comfortably, just because… It wasn’t a guarantee.
There are games on the schedule that traditionally you look at and go “Okay, that’ll be a blow-out.” Those games for the most part went out the window last year, which is amazing -we literally loved every single week of the season, it was incredible- but from a “what the heck do we write??” perspective it’s brutal.
And so we write nothing. We’re not doing the usual Mondays in September as we have the past couple of years, just because… We’re not. Once the quarter schools start and those rosters get finalized maybe a week or so into October, then we’ll do the GIF anticipations, official prognostications, and looking at the schedules, and whatnot.
We usually say we don’t count transfers before we see them play conference games, and while that’s true… No coaching staff thinks they brought in bad transfers. Okay: the SPU coaching staff might, but dude is still 6’11; he could be useless and very inept, but he’s still 6’11 and this is still basketball, and they brought him in with no real necessity; if he’s good it’ll help them, but if he’s bad he won’t hurt them and it still gives their forwards another guy to bang against in practice.
Meanwhile: We know 10 teams are thinking they brought in GREAT transfers that are going to be THE missing piece, and we are so excited for you guys -welcome new transfers!! We know you guys are going to be amazing (just as your predecessors have been) to the point that on our pre-season all-conference teams we actually leave open spaces for you; we usually only name four to each, just because we know several transfers will come in and knock our socks off.
As such: Our pre-season speculation is subdued, but we are here and we are very excited for the new season to start. Okay… Maybe we’ll do a line briefly about what we’re looking forward to about each team, just off the top of our head without looking at any rosters or anything:
UAF: Last year was disappointing, so we’re looking forward to the Nooks hopefully bouncing back and having a great year.
UAA: We liked Jacob Lampkin when he was at O’Dea and so we’re excited to get to watch him play collegiately, as well as for the Seawolves to host the conference tournament.
SFU: Hope springs eternal and we’re sure they’re working hard.
WWU: TREY DRECHSEL IS BACK!!!!!!! And literally the only thing the Viks lost is scoring and scoring is easiest to regenerate. Logan will have another year of development, so… It should be a really, really good year.
SPU: [originally accidentally left blank] Addition by subtraction; they bring back literally every productive player they had last year.
SMU: They lost almost everything, it’s going to be an entirely new team, essentially, and so we’re really curious to see what that new team looks like.
MSUB: Preston Beverly transferred to Point Loma, but MSUB runs a good program regardless and Kendall Denham is a senior, so… Hopefully he’ll go lights out and it’ll be great.
CWU: FUQUAN!!!!!!!! They arguably get the most athletic guys in the conference, so they’re always entertaining.
NNU: MAURICE JONES!!!!!!! ‘Nuff said. Any team with Mo is a team worth watching.
CU-PDX: They were starting to look really good last year and while we don’t know precisely what they return, we believe in Coach B. having watched his NAIA teams, so… We’ll continue believing in his D2 teams through the transition.
WOU: TANNER, RILEY HAWKEN, ALI, ALEX, DEMETRIUS!!!!!!!!! We love this team. We’re really excited about the whole thing.
By the looks of it the Westerns are going to be doing some serious battle, still: we’re not going to discuss the prognostication for probably another two and a half to three weeks, but… We are now officially really pumped about the October blogging, just rational enough to know that this year September blogging is pointless.
Enjoy football, we’ll put up the all-conference teams in the coming few weeks, and… Posts will start going up regularly in October.
Update: We didn’t mean to leave out SPU; we’re just not excited about the Falcons at all, what-so-ever 😉
Yay for experience! Big congrats to the Vikings on forcing the Wildcats to play at your tempo. It didn’t work, but you still managed to do it and imposing will on game flow? We’re all about that, especially because Chico is usually so defensively sound. They were a flat-out mess in regard to that this game and yet… they still killed the Vikings. They allowed the Vikings to play the tempo they wanted, and it backfired and the Viks got their lutefisk handed to them by the 6th seed.
Again: the good news is it was likely a great learning experience because as far as we see it… The Viks return almost everybody. We’re never concerned about scoring; they bring back Daulton, Logan, Deandre, and Trey, and that makes the loss disappointing but life very happy.
Plus, Chico made the Elite 8, and in our opinion seeding in D2 doesn’t matter beyond who hosts, so it’s neither here nor there with where WWU should have/could have been seeded. Fact is, there’s only eight schools, you have to play everybody.
All that said:
Viking highlights: Taylor Stafford had 24 points; Logan Schilder showed a great glimpse of what we’ll hopefully see next year, picking up a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and just one foul; Daulton Hommes had five boards and five fouls in just 23 minutes (growing pains -it’ll get better Daulton); and Jeffrey Parker had 16 points and seven boards. Off the bench Deandre Dickson continued to do the sixth man-of-the-year thing with 16 points and four boards on great shooting.
The good news about the above is again that we get to keep Daulton, Logan, AND Deandre, so… more about them soon!
To be in consideration, a guy had to play at least two games in the tournament; that said, if they hit our minimum for qualifying for POW, they’re included regardless of school.
WWU: Taylor Stafford -two forty minute games and went 15/16 from the line in one of them. Wow.
WWU: Daulton Hommes -high minutes and very smart and efficient play -the numbers scream “unselfish” and yet he still had a great impact with scoring. Very proud of him.
SMU: Cole Preston -finished up his career with a couple of good games.
WOU: Tanner Omlid -Three really good games, including two where he was out of his mind. In the 3OT thriller he played 46 minutes, which… We’re actually a little surprised he was allowed to rest that much.
Tournament MVP will be up in an hour.
This time for February 23-25.
UAF: Brandon Davis
SFU: Othniel Spence
WWU: Deandre Dickson
SPU: Tony Miller
SMU: Rhett Baerlocher
CWU: N/A —> Diante Mitchell, Alaska-Anchorage.
NNU: Maurice Jones
CU-PDX: Jarrett Gray
There were a lot of above average performances this week and only one spot donated, so really good final week of the regular season. Winner’ll be up in an hour.
Beginning our traditional “oh crap, it’s almost September and we need to finish all of last season’s stuff,” burning of posts.
For the games on February 16th and 18th, respectively.
UAF: N/A —> Dom Hunter, CWU.
UAA: Suki, because Suki gonna Suki.
SFU: Michael Provenzano
WWU: Daulton Hommes
SPU: Gavin Long
SMU: Cole Preston
MSUB: N/A —> Joe Rasmussen, Seattle Pacific.
CWU: Fuquan Niles -Fuquan gonna Fuquan. And by Fuquan we mean dominate.
NNU: Maurice Jones -Mo gonna Mo. And we want MO! Always.
CU-P: Drew Martin
WOU: Tanner Omlid. Because duh.
Nothing in depth because it’s been six months, but we had a blast refreshing our memory of these numbers -some really great performances and as much as we’ve procrastinated, it still comes back and we’re like “OH MAN, that was SO great!!”
Winner’ll be up in an hour because while it seems stupid six months later… Routines are routines.
#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.
#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!