Saturday
Qua Grant and Sam Houston host Southern Utah in the game of the day on Saturday afternoon. Courtesy Michael Sudhalter.

Final Saturday of WAC Play Capped by Showdown in Huntsville

It is the final Saturday of the regular season for the Western Athletic Confernece.

Can you believe that? It seems like four months ago, we were just getting started with the 2022-23 season. It has been a wild ride. Saturday will be no different. Four games grace the Saturday slate. If you are counting, that means only eight teams are playing on Saturday. That is because one game was already played Friday night as Seattle U got a big road win at GCU.

Then, there is the ESPNU game on Sunday in Nac when SFA hosts CBU. Yours truly will be there at The Sawmill for that one. I will also be at College Park Center this afternoon when UT Arlington hosts Utah Tech in the first game of the day.

However, the biggest game of the day takes place in Huntsville. A showdown for potentially the regular season title depending on what Utah Valley does down the stretch.

Let’s get to the Saturday slate.

Utah Tech at UT Arlington – 2 p.m. CT ESPN+

I want to say that this game has some meaning. However, after its loss on Thursday, unless UT Arlington can win out in its final three games, the Mavericks will most likely be the 12-seed at WAC Vegas. However, the Mavs have opportunities beginning on Saturday in the final game of the season at College Park Center. How will the Mavs respond to Thursday’s loss to Southern Utah?

The good news is the Mavs are shooting the ball much better in the past three games. UT Arlington has hit 10-plus 3-pointers since Snoop Johnson took over as interim head coach two weeks ago. The Mavs will have to score on Saturday to keep up with a good Utah Tech squad.

Cam Gooden joined the 1,000-point club on Thursday when Utah Tech led wire-to-wire in a win at UTRGV. It was arguably the best game all season by the Trailblazers. Jon Judkins crew will need another performance like that on Saturday.

Utah Tech sits at 10 in the resume seeding system. A win won’t necessarily move the needle. However, if the Trailblazers can get a win, get some help from Utah Valley and then sweep a pair of home games to end the regular season, there is potential to move into the eight or nine seed line.

This one should be high scoring and entertaining on Saturday afternoon in Arlington.

Southern Utah at Sam Houston – 4:30 pm CT ESPN+

This is THE game of the day. Both teams are 11-4 in WAC play, a game behind Utah Valley in the standings. Sam Houston sits at two in the resume seeding system. Southern Utah sits at three.

It is a Quad 1 opportunity for the T-Birds who are just outside the top-100 in the NET. Sam Houston currently sits at 60 in the NET. Both are coming off impressive wins on Thursday. And it might be a bit of a revenge game for the Bearkats. Southern Utah shot the Bearkats out of the America First Events Center in January in an 86-74 win in Cedar City.

Can the T-Birds replicate that performance? It will be mighty tough against a defense that just held CBU to a season-low 45 points on Thursday.

Keep an eye on Tevian Jones and who Jason Hooten has guard him on Saturday. Jones had 21 points against the Bearkats in January. Along those lines, keep an eye on Maizen Fausett as he could be the wildcard for the T-Birds. Along those lines, Cam Huefner has to get going early and often for the Bearkats. When Huefner plays well, Sam Houston plays well. It gives Jason Hooten another scorer alongside Qua Grant and Donte Powers.

This is the game of the day and should be entertaining at Johnson Coliseum.

Utah Valley at Abilene Christian – 6 p.m. CT ESPN+

This is an intriguing matchup. First, how will Utah Valley respond after getting taken behind the woodshed by Tarleton on Thursday? Keep an eye on this because ACU plays a similar chaotic style that tends to frustrate teams. Utah Valley has a one game lead in the WAC standings and still sits atop the resume seeding system. A second straight loss would not be good for the Wolverines with two to play. Can Utah Valley keep its composure on Saturday night at Moody Coliseum? That will be something to watch.

It is Senior Night for ACU. Six seniors will be honored even though three of them still have one year of eligibility left if they choose to take it.

The big thing in regard to the six seniors is that they have played a combined 646 games in an ACU uniform. That is pretty wild to fathom. It is the final home game for Damien Daniels who has played in EVERY game since stepping on campus in 2018-19.

Will that notion and energy help ACU pick up a big home win?

Like it was said above, this is an intriguing matchup with some interesting storylines.

Tarleton at UTRGV – 6:30 p.m. CT ESPN+

How will the Texans fare on the road? Especially coming off a big win on Thursday at Wisdom Gym? That is the big question as the Texans head to South Texas to take on UTRGV. Another question in this ball game is how do the Vaqueros respond after a home loss to Utah Tech on Thursday night?

How will Justin Johnson handle the Tarleton pressure? Can Will Johnston have a better offensive game? There are so many questions about this in-state game. Tarleton is sitting pretty as the 7-seed right now in the WAC resume seeding system. UTRGV currently sits in 11th and has a chance to move to 10 if the Vaqueros can get a win and UT Arlington can knock off Utah Tech on Saturday.

Normally the old adage is take the under when betting on a Tarleton game. This game may be a lot more up-tempo than normal for the Texans so it is something to keep an eye on.

About the author

Kyle McDonald

Love everything about WAC Hoops so decided I wanted to write more about it and cover this amazing conference that just keeps getting better. Follow us on Twitter @wachoopsdigest for information, game analysis and much more.

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