wins
Cam Tyson and Seattle U are the lone unbeaten team in the WAC. Courtesy Sarah Finney/Seattle U Athletics.

Pair of Wins Marks a Change Atop Weekly Power Rankings

As most of you know, wins and losses matter in the weekly WAC Hoops power rankings. These weekly write-ups are not based on analytics or any other algorithm-based metric.

Simply put, wins and losses matter. Road wins matter a little more than home wins. And home losses, similar to the WAC resume seeding system, are a huge detriment to teams.

With that being said, there is a change atop the weekly WAC Hoops power rankings.

Let’s get to it.

1 – Seattle U Redhawks

Yep, here is the change. And it comes as the Redhawks picked up two wins this past week, including a Quad 1 road win at Utah Valley. Riley Grigsby is the WAC Player of the Week after averaging 23.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in a pair of wins.

Seattle U is 5-0 in WAC play, winners of six straight, and 14-4 overall. The Redhawks host Tarleton and Southern Utah this week looking to improve to 7-0. Head coach Chris Victor led the Redhawks to an 8-0 start in WAC play last season. And the Redhawks are on track to reach that goal once again.

2 – Southern Utah Thunderbirds

The T-Birds made the biggest jump in the weekly power rankings. And that jump is courtesy of a pair of wins over Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin. Both wins were by double figures at the America First Events Center as Todd Simon’s crew improved to 5-1 in WAC play.

Maizen Fausett had a big week for the T-birds. Tevian Jones knocked down big shots. Jason Spurgin is surprisingly athletic. And key role players in Dee Barnes, Harrison Butler and Drake Allen are playing their roles to perfection.

SUU hosts New Mexico State on Thursday before heading to the Pacific Northwest to take on Seattle U on Saturday.

3 – Utah Valley Wolverines

The loss at home to Seattle U on Saturday isn’t a bad loss for the Wolverines. But, there were some things that are concerning. Free throw shooting was not good on Saturday and letting Riley Grigsby and Cam Tyson go off was surprising.

I’m sure head coach Mark Madsen and his staff are going to work to clean some things up this week. And it’s a short week as the Wolverines host ACU on Wednesday night at the UCCU Center. Utah Valley can’t get caught looking past the Wildcats to Saturday’s big showdown at Grand Canyon. ACU beat the Wolverines twice last year as Cam Steele and Airion Simmons went off in a pair of wins.

Considering ACU doesn’t have a ton of size, Aziz Bandaogo should have another big performance.

And considering Saturday snapped an 11-game winning streak, it will be interesting to see how the Wolverines respond on Wednesday night.

4 – Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

The Jacks ran into a buzzsaw on Saturday in Cedar City. It was the first time in seven games that the SFA offense wasn’t efficient. And for the first time in eight games, the Jacks suffered a loss. It was a road loss so it wasn’t a bad loss especially to a Southern Utah squad that is a WAC title contender.

Keep an eye on Thursday night on the Jacks. It is the Battle of the Piney Woods when SFA takes on rival Sam Houston in Huntsville. Can the Jacks rebound from their first WAC loss in almost a year?

5 – Sam Houston Bearkats

Can the Bearkats win a game on a Thursday night? So far, in WAC play, Sam Houston is 0-3 on Thursday night. And things don’t get any easier on the fourth Thursday of league play. The Bearkats will look to get their first win on a Thursday night at home against rival Stephen F. Austin.

It’s kind of wild, to be honest. The Bearkats have looked really bad on Thursday nights. Think about the loss at Utah Valley and loss at Southern Utah. But, on Saturday, it is like the Bearkats flip a switch and show who they really are.

The Bearkats get SFA at home on Thursday and UTRGV at home on Saturday.

6 – California Baptist Lancers

It’s always good to get a win over GCU, especially for the CBU Lancers. Wins haven’t come easy in Riverside over the Lopes. And Saturday night’s win didn’t come easy. Sure, the Lancers got out to a double digit lead at halftime. But, the Lopes came stampeding back. Fortunately, the Lancers scored 70-plus points, which usually means a win. CBU is 6-1 now in games where it scores 70-plus points.

And, the Lancers are about 25 seconds away from being higher in these power rankings. CBU gets a few extra days to prepare for Tarleton. The Lancers host the Texans on Saturday.

7 – Grand Canyon Lopes

How will the Lopes respond without Jovan Blacksher Jr.? So far, there has been some mixed results. The Lopes hung around with SFA in a loss at The Sawmill. And then GCU struggled offensively in the first half against CBU. Add in the win over UT Arlington where the Lopes exploded in the second half, and you can see the bag of mixed results.

There is hope Yvan Ouedraogo is back soon, which would give the Lopes a boost in the paint. It’s just a matter of finding rhythm and adjusting to the new rotations.

GCU hosts Utah Tech on Wednesday and Utah Valley on Saturday.

8 – Tarleton Texans

This week is going to tell us a lot about the Texans. Tarleton goes to Seattle U on Thursday and to CBU on Saturday. Jakorie Smith returned to have a big night in the win over Abilene Christian. And perhaps the Texans are closer to getting Freddy Hicks back. Chaos, tempo and pressure are all stereotypical Texan characteristics. Keep an eye on this team as they get healthy.

9 – UTRGV Vaqueros

The mentality in Edinburg is simple: play fast and simply score more points than your opponent. There is very little defense played at UTRGV. And that is okay. It makes for some highly entertaining basketball games. I mean, UTRGV committed 26 turnovers in their lone WAC win. But, the Vaqueros won that ball game, 103-76, over ACU. Justin Johnson is dynamite. And Will Johnston is back on the floor after missing time due to a back injury.

Perhaps the Vaqueros can get a win this week as they travel to UT Arlington on Thursday and Sam Houston on Saturday.

10 – UT Arlington Mavericks

The Mavericks finally broke through with their first WAC win of the 2022-23 season. Chendall Weaver and Kyron Gibson had a big night in Las Cruces as UT Arlington beat New Mexico State in a battle of winless teams. Now, the Mavericks need to make it legit. UT Arlington hosts UTRGV on Thursday before heading to West Texas to take on ACU on Saturday.

11 – Utah Tech Trailblazers

The loss of Cam Gooden is really showing for the Trailblazers. Since sustaining a thigh injury in the WAC opener against UTRGV, Gooden has not played since. And the Trailblazers have lost four straight in that time. All four losses have been by double figures, too. The most recent loss, 78-53, came on Saturday at the Burns Arena at the hands of Sam Houston. Things don’t get any easier on Thursday when the Trailblazers head to GCU.

12 – Abilene Christian

2022-23 might be the first season since 2017-18 that ACU doesn’t get to 20-plus wins. For substance, ACU faces Utah Valley twice, GCU twice, and Sam Houston twice along with the rematch with SFA. New Mexico State, CBU, and Seattle are there, as well. It is a brutal late January/February stretch for the Wildcats.

Brette Tanner’s team is missing ‘The Guy’. For the past two seasons, ACU had Coryon Mason and Mahki Morris who could hit shots when needed. But, ACU doesn’t have that 15-20-point guy. They get contributions from different guys on different nights.

ACU is at Utah Valley Wednesday night and hosts UT Arlington in a must-win game on Saturday at Moody Coliseum.

13 – New Mexico State

Not much to write here. The Aggies are winless in WAC play, have lost four straight home games, and were held to a season-low in points on Saturday at home. Aggie Nation is not happy right now. And while there is time to right the ship, it won’t be easy. Six of the next seven games are against the top teams in the WAC. So, we will see if the Aggies can find some rhythm. Or else, it could be a long March in Las Cruces.

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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  • Sam loses on Thursday? It’s because they are playing the best teams on Thursday. They’ve been fools gold all year. They are not great but the WAC will reward them this year.

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