The final WAC Wednesday could prove to be incredibly WACky. A share of the regular season title could take place. Perhaps, if the cards fall right, a team could be crowned outright regular season champs. There is the final Battle of the Piney Woods that takes place in Nacogdoches.
Yes, the final WAC Wednesday of the regular season could prove to be very WACky.
There are just five games on the WAC Wednesday slate. All five have implications related to the regular season title or seeding for WAC Vegas, which is less than a week away.
Sam Houston at Stephen F. Austin – 6:30 p.m. CT ESPN+
Here it is…the final Battle of the Piney Woods as conference foes. Pretty wild to think that there is a chance Sam Houston and SFA don’t play for a while when the Bearkats move to Conference USA in July.
There is a lot on the line besides bragging rights in the rivalry on Wednesday night at The Sawmill.
First, Sam Houston is still in the running for the 1-seed at WAC Vegas. Second, Sam Houston is still in the mix for the regular season title. Sure, the Bearkats need help. However, there is still a chance. Third, SFA is still in the mix, however slight, for a top-4 seed. Fourth, if the chips falls in favor of SFA, there is a chance the Jacks could share the regular season title again.
As you can see, there is a lot at stake on Wednesday night at The Sawmill.
The two teams have met 134 times since 1956. Prior to 2021-22, SFA had won four straight in the series. In 2021-22, the two teams split the series with each team winning on their home floor. Sam Houston won the first meeting this season on Jan. 19 in Huntsville, 76-71. SFA actually led at halftime before the Bearkats turned things up to pull out the win.
It’s arguably the game of the night with so many implications.
UT Arlington at Utah Valley – 6 p.m. MT ESPN+
The Mavericks make their first trip to the Rocky Mountains since Nov. 18, 2017. On that day, UT Arlington came to provo and put a pretty good beat down on BYU at the Marriott Center.
Now, as members of the WAC, the Mavericks get a chance to play spoiler on WAC Wednesday. Utah Valley is currently all alone atop the WAC standings at 13-3. The Wolverines are also atop the WAC resume seeding system. A win on WAC Wednesday would clinch at least a share of the regular season title.
The good news for UT Arlington fans is that the Mavericks are playing better down the stretch. However, the bad news is that Utah Valley is 11-1 at the UCCU Center in 2022-23. The other bad news is that with Shemar Wilson most likely set to miss another ball game, the Mavericks are lacking size.
Size is something Utah Valley is not lacking. 7-footer Aziz Bandaogo may be the WAC Defensive Player of the Year. Bandaogo has already set the Utah Valley single-season record for blocks with 82. The Akron transfer creates a lot of hesitation for teams to attack the paint.
Keep an eye on the guard play, per usual. How will the young guards of UT Arlington handle the veteran guards of Utah Valley? The Wolverines haven’t played a home game since the Feb. 11 win over Southern Utah.
Grand Canyon at Southern Utah – 7 p.m. MT ESPN+
This is an intriguing matchup on WAC Wednesday. First, Southern Utah is trying to secure a top-4 seed. Currently, the T-Birds sit in third behind Utah Valley and Sam Houston. The spread is probably too much to overcome to get to the top-2 seeds. Second, Southern Utah is still in the mix for the regular season crown…barely. The T-Birds have to win out and hope that Utah Valley loses twice at home and Sam Houston takes one on the chin, as well. Both, highly unlikely.
On the flip side, which GCU team will we get on WAC Wednesday? The Lopes have lost two of their last four games, including a 65-54 loss on Senior Night on Friday. GCU had just 13 points at halftime in that loss. 13! The Lopes shot 19 percent from the field and nearly 33 percent for the game. So, which GCU team do we get on WAC Wednesday?
The Lopes are .23 points behind SFA for the 5-seed. And there is a very slim chance the Lopes can get into a top-4 seed. This is the lone meeting between the two teams. It is also the first meeting since 1992 when the Lopes won 76-74 in Cedar City.
Seattle U at Utah Tech – 7 p.m. MT ESPN+
Here is another one of those intriguing matchups for WAC Wednesday. Seattle U is coming off a rather impressive defensive performance in a 65-54 road win over GCU on Friday. Utah Tech is coming off a 1-1 road trip to Texas that ended in heartbreaking fashion.
The Redhawks have a chance to lock up a top-4 seed on Wednesday night at Burns Arena. Utah Tech is looking to play spoiler, something it has been good at the past two seasons. Burns Arena is a tough place to play. Just ask Southern Utah, GCU and Utah Valley.
Can Cam Tyson and company replicate the performance from Friday at GCU Arena? Another little tidbit…Seattle U was without Riley Grigsby on Friday night. Keep an eye on that because Grigsby could be the difference maker on WAC Wednesday in St. George.
UTRGV at California Baptist – 7 p.m. PT ESPN+
This is the final league game for the Vaqueros who are coming off a 99-95 overtime win over Tarleton on Saturday. UTRGV has won two of its last three WAC games and is playing much better down the stretch. CBU is coming off the East Texas road trip where it failed to score 60 points in losses to Sam Houston and SFA. The Lancers had a really bad second half against SFA in a 22-point loss.
WAC Wednesday is the final home game for the Lancers. The last time CBU played at home, they blew out Seattle U. While a blowout may not be in order at CBU Events Center on Wednesday night, points will be in abundance between the Lancers and Vaqueros.
CBU doesn’t have anyone that can slow down Justin Johnson. UTRGV doesn’t play a lot of defense. CBU really needs to find its offensive rhythm after a rough road trip. And UTRGV wants to keep playing well, keeping the momentum going into WAC Vegas.