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Fardaws Aimaq was a big name in the offseason and he tops the top-10 articles of 2022 for WAC Hoops Digest. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

Top-10 WAC Hoops Digest Articles of 2022 Thus Far

Fans seem to love top-10 articles. There is just something about ranking things that entertains people. Perhaps it’s the debates that take place. Or maybe it is trying to prove to one another that their player, team or thought is the best. As we look back at the top-10 WAC Hoops Digest articles to this point in 2022, there may be a top-10 article or two.

Hey, if it appeals to the fans, why not? Okay so there are a couple of top-5 articles. But, it is what it is. Something for the fans to debate.

So, let’s take a look back at the top-10 WAC Hoops Digest articles for 2022 thus far.

1.  Amidst the Craziness, Fardaws Aimaq is Taking Things in Stride

For the better part of two and a half seasons, Fardaws Aimaq was among the top-10 players in the Western Athletic Conference. Aimaq had to sit out the 2019-20 season due to transfer rules. And in 2020-21, during a crazy COVID year, Aimaq won WAC Player of the Year and WAC Defensive Player of the Year honors. The 6-10 center averaged 13.9 points and 15.0 rebounds in helping lead Utah Valley to a share of the 2020-21 WAC regular season crown.

The following year, Aimaq once again won WAC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Had it not been for Utah Valley’s 7th-place finish in the WAC standings, Aimaq may have been Player of the Year. Aimaq averaged 18.9 points and 13.6 rebounds for the Wolverines.

And following these big seasons, Aimaq put his name in the transfer portal while exploring the NBA Draft once again. And the craziness starter. Arkansas fans, Kentucky fans, Texas Tech fans and so many more around the country wanted the big man who is know as ‘Big Maple’.

Amidst all the craziness, Aimaq took it in stride. And the big fella who is one of the most down-to-earth, genuine good guys made the decision to play for Mark Adams at Texas Tech.

2. Adding Mavericks to WAC Expansion, Forfeits, and Other Bullets

Expansion talks in collegiate athletics always create a ton of buzz. And on January 5, news was broke that UT-Arlington was in talks with the WAC to return to the conference beginning in the 2022-23 season.

UTA was a member of the WAC in 2012-13 before moving to the Sun Belt Conference in 2013-14 where the Mavericks have been the past nine years. And on July 1, 2022, the Mavericks officially joined the WAC once again.

Along with the news of UTA, an interesting situation popped up. Lamar actually ‘forfeited’ its conference game against New Mexico State. It was difficult to understand at the time. But Lamar simply chose not to play. Sure, the Cardinals were dealing with a lot of injuries and some COVID stuff.

But, “they made the choice to simply not play the game and get beat up on some more. Thus, why it is a forfeit. It wasn’t simply a COVID issue. If it was, this game would have most likely been rescheduled.” Pretty crazy situation. New Mexico State was given a win in the conference standings just for seeding purposes at WAC Vegas.

3. New Mexico State Men’s Basketball 2022-23 Season Preview

As many know, New Mexico State fans are some of the biggest followers of WAC Hoops Digest. Well, the 2022-23 season preview of an entirely new squad with a first-year head coach was pretty popular. The Aggies have length and athleticism and will play a different style of basketball under Greg Heiar.

Add in a pair of SEC guards in Xavier Pinson and DaJuan Gordon plus a pair of recent transfers in Kim Aiken Jr. and James Beck and the Aggies are going to be dangerous once again.

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4. WAC Men’s and Women’s Seeding Scenarios Heading Into Saturday

Due to unbalanced conference schedules, there was some confusion on tiebreakers for 2021-22 WAC Vegas. I tried to break it down as much as I could understand. And at times even got calls asking if I was certain in the scenarios. It was kind of fun to put it together and talk with others to confirm things.

Have to give credit to some of the beat writers around the WAC and even Chris Thompson who was the media contact at the WAC for helping dissect this stuff. Fortunately it all played out even though there were still some unhappy about how the tiebreakers worked.

5. UPDATED – Seeding Scenarios and Predictions as Regular Season Winds Down

Predictions are always fun articles to put together. And it creates as much, if not more, buzz than a top-10 article. Considering the unbalanced conference schedule, as mentioned above, seeding scenarios were a nightmare for coaches, and media alike.

But, in the end it all played out and the prediction for seeding nearly played out to perfection according to this article.

6. Time Flies as WAC Hoops Digest Ramps Up Coverage for the 2022-23 Season

Yes, life was slow for about two to three months of the offseason. Hey, it is the offseason after all.

But, we started pounding out content in June and have just been  producing content each and every week for the past two months. Team previews have been awesome as well as video podcast episodes.

If you haven’t subscribed to either our YouTube page or followed us on Instagram and Facebook, you should. It’s going to keep pumping out as we get closer to Nov. 7, 2022 and tip-off of the 2022-23 season.

7. Top 5 Returning Players to the WAC in 2022-23

Another top-10 article. Okay, technically a top-5 article but it’s always fun to look at who is returning. Taran Armstrong, Jovan Blacksher Jr., Trey Woodbury, Justin Johnson and Cameron Tyson all highlight this list. But, Airion Simmons, Cam Gooden and others are all back. The WAC is a deep league in 2022-23. And it should make for some interesting games during conference play.

8. 5 WAC Player of the Year Candidates on the Men’s Side

Imagine that. Another top-10 article. Okay, top-5 again. But, there will be one of these articles put out on Sept. 11 and Oct. 11 with a final article early in November prior to the 2022-23 season starting. I know ACU forward Airion Simmons laughed at this article and asked to put some respect on his name. I get it.

There are so many good players that choosing five is not sufficient. And according to a certain fan base, their entire roster should be WAC Player of the Year candidates. It will be a fun battle.

9. Life of a Coach’s Wife – Sheri Jans, New Mexico State

This was a fun interview while I was in Las Cruces for the regular season finale last season. And I am glad I got to sit down with Sheri Jans to talk about life as a coach’s wife. It was informative and also a lot of fun as we had some good laughs. Give it a listen. I know Aggie fans loved it but other fans should listen to what a wife has to deal with as her husband’s livelihood is on the line whenever they step on the floor.

10. Chicago State Shocker Throws a Bit of a Wrench in Seeding Scenarios

Feb. 26, 2022 might go down as the biggest upset in WAC Hoops history. The Chicago State Cougars, with a KenPom ranking of 343, shocked the world. Brandon Betson hit a running left-handed layup with no time remaining and the Cougars upset New Mexico State, 61-59.

And it threw a wrench in the seeding scenarios as New Mexico State could have locked up the 1-seed with a win over the Cougars. New Mexico State came into the Jones Convocation Center with a KenPom ranking of 82. Now, Chicago State will be able to say they have a winning streak against Aggies as the two teams most likely won’t ever play again.

 

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