Two-Bid WAC, Postponements, and Other WAC Bullets

two-bid WAC
ACU grad transfer Jamie Bonnarens is the WAC Player of the Week after leading the Wildcats to a pair of wins to open WAC play. Courtesy ACU Athletics.
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A two-bid WAC. It is always an interesting conversation. Is it likely to happen anytime soon? Most likely no. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to talk about a two-bid WAC. Perhaps it is a pipe dream to believe in a two-bid WAC. But, as of Tuesday, CBS Sports is allowing the WAC to live that two-bad dream.

For all intents and purposes, CBS Sports currently had ACU representing the WAC as the auto bid. And CBS sports give the two-bid WAC its at-large spot with New Mexico State as a 12-seed in the first four game.

As of Tuesday afternoon, ACU is at 59 in the NCAA NET rankings. Utah Valley sits at 74. Grand Canyon is right behind Utah Valley at 81 and New Mexico State is at 82. According to the KenPom rankings, New Mexico State is at 106, ACU at 121, GCU at 122, and Utah Valley at 126. ACU got a Quad I win at Utah Valley on Thursday. The Wildcats are 11-2 overall right now and take on Stephen F. Austin on Thursday at the Teague Center.

The two-bid dream is not a reality. According to Fox Sports, the WAC will still be just a one-bid league.

These teams all play each other over the next month and a half or so leading to WAC Vegas. KenPom predicts that the WAC regular season champion will have four losses heading into the WAC tournament. If that is the case, the two-bid dream will be dead. In a recent podcast episode, this two-bid dream was broken down into has to happen to even be a possibility and point of discussion in March.

COVID Chaos

Ashley Elam posted a tweet on Tuesday from the media availability for Lamar head coach Alvin Brooks.

Now, Lamar played on Thursday at Sam Houston with eight players. Seven of those players were scholarship players and the eighth was a walk-on. Saturday’s game at Stephen F. Austin was postponed due to COVID protocols. This seems to be happening a great deal recently. In fact, on opening weekend of WAC play, at least on the men’s side, five games were postponed. One of those games has been made up when Sam Houston beat UTRGV on Monday.

On the women’s side, multiple games have been postponed. New Mexico State will most likely miss its third straight game due to COVID issues. The Aggies didn’t play last week on opening weekend of WAC play. And the report is, due to COVID issues within the Aggie program, Thursday’s game against Lamar will be postponed, too. The Omicron variant is causing a lot of problems right now. But, it feels like administrators of the WAC are working together to get things a little more in tandem.

Quarantine Decision Coming?

According to New Mexico State athletic director Mario Moccia, there should be a decision coming from the WAC regarding the quarantine time. Per the CDC guidelines, the quarantine time would change from 10 days to five days. There will most likely be other snippets coming with this decision. But, that could be a big thing moving forward for the rest of the season.

The worst part is that it still keeps uncertainty in the minds of coaches, athletes and administrators. As much as they want to play every game, you just never know when your trainer will walk in and give the bad news or you will get that call.

The good news is that most coaches around the WAC from who we have talked with want to play every game. Some are even putting plans in place to reach out to other schools in the case that a game is off. Just ask ACU women’s basketball head coach Julie Goodenough who told us her plan on the podcast on Tuesday.

Player’s of the Week

Considering the ACU men and women had perfect weekends to open WAC play, it’s no surprise they own the weekly awards. ACU forward Cam Steele won WAC Player of the Week after a big week in two road wins. Steele had 19 points and seven rebounds in a win at Utah Valley on Thursday. And then on Saturday, Steele had a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds. The 23 points is a career-high for Steele.

On the women’s side, ACU swept the weekly awards. After averaging 18.0 points and 10.5 rebounds, Jamie Bonnarens won WAC Player of the Week. Bonnarens shot 48 percent from the floor in a pair of wins over Utah Valley and Dixie State.

Bella Earle won WAC Freshman of the Week. The 5-10 guard from Corinth, Texas had 13 total points, seven rebounds and dished out three assists total in the two wins. Against Dixie State, Earle had seven points and six rebounds.

 

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