WAC Wednesday is here. Yep, it is another busy Wednesday night of WAC Hoops. And, for all intents and purposes, it’s another night of intriguing matchups. Perhaps we say that way too much lately. But, it seems like every game every night in the WAC is big. Or, at the very least, has some big implications tied to most games.
For instance, in one game tonight, the lone undefeated team in WAC play wants to keep it that way. In another, playing for the first time in WAC play outside of Texas, another team wants to keep pace at the top of the standings. Can another WAC school snap a four-game skid after starting conference play 4-1? What about the lone team in the WAC without a conference win? Will it come on Wednesday?
Do you see how there are implications on this busy Wednesday of WAC Hoops?
Let’s take a look at each game.
Tarleton at Lamar – 6 p.m. MT ESPN+
Line: Tarleton -5.5, O/U 128.5
Tarleton makes the bus ride to the Montagne Center on Wednesday. The Texans are coming off a pair of home losses in which they trailed the majority of both games. This after starting WAC play 3-1 and being the only team to beat Sam Houston thus far. Freddy Hicks, Tahj Small and Montre Gipson have been consistent. But, the lack of depth and size has hurt the Texans at times. The big thing for Tarleton on Wednesday is to get off to a good start.
Tarleton found itself down 18-10 early against CBU Thursday. And on Saturday against Seattle, the start was much better but wasn’t quite good enough. Lean on Montre Gipson who plays like a giant. Let Freddy Hicks attack the rim as he is a mismatch problem.
And for Lamar, well, there isn’t a lot to say right now. The Cardinals have been dealing with injury issues all season. There was the thought that with Davion Buster, Kasen Harrison, Jordyn Adams and CJ Roberts, this team would create problems. But, one of those four have been hurt so they have never seen the floor together. Buster was in a boot in the loss at Utah Valley on Saturday. Roberts was dealing with an ankle injury. So, the Cardinals had to rely on the younger players who battle but just don’t have the experience.
Neither team has depth so keep an eye on that on Wednesday night in Beaumont.
Abilene Christian at UTRGV – 6 p.m. MT ESPN+
Line: ACU -7.5, O/U 150.5
Not going to lie, this is going to be an entertaining game on Wednesday night. Neither team has a lot of size. Both teams have stellar guard play. Both squads like to get after it defensively. And both teams love to get out in transition. Abilene Christian forces 22 turnovers per game. UTRGV struggles with its defensive rebounding. Even head coach Matt Figger acknowledged the Vaqueros are really good defending the first shot. But, it is the second-chance opportunities that have really hurt UTRGV.
Abilene Christian holds a 3-0 advantage in the series. The Wildcats and Vaqueros last met on February 12, 1972. ACU beat UTRGV, 109-92, in Abilene. Both teams average over 70 points per game. And both teams shoot around 33 percent from the 3-point line. Perhaps we will see a wild WAC shootout on Wednesday night at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.
Sam Houston at California Baptist – 8 p.m. MT ESPN+
Line: Sam Houston -1, O/U 137
Last week, Sam Houston swept New Mexico State and Grand Canyon at home. Now, the Bearkats leave the state of Texas for the first time since Nov. 22 on Wednesday night. Yes, it has bee nearly two months since Sam Houston left the state of Texas to play a ball game. And heading to the CBU Events Center is no easy task. Just ask New Mexico State and Utah Valley among others. Savion Flagg and the Bearkats are 7-1 in WAC play and looking to stay atop the WAC standings on Wednesday night to set up a big game on Saturday in Seattle.
CBU is coming off a loss at Abilene Christian in which the Lancers got off to a horrible start. The big key for CBU on Wednesday is Dan Akin staying out of foul trouble. Akin is averaging nearly a double-double for the Lancers and is a big piece of the interior scoring. Taran Armstrong is still out so the Lancers will continue to rely on Ty Rowell to be the floor leader. CBU can play with anyone, especially at home. The last three home games for the Lancers were decided two points, two points and seven points in overtime.
Stephen F. Austin at Seattle U – 8 p.m. MT ESPN+
Line: Seattle -2.5, O/U 142
There is a lot of hype surrounding the Seattle U Redhawks. And rightfully so. The Redhawks are the lone unbeaten team in the WAC in conference play. At 15-4, Seattle U is off to its best start in 58 years. One of the best shooters in the WAC resides in the Pacific Northwest. And after then-head coach Jim Hayford resigned right before the season started, interim head coach Chris Victor has filled the shoes nicely. Darrion Trammell, Cameron Tyson and Riley Grigsby form a trio that creates a lot of problems for opponents. All three score in double figures led by Tyson at 16.6 points per game.
But, the role players for the Redhawks have stepped up at key moments, as well. Kobe Williamson had a big second half against Tarleton on Saturday. Emeka Udenyi is a steady hand. Kyree Brown can score the ball, as well. And that depth may be needed in a physical battle against Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday night.
The Jacks come into Wednesday after losing at home to New Mexico State on Saturday. SFA is a little banged up. It is yet to be seen if Nigel Hawkins will play tonight. Latrell Jossell is still dealing with a wrist injury suffered against GCU on Thursday. So, the big question is: how will the Jacks fare on the road? Wednesday is the first game out of the state of Texas since Dec. 18 when the Jacks played at Kansas. Add in some travel issues and taking about 14 hours to get to Seattle, and you can see the cards are a little stacked against SFA.