The 2022-23 season continues to roll along. Week five of league play has come and gone. Tarleton was impressive in a pair of wins, especially on Saturday. More and more fans on Twitter are becoming more vocal about the resume seeding system. Seattle U went on its first tough road trip of the season and returns to the Pacific Northwest with a pair of losses. And the league continues to show its depth and parity.
It’s a fun league, isn’t it? It is also a deep league, which is something we have been saying since the offseason.
Tarleton Stays Unbeaten at Wisdom Gym
The Tarleton Texans are an interesting team. In week four of WAC play, the Texans looked absolutely lifeless in a pair of road losses. In fact, Tarleton didn’t even eclipse the 50-point mark in a pair of 20-plus point losses at Seattle U and CBU. Lineup changes, different rotations, and a different playing style have been a staple of Tarleton head coach Billy Gillispie.
So, you can understand the tweet put out on Thursday when Tarleton got out to a big first half lead over Utah Tech.
Not sure what to make of this @TarletonMBB team. They get throttled at Seattle and CBU last week and looked really disinterested.
Now, the Texans have opened up a 10-point lead over @UtahTechMBB at the under 8 media timeout.
Make it make sense.#WAChoops
— WACHoopsDigest (@WACHoopsDigest) January 27, 2023
Tarleton then held on for dear life in a two-point win over the Trailblazers. And on Saturday, Shamir Bogues got Tarleton off to a good start with a steal and slam as the Texans throttled GCU. Yes, throttled, as in beat the Lopes by 19. And the 19-point margin was not indicative of how dominant Tarleton was at Wisdom Gym. The Texans led by 33 at one point in the second half. Tarleton had 42 points in the paint. GCU had just 10. Tarleton had 34 rebounds. GCU had 18.
You get the point. Tarleton is now a perfect 10-0 at home this season. The question for the Texans is: can you win a game on the road? Tarleton is 0-9 away in true road games. And 2-10 overall away from Stephenville. Tarleton is at UT Arlington and UTRGV this week so perhaps they can snap that winless road record.
Seeding System Starting to Play Out
The talk about the seeding system, especially for teams it may not be benefitting right now, is kind of fun to watch. Seven teams are now in the positive, points-wise. Two teams have over four WAC points. And, there is still the discrepancy of a 3 and 4-loss team being ahead of a 2-loss team.
Let’s just reiterate a few things that are very apparent with the seeding system. Home losses HURT. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Sam Houston lost .53 points for its home loss to GCU. UT Arlington lost .62 points for its home loss to CBU. Utah Valley lost .49 points in its home loss to Seattle U.
Steal a win if you can. Had SFA won at Sam Houston, it would have earned almost a full point. GCU got .85 points for its road win in Huntsville. Seattle U got .77 points for its win over Utah Valley. Utah Valley got .68 points for its win at GCU. Win games you probably shouldn’t win. It makes a world of difference.
Overall, like some have said, just win. The more you win, the more points you gain. And the opportunity to move up arises.
A lot of fans don’t like it. In theory, as I have said before, I think it is a good system. However, for a 1-bid league where the likelihood of getting any higher than a 12-seed is slim to none, it might not be as beneficial. However, encouraging teams to put together a more challenging schedule, watching upsets happen, and so forth is a good thing for the league.
Similar Road Trip, Similar Results for Seattle U
In 2021-22, Seattle U opened WAC play 8-0. Then the Redhawks went to GCU and New Mexico State and lost by double figures in both games. In fact, GCU was 15-5 overall and 5-3 in WAC play coming into that Seattle U game.
Well, Seattle U opened WAC play 7-0 in 2022-23. Then the Redhawks went to Sam Houston and SFA. In fact, Sam Houston was 15-5 overall and 5-3 in WAC play coming into that Seattle U game.
And the Redhawks head back to the Pacific Northwest with a pair of double digit losses. And neither game was really ever close. At Sam Houston, Cam Tyson gave Seattle U a quick 3-0 lead. But, the Redhawks never led again in the ball game. In fact, the Redhawks hit just nine field goals the entire game. Yes, NINE. 9-50 from the field to be exact in the 55-40 loss in Huntsville.
On Saturday in Nacogdoches, the Redhawks shot it a little better. And after a pair of Paris Dawson free throws gave the Redhawks a 25-23 lead with 5:57 left in the first half, it looked like the Redhawks were in good shape.
But, a 15-4 SFA run changed all that. AJ Cajuste’s jumper with 1:23 to play gave SFA a 38-29 lead. And from there, the Jacks coasted to a 79-65 win.
Highlights | @SFA_MBB Vs. Seattle
? | 79-65 Win x Moves to 7-2 in WAC play
? | Nigel Hawkins finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds
? | Sadaidriene Hall finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds (his 4th double-double of the year)#AxeEm x #RaiseTheAxe x #PressU pic.twitter.com/omnSRrQ8Ix
— SFA Athletics (@SFA_Athletics) January 29, 2023
Eerily similar situation for Seattle U that went as bad as it did in 2021-22. The Redhawks are back at Climate Pledge Arena on Wednesday when they host ACU. And then the Redhawks go to New Mexico State on Saturday. Seattle U has never won in Las Cruces.
Stretch Run Will Be Fun
We said before the season started that the WAC was as deep as its ever been. And that is holding true through the first half of WAC play. Utah Valley holds a half-game lead for first place in the regular season title race. Seattle U, Southern Utah and SFA sit at 7-2 in WAC play. Sam Houston is lurking and has won four straight to sit a game behind the top-4 right now. GCU, CBU and Tarleton are still in the race as they sit at 5-4 in WAC play.
New Mexico State is still winless in WAC play. And the Aggies are now two games out of that final spot for WAC Vegas. It’s a big week in Las Cruces as the Aggies host SFA and Seattle U before heading to GCU next week.
It’s going to be a fun finish as we get closer to WAC Vegas.