Wild Weekend Shakes Up the Weekly Power Rankings

Weekend
Darrion Trammell and the Seattle U Redhawks are still in the mix for the regular season crown. Courtesy Seattle U Athletics.
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Another wild weekend of WAC Hoops has come and gone. And with it, another change, albeit small, took place in the weekly power rankings. We will get to that in just a moment. With three week’s left in the regular season, seeding for WAC Vegas is far from determined. Thanks to Utah Valley and Dixie State for playing spoiler on Saturday. One would have thought when GCU saw that New Mexico State lost, the Lopes would have taken advantage of a huge opportunity. Instead, GCU’s offense never got going in arguably the biggest win in the Dixie State Division I era.

And with Seattle sweeping its weekend like it should have, the Redhawks are right back in a tie atop the WAC standings with New Mexico State. Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin continue to hang around and stay in the discussion. And with a ton of basketball to play over the next three weeks, seeding may come down to the final weekend of the WAC regular season.

Let’s take a look at this week’s power rankings.

1 – Seattle U Redhawks

A weekend at home is exactly what you want after a difficult road trip. And Seattle made the most of it. The Redhawks held off UTRGV at Climate Pledge Arena on Thursday. And Seattle U got key contributions from its role players in a dominating win over Lamar on Saturday. The Redhawks are 19-6 overall and 10-2 in WAC play. With a road game at UTRGV on Wednesday and back at home against California Baptist on Saturday, the Redhawks can’t get caught looking ahead to Monday. Seattle U hosts New Mexico State on Monday in a rescheduled game from the opening week of WAC play. The Redhawks will find themselves all alone atop the WAC standings if they sweep the week.

2 – New Mexico State Aggies

The only reason New Mexico State is two is because of the loss at Utah Valley this past weekend. Yes, I know. New Mexico State beat Seattle head-to-head. And yes, I know Seattle played UTRGV and Lamar. I get it. But, New Mexico State struggled offensively this week which is cause for concern. For about 30 minutes against Utah Valley, the Aggies struggled to knock down shots. Like it was pointed out, New Mexico State took 61 shot attempts to Utah Valley’s 46. The Aggies shot 25 percent in the first half. And it took nearly 10 minutes in the second half for the Aggies to get going offensively. It is a big week for New Mexico State. The Aggies host Dixie State on Wednesday before going on the road to GCU on Saturday and Seattle on Monday.

3 – Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

SFA has won four straight, has averaged 80 points in the four wins and three of the four were by double figures. Outside of ACU, the Jacks are arguably the hottest team in the WAC right now. SFA should pick up its fifth straight win when the Jacks host Chicago State at the Sawmill on Wednesday. And then it should increase to six when the Jacks head to Lamar on Saturday. Keep an eye on this team down the stretch. They may not win the regular season crown but could be dangerous in March.

4 – Sam Houston Bearkats

Jason Hooten’s crew is just kind of hanging around. The Bearkats only had one game this past week, a double digit win at Chicago State. Sam Houston returns home to host Abilene Christian on Thursday and then heads to South Texas to take on UTRGV on Saturday. Savion Flagg is still a Player of the Year candidate. But Demarkus Lampley had his best game of the season at Chicago State. And the Bearkats have other pieces in place to make a run. We will see how Sam Houston handles the ACU pressure on Thursday against the red-hot Wildcats.

5 – Abilene Christian Wildcats

I am putting ACU ahead of GCU simply for the fact that ACU has now won six straight games. The Wildcats used a big second half to defeat Tarleton on Saturday. And yes, five of the wins have come against the lower teams in the WAC. I get it. But still, to win six games straight in this conference, with three of those coming on the road. That is difficult to do. Airion Simmons has been really good lately for Brette Tanner. And the Wildcats have a chance to play spoiler on Thursday at Sam Houston.

6 – Grand Canyon Lopes

A golden opportunity was missed on Saturday by the Lopes. Utah Valley had just knocked off New Mexico State and GCU could have gained a game in the race for the regular season crown. Instead, GCU fell flat offensively at Dixie State in a 61-60 loss to the Trailblazers. This was two days after using a big second half to beat Utah Valley in Orem. And with the big week ahead for the Lopes, they needed the win over the weekend. But, it wasn’t meant to be. Now, GCU needs some help to win at least a share of the regular season crown. But, GCU also has a favorable schedule down the stretch. Four of the final six games are at GCU Arena.

7 – Utah Valley Wolverines

Yes, Utah Valley got a big win on Saturday over New Mexico State. But the second half against Grand Canyon will haunt the Wolverines for quite some time. Fardaws Aimaq continues to impress. And in Saturday’s win over the Aggies, Utah Valley hit nine 3-pointers, something it isn’t known for. Keep an eye on the Le’Tre Darthard injury. That could be a big part of the Wolverines’ success moving forward. Utah Valley is on the road this week at Tarleton and at Dixie State.

8 – California Baptist Lancers

Again, a home weekend is just what the doctor ordered for California Baptist. Team morale was extremely low following a road trip to Phoenix and Las Cruces. CBU had only won two conference games coming into the weekend. And a handful of the eight conference losses were games CBU probably should have won. But, being at home got the Lancers back on track. Yes, CBU will still most likely be playing on Tuesday March 8 at WAC Vegas. But, getting on a role heading into the WAC tournament will be key. Plus the Lancers, the way they can shoot the basketball, can play spoiler to some teams.

9 – Dixie State Trailblazers

Talk about spoiler…that is exactly what Dixie State is going to be down the stretch. And this past weekend showed the Trailblazers are very capable of that. Hunter Schofield converted the and-1 opportunity and pressure defense never allowed GCU to get off a final shot in the 61-60 win over the Lopes on Saturday. Jon Judkins team really has nothing to lose as they are ineligible for the WAC tourney. And they know how to win. If a team gets caught looking ahead, Dixie State can take full advantage of it.

10 – Tarleton Texans

Up and down, faster and slower. It is like a roller coaster ride for this Texan squad. And a bad second half that led to a double digit loss to Abilene Christian is just a reminder of that. With nothing to lose down the stretch, don’t be surprised if Tarleton plays spoiler. Utah Valley, Abilene Christian and Sam Houston better be on alert.

11 – UTRGV Vaqueros

This is a fun squad to watch. Now it is just a matter of winning a game or two heading into WAC Vegas. The Vaqueros held their own at Seattle and used a late push to cut the deficit to single digits at CBU over the weekend. But, they still haven’t gotten over the hump in Matt Figger’s first season. Don’t be surprised if UTRGV plays spoiler this weekend. The Vaqueros host Seattle and Sam Houston. And we have seen how wild and WACky the WAC has been this season.

12 – Chicago State Cougars

Youth is showing its ugly head for the Cougars right now. Lapses on the offensive end and then breakdowns defensively have led to six straight losses. And the home stretch of the final regular season in the WAC doesn’t get any easier. Chicago State is at Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday before hosting Tarleton, Grand Canyon and New Mexico State and finishing with a road trip to CBU and Seattle.

13 – Lamar Cardinals

It wasn’t a pretty West Coast road trip for the Cardinals this past weekend. And it kind of summarizes their season. Lamar has five chances to win three games and has to hope Chicago State doesn’t win another game in order to possibly go to WAC Vegas. The odds are slim.

 

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