Every weekend of WAC hoops seems to more wild. We have the blowout wins that are still entertaining because they are so unexpected. Then you have the thrilling games that come down to a last second shot. Or you realize that every game, every weekend is simply a big game. There is so much emphasis put on the regular season with the way WAC Vegas is set up. So, it makes every weekend a must-win weekend for teams.
And for some, this weekend truly is a must-win situation. So, with that being said, let’s look at the weekly power rankings.
1 – Seattle U
Look, some will not agree with this. And that is fine. It creates debate and debating WAC Hoops is healthy and good for the conference. But, any way you slice it, Seattle is rolling. The Redhawks won three, yes THREE road games this week. That is pretty wild.
At CBU, the Redhawks had a prayer answered in the final seconds of regulation. And then, in overtime, Seattle shot its way to a road win at California Baptist. Following that win, Seattle went to Texas and led wire-to-wire in a 10-point win at Abilene Christian. And on Saturday, the Redhawks led nearly the entire game at Tarleton and held off the pesky Texans for a third straight road win.
Off to their best start in 58 years, the Redhawks have a trio of guards that cause a lot of problems in Cameron Tyson, Darrion Trammell and Riley Grigsby. But, the role players are giving interim head coach Chris Victor solid minutes, as well. It is a big week for Seattle who hosts Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday at Climate Pledge Arena and Sam Houston Saturday at the Redhawk Center.
2 – Sam Houston
People might say Sam Houston should be at the top. And, after sweeping New Mexico State and Grand Canyon this past week, the argument is valid. But, road wins separate home wins. That’s the only reason the Bearkats are at two this week. The dominating win over New Mexico State is about as impressive as it gets. For those wondering, the lead was at 30 midway through the second half. And because Jason Hooten took out his starters with about 7-8 minutes to go, New Mexico State made the game a little closer than it really was. And on Saturday, against Grand Canyon, the Bearkats showed they can win ugly games, as well. It took a last-second shot by Jaden Ray to get it done. But, a win is a win and the Bearkats are 7-1 in WAC play.
3 – New Mexico State
Lose by 26 one night, come back and win by double digits two nights later. Kind of a wild thought. It was shades of the Utah State game on Thursday when the wheels came off early at Sam Houston. The lid covered the rim the entire game for the Aggies who shot just a shade over 27 percent in their first conference loss of the season. Jabari Rice had zero points. Teddy Allen had just two points. In fact, no Aggie was in double figures. Can’t remember the last time that happened.
But, as Chris Jans-coached teams do, the Aggies responded in kind on Saturday at Stephen F. Austin. Teddy Allen and Jabari Rice combined for 47 points in the 14-point win over the Lumberjacks. Jabari Rice said although he hates to lose, he kind of likes being the hunter now rather than being the hunted. The Aggies host Grand Canyon on Saturday night at the Pan Am Center.
4 – Stephen F. Austin
Three games in an 8-day span. That is tough to do. But the Lumberjacks got back-to-back wins over Lamar and Grand Canyon to start the week. And then on Saturday, the wheels kind of came off against New Mexico State. Day Day Hall and Jaylin Jackson-Posey have been really good as freshman for the Jacks. Gavin Kensmil is his same self in the paint. Latrell Jossell may be the MVP of this squad. And David Kachelries has spurts where he can knock down shots all over the floor. If the Jacks can get Nigel Hawkins back soon, they are a dangerous team as they showed against Grand Canyon on Thursday. SFA is on the road for a pair of games this week beginning with a wild one at Climate Pledge Arena on Wednesday.
5 – Utah Valley
Utah Valley got back in the win column this week with a pair of wins over UTRGV and Lamar. It wasn’t pretty and the lack of killer instinct is still lacking late in games. But, with Justin Harmon set to return any time and Fardaws Aimaq continuing to put up impressive numbers despite being double and triple-teamed every time he touches the ball, Utah Valley is still in the mix. The Wolverines head to the Windy City to take on Chicago State on Thursday. And then the gauntlet begins. The February schedule is brutal for the Wolverines. Trips to SFA, Sam Houston, NMSU and GCU are all on the docket.
6 – Grand Canyon
Jovan Blacksher Jr. is one of the best guards in the WAC. No doubt about that. But, when Blacksher doesn’t get any help offensively, the Lopes are in big trouble. That was on full display this weekend in losses at Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston. The Lopes didn’t break the 60-point barrier in either game. And the loss of Taeshon Cherry hurt. The worst part for the Lopes is life doesn’t get any easier. GCU travels to Las Cruces for a wild Saturday night matchup with New Mexico State. And the Lopes better be ready. The Aggies have a massive chip on their shoulders after what happened last year. You all remember.
7 – Abilene Christian
After losing five straight, the Wildcats got back in the win column Saturday. ACU jumped out to a big first half lead and then held off California Baptist. The Wildcats travel to UTRGV and Lamar this week.
8 – Dixie State
Two home games and two more wins for the Trailblazers. Dixie State has 10 wins on the season and did it in impressive fashion this week. The Trailblazers were efficient on the offensive end in a pair of double digit wins over Lamar and UTRGV. Hunter Schofield had a big week, averaging nearly a double-double. Dixie State goes to Chicago State on Saturday.
9 – California Baptist
The Lancers got a road split this week and thus the reason they are ahead of Tarleton. That one win came against the Texans. Yes, I know some believe the officiating was to blame for the Lancers winning. But, CBU led for nearly 38 minutes in the win. The big issue for the Lancers is not finishing games strong. It was another 8-point lead with about a minute left and the final was 88-84. Gotta take care of the ball, hit free throws and walk away with a win. CBU hosts Sam Houston on Wednesday and SFA on Saturday in another wild weekend.
10 – Tarleton
I know a certain Twitter account will come at me for this ranking. But, the Texans have lost four straight including the last two at Wisdom Gym. And they really never led in either game. Against Seattle, the Texans led for all of about two minutes. And against California Baptist, the Texans never led. Tarleton should get back in the win column with games at Lamar and UTRGV. But, we will see. The WAC is getting wild. Two weeks ago, Tarleton was 3-1 in WAC play. Now the Texans are 3-5.
11 – Chicago State
The Cougars were off this week. Hopefully, that gave them a chance to heal up to have a full roster when Utah Valley comes to the Jones Convocation Center on Thursday. It is wild to think that Chicago State may need one to two more wins to solidify a trip to WAC Vegas. Even more wild to think that the Cougars could potentially get to 10 wins this season.
12 – UTRGV
Lots of talent on this UTRGV squad. Mike Adewunmi is about as athletic and strong as they get. Justin Johnson continues to play at a high lever. It’s simply a lack of depth and lack of big men that is keep the Vaqueros from winning ball games. The Vaqueros host Abilene Christian and Tarleton this week.
13 – Lamar
It has been a wild struggle in the first season under Alvin Brooks. It doesn’t matter what week it is. The Cardinals continue to deal with injuries, a short bench and just all kinds of issues. The talent is there when healthy. But at 0-8 in WAC play, the quick sand continues to get deeper and deeper for the Cardinals.