WAC Tournament Preview
We’ve got the some strong teams at the top and some not so strong teams at the bottom. Chicago State is one of the worst programs in all of America, while New Mexico State has been one of the best mid-majors over the past few seasons. California Baptist is in their transition to Division 1 and is ineligible for the postseason and will not be included in this preview.
2018 Champion: New Mexico State
1-seed New Mexico State Aggies 27-4 (15-1)
The defending WAC champs are back and have looked very good all season long. The Aggies have a very balanced scoring attack and a very deep rotation. This team does not shoot it well from downtown, but they do rebound and will attack the glass ferociously.
2-seed Utah Valley Wolverines 23-8 (12-4)
The Wolverines really score the ball well, shooting nearly 50% from the field and almost 40% from 3. They need to find the defensive stops to make their offense more effective. When in doubt, get the ball in Jake Toolson’s hands and good things will happen. The senior is super efficient from the floor and if Utah Valley is going to win, they will need Toolson to be good.
3-seed Grand Canyon Antelopes 18-12 (10-6)
The Lopes expected more out of this season, but all is not yet lost. They have been solid in WAC play and have some good players but they’re inconsistent. Alessandro Lever was expected to take a big step following a great freshman season and he stayed stagnant, grad transfer Michael Finke has been pretty solid, but his younger brother Tim has been a bit of a disappointment. The key is finding that consistency in their game and staying even keel. That’s where Grand Canyon is good.
4-seed UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros 18-15 (9-7)
I have no clue what the hell a Vaquero is but it sounds pretty badass (update: I googled it and it’s a Cowboy). The Vaqueros play some pretty good defense but are lacking in offensive ability. Their best chance is to pick up their shooting, 31% from 3 ain’t gonna cut it.
5-seed CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners 16-14 (7-9)
Does this team really have a chance? Probably not. I don’t think too many teams outside of the top 3 have a shot, but CSU has won games and deserves to hear why I think they can win. Jarkel Joiner is the reason. He is the best player on this team and has gone off for as many as 34 this season.
6-seed Seattle Redhawks 18-13 (6-10
The starting five on this team is pretty good and the reason they can win this league is simple, Myles Carter. The former Seton Hall Pirate has resurrected his career in the Pacific Northwest and early in the season was a double-double machine. If he can get back to playing like that the Redhawks will be a tough out.
7-seed UMKC Kangaroos 11-20 (6-10)
Is there a league out there with better nicknames? I don’t think so. The Roos struggle on the glass but shoot it decently well, certainly not the worst, but definitely not the best. They need to force turnovers to get easy buckets.
8-seed Chicago State Cougars 3-28 (0-16)
Chicago State is in the midst of a 20-game losing streak and honestly the only chance they had to win the league was if they hired Mark Titus. They obviously did not and this team has no chance.
NMSU over Chicago State
UTRGV over CSU Bakersfield
Seattle over Grand Canyon
Utah Valley over UMKC
NMSU over UTRGV
Utah Valley over Seattle
NMSU over Utah Valley