Tag Archives: Chico State

Peaking Wildcats making a run at a National Championship……

*THOUGHTS ON THE CHICO STATE WILDCATS FROM 35 THOUSAND FEET*

It’s not that we didn’t think they could do it, but to expect it was totally unfair.

The Chico State men’s basketball is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota getting ready to take on Lincoln Memorial at the Elite Eight for Division II basketball. The Wildcats magic carpet ride was punctuated last weekend with three splendid performances against the three respective regular season champions in the West Region.

First, Chico knocked off high-scoring Western Washington 96-83. Despite giving up 83 points the Wildcats were more than happy getting in a shootout with the Vikings. For the first time in a long time the Wildcats found room to move on the floor. Passing lanes that were clogged and impediments that were common place during CCAA play all of sudden turned into wide gulfs of space with which they could run their offense unimpeded against a Western team that gave up nearly 80 points a game. It must have felt like a jail-break for Chico State.

The free-flowing offense where movement and motion was rewarded. It had been a while since Chico had been that wide open for drives and shots. The game was truly a testament to how good the CCAA is. To win the CCAA you MUST play defense, if not you will get carved to pieces.

On day two the Wildcats encountered a frisky bulldog-tough type of team in Hawaii-Pacific. If the Sharks were a baseball team I would affectionately call them a bunch of “dirt-bags.” Fluidity of play and dogged aggressiveness characterized the Pacific West Conference Champions. We saw them systematically take care of the best defensive team in the country, CCAA-rival Sonoma State. I was thoroughly impressed with their defensive doggedness and anticipated Chico State would have their hands full.

Chico’s 15-point lead with 9:30 to go eventually turned into a one-point deficit with 1:55 to go. A furious 25-9 rally by the Sharks had the Wildcats on their heels, before Chico State righted the ship. The Wildcats ability to rescue the game after coughing up a 15 lead showed Chico State had come a long way in a year. After Isaiah Ellis took a charge with the Cats down and with 4 fouls, Robert Duncan made a driving lay-up. After Corey Silverstrom registered a steal and driving bucket the Cats had the whip-hand and outlasted HPU 77-74. The win showed many of us Chico State lifers a toughness that at times had been missing over the last few years. It’s hard to be critical of a team that has had as much success as the Wildcats for the last several years. But, sometimes and on rare occasions, when things went south, the Cats had a hard time pulling themselves out of the abyss, especially in the middle of a game. Not this time, though.

This Chico State team made winning plays to beat Hawaii-Pacific. Sealed the game with defense and disciplined offense and moved on to the regional championship game against UC San Diego.

The championship tilt against the rival Tritons will simply go down as one of the great basketball games in Chico State Wildcats history. 10 days before this title match-up UCSD had come out in the CCAA semi-final game and as All-American guard Robert Duncan said, “punched Chico in the mouth.” With 4 minutes left in the 1st half UCSD had jumped out to a 27-11 lead. The Wildcat offense was stagnant. There was not movement, no aggressiveness, a passivity to their flow that was not conducive to winning basketball. When the final horn sounded it was San Diego 65-53 over Chico State. The final score only told a portion of the story. The Tritons had taken the fight to Chico State, and for this team to accomplish the things they wanted to accomplish, that had to change.

Right from the out-set you could tell the Wildcats wouldn’t lose this game for a lack of fight. On their first possession they would grab two offensive rebounds. They would attack on the offensive end. The ball moved, the players moved, there was cutting and motion, it was a thing of beauty. It was nothing like the three games the Wildcats had played against UCSD this year. There was a precision and rhythm to the Cats’ offensively that showed this team at their peak. To quote Norman Dale in the movie Hoosiers, “all pistons firing operating as one.”

Ellis was simply other-worldly. The Wildcat junior scored 19 of his game high 34 in the first half. The Tritons having watched Chico hit 25-of-50 from three-point range in the first two games of the regional were reluctant to double Ellis, out of fear of leaving the triumvirate of Wildcat shooters open, they paid the price.

Even after an 11-0 run by the Tritons sent their faithful into a frenzy, giving UCSD a 57-51 lead, Chico would counter with a 14-7 run of their own and this time it was more than Ellis. Corey Silverstrom would get hot taking top of the key and wing three’s to set it off. All the other pieces for the Cats played well including the other duo on the “core-fore” Jalen McFerren and Duncan. The beauty of Duncan’s play is he facilitated much of the Wildcat success. In past year’s Chico had to have Duncan score, but this year Duncan and Wildcats thrive when he facilitates ball movement and action. His talents necessitates constant attention. That attention opens things up for his mates and in the regional Duncan has never been better. McFerren took the slings and arrows from all teams to run the offense with continuity and flow. His 37-minute 1 turnover performance may be one of the more over-looked great games of the season for the Cats, but not by those of us that saw him play.

Everyone in uniform for Chico State played well against San Diego. In retrospect there just wasn’t a player who didn’t play well, that how championship teams are crowned.

With as well as the Wildcats played they still had to withstand an incredible shooting display by the Tritons. UCSD shot 14-of-26 from three-point range, making Chico State pay for their double-teams against sophomore post Chris Hansen. The complimentary pieces were tremendous for San Diego, but as CCAA-MVP Adam Klie said after the game, “we just couldn’t get stops. They (Chico) just played really well.”

Knocking off three conference champions in four days is not an easy task. When you do it, deep down you have to think all things are possible and that is the attitude the Chico State Wildcats bring to Sioux Falls. The Cats finished in a tie for third in the CCAA, got knocked out in the semis of the CCAA Conference Tournament but their championship pedigree is undeniable.

This Chico State core pushed themselves to heightened levels of exhaustion just to win a CCAA regular season title in 2016. They would never win another game the night after they clinched. They expended so much energy to win that regular season title, they had nothing left.

There was a conscious effort as many Wildcats professed to me in October to perform and win in the NCAA Tournament. The conference accolades and rewards were nice, but the NCAA Tournament riches are better. This team knew this, and their experience in losing in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years lit a flame that, at times dimmed slightly, but never extinguished.

They are peaking. They are hungry. And, they don’t feel like they are anywhere near finished.

 

Impression from DAY ONE of Men’s D-II West Regional

It ranks right up there with one of my favorite sports days of the year. I wouldn’t get to experience it if it weren’t for the success of my hometown Chico State Wildcats, and for that I want to thank them for another great season and a fifth straight NCAA Tournament.

Cal Baptist and Pomona

This game did not disappoint. I went into day one thinking it could be the best game of the day and it was. The contrast in styles between the electrifying Lancers and the lock-down match-up zone Broncos. We had a one point game with under two minutes to go but give the Lancers credit, they made the big plays when they had to.

Michael Smith was brilliant. The star point guard for the Lancers navigated his way through the big bodies to get to the lane and get to the bucket for some big buckets. Even though Gelaun Wheelwright scuffled with his shot, he made the one that counted with the score knotted at 53 with five-and-change to go. It would be a lead the Lancers would never relinquish.

The key to the game in my mind was Pomona’s inability to establish Jordan Faison in the block. Faison took three three’s in the first five minutes and that was a bad sign. Faison is a beast on the block but it never got established by the Broncos. It might have been something Pomona wanted to establish but Faison picked up two quick fouls in the first 24 seconds of the second half and he had to sit. Give some of the complimentary pieces credit in Jordan Ogundrian, Jeremy Dennis and Barry Bell for giving the Broncos a chance.

The Lancers showed they can win that type of knock down drag out game, where scoring is hard. They love the three. They rely on the three. They will face a team in San Diego that holds teams to 28 percent shooting from beyond the arch. Should be a great match-up.

UC San Diego and Chico State

Almost a month to the day from when Chico State knocked off UC San Diego in La Jolla the Tritons repaid the favor in the biggest of games. You could tell early on this would be a different story. On February 12th the Wildcats did a masterful job of face-guarding and not allowing Drew Dyer to get any touches or good looks. He had more good looks in the first three minutes of Friday’s quarterfinal than he did the entire game on Feb 12th.

From the outset San Diego took the fight to Chico and it showed. The Tritons jumped out to an early 7-point lead and would never look back leading this game for nearly 38 minutes of play.

Being a Chico guy I could lament on all the things Chico didn’t do well but that would short-change how well San Diego played. Dyer and his partner in crime Adam Klie played great basketball. The two leaders showed why they are two of the best competitors in the CCAA. Dyer and Klie combined for 42 of UCSD’s 76 points. Throw in the contributions of center Chris Hansen, Grant Jackson and George Buaku the Tritons laid it on the Cats.

For Chico they could never recapture the magic, that through 26 games, had been one of the best seasons in Wildcat history. They seem to wear down at season’s end and as the final horn sounded there was clear disappointment on the faces of the Cats. The life-blood of the Chico club had been defense all year but their defensive miscues over the last few weeks were glaring. For Chico to win they had to dig in defensively and get stops, but those were too infrequent over the final few weeks. The offense, which had been a mixture of cutting and moving and passing became stuck. And, when the ball sticks, and people don’t move, bad things happen. Most of the key components for Chico are coming back and when you throw in a strong recruiting class and some reserves who will get more playing time the future will continue to be bright for Chico. Still a great year, although not the finish they were hoping for, but a lot to build on.

Azusa Pacific and Seattle Pacific

Azusa Pacific put any thought of their team being down for the count to bed with Friday’s performance in beating Seattle Pacific. I certainly wasn’t buying the 37-point loss as some type of indicator that their NCAA fortunes were in jeopardy. The Cougars come at you in waves and it proved to be too much for the Seattle Pacific Falcons on Friday.

Azusa Pacific had at least 10 players PLAY at least 14 minutes, but not one player logged more than 29 minutes. That is depth people, that is depth and the Cougars have the deepest team in this tournament. The Cougars have so many interchangeable parts that they are truly tough to defend and scout because of the varied skills sets. They showed that against a perennial power.

The Cougars were led by Corey Langerveld who scored 17. LyDell Cardwell came off the bench to score 14 and I’m convinced Cardwell would be the focal point of most teams’ offenses in the region if he was the go-to guy. How good and deep is Azusa ? Their leading scorer Bruce English scored 6 points on 2-of-8 shooting in only 14 minutes.

For Seattle Pacific they could not recover from being on the short-end of a 16-0 run in the final 6 minutes of the first half. A 24-20 lead turned into a 36-24 deficit at the break. Mitch Penner, who has been such a great player for the Falcons scored 19, including 13 in the second half. Bryce Leavitt scored 14 with 12 of those coming in the second stanza. Seattle Pacific just couldn’t get enough consistent offense to keep up with Azusa Pacific. It was the 12th straight season the Falcons went dancing. An amazing accomplishment for the team with the longest tournament streak in the nation.

Western Oregon and Humboldt State

The night’s final game had a boisterous crowd and two teams that won their respective conference tournament championships. The top-seeded Western Oregon Wolves and the Humboldt State Lumberjacks. The Wolves would not let their crowd down beating Humboldt 82-65.

Watching Western Oregon is like listening to that finely tuned car that runs smoothly, almost to the point that it’s a soulful sound. Five pieces that act in concert making the whole thing sound like symphony. The more I watch GNAC Player-of-the-Year Andy Avgi  the more I love the guy. It was the third chance I had to see him in person and sixth or seventh time this year. What a player. He seems to have great basketball instincts and surprisingly a great first step. He scored 15 on the night

The guy who may be playing the best basketball on the team right now could be Tanner Omlid. Omlid scored 18 points to go along with 6 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal. No turnovers for Omlid in 32 minutes of play. He is making some big plays for the Wolves and has really stepped up his game in March.

Devon Alexander was great scoring 16 on 7-of-11 shooting. Every time the Jacks were on the precipice of a run, it was Alexander hitting a big time base-line fall-away. Julian Nichols was his solid self again scoring 17 points along with 5 boards and a team-high 4 assists.

Western Oregon could not really shake Humboldt. The Jacks showed the offensive prowess that made them one of the best offensive teams in the region. Malik Morgan kept this team afloat at times in the second half. The sophomore point guard scored 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting. Rakim Brown had a double-double going for 20-and-10 on 8-of-16 shooting. The Jacks needed their third wheel  but Thomas Witzel had an off night going 1-of-8 and scored only 6 points.

The Jacks were down 14 but whittled it down to six mid-way through the second half. The problem is even as they kept scoring they just couldn’t get a stop and that proved to be their undoing.

IMPRESSION

I’m a CCAA guy but my eyes aren’t deceiving me. The CCAA got taken to the pea patch on Friday. Four teams in the tournament and 3 teams heading home. Not good. But, I will say this. Based on the criteria that the NCAA puts forth the committee got the selections right. It’s not who is hot at end of season, the tournament teams are based on the BODY OF WORK. So, in that respect they got it right.

The Pac-West’s participants and the two teams that played in the West Region Final last year Azusa Pacific and Cal Baptist look very strong. The problem for the Pac-West is they have too many sub .500 teams and it waters down their schedule and records therefore hurting their RPI and Performance Indicator not giving bubble teams a chance to get in the tournament. It hurts a conference to have seven teams with sub .500 records.

Cal Baptist and UC San Diego at 5pm today. It should be a good one. As San Diego showed, despite their injury woes they still have a tremendous core that can defend, shoot and compete. Cal Baptist will not have to face that Pomona match-up zone, but they will have to deal with a strong perimeter defense in San Diego. Michael Smith is going to be very tough for San Diego to handle. The Tritons must also do a Pomona-like job on Wheelwright.   Cal Baptist has to close out on Dyer and stop Klie from the dribble attacks.

The Western Oregon and Azusa Pacific games bring us two heavyweights that will battle it out in the regional semis. Western Oregon behind a raucous crowd and APU with the championship pedigree. Azusa certainly has the depth to throw bodies at the Wolves. Western Oregon has the cohesiveness on both ends to get stops and make it hard on the Cougars. This will be a tremendous game and I can’t wait to see it at 7:30 tonight.

You can watch the games on http://www.gnacsports.com

Listen to the 2nd half of Chico State and UCSD from Feb 12th

It was a first place showdown that did not disappoint. The Chico State Wildcats traveled to La Jolla to take on the UC San Diego Tritons with CCAA supremacy at stake. We pick up the game in early in the second half with the Wildcats leading by one….

Chico State and UCSD will play in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Monmouth, Oregon. Game time is at 2:30pm and you can hear all the action on AM-1290 KPAY. KPAYSPORTS.COM and the KpaySports app

Predicting NCAA D-II Men’s West Regional; Humboldt crashes party

WEST REGION RANKINGS GOING INTO THE 

GNAC, CCAA, PAC-WEST TOURNEYS

                                           Overall DII Record In-Region Record
1 Western Ore.                          24-2 24-2
2 Chico St.                                     20-5 20-5
3 UC San Diego                         20-6 19-6
4 Seattle Pacific                        20-7 20-7
5 Azusa Pacific                           20-7 19-7
6 California Baptist                 23-6 21-6
7 Cal Poly Pomona                  19-6 17-6
8 Dixie St.                                      18-8 18-8
9 Alas. Fairbanks                       18-7 18-7
10 Alas. Anchorage                 17-9 16-9

The Cal Baptist Lancers trounced their arch-rivals Azusa Pacific in the Pac-West Men’s Conference title game locking up their spot in the in NCAA Tournament.

The Humboldt State Lumberjacks, not ranked in the top-10 in the region when play started this week, won three games and captured the automatic qualifier in the CCAA. The Lumberjacks will advance to the NCAA Tournament as well, crashing a party they didn’t appear invited to. It was great run by the Jacks and they did a great job of taking care of their business. Definitely a dangerous team entering the NCAA Tournament.

And, the Western Oregon Wolves completed the season sweep in the Great Northwest Conference by beating Alaska Fairbanks and capturing not only the regular season but also the post season conference tournament championship. Unless they can’t reserve enough hotel rooms the Western Oregon Wolves should be hosting the Division II West Regional next weekend in Monmouth, Oregon.

So with Western Oregon, Humboldt State and Cal Baptist locked in that leaves 5 spots for a bunch of deserving teams. Let’s take a quick look at those teams and see where they may fall…..

Chico State– I think they are in. But, they are pretty darn fortunate that their CSLA loss on Tuesday did not torpedo their tremendous campaign. Chico will drop in the rankings but I believe their strong regular season that included a great road record and an impressive record against teams over .500 will get them in. I see Chico as a number 6 seed.

Seattle-Pacific- This is another team that I believe is in the tournament. I believe they played the toughest schedule in the region and it will be rewarded. They took Western Oregon to the wire before falling by one on Friday. SPU is in as a number 5 seed.

Azusa Pacific- Pay no attention to their blow-out loss in the Pac-West title game on Saturday. Azusa is in. They faced a team on a roll in the Lancers and it was the proverbial snowball rolling downhill. Azusa was the regular season champion in the Pac-West. They had a tremendous season. They get in and will be a solid 4 seed.

UC San Diego- They needed a miracle to beat Sonoma on Tuesday. They overwhelmed Pomona on Friday but ran into a desperate, talented and hot Humboldt team in the CCAA Final. The Tritons have been decimated by injury all season long but they are tough as nails. I think they are in as a 3 seed. I don’t see them dropping in regional ranking because they beat two plus .500 teams in getting to CCAA title match-up. Great season is rewarded with a 3-seed.

Dixie State- The Red Storm needed a win against Cal Baptist. They didn’t get it. Despite an amazing late season run after a rough start to the year, Dixie put themselves in a position to get into the dance. I think they would have gotten in if Humboldt didn’t snag one of the automatic qualifiers (AQ’s) I think the season has come to an end for Dixie.

Alaska Fairbanks- Alaska went on a mad run at the end of the season including a huge win over Western Oregon on their home floor in the final week of the season. Sadly for the Nanooks they couldn’t duplicate the feat on Saturday. I think they will be strongly considered for the final at-large. In the end, I don’t think there will be enough Division -II wins to get them in. Oddly, it might have helped Alaska’s case if they didn’t have a first round bye in the GNAC Tournament. They could have used another resume building win. The victory over a sub .500 in D-II Western Washington team won’t help them when crunching the Performance Indicator and RPI numbers.

Pomona- They get in on the strength of beating the Pac-West Champion Azusa and beating CCAA Champion Chico State twice. The Broncos got a much-needed boost with a first round CCAA Tournament win over San Francisco State. The Gators were ranked 7th in the last regional poll and they went 1-1 versus two teams with plus .500 records. The Broncos are in as a 7th seed.

HOW I SEE PAIRINGS

This is nothing official. I have no inside info. This prediction is simply my ramblings and take it for what you will……

8-Humboldt versus 1-Western Oregon

5-Seattle Pacific versus 4-Azusa Pacific

6-Chico State versus 3-UC San Diego

7-Pomona versus 2-Cal Baptist

The tournament will be held in my opinion in Monmouth, Oregon on the campus of Western Oregon University next Friday, Saturday and Monday.

The Selection Show will be on Sunday night at 7:30pm on http://NCAA.COM

 

Chico State and Stanislaus Renew Acquaintances in Post-Season

Rashad Parker is Chico State's leading scorer at better than 14 points a game. Courtesy ChicoWildcats.com

For the 7th time in the last 16 months the Chico State Wildcats and the Cal State Stanislaus Warriors will a 40 minute (maybe longer) basketball game to determine who advances to the championship game of the CCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament. At stake for the conference champion is an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament which begins the next week in a yet to be determined location.

For the Wildcats and Warriors this match-up is just another in a litany of tremendous match-ups that can be described with such words as stupendous, riveting, spectacular. The two teams have split their previous six match-ups, with most games decided in the waning moments. None more exciting than Chico State’s mystifying 81-80 win in last year’s West Region Championship game propelling them to the Division II Elite Eight.

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The other match-ups haven’t been too shabby either. In November of 2013 the Wildcats lost to Stanislaus 80-78 in overtime in Turlock. The Cats would repay the favor one month later with a 88-67 trouncing at Acker Gym.

On March 8th of 2014 in the Championship game of the CCAA Tournament in Ontario the Wildcats would lose to a surging Stanislaus 82-70 ensuring the Warriors a ticket to the NCAA Tournament. The two teams would meet nine days later in San Bernardino for the West Region title. The Warriors held an 18 point lead mid-way through the first half and seemed poised to advance to Evansville, Indiana. But, a furious Chico State rally coupled with a melt-down of epic proportions by Stanislaus gave Chico State the historic win.

This year each team won on the other’s home floor. Chico suffocated  Stanislaus with a stellar early season defensive effort beating the Warriors 59-47. One week later the Wildcats appeared ready to sweep the season series leading 26-4 early in the first half but Stanislaus came roaring back and got a Chris Read buzzer beating jumper as time expired to beat Chico in overtime 62-60.

Three of the six games have been decided by two points or less. While today may not be the most important of the seven match-ups, like any Chico State and Stanislaus men’s basketball match-up it holds significance in this renewed rivalry of old Northern California Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAC)  schools. Game time is 5:35pm this afternoon and you can hear the game on Newstalk 1290 KPAY with the pre-game show at 5:10

PHOTOS COURTESY of Chico State Athletics at ChicoWildcats.com

 

CCAA Men’s Basketball Blog: First D-II West Region Poll-No Surprises

 

NCAA DIVISION II WEST REGION RANKINGS

1 Azusa Pacific                        19-4 19-4
2 California Baptist             19-4 19-3
3 Western Ore.                      18-3 18-3
4 BYU-Hawaii                         18-4 16-4
5 Cal Poly Pomona               15-5 15-5
6 Dixie St.                                  17-6 17-5
7 Chico St.                                 15-6 15-6
8 Point Loma                           18-6 18-6
9 UC San Diego                     13-9 13-9
10 Seattle Pacific                 15-7 13-7

A fellow blogger who follows the Great Northwest Conference writes a blog that can be accessed here

https://gnacmbb.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/west-region-rankings-1/

He has some great insights and comes at the region from a Great Northwest perspective and its always good to get insights on teams we don’t get to see that often…….

 

With the first region poll in the books the reality and the plight of California Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball teams becomes abundantly clear. The Pacific West conference is STACKED.

With only Chico State and Cal Poly Pomona garnering enough votes to be in the Top-8, it’s clear that neither team has clinched a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The specter of the regular season conference champion not making it to the NCAA Tournament is a distinct possibility, making the CCAA Conference Championship Tournament vital for teams that want to punch their ticket.

The first West Region poll is dominated by teams from the Pacific West Conference. Azusa Pacific (1) California Baptist (2) BYU Hawaii (4) Dixie State (6) and Point Loma (8) would all make the tournament if the season ended today. That would be an amazing five teams from one conference. When looking at the resumes of the teams you can not argue with the committee’s reasoning. The Pac-West has dominated inter-league and cross conference play in the West Region. They have earned the respect the West Region committee is giving them.

The power center of men’s Division II West Region basketball used to lie in the Great Northwest Conference. That is no longer the case. There is one clear-cut team that has the resume to get into the tournament and that is the Western Oregon Wolves. They have had a fantastic regular season and sit at number 3 in the first regional poll. Regardless of whether they win their post-season conference tournament I think Western Oregon is a deserving entrant. Seattle-Pacific is on the outside looking in at the moment, but this is team full of veterans that do have post-season experience. Do not be surprised if the Falcons must the mo-jo for a strong final push into their conference tournament. Currently the Falcons sit at number 10 in the region.

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As the voice of the Chico State Wildcats I am most familiar with teams in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA.) Cal Poly Pomona sits at number 5 in the region. They have a very nice body of work. They have a huge early season win against the top team in the region Azusa Pacific. The Broncos beat them 81-78 on November 15th. The Broncos also beat UCSD on the road. A quality win considering the Tritons sit at number 9 in the region. The Broncos also staged a miracle comeback, coupled with a Humboldt State meltdown to beat the Lumberjacks on the road. They have also beaten Cal State Stanislaus twice. Pomona has a strong case for getting in the tournament, but I don’t think you can write their name down in INK on your bracket just yet. They have some work to do, including a huge game in two weeks in Arcata against a surging Humboldt State squad. The Jacks haven’t lost at home in more than two months.

The Chico State Wildcats sit at number 7 in the region. I almost immediately got messages from Chico State’s faithful lamenting the Wildcats’ spot in the region. I believe it’s a fair ranking, here is why.

Chico State has a 15-6 Division II and West Region record. If you look at the teams ranked in the top eight in the region it’s the worst record of the bunch. Chico State loyalists will say, “hey, we are 17-6.” Um, “No, you aren’t.” For post-season purposes the Wildcats are 15-6. Two of their early season wins were against NAIA schools. Those games do not count. Sure, they count in a teams’ overall record but games against Division III and NAIA schools do not count when your post-season resume is considered. It prevents teams from putting a bunch of cupcakes on their schedule and having those wins against inferior programs count for the post-season. So, the Wildcats are really only 15-6.

The Wildcats have some really nice wins. The biggest wins they have is a regular season sweep of Cal Poly Pomona. That is big. I think it’s the primary reason they are ranked in the top eight. They won at Stanislaus. They beat Alaska Anchorage on a neutral floor. They have swept Cal State San Bernardino, dealing the Coyotes their only home loss of the year. Nice resume, but not as good as Pomona at this point, even with the sweep.

Teams that go to the NCAA Tournament can usually sustain one or even two bad losses as long as those losses are balanced with good wins. The Wildcats have a bad loss. Chico State lost at home to Dominican University 67-61 on November 28th. The Penguins are a solid squad, but playing in the tough Pacific West Conference they are only 11-13. So, losing at home to a sub .500 team really hurts. The Wildcats would be helped if Dominican could get that record over .500 by the end of the season. If not, it’s a blemish the Wildcats will have to overcome.

People need to remember that when people say this is a “body of work” issue, they aren’t joking. Games played on November 15th matter just as much as games played in mid-February. Just ask Humboldt State. The Lumberjacks are 11-7 in CCAA play. They have won 11 of their last 14. They are playing great basketball. But, odds are Humboldt State will only make the regional if they run the table in the CCAA Tournament. They have some bad losses when you really crunch the numbers. They lost to San Francisco State who has a record of 9-13. They lost to Sonoma who is 11-11. And, they lost two weeks ago to 6-18 Dominguez Hills. When you add all of those losses up, and you analyze the regional criteria. I don’t think there is any way Humboldt gets in unless they get the automatic qualifier and win the CCAA Tournament in two weeks. All games matter, even in early November.

With two weeks left in the regular season I can’t remember a year where the final three or four spots in the regional rankings are so unsettled. Both UC San Diego sitting and number 9 and Seattle Pacific sitting at number 10 are both very much in the mix. They are hoping Chico State and Point Loma stumble so they could possibly  move up. There is so much on the line over these final few weeks and then we get ready for one of the most tension-filled three days of basketball in recent memory, when teams from the CCAA, GNAC and Pac-West play for that automatic qualifier to try to get into the NCAA Tournament. It’s only February, but it already feels like MARCH MADNESS

 

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHICO STATE ATHLETICS @CHICOWILDCATS.COM 

Rivalry Week: Chico and Sonoma

There is no doubt the Chico State and Sonoma State baseball rivalry is the best in the CCAA. These two old NCAC rivals have always been the barometer in which the other is judged.

This week is no exception.  Sonoma State is playing for their West Region playoff lives, and Chico State is playing for a CCAA Conference Championship.

Four games this week that etch another chapter in the long, storied Chico/Sonoma rivalry…..

Photo courtesy of ChicoWildcats.com

An Ode to a Wildcat Walk-off Weekend

Chico State's Robert Hook slides home with the winning run as Chico State sweeps Dominguez Hills  Photo courtesy ChicoWildcats.com
Chico State’s Robert Hook slides home with the winning run as Chico State sweeps Dominguez Hills
Photo courtesy ChicoWildcats.com

 

The Chico State Wildcats baseball team  swept a four game series against the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros over the weekend. If you missed the games, this about sums up how the weekend went, with a little help from our favorite TV show theme….

 

MEDIA DAY IN EVANSVILLE

Media Day for the Division II men's basketball Elite Eight
Media Day for the Division II men’s basketball Elite Eight

MEDIA DAY AT THE ELITE EIGHT

No surprises and a lot of graciousness as the eight teams who are playing in the Division II Elite Eight get ready for their big moment on Wednesday.

Probably the most memorable moment during the head coaches confab was having the Tuskegee Head Coach Leon Douglas tell the media please don’t consider his team a “cinderella.” Douglas’ Golden Tigers emerged from the South Region as the number 8 seed and stunned the higher seeds to advance to their first ever Elite Eight.  Tuskegee will take on South Central region power Metro State. Metro is 31-1 on the season and gives up only 66 points per game. They also turn it over an Elite Eight lowest 9.7 times a game.

One of the more intriguing first round match-ups pits the West Liberty Hilltoppers (29-3 Atlantic Region) against the defending national champion Drury Panthers (28-3 Midwest Region.) West Liberty averages an amazing 101.5 points per game, while Drury tries to become a repeat champion.

The first game of the day has Southern Connecticut State (30-2 East Region) taking on the Mules of Central Missouri State (27-5 Central Region.) The Owls of Southern Connecticut average 86 points per game, while the Mules feature balanced scoring and give up only 67 a contest.

The final game of the quarterfinal round has the Chico State Wildcats (25-7 West Region) taking on the South Carolina-Aiken Pacers from the Southeast Region (32-3.) The Wildcats ride into the Elite Eight having come back from 15 points down with 2:39 left in their regional final game against Cal State Stanislaus. The Pacers have great size and are out-rebounding their opponents by 8 boards a game. The Wildcats and Pacers will play the final game of the day at 6:30 pacific time. You can hear the game on Newstalk 1290-KPAY, ChicoWildcats.com, Kpay.com, and the TuneIn radio app

GAME SCHEDULE (All times Pacific)

10am         #4 South. Connecticut State vs # 20 Central Missouri State

12:30pm       Tuskegee University vs #1 Metro State

4pm           #8 Drury vs #7 West Liberty

6:30pm    #5 South Carolina-Aiken vs Chico State

You can get scoring updates all day long by following twitter @KPAYBacaSports you can also follow Chico State twitter @ChicoWildcats

 

Regional Redux: Last 2:39 of wild regional final with post-game

 

COVER PHOTO….courtesy of Chico State Athletics at ChicoWildcats.com and Luke Reid

Listen to the FINAL 2:39 of Chico’s amazing comeback as well as the post-game interviews as heard on KPAY

Gio Estrada with knifing drive thru the against Pomona in the CCAA Tourney. Photo courtesy of ChicoWildcats.com
Gio Estrada with knifing drive thru the against Pomona in the CCAA Tourney.
Photo courtesy of ChicoWildcats.com

 

Sean Park and Amir Carraway defend Cal State Stanislaus' Chris Read in Chico's amazing West Region title win Photo courtesy of ChicoWildcats.com
Sean Park and Amir Carraway defend Cal State Stanislaus’ Chris Read in Chico’s amazing West Region title win
Photo courtesy of ChicoWildcats.com