Hump Day is here.
It is the middle of a busy week around the Western Athletic Conference. We are 19 days away from WAC Vegas. Come Friday, we will be exactly two weeks from the end of the regular season.
Pretty wild how fast the season has gone. But, Hump Day is here and it brings with it four games around the league.
Technically, Hump Day was supposed to have five games on the slate. However, as we all know by now, New Mexico State shut down its season this past weekend due to Hazing allegations.
Prior to Hump Day and week eight of league playing starting, one team has a new interim head coach. And the defending champs’ season is over.
Pretty wild, to say the least.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the Hump Day slate.
Tarleton (14-12 overall, 7-6 WAC) at Stephen F. Austin (16-9 overall, 8-4 WAC) – 6:30 p.m. CT ESPN+
Technically the Texans are 8-6 in WAC play because they earned a forfeit win over New Mexico State. However, that game was supposed to the final regular season game for both teams so we will wait until then to update the record.
Can Tarleton win another road game? The Texans stole one over UT Arlington last week. Along with that win, the Texans actually led at halftime at Southern Utah. However, the Texans struggled offensively after the break as SUU shot the lights out in a 72-62 win.
This is the lone meeting between the Jacks and Texans. SFA is trying to keep pace and get some help to move into a top-4 seed. Tarleton is just outside the top-6.
SFA is coming off an 82-72 win at UTRGV on Saturday. Roti Ware had arguably his best game of the season with a team-high 19 points.
SFA is 10-2 at The Sawmill in 2022-23. Tarleton has just one true road win. SFA hasn’t lost a conference home game in 2022-23. That shouldn’t change on Hump Day.
UT Arlington (9-16 overall, 4-8 WAC) at Sam Houston (18-6 overall, 8-4 WAC) – 6:30 p.m. CT ESPN+
If you didn’t see earlier on Hump Day, Sam Houston is in consideration as a Bracket Breaker in 2023. The argument is that because Sam Houston likes to slow games down, they have a good shot at advancing in the NCAA Tournament. Here is the thing…speculation is fun. We can talk all about the remaining games on the schedule. But, it will come down to three games in March. Can the Bearkats handle it? It will all depend on how Qua Grant, Donte Powers and Cam Huefner perform. Let’s throw in Lamar Wilkerson, as well.
These four guards are the offense for the Bearkats. Javion May and Tristan Ikpe add a spark, as well. But, if any combination of those four guards is not shooting well, things can get challenging.
The good news for Sam Houston is the Bearkats play four of their final six games at Johnson Coliseum. It all starts on Hump Day with a visit from UT Arlington. It may be a revenge spot for the Bearkats as the Mavericks snapped Sam Houston’s five-game winning streak with a 70-58 win two weeks ago at College Park Center.
However, since that time, UT Arlington fired its head coach, picked up a road win at UTRGV, and booked its trip to WAC Vegas.
Keep an eye on whether or not Shemar Wilson plays on Hump Day. Wilson did not play in the win at UTRGV. The 6-9 sophomore is one of the best rebounders in the WAC, especially on the offensive glass.
If Wilson is out once again, advantage Bearkats.
UTRGV (12-14 overall, 3-10 WAC) at Grand Canyon (16-9 overall, 8-5 WAC) – 7 p.m. MT ESPN+
It is hard to figure out this UTRGV team. Everyone knows Justin Johnson can score. Adante’ Holiman has been really good since coming back from injury. Will Johnston can get going in a hurry.
The problem is there is no consistency to it all. Over the last seven games, UTRGV has scored 70-plus points just once. And that was in an 82-72 loss to SFA. UTRGV is the lone team in the league to win at Tarleton. And the Vaqueros have a tough time closing out ball games.
It doesn’t get any easier on Hump Day with a visit to GCU Arena.
This is especially true considering the Lopes are coming off a bad loss at Seattle U. Yes, it is a bad loss considering the Lopes did not score over the final five minutes or so at the Redhawk Center.
Ray Harrison vs. Justin Johnson will be a fun battle to watch. Both are in the Player of the Year conversation. Harrison more so because the Lopes are closer to the top of the league.
GCU sits just .12 points behind Southern Utah for a top-4 seed. A win at home is a must if the Lopes are to stay in the running for that 4-seed.
Seattle U (18-8 overall, 9-4 WAC) at California Baptist (14-12 overall, 6-7 WAC) – 7 p.m. CT ESPN+
The matchup between the Lancers and Redhawks at CBU Events Center in 2021-22 was an instant classic.
Do you remember? Darrion Trammell came down with a wild offensive board off a Riley Grigsby 3-point attempt. Falling to the floor, Trammell found Grigsby at the top of the key for another 3-point attempt. Grigsby’s shot hit nothing but the bottom of the net and the game went to overtime. Seattle U eventually won the game 92-85.
— Seattle U Men's Basketball (@seattleumbb) January 18, 2022
Games between the Lancers and Redhawks are always entertaining. The problem is that the Lancers have struggled of late in the series. Seattle U has reeled off four straight wins dating back to March 11, 2021 at the WAC Tournament.
However, the last three matchups have been seven points or less.
There are two questions regarding this Hump Day matchup.
Will Seattle U get caught looking ahead to Saturday’s showdown against Utah Valley?
Which CBU team do we get on Hump Day?
The Redhawks host the Wolverines on Saturday at the Redhawk Center with a chance to make the regular season race interesting.
CBU has lost four straight league games and did not look good at all in a 71-55 loss at Utah Valley one week ago.