It is now week five of the 2022-23 regular season. And with two games on the slate on Wednesday night, it is time to take a look at the weekly power rankings.
It should come as no surprise that Seattle U and Utah Valley sit at the top of the rankings. The Redhawks continue to win. And Utah Valley’s lone conference loss came at the hands of Seattle U.
Remember, these change from week to week. And the power rankings are based off wins rather than analytics.
So, let’s get to it.
1 – Seattle U Redhawks
“All I do is win, win, win no matter what.”
Okay, so perhaps it is too early to bring out DJ Khaled’s lyrics. But, all Seattle U has done over the past month is win. The Redhawks won what could have been a trap game against Tarleton on Thursday. And then Riley Grigsby and the Redhawks put on a clinic in the second half in a win over Southern Utah on Saturday.
Chris Victor is one win from hitting 40 career wins and the Redhawks have two All-WAC performers. Add in that Alex Schumacher has been really good in replacing Darrion Trammell and the Redhawks are in a good spot.
This week is a big one for the Redhawks. Thursday night at Sam Houston and Saturday at Stephen F. Austin is not an easy road trip.
2 – Utah Valley Wolverines
While the win over a depleted GCU squad may not seem impressive, a road win at GCU Arena is always impressive. 12 teams have played at GCU Arena in 2022-23. And only two have left Phoenix with a win. Utah Valley is one of them. Le’Tre Darthard had one of his best games of the season. And Utah Valley had a 2-0 week with an impressive home win over ACU on Wednesday.
The Wolverines have a big week ahead. Utah Valley heads South on I-15 to take on Southern Utah and then the Wolverines host New Mexico State on Saturday.
— UVU Men’s Basketball (@UVUmbb) January 22, 2023
3 – Sam Houston Bearkats
The Bearkats finally broke through with a win on a Thursday this week. Sam Houston got the win over SFA in the Battle of the Piney Woods. And then the Bearkats used a big second half to pull away from UTRGV. Qua Grant is a Player of the Year candidate. And the wildcard, Cam Huefner, has to play well if the Bearkats are to keep winning. Thursday night is a big night at Johnson Coliseum with undefeated Seattle U coming to town.
4 – Southern Utah Thunderbirds
Hit 20 3-pointers one night. And then hit just one two nights later. That is kind of a wild stat. But, that is what Southern Utah did as the T-Birds split a pair of games this week. Now, coming back home, in its lone game of the week, Southern Utah has a chance at another big win. And, in order to stay in the regular season title hunt, Thursday against Utah Valley is almost a must-win for the T-Birds. Todd Simon’s group is 9-1 at the America First Events Center. And you know the AFEC will be rocking on Thursday night.
— The Western Athletic Conference (@WACsports) January 23, 2023
5 – California Baptist Lancers
Finally! Finally! Let me say it again…FINALLY! At least over the last five games, CBU has looked like the CBU squad many thought they would look like in the preseason. Thus, why they are a little higher in the power rankings.
Riley Battin has played well. Reed Nottage has shot the ball better. Joe Quintana has been really good. And the Lancers have won four of their last five. The lone loss was against Utah Valley in a game the Lancers should have won.
Rick Croy’s squad need to win a pair of road games at UT Arlington and at UTRGV. It’s a way to prove the last five games were legit.
6 – Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
After a loss at rival Sam Houston, Kyle Keller’s squad had a week off. Perhaps some rest, some recuperation, and getting ready for a big week in Nacogdoches was a good thing. The Lumberjacks host UTRGV on Wednesday night and then get league-leading Seattle U on Saturday at The Sawmill.
7 – Grand Canyon Lopes
Health is becoming a huge concern in Phoenix. Jovan Blacksher Jr. is done for the season. Josh Baker suffered a concussion against Utah Valley. And Yvan Ouedraogo is still working his way back from a wrist injury. Ray Harrison can only carry a team for so long before things go South. There is hope Ouedraogo comes back this week as the Lopes go on the road to ACU and Tarleton.
At 4-3 overall, another league loss probably knocks the Lopes out of contention for the regular season crown.
8 – Abilene Christian Wildcats
ACU got its swag back a little bit on Saturday. Damien Daniels and Airion Simmons led the Wildcats to an impressive win over UT Arlington. It was a game the Wildcats needed after getting beat up at Utah Valley on Wednesday. This week is a big week for the Wildcats as they host Grand Canyon on Thursday and Utah Tech on Saturday.
9 – Utah Tech Trailblazers
Welcome back, Cam Gooden. The Trailblazer point guard returned on Saturday after missing the previous five games due to a leg injury. And in his return, Gooden had 17 points off the bench as the Trailblazers led wire-to-wire in a win over New Mexico State. With the win over the Aggies, head coach Jon Judkins picked up his 600th career win.
The Trailblazers have a road trip to West Texas to face Tarleton on Thursday and ACU on Saturday.
— Utah Tech Men's Basketball (@UtahTechMBB) January 22, 2023
10 – UT Arlington Mavericks
Learning how to handle success is a huge key for a young team. Unfortunately, UT Arlington head coach Greg Young has a challenging job to help his guys understand that concept. After winning two straight WAC games, the Mavericks struggled, especially on the defensive end, in a double digit loss at ACU on Saturday. There is talent and ability on this Maverick squad. It’s just about handling success and not thinking you can just show up and expect a win. The Mavericks host CBU on Wednesday night in their lone game of the week.
11 – Tarleton Texans
These power rankings aren’t friendly to the Texans. There are just so many questions surrounding this team.
Which Tarleton team are we going to see night in and night out? It’s a toss up. There are so many rotations, so many different players seeing the floor and really no consistency to this team. Talent-wise, there is plenty. But, with a lack of consistency, comes a struggle to score, defend and win ball games. In a pair of games at Seattle U and at CBU this past week, Tarleton did not look like the Tarleton we have come to know.
Perhaps being back at home for a pair of games this week will change that.
12 – UTRGV Vaqueros
So close…yet, so far. UTRGV is close to moving up in the power rankings. The Vaqueros hung with Sam Houston for about 30 minutes on Saturday. But, the wheels came off as the Bearkats took advantage of a Vaquero defense that is just not good right now. At UT Arlington, it was the same situation. UTRGV can score, but the Vaqueros can’t defend. That may be the game plan, to simply play fast, score a ton of points, and hope you can slow a team down just enough to win a ball game. The problem is, when other teams defend and slow UTRGV down, UTRGV is unable to get enough stops to stay in the ball game. And this week is challenging as the Vaqueros head to Nacogdoches to face SFA on Wednesday before hosting CBU on Saturday.
13 – New Mexico State Aggies
There isn’t much to write once again in these power rankings about the Aggies. The trip to Southern Utah and Utah Tech was rather embarrassing for the defending champs. First, the Aggies gave up 20 3-pointers and 111 points to Southern Utah. And then the Aggies were a no-show on Saturday at Utah Tech in a double-digit loss. Where is the first win of WAC play going to come? The Aggies are at Utah Valley on Saturday in their lone game of the week. And it doesn’t get easier after that. The Aggies host SFA and Seattle U the following week before heading to GCU and CBU.