Seeding implications
Tim Fuller and Utah Valley head to Tarleton on Thursday night looking to stay atop the WAC standings. Courtesy UVU Athletics.

Seeding on the Line on Busy Thursday of WAC Hoops

The 2022-23 regular season is winding down. With that notion comes the understand that every night, seeding for WAC Vegas is on the line. Thursday night is a busy one around the WAC with four games on the slate. This comes one night after a double overtime thriller between SFA and ACU.

There are seeding implications in all four games. Utah Valley and Sam Houston are trying to get a firm grip on the 1-2 seeds. Utah Tech and UT Arlington are battling for the 11-12 seeds. CBU and SUU are trying to get key road wins. Tarleton is trying to play spoiler. It is all part of the race to WAC Vegas. Four games are left for most teams. GCU and Seattle U play on Friday in one of the final three games for each team.

So, let’s get to the Thursday slate with seeding implications on the line.

Utah Tech at UTRGV – 6:30 p.m. CT ESPN+

This is a big one in terms of seeding for the WAC Tournament. UTRGV sits at 10 in the resume seeding system. Utah Tech sits at 11 in the seeding system. The teams are separated by .76 points. A win by Utah Tech would most likely boost the Trailblazers ahead of the Vaqueros.

UTRGV played a non-DI team this week to fill the void left by New Mexico State. However, the Vaqueros are fresh off a road win at GCU where Daylen Williams hit the game-winning shot with 1.4 seconds to play. The shot came after Williams pulled down the offensive board off Justin Johnson’s miss.

Utah Tech battled with Southern Utah on Friday before falling short in the rivalry game. The Trailblazers actually beat the Vaqueros back on Dec. 29 in the WAC opener for both teams.

Thursday night at UTRGV Fieldhouse could be a high-scoring affair as both teams like to get out in transition. Both teams are loaded with really good guards. So, this battle may come down to which big man has the better game: Tanner Christensen or Dima Zdor? Keep an eye on it.

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California Baptist at Sam Houston – 6:30 p.m. CT ESPN+

Another game with seeding implications on this Thursday night. For Sam Houston, a chance to stay in the mix for the top seed at WAC Vegas. In the case of CBU, a chance to stay in the 8-spot and possibly have a chance to move up to the 7-spot with a win and a Tarleton loss. It is also an opportunity for a Quad 1 win for the Lancers.

So, which CBU team do we get on Thursday night? Is it the one that looked lifeless in a 71-55 loss at Utah Valley? Or, is it the team that jumped out to a 22-2 lead on Seattle in a 21-point win over the Redhawks? That will be the question of the night heading into this matchup in Huntsville.

Jason Hooten’s squad can defend. There is no question of that. But, as it has been presented at times throughout 2022-23, the Bearkats offense isn’t always clicking. So, which Bearkat offense shows up on Thursday night? The Bearkats have won three straight since a road loss at UT Arlington. At 10-4 in WAC play, Sam Houston is still in the mix for the regular season title. The Bearkats are also very much in the race for the 1-seed, just one point behind Utah Valley.

As you can see, seeding implications are high in this East Texas matchup.

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Southern Utah at UT Arlington – 7 p.m. CT ESPN+

Chevy Blackburn gave us a brief preview of tonight’s ball game between the T-Birds and Mavericks. Seeding implications for this game are really for SUU. The T-Birds currently sit third in the resume seeding system. A win will solidify that position with a huge game on Saturday at Sam Houston. Also, the T-birds are still in the mix for the regular season title if they can get some help.

For UTA, the Mavs just need to continue to shoot the ball well from the perimeter. In the two games under Snoop Johnson, UTA has hit 10 and 11 3-pointers, respectively. UTA will have to score on Thursday night to keep pace with Southern Utah.

Utah Valley at Tarleton – 7 p.m. CT ESPN+

Here is the fourth game of the night with seeding implications. Utah Valley is trying to stay atop the rankings. Tarleton is in the mix to move up to the 6-seed. It is Tahj Small’s return to his former stomping grounds. For two seasons, Small was a starter for the Texans. Now, in the green and white, Small is hoping his Wolverines can stay red hot.

Utah Valley has won 18 of its last 20 games. The Wolverines are currently 6-0 in the month of February. And most bracketology has the Wolverines in the NCAA Tournament as a 12 or 13-seed. Two wins and Utah Valley can clinch a share of the WAC regular season title.

Tarleton, in its first season of eligibility for the WAC Tournament, has had its fair share of ups and downs. However, the Texans have been able to play spoiler a bit this season. The Texans have lost just one home game at Wisdom Gym. Tarleton has lost three of its last four with two of those three losses coming on the road. The Texans have two games left in the regular season with Utah Valley on Thursday and at UTRGV on Saturday.

Keep an eye on the pace of this game. Tarleton likes to create chaos, slow things down, and put a ton of pressure on the perimeter. Will that impact the game enough to make Aziz Bandaogo a non-factor?


About the author

Kyle McDonald

Love everything about WAC Hoops so decided I wanted to write more about it and cover this amazing conference that just keeps getting better. Follow us on Twitter @wachoopsdigest for information, game analysis and much more.

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