Power rankings
Trey Woodbury and Utah Valley are on the road in Texas this week. Courtesy Jay Drowns/UVU Marketing

WAC Hoops MBB Power Rankings as of Jan. 3, 2023

I will be the first to admit that these weekly power rankings write-ups are to gain some traffic to the website. We already have the WAC standings and the resumé seeding system. So, why do we need another article with subjective content?

For starters, these power rankings are not based on analytics. Some platforms love analytics. And some basketball gurus use them in every write-up they put out. That is fine. But, I throw analytics out the door when it comes to power rankings. They don’t tell the whole story. These power rankings are based off performance. Wins and losses. Playing on the road versus playing at home. Those kinds of things. Margin of victory is also on the menu.

And, just a reminder, these rankings change WEEKLY. They will be put out every Tuesday night from now until the end of the regular season.

With that being said, let’s get right to it.

1 – Utah Valley

The Wolverines have won eight straight games since losing at Boise State on Nov. 26. This includes a 16-point win over Sam Houston tip off WAC play. In fact, only two of the eight wins have been by less than 10 points. The Wolverines beat Utah Tech on Saturday to improve to 2-0 in WAC play. Now, Utah Valley heads to Texas to take on UT Arlington on Thursday and UTRGV on Saturday.

2 – Southern Utah

A road win to begin your first year in the WAC? Yep, that is right up Todd Simon’s alley. WAC Player of the Week Tevian Jones scored 15 first-half points in Las Cruces as the T-Birds knocked off the defending champs. Three nights later, the T-birds had a bit of luck in an overtime win over UTRGV in Cedar City. Tevian Jones is a Player of the Year candidate. And SUU won its first two WAC games with a shorthanded roster. The T-Birds are at Tarleton and at ACU this week.

3 – Stephen F. Austin

Talk about a depleted roster. Have you seen what head coach Kyle Keller has had to deal with thus far? Well, even with that adversity, the Jacks are 2-0 in WAC play. One of those two wins came on the road at UT Arlington on Saturday. The Jacks have won 12 straight WAC regular season games dating back to Jan. 26, 2022. Can they make it 13 when they host New Mexico State on Wednesday?

4 – Sam Houston

Let me explain for those wondering. First, the reason for Sam Houston coming in at four. They lost at Utah Valley and did not play real well in Orem. Second, the reason they are ahead of GCU…because the Bearkats did something that GCU has never done…..the Bearkats won in Las Cruces at the Pan Am. That road win put the Bearkats back into the top-25 in the NET. And Sam Houston led wire-to-wire in the win double digit win over the Aggies.

5 – Grand Canyon

The Lopes are 1-0 in WAC play and it came against a reeling CBU squad at home. In fact, the Lopes led by just three with five minutes to go. Fortunately, an 11-0 run put some distance between the Lopes and Lancers last Thursday in the WAC opener. Is GCU for real? Well, Thursday night in Huntsville, the world is going to find out.

6 – Seattle U

Again, we haven’t really gotten a feel of Seattle U, yet. Sure, the Redhawks beat CBU on Saturday. But, can they hang with the big boys? If you remember, the Redhawks started WAC play 8-0 last season before losses at GCU and at New Mexico State. We may know more when the Redhawks finish a Texas road trip this week. Seattle U is at UTRGV on Thursday and at UT Arlington on Saturday.

7 – Abilene Christian

The Wildcats got a win over Tarleton on Saturday. And on Thursday in the WAC opener, Ali Dibba showed us what he could do with 19 points and nine rebounds. Consistency is the name of the game. Can the Wildcats score enough, especially when there is a size disadvantage to keep up with the top tier of the WAC? The Wildcats are off until Saturday when they host Southern Utah at Moody Coliseum.

8 – Utah Tech

Let’s hope that Cam Gooden is not out for a significant amount of time. Gooden’s absence is a big loss for Jon Judkins and the Trailblazers. But, they still have pieces in place to make a run at a wide open WAC. Isaiah Pope is playing well. 6-10 Idaho transfer Tanner Christensen is a beast in the paint. And the Trailblazers have role players filling those roles really well. Utah Tech heads to Riverside to take on CBU in a rematch of last year’s thriller at the CBU Events Center.

9 – Tarleton

Jakorie Smith was back against UT Arlington in the Texans win over the Mavs in the WAC opener. But, Smith did not play on Saturday against ACU. The Texans need Smith and Freddy Hicks back at 100 percent if they are going to make more noise in a loaded WAC. Tiger Booker has been really good in the first two WAC games. And Lue Williams is averaging right around 15 points in his first two WAC games, as well.

10 – California Baptist

The only reason CBU is ahead of New Mexico State in these power rankings is because the Lancers played two road games to open WAC play. Otherwise, CBU could be sitting at 11. The Lancers have struggled thus far. Offensive efficiency, scoring points, and finishing games have been a struggle. There was a lot of hype surrounding the program in the offseason. Now, there is work to do in Riverside.

11 – New Mexico State

Let’s just put it this way: as of now, the Pan Am Center is no long intimidating because teams know they can win in Las Cruces. Sorry to be blunt about that. But, SUU went in with a depleted roster and beat the Aggies at the Pan Am. Three nights later, Sam Houston led wire-to-wire at the Pan Am in the second straight WAC home loss for the Aggies. That hasn’t happened since 2009. Can the Aggies figure it out on the road at SFA on Wednesday night?

12 – UTRGV

The Vaqueros had a chance to pick up a huge road win on Saturday. But, a late turnover led to overtime and the Vaqueros couldn’t keep up with SUU in the extra period. Justin Johnson and Will Johnston are dynamite. Can the Vaqueros find a third scorer? UTRGV has an opportunity on Thursday when the Vaqueros host Seattle U.

13 – UT Arlington

The physicality is there. Defensively, the Mavs are one of the best in the league. Shemar Wilson is one of the best big men in the league. But, can the Mavs score enough to win ball games? It remains to be seen. And on Thursday, the Mavs get one of the highest scoring teams in the WAC in Utah Valley. Greg Young’s squad is close. And it is just a matter of time when they get over the hump in these power rankings.

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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