Now that the Super Bowl is over, it is time to focus back on #WAChoops and the final three weeks of the regular season.
So far, it has been a fun 2021-22 season. Lots of surprises along with some upsets, teams having their best season in 40 years, great single-game performances and so forth. Been a long time since the WAC has had 7 teams in the KenPom top -150.
But that is where we are at. Two teams, New Mexico State and Seattle, sit atop the WAC standings with identical 10-2 records in WAC play. Sam Houston is a half game back. SFA and GCU are in the mix at 8-4 and Abilene Christian has won six straight.
This past week was a wild one in the WAC, especially on Saturday. If you weren’t paying attention, New Mexico State and Grand Canyon both lost on Saturday on the road in the state of Utah.
Utah Valley knocked off the Aggies 72-68 behind Fardaws Aimaq’s nation leading 21st double double and despite a golden opportunity to get back in the regular season title race, GCU couldn’t hold off pesky Dixie State in a 61-60 win for the Trailblazers at Burns Arena.
And so, the final three weeks of the regular season are going to be Wild and WACky.
So let’s talk first about the KenPom projection for the finish of the regular season. It is going to surprise a ton of people. Well, perhaps one team won’t be surprised by the projections. But there is going to be one fan base that is going to vehemently disagree with the final standings.
Just want to make a disclaimer. I only have the schools eligible for the WAC tournament in this section.
Tarleton is projected to finish 9-9 in WAC play. Dixie State is projected to finish 5-13 in WAC play.
With regard to these final projected standings, lets look at the schedules for each team. Some have more favorable schedules down the stretch including Grand Canyon which finishes with three straight home games.
Others like Utah Valley have arguably the most difficult finish playing four out of its final six games on the road including finishing up with Grand Canyon and New Mexico State.
It is going to be a wild ride over the next three weeks. Remember, the 1-2 seeds get a bye to the WAC semifinals. 3-4 get a bye to the quarterfinals. The teams who are the 7-10 seeds would have to win five games in five days to win the WAC tourney. This is why the regular season matters so much. The WAC wants to protect those higher seeds because they did more during the regular season. It’s not unreasonable to be honest. It’s the right thing to do. It just puts that much more emphasis on the regular season which is a good thing.