Checking in on the… WACPosted by rtmsf on January 1st, 2009
New Beginnings. The WAC begins league play this weekend as many of the teams are eager to put their non-conference pasts behind them and start fresh at 0-0. Overall the league sports a 66-44 record with just two remaining non-conference games on Wednesday night before opening league play on Saturday night. Utah State will host Wyoming and Nevada sports the conference’s marquee non-conference opponent when they host North Carolina in Reno.
The league is a combined 48-12 at home, 15-28 on the road and 1-5 at neutral court sites. The bottom three teams in the standings heading into conference play, Idaho, Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State are a combined 15-2 at home but just 3-17 on the road and 0-2 at neutral court sites. Conversely the top three teams in the league, Utah State, Boise State and Hawai’i are 20-3 at home, 6-3 on the road and 0-1 at neutral court sites while the middle three teams, San Jose State, Nevada and Fresno State are 13-6 at home, 6-8 on the road and 1-2 at neutral court sites.
Official WAC Player of the Week
C.J. Webster of San Jose State won the Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week honors. A junior frontcourter, Webster aided the Spartans in wins over San Francisco and William Jessup and scored 15 points in a loss to St. Mary’s. Webster scored his season-high of 20 points grabbed eight boards against USF. He produced a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds versus William Jessup. On the week, Webster’s line was 16.7 points a game and 7.7 boards a contest.
Other nominees: Boise State’s Anthony Thomas, Sylvester Seay of Fresno State, Hawai’i's Roderick Flemings, Jahmar Young of New Mexico State and Utah State’s Tai Wesley.
Boise State (9-3). The Broncos closed out their non-conference schedule with a victory over Eastern Washington by a final score 57-48 in Boise. The Broncos open up league play with a trip to Hawai’i on January 3. The Broncos hold the league’s second longest win streak at three games.
Fresno State (7-7). Coming off an 84-65 loss to Creighton, the Bulldogs made it much closer but also fell to St. Louis, 56-52. Then it was a home match against Cal Poly and a freshman who had been averaging 2.8 points per game led the Bulldogs to a 90-87 victory. Newcomer Bryce Cartwright scored 20 points, tops on the team, from the point position and Fresno State pulled out the win in a game the Dogs trailed for much of the time. The Bulldogs begin league action, hosting New Mexico State on Saturday, January 3.
Hawaii (8-4). The Rainbow Warriors beat UC Riverside 56-46 at home despite shooting 38% and committing 19 turnovers. Then came Colorado State as part of the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu and the wheels came off. The Rams took a 74-58 victory as Bob Nash’s squad shot 38% again with 18 turnovers. Hawaii point Kareem Nototo secured the most unusual line of the night in that game: six points, six assists and six turnovers only to break the string with seven boards. But the next game summarized the topsy turvy Rainbow Warrior season — a 73-47 swamping of George Washington where Hawaii held the Colonials to 30% shooting from the floor and an even more miserable 11% from long distance. Hawaii host Boise State on Saturday, January 3 and then Louisiana Tech Monday, January 5 to open conference play.
Idaho (6-7). An in-state rivalry game went sour at the end as Idaho fell 61-59 to Idaho State in Pocatello. The Vandals led by 10 points with five minutes remaining and by two along with possession of the ball and just 24 seconds left. Four Idaho turnovers in the last four minutes aided the defeat. League play begins at Nevada on Saturday, January 3 and then in Logan against Utah State on Monday, January 5.
Louisiana Tech (6-7). The Bulldogs closed out their non-conference with a trip to Los Angeles to face the UCLA Bruins. The outcome was a 78-55 loss. The Bulldogs got 17 points from Magnum Rolle and 11 from Kyle Gibson but a 20 point deficit at halftime was too much to for the Bulldogs to overcome, though they did play UCLA tough in the second half getting outscored just 41-38. The Bulldogs open up league play on the road traveling to San Jose to take on the Spartans on Saturday, January 3 before venturing to Honolulu to take on the Warriors on Monday, January 5.
Nevada. Nevada nabbed a 68-63 homecourt win over Idaho State despite only six points from Armon Johnson on just 3-12 shooting overall, 0-4 from three-point range. Next up: North Carolina in Reno on New Year’s Eve!!! Idaho follows North Carolina to Reno on Saturday, January 3 in conference action. Here’s some freaky numbers for you: Junior Brandon Fields shot 3-10 from the floor against Idaho State, including 0-3 from long distance. In the previous game, Fields shot 4-11 overall and again 0-3 from three-point range versus Cal. Against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the contest prior to traveling to Berkeley, Fields shot a better 7-11 for the game but again went 0-3 on his trey attempts. Take it to the bank that someone in either Reno or Vegas or both, will have a betting line for Fields to again attempt less than three, three or more than three three-pointers against the Tar Heels.
New Mexico State (6-7). The Aggies split their final two non-conference games as they defeated a woefully bad Loyola Marymount (0-14) team on December 28. They then got a shot at redemption when they took on in-state rival New Mexico in the rematch from just a week earlier. The Aggies trailed most of the game before grabbing a three point lead with just over five minutes remaining. NMSU was unable to hold off New Mexico and were swept in the season series for the first time since 2004. The Aggies open up league play on Saturday, January 3 as they travel to Fresno to take on the Bulldogs and super freshman Paul George and company. Then on Monday, January 5 they’ll face San Jose State in San Jose.
San Jose State (6-4). The Spartans went on the road and battled St. Mary’s evenly — it was tied 36 up at the half — but an early second half Patrick Mills hot streak gave the Gaels a lead they would never relinquish as Randy Bennett’s team won 87-78. Newly eligible Adrian Oliver led SJSU with 22 points, 20 in the second half. In the game, St. Mary’s shot 33 free throws to just 16 from San Jose State. Then came a match with NAIA member William Jessup and an 82-61 breather was the result. Senior Tim Pierce is now the San Jose State career record holder for 3-points baskets made — breaking Michael Quinney’s old record of 123. Louisiana Tech followed by New Mexico State come to San Jose on Saturday, January 3 and Monday, January 5 respectively.
Utah State (11-1). The Aggies remain the class of the league at 9-1 as they overcame a sluggish start to defeat Houston Baptist 94-77 on December 30. They’ll face Wyoming on New Year’s Eve in the second game of the Gossner Foods Duel in the Desert in Logan, UT. The Aggies will kick off league play on Monday, January 5 when they host Idaho. Utah State is a perfect 6-0 at home, 4-0 on the road and 0-1 at neutral court sites.
Best win and worst losses for each WAC team
Best win: 75-72 road win over San Diego December 22
Worst loss: A December 10 94-56 road loss to BYU
Best win: 66-64 December 6 in Stockton against Pacific
Worst loss: 80-56 on the road November 22 versus San Diego State
Best win: 60-59 over Iowa State November 34 in Honolulu
Worst loss: December 27 74-58 loss at home to Colorado State
Best win: 101-47 home stomping of UC Irvine on November 28
Worst loss: 66-59 loss on the road to South Carolina State
Best win: 72-67 win over Texas Christian on December 22
Worst loss: November 27 61-46 loss to Seattle in Alaska
Best win: 79-71 victory over Oregon State November 22 in Reno
Worst loss: November 26 67-59 loss at home to Pacific or possibly 63-61 road loss to Portland on November 29
New Mexico State
Best win: 90-78 victory over UTEP in Las Cruces on December 14
Worst loss: 84-69 December 20 to UTEP in El Paso
Just look at the home and road point differentials.
San Jose State
Best win: December 8 56-52 win in and against San Diego
Worst loss: 47-46 loss at Presbyterian November 24
Best win: 66-64 against Utah December 22 in Logan
Worst loss: the only USU one is a 68-63 December 6 loss to BYU in Salt Lake City which doesn’t qualify as worst.
Upcoming Games of Interest:
- Wed., Jan. 31 – North Carolina at Nevada – 7:00 P.M. PT
- Sat., Jan. 3 – Louisiana Tech at San Jose State – 5:30 P.M. PT
- Sat., Jan. 3 – Idaho at Nevada – 7:00 P.M. PT
- Sat., Jan. 3 – New Mexico State at Fresno State – 7:00 P.M. PT
- Sat., Jan. 3 – Boise State at Hawai’i – 5:30 P.M. HT
- Mon., Jan. 5 – Idaho at Utah State – 7:00 P.M. MT
- Mon., Jan. 5 – Louisiana Tech at Hawai’i – 7:00 P.M. HT
- Mon., Jan. 5 – New Mexico State at San Jose State – 7:00 P.M. PT
1. Utah State (11-1)
2. Boise State (9-3)
3. Hawai’i (8-4)
4. San Jose State (6-4)
5. Nevada (7-5)
6. Fresno State (7-7)
7. Idaho (6-7)
8. Louisiana Tech (6-7)
9. New Mexico State (6-7)