GSC Week in Review – December 4

I thought I’d start doing this on Sundays, since there are usually no games then. It’s a great time to look back at what happened this week in the world of Division-II basketball. Of course, it has nothing to do with the fact that my fantasy football team isn’t in contention or that I am putting off working on the paper I have to finish. Nothing at all.

Here are the teams, ranked this week strictly by winning percentage.

1. Central Arkansas (4-0)

Last week (11/27 through 12/3):
11/29 W 68-53 vs. Central Baptist (rated a 19 on my scale)

This week (12/4 through 12/10):
12/5 vs. North Alabama (44)
12/7 vs. Arkansas Baptist (22)
12/10 vs. Lyon (22)

UCA is the only remaining undefeated team in the GSC West, but they didn’t have to do a lot last week to stay that way. Their offense was still hit-or-miss (85 rating vs. CBC), but their defense was spectacular (70). This week, they get two more easy games, but they have to face a tough North Alabama team on Monday. That should be an interesting game, especially since UNA played us here last night.

2. Harding (5-1)

Last week:
11/29 W 71-65 vs. Alabama-Huntsville (43)
12/2 W 93-76 vs. Philander Smith (19)
12/3 W 99-92 vs. North Alabama (44)

This week:
12/5 vs. Arkansas Baptist (22)
12/8 vs. Central Baptist (19)
12/10 at Northwestern State (59)

We had two close wins against GSC East teams from Alabama this week, so I’m not disappointed with a 3-1 in-region record at this point. Those were our last region games (the games that decide who goes to the NCAA Tournament) until conference play. Last night’s victory was very impressive, in terms of how the players battled with a tough opponent. UNA is the only team that has beaten preseason GSC West #1 team Delta State, so they are a solid team. This week, we host two smaller Arkansas schools before traveling to Natchitoches, Louisiana to face D-I Northwestern State. Hopefully the defense can get on track like the offense has been; the D’s 118 rating against UNA was by far the worst of our six games this year, while the offense scored its’ second 120+ outing.

3. Delta State (4-1)

Last week:
11/29 L 89-95 at North Alabama (44)

This week:
12/5 vs. Tougaloo (16)
12/10 vs. Arkansas Baptist (22)

Delta State has really only played two decent opponents, and has only beaten one of them. This past week, North Alabama knocked them off in Florence to give the Statesmen their first loss. The schedule for this week is easy, so I fully expect two more dominating wins against lesser opposition, which will serve no purpose but to confuse me further about this team’s talent. I think Coach Steve Rives is trying to get these guys working together and build some confidence before taking on the conference next month. DSU’s ratings have been excellent, second only to UAM in terms of net efficiency, but it remains to be seen how the Statesmen will fare against solid opponents.

4. Arkansas Tech (4-1)

Last week:
11/30 W 97-89 vs. Arkansas Baptist (22)
12/3 W 61-58 vs. Northeastern State (Oklahoma) (37)

This week:
12/7 vs. Rhema (14)
12/10 vs. University of the Ozarks (30)

The Wonder Boys continued their hot start, at least from a won-loss record standpoint, by beating Arkansas Baptist and Northeastern State, the latter being a D-II foe. Their defense is still porous at times, but at least the offense has been on track. I expect that to change once the conference season starts, and maybe even sooner. After two relatively easy games this week, the Wonder Boys will have three D-II opponents at home and then a game at Colorado State before starting the conference season.

5. Arkansas-Monticell0 (3-1)

Last week:
11/30 W 90-65 vs. Philander Smith (19)

This week:
12/7 at Philander Smith (19)

This isn’t exactly the toughest stretch for the Boll Weevils, but they have already beaten two good D-II teams, and they have a murderous stretch ahead, with games against Dayton, Cincinnati, LSU, and UC-Irvine looming around the corner. They are a good team, and it’s likely that they will be better after the holiday season. UAM has been more efficient than any GSC West team so far this year, with a net rating of 25.0 and a slightly easier than average schedule to date. This week may not be that eventful for them, but stay tuned for those D-I results.

6. Ouachita Baptist (5-4)

Last week:
11/29 W 81-76 vs. Arkansas Baptist (22)
12/2 W 74-67 vs. Missouri Western (50)
12/3 L 57-61 vs. Nova Southeastern (35)

This week:
12/6 vs. Williams Baptist (17)

The Tigers have struggled this year most of the time, but the win over Missouri Western was impressive. I’d say they’re doing about what was expected of them to start the season. Given these results, I wouldn’t expect them to win many GSC road games or make the conference tournament, at least not without some big improvements. They’ve had struggles on both ends of the floor despite playing slightly weaker than average opposition. This week, they will face Williams Baptist at home, and it should be an easy victory.

7. Henderson State (2-2)

Last week:
11/29 W 50-48 at Oakland City (Indiana) (25)

This week:
12/5 at West Alabama (34)

Thanks to HSU’s poor website (and Oakland City’s, I guess), I really have no idea what happened in their game this week other than the final score. The Reddies have struggled against 3 solid D-II programs in their other games, but we probably need a few more game results to say anything conclusive about their play this season. They’ll play at GSC East foe West Alabama this week for their only game.

8. Christian Brothers (3-3)

Last week:
11/28 W 86-81 at West Alabama (34)
12/1 L 83-94 at North Alabama (44)

This week:
12/7 vs. Crichton (24)
12/10 vs. LeMoyne-Owen (38)

Christian Brothers has played two solid teams (one very good) and four decent teams, coming away with three wins. This past week, they defeated a below-average West Alabama team but lost to a fairly strong UNA team. Offensively, the Buccaneers have been about average, but they have been easily the worst defensive team in the division so far, rating a 106. I would expect a split this week to keep CBU at .500.

9. Southern Arkansas (2-4)

Last week:
11/29 L 63-71 vs. Texas A&M-Commerce (52)

This week:
12/7 at West Alabama (34)

SAU has played some tough opponents, so 2-4 really is not terrible. Rather, this is about where the Muleriders need to be. They are still a young team, and a fairly talented one as well. Their net efficiency is actually positive, which is a very good sign. I still expect this team to play well in the conference this year, although I don’t anticipate a playoff berth just yet. A win over West Alabama would be great for them this week, since they will face Tulsa a week from today.

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