This will be a short one as I try to prepare a list of the top teams in the region. The first regional rankings will be out tomorrow (the same rankings that determine who goes to the NCAA Tournament, so they’re fairly important), and I’m going to weigh in on my best guesses about the top 15 or so teams in the region. In the meantime, here’s a quick recap of last night’s GSC games.
Delta State 77, Southern Arkansas 62
No surprise here, the Statesmen are clearly the best team in the division, and they rolled over a somewhat hot Mulerider team in this one. Jasper Johnson and the other DSU big men dominated the offensive glass, and SAU had some trouble shooting the ball, which added up to a cruise-control victory. Johnson had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and now it’s not even close behind him for the best PER in the conference at a ridiculous 33.28 rating (35.64 if you don’t account for DSU’s schedule). For a comparison, the best NBA player in a given season typically isn’t over twice as productive as the average player. PER is scaled to 15.0, so Johnson is about 2.3x better than the average GSC West player right now, which is phenomenal.
Ouachita Baptist 52, Arkansas Tech 49
Chalk another one up to Arkansas Tech’s inflated non-conference record, which is being deflated steadily as the conference games heat up. Rone Smith was his usual effective self for the Wonder Boys, but turnovers plagued the rest of the team, and OBU shot just well enough to overcome them in this painfully slow-paced game. If it hadn’t been close, I might actually feel sorry for the fans in Russellville for having to watch such an uneventful game.
Henderson State 53, Christian Brothers 48
This game was just as slow and uneventful as the previous one, but at least the home team got to celebrate the outcome in Arkadelphia. Kevin Weybright played one of his worst games of the season, committing five turnovers for the Bucs, and Harding fans can only hope that carries over into Thursday’s game. Ryan Johnson was surprisingly effective for the Reddies, as was Dedric Spooner in his mysterious return. I’d love to say so much more about the Reddies’ interesting team now, but I suppose I’ll save that for the Harding game preview next week.
Central Arkansas 70, Harding 69
Clearly a disappointing home loss for the Bisons.
Computer: 1-3 (11-9 overall)
Me: 2-2 (12-8 overall)
Team with higher net efficiency entering the game: 3-1 (14-6 overall, and maybe I should stop picking against this)
Team with better record: 2-2 (11-9 overall)
Home team: 2-2 (9-11 overall)