COMMENTARY — Going into the final few games left for the teams of the PacWest Conference, there is still room to maneuver for conference seeding (and resultant byes) and more importantly, possible invitations to the Division II Big Dance. Here is a team-by-team breakdown of the top seven teams:
Cal Baptist (22-1, 16-1 PacWest): Games Remaining-Hawaii Pacific (H), Point Loma (A) Dixie State (A). Quality wins-Dominican, Dixie State, Point Loma, Azusa Pacific, Chaminade, Hawaii Pacific, BYU-Hawaii. Bad losses-None. Currently ranked No. 8 in the nation and three games up on second-place Dixie State with only three games to go. Translation — assured at least a tie for season conference title champion and has locked in a first round bye at PacWest Conference Tournament. All games are against quality teams, though HPU has played miserably on the mainland. Despite a weak non-conference schedule and a favorable conference schedule (CBU only had to play Dominican, Chaminade and BYU-H each one time) CBU is a lock to be invited to the NCAAs with or without Pac West tournament title.
Dixie State (19-4, 13-4 PacWest): Games Remaining-Dominican (A), Academy of Art (A), Cal Baptist (H). Quality wins-UNLV, Seattle Pacific, Point Loma, Azusa Pacific (2), Chaminade (2), BYU-Hawaii. Bad losses-None. The big game left on the Red Storm’s schedule is Dominican. Dixie is one game up on the Penguins but lost to them earlier in the year. Another loss would give the second seed and tournament bye to them, assuming Dominican wins out against AAU and NDNU, two of the weaker teams in the conference. If Dixie beats Dominican, it will have a two game lead going into the final two games. The Red Storm should also be a lock to be invited to the NCAAs with or without winning conference tournament.
Dominican (18-7, 12-5 PacWest): Games Remaining-Dixie State (H), Academy of Art (H), Notre Dame de Namur (A). Quality wins-Azusa Pacific, Point Loma (2), Chaminade, Dixie State. Bad losses-None. Dominican needs to win against Dixie State. They beat the Red Storm on Dixie’s home floor but will have to face them at home without leading scorer Devin Golston, out for the season for knee injury suffered February 5. Dominican must either secure the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament or have a good showing to keep in the NCAA selection committee’s sights.
Chaminade (13-11, 10-6 PacWest): Games Remaining-Notre Dame de Namur (H), Holy Names (H), BYU-Hawaii (H), Fresno Pacific (H). Quality wins-Hawaii Pacific (2), Dominican, BYU-Hawaii. Bad Losses-None. The Silverswords have lost 5 of their last six to drop from second to fourth in the standings. Their remaining four games are at home but two of them are against BYU-H and an improved Fresno Pacific. If Chaminade can run the table on their remaining home games, and have a good showing at the conference tournament, they will merit high NCAA consideration.
BYU-Hawaii (12-11, 10-7 PacWest): Games Remaining-Fresno Pacific (H), Holy Names (H), Chaminade (A). Quality wins-Dominican, Point Loma, Azusa Pacific, Hawaii Pacific. Bad losses-Notre Dame de Namur, Central Washington. The Seasiders can still eke into a top four seed but they will have to win the conference tournament to be considered for a bid to the NCAAs.
Azusa Pacific (13-9, 9-7 PacWest): Games Remaining-UH-Hilo (H), Point Loma (H), Academy of Art (A), Holy Names (A). Quality wins-Dominican, Point Loma, Cal Baptist, Chaminade, BYU-Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific. Bad losses-Notre Dame de Namur. The Cougars should win their remaining games but will still need to win the conference tournament to get a bid to the NCAAs.
Point Loma (15-9, 10-8 PacWest): Games Remaining-Azusa Pacific (A), Cal Baptist (H). Quality wins-BYU-Hawaii, Dixie State, Chaminade, Hawaii Pacific. Bad losses-Academy of Art. Point Loma has two tough games remaining, both rematches against teams that beat them earlier in the season. The Sea Lions will also have to win the conference tournament to get the automatic bid to the NCAAs.
Darren Cole is a sports columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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