NCAA West Region Preview: APU the top seed, Dixie State seeded 4th as tourney starts tonight

Dixie State University vs. Western Oregon University, St. George, Utah, Nov. 25, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

AZUSA, Calif. – The Dixie State men’s basketball team begins its March Madness ride tonight. Coach Jon Judkins has led the Red Storm to its sixth consecutive 20-win season and a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Division II tournament after splitting the PacWest Season Conference Championship with Azusa Pacific.

NCAADIIfeatThe quarterfinals of the West Region begin at noon Pacific Time. The Red Storm will tip off at 5 p.m. Azusa Pacific University captured the No. 1 seed and will host the tournament. The Pacific West Conference was very strong this season and captured the top four seeds while the other two conferences (California Collegiate Athletic Association and Great Northwest Athletic Conference) split the last four seeds. Below are the pairings and team capsules.

Felix Event Center – Azusa, Calif.
Hosted by Azusa Pacific

Friday, March 13 – Quarterfinals (Pacific Time)
No. 6 Chico State vs. No. 3 California Baptist – 12:00 p.m.
No. 7 Seattle Pacific vs. No. 2 BYU-Hawaii – 2:30 p.m.
No. 5 Cal Poly Pomona vs. No. 4 Dixie State – 5 p.m.
No. 8 Western Oregon at No. 1 Azusa Pacific – 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 14 – Semifinals
No. 3/6 winner vs. No. 2/7 winner – 5 p.m.
No. 4/5 winner vs. No. 1/8 winner – 7:30 p.m.

Monday, March 16 – Regional Final
Championship game – 7 p.m.

Chico State University (22-7) vs. California Baptist University (24-6)

Chico State University Wildcats
chicostateConference: CCAA
Record against the field: 2-2
Scoring Offense: 68.8 Scoring Defense 60.5
How they got here: At-Large. Won the CCAA regular season championship. Lost conference tournament championship to No. 2 seed Cal-Poly Pomona.
Probable Starters-Robert Duncan (6’3 G, 14.0 PPG), Drew Kitchens (6’4 F, 7.2 PPG), Jordan Semple (6’7 F, 11.0), Mike Rosaroso (5’10 G, 7.5 PPG), Tanner Giddings (6’10 C, 7.6 PPG). Other Key Players- Isaiah Ellis (6’8 F,5.7 PPG), Corey Silverstrom (6’5 F, 6.0 PPG), Jordan Barton (6’6 F, 5.5 PPG), Jalen McFerren (5’10 G, 2.8 PPG).

California Baptist University Lancers
cal_baptist2Conference: PacWest
Record against the field: 4-4
Scoring Offense: 80.0 Scoring Defense: 69.2
How they got here: At-Large. Finished third in the PacWest regular season. Lost in the PacWest tournament final to No. 4 seed BYU-Hawaii.
Probable Starters-Gelaun Wheelwright (6’2 G, 16.6 PPG), Taj Spencer (6’7 F, 12.3 PPG), Michael Smith (6’4 G, 12.0 PPG), Trevone Williams (6’6 F, 7.2 PPG), Chris Brown (6’1 G, 6.3 PPG). Other Key Players-Ryan Berg (6’2 G, 12.1 PPG), Jordan Giusti (6’2 G, 5.2 PPG), Elvidas Petrulis (6’7 F, 5.5 PPG), Eric Nelson (6’7 F, 2.8 PPG)
Game Outlook: Offense versus defense. Private school versus state school. North versus South, California that is. The most interesting matchup of the day will be the game that kicks the West Region off. Both teams lost in their conference tournament finals. Though Cal Baptist finished third in the tough PacWest it was only one game back of the leaders, APU and DSU. Chico dominated the CCAA winning 14 of 15 heading into postseason play. The Wildcats will dominate in size and CalBaptist has had problems with big teams this year. If the game is close and it comes down to free throws, the advantage goes to the Lancers as Chico has lost some close games due to woeful FT shooting (65 percent).
PREDICTION: The PacWest has the top four seeds for a reason. The top five teams from the PacWest were 8-1 against the top five from the CCAA and 7-2 against the top five from the GNAC. Cal Baptist has the players, the coaching and the poise to advance. CalBaptist 75, Chico 72.

Game 2
Seattle Pacific University (23-7) vs. Brigham Young University-Hawaii (24-5)

Seattle Pacific University Falcons
seattlepacificConference: GNAC
Record against the field: 2-2
Scoring Offense: 79.0 Scoring Defense: 63.5
How they got here: Automatic. Finished second in the GNAC. Beat No. 4 seed Western Washington in the Conference final.
Probable Starters: Cory Hutsen (6’8 C, 16.1 PPG), Mitch Penner (6’5 F, 13.3 PPG), Matt Borton (6’5 F, 10.7 PPG), Riley Stockton (6’4 G, 9.8 PPG), Bryce Leavitt (6’4 G, 3.0 PPG). Other Key Players-Shawn Reid (6’4 F, 9.4 PPG), Brendan Carroll (6’4 G, 6.3 PPG), Garrett Swanson (6’6 F, 3.6 PPG), Will Parker (5’10 G, 3.5 PPG).

Brigham Young University-Hawaii Seasiders
BYU Hawaii logoConference: PacWest
Record against the field: 5-3
Scoring Offense: 88.4 Scoring Defense: 75.7
How they got here: Automatic. Finished fourth in the Pac West regular season. Beat California Baptist in the PacWest conference championship.
Probable Starters-Pablo Coro (6’3 G, 15.7 PPG), Daniel Berger (6’8 F, 13.3 PPG), Scott Friel (6’5 F, 11.9 PPG), Jordan Stone (6’10 C, 9.3 PPG), Robbie Mitchell (5’9 G, 4.7 PPG). Other Key Players-Ian Harward (C, 8.2 PPG), Luke Aston (6’7 F, 7.9 PPG), Cory Lange (G, 6.9 PPG), Tyler Tuliau (6’5 F, 4.8 PPG), Justin Yamzon (5’7 G, 4.5 PPG)
Game Outlook: Seattle Pacific is the No. 7 seed but if they don’t win their conference tournament and secure the automatic invitation they are sitting at home watching the PacWest’s No. 5 team, Point Loma Nazarene, play this game. BYU-Hawaii raised doubts with its woeful mainland play during the season. That was erased with its dominant play in the PacWest tournament. The Seasiders have been dominating inside and out and have the deepest team in the tournament. The Falcons squeaked in, but their play has been less than inspiring.
PREDICTION: BYU-H will repeat its earlier season victory over the Falcons in late November. BYU-H 87, SPU 74.

Game 3
Cal-Poly Pomona University (23-6) vs. Dixie State University (20-7)

Cal-Poly Pomona Broncos
calpolypomonaConference: CCAA
Record against the field: 2-2
Scoring Offense: 67.4 Scoring Defense: 56.3
How they got here: Automatic. Finished second in CCAA. Beat No. 1 seed Chico State in conference tournament championship.
Probable Starters-Jordan Faison (6’7 F, 13.7 PPG), Terrence Drisdom (6’5 F, 16.0 PPG), Barry Bell (6’2 G, 7.1 PPG), Daniel Rodriguez (6’1 G, 7.1 PPG), Chad Haysbert (6’8 C, 4.9 PPG). Other Key Players-Quentin Taylor (6’2 G, 5.3 PPG), Francois Tchoyi (6’5 G, 1.7 PPG), Jordan Finn (6’4 F, 4.1 PPG), Ryan Hall (6’7 F, 3.8 PPG).

Dixie State University Red Storm
dsulogoConference: PacWest
Record against the field: 3-5
Scoring Offense: 78.3 Scoring Defense: 71.6
How they got here: Co-Champions with Azusa Pacific of the PacWest. Lost in semi-finals to tournament champion BYU-Hawaii.
Probable Starters-Zach Robbins (6’10 C, 16.4 PPG), DeQuan Thompson (6’3 G, 15.3 PPG), Mason Sawyer (5’10 G, 12.6 PPG), Mark Ogden, Jr. (6’8 F, 10.9 PPG), Robbie Nielson (6’4 F, 6.0 PPG). Other Key Players-Zac Hunter (6’6 F, 5.3 PPG), Trevor Hill (6’3 G, 5.1 PPG), Collin Woods (6’2 G, 4.4 PPG)
How they got here: Gained #1 seed and first-round bye as PacWest Season Co-Champion with Azusa Pacific.
Game Outlook: The 4-5 matchup will be the closest of the day as it should be. The Red Storm had won their last nine games heading into the postseason, securing the conference season title and No. 1-seed. But they faced a hot BYU-Hawaii team bent on avenging its earlier season loss to DSU. Perhaps DSU could use similar motivation against the Broncos, who knocked out the Red Storm in last year’s tournament. They will have to slow down CCAA Player of the Year Terence Drisdom. The Broncos will have to figure out how to match up with Dixie’s size inside. Zach Robbins is the Storm’s all-time leading scorer. The CP-P defense has held opponents to less than 40 percent shooting, while Dixie shoots at a 48 percent clip, and are the top-shooting 3-point team in the region at 40 percent. If the game comes down to free throws, DSU holds the advantage 73-67 percent.

Game 4
Western Oregon University (23-6) vs. Azusa Pacific University (24-5)

Western Oregon University Wolves
rp_primary_WOU_Shield_WebConference: GNAC
Record against the field: 2-2
Scoring Offense: 79.7 Scoring Defense 69.4
How they got here: At-Large. Won the GNAC regular season. Lost to No. 4 seed Western Washington in conference semi-finals.
Probable Starters: Andy Avgi (6’6 F, 18.5 PPG), Julian Nichols (6’2 G, 12.4 PPG), Devon Alexander (6’1 G, 11.0 PPG), Jordan Wiley (6’6 F, 10.3 PPG), Lewis Thomas (6’8 F, 7.2 PPG). Other Key Players-Marwan Sarhan (6’8 C, 7.2 PPG), Adam Hastings (6’6 F, 4.7 PPG), Dezmond Dupree-Turner (6’2 G, 2.9 PPG)

Azusa Pacific University Cougars
AzusaCougarslogoConference: PacWest
Record against the field: 5-5
Scoring Offense: 84.0 Scoring Defense: 72.4
How they got here: Co-Champions of the Pac West with Dixie State University. Lost to Cal Baptist in conference semi-finals.
Probable Starters-Troy Leaf (6’1 G, 22.8 PPG), Robert Sandoval (6’0 G, 10.1 PPG), Kevin Stafford (6’3 G, 7.2 PPG), Christian Katuala (6’5 F, 6.7 PPG), Andy Jones (6’5 F, 3.8 PPG). Other Key Players-Will Ward (6’5 F, 8.4 PPG), Bruce English (6’1 G, 6.9 PPG), Jared Zoller (6’5 F, 6.4 PPG), Petar Kutlesic (6’8 F, 5.6 PPG)
Game Outlook: The Cougars will be looking to redeem its semi-final loss to Cal Baptist in the PacWest Tournament on its home floor. The Wolves almost dropped out of the Region with its semi-final loss to Western Washington. Many feel that the PacWest’s fifth team, Point Loma Nazarene, should have received the final at-large bid. PLNU had an undefeated record against non-conference regional teams, including a 64-54 win over the Wolves. WOU also lost earlier this year to APU, 81-74, on its home floor. In that game the PacWest player of the year, Troy Leaf, had 33 points on 67 percent shooting. The Cougars shoot better than any other team in the Region (50 percent). The Cougars will have to contend with the GNAC player of the year, Andy Avgi.
PREDICTION: This game will be a repeat of the Cougar’s earlier victory, only not as close. APU 84, WOU 72.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.