NWAACC Men's BasketballWith the third men's coaches poll set to come out on Dec. 14, I decided to take a stab at ranking the teams myself. Coaches rankings are in italics next to each team's record.
1. Spokane (8-0) - #1 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 2
Spokane is the only NWAACC program to have defeated the mighty North Idaho College team that has dominated the rest of the Northwest League thus far. Looking at the overall stats, nothing seems to jump out. They're average in nearly every statistical category until you get to blocks, where they average 5.13 and even that is only good enough for second place. Be that as it may, the Sasquatch have shown up in every game, knocking off North Idaho 70-67 and Yakima Valley 91-85.
2. Peninsula (4-1) - #3 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 1
Behind their stellar new transfer from Wake Forrest, J.T. Terell, Peninsula fared well against nearly every opponent that they've faced, with their only loss being a 102-73 drubbing by North Idaho College. Putting that behind them, Peninsula should look to make a run at another NWAACC title, should things pan out with their new star.
3. Yakima Valley (5-2) - #9 Coaches
Previous Ranking: NR
YVCC's only losses have come by the hands of North Idaho (sound familiar?) and No. 1 Spokane. They are the only team to average more blocks per game than Spokane. While YVCC hasn't defeated any of the teams ranked in the top eight (other than 0-4 Highline), they've knocked off several teams on the fringe including Shoreline and Mt. Hood.
4. Bellevue (5-0) - #2 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 3
While Bellevue's undefeated record may look impressive, they've padded their season so far with two fluff wins over S. Puget Sound and a victory over unranked Linn-Benton. The two wins on their resume worth taking into account are against Clackamas (ranked No. 6 at the time) and then No. 9 Whatcom, handing Whatcom their only loss of the season. If Bellevue can survive the rest of the preseason, their road to the tournament may be paved, given that the North has been weak thus far.
5. Walla Walla (5-2) - #6 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 5
A loss to North Idaho College isn't beginning to look all that bad, and if that was the Warrior's only loss, it might be fairly impressive. However, they did lose to a rather average 5-4 Mt. Hood team. Walla Walla's biggest win is easy their victory over then No. 3 Clackamas in which they held the Cougars to their lowest point total in over 15 seasons.
6. Tacoma (4-1) - #4 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 4
Tacoma entered the season ranked No. 2, and started off 3-0 before falling 79-70 to then No. 3 Clackamas. Like several other teams ranked in the top eight, Tacoma hasn't played hardly anyone, with their schedule being just slightly better than .500.
7. Whatcom (5-1) - #5 Coaches
Previous Ranking: NR
Whatcom's opponents haven't been all that impressive, but the way they've won has been. With the exception of a double overtime win over then No. 7 Highline and a 83-78 loss to then No. 6 Bellevue, Whatcom has won by an average of 13.8 points per game including wins of 25 and 21.
8. Clackamas (4-3) - #10 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 6
Clackamas looked fantastic starting out the season, coming in ranked No. 3 and starting off 3-0, including an impressive 79-70 victory over then No. 2 Tacoma. Since then, Clackamas has been dismal, setting consecutive offensive lows in Head Coach Cliff Wegner's tenure of 53 vs Walla Walla and 52 vs. Clark.