To provide some analysis on the non-power ranking weeks, Full Court Press will be released every other Wednesday throughout the NWAACC basketball season. In most installments for both the men and the women, FCP will include a prediction and two games of the week, as well as any interesting tidbits that happen to come to light. Now with that out of the way, dig in:
Now that they're back to full strength, it's clear that Tacoma is back to their usual selves, now having gone 3-0 in their first few league games, and moving to 10-4 over all. Instrumental in that turnaround has been their new assist leader, Josh Lord, whose 4.13 apg are good for 11th in the league. They don't have a particularly difficult week, as they will be facing the basement of the Western Region: Highline and S. Puget Sound. They won't see a real challenge until they play Clark on Jan. 19th, and even then, Tacoma should be favored in that game. Expect Tacoma to move up in next week's rankings - they'll most likely still be undefeated in league play.
Jan. 9 - No. 1 Peninsula at No. 3 Edmonds
While the game is over and done with, it's an easy pick as game of the week. The last time these two programs met, Edmonds got blown out 84-62 [box], but for one of only two losses up to that point. Edmonds picked things back up and had won four in a row coming into the latest meeting with Peninsula, and the Pirates had a streak of six victories on their side. This time around, Peninsula had no answer for Shaquielle McKissic's 31 points and Riccardo Maxwell's 27, including 14-14 from the line, and the Tritons knocked off top ranked Peninsula 104-89 [box]. Edmonds Head Coach Kyle Gray said in a post game interview that the difference was confidence. If they can keep up confidence like that, they'll go a really long ways.
Jan. 12 - No. 2 Lane at Chemeketa
Unless your head has been buried stubbornly in the sand, it's likely that you've heard of Lane's success. At 14-2 and 2-0 in region play, they're kind of... uhh... really good. Their next opponent, Chemeketa, has been somewhat forgotten because of a somewhat forgettable preseason, but they have gotten things together as of late, winning their last four games by an average of 36 points per contest. That success comes from an incredibly balanced scoring attack. Six storm players are averaging between 9-14 points per game, and Chemeketa is second in scoring with 92.6 points per game. Most likely an offensive shootout, but anything can happen.
With some of the usual Eastern Region powerhouses having somewhat of a down season, it seems that the South has stepped up for it's time in the limelight. Four of the eight ranked teams, and three of the teams in the coaches' top eight are from the south, including two of the top three in both sets of rankings. For now, it seems like the front runner for the 2013 title will be whomever wins the Southern Region, but there is still a lot of basketball left to be played.
Jan. 12th - Yakima Valley at No. 2 Walla Walla
This game doesn't have quite the same luster that it would have had in seasons past, but the Yak-Warrior match ups are always big games, no matter the record. Yakima Valley has had somewhat of a rough time since starting the preseason 4-0, but they've shown signs of life once again with a win over No. 7 Wenatchee Valley and a tough 71-69 loss [box] to No. 4 Big Bend on Jan. 9. Walla Walla, on the other hand, has been on fire all year. They haven't lost since falling to No. 5 Centralia on Nov. 17, and have already jumped out to a 13-1 record overall with two quick wins to start Eastern Region play. It's safe to say that Yakima Valley has their hands full, but a win here could easily see them in next week's rankings.
Jan. 19th - No. 1 Lane at No. 3 Clackamas
In what could easily be a finals preview, Lane will make the trip up to Oregon City to face a very experienced Clackamas squad that they struggled (relatively) with earlier in the season. In the last game, Clackamas held Lane to a season-low four point victory, falling 72-68 in easily the closest game that Lane has seen all year. For now, Clackamas is still looking to avenge their loss at home from late last season that dropped them into a second place tie with Chemeketa. Lane is looking to extend their winning streak, which sits at 16 for the moment, but could stretch to 18 with wins over No. 6 Chemeketa and SW Oregon.