By Gregory Crawford--- TV, Print and Radio Basketball Analyst--- on twitter @wchoops @crawssportsbiz @kcsportsmgmt
Crawford's Best Nine---- Each Sunday, we bring you the nine best teams from the six D-1 leagues that play out west. Those leagues are, Mt. West, Big West, WAC, Big Sky, Pac-12 and West Coast Conference. Many teams could qualify, but we have broken it down, per usual we always do things in 9s, out of respect for the great game of golf. Here we go.
9. Sacramento State 5-1 11-6---- Perhaps playing the best basketball in the Big Sky, with a great weekend sweep over two talented teams, Idaho and Eastern Washington.
8. UC Davis 4-0 14-3-----Easily the class at present of the Big West. Jim Les has brought the Aggie program to a new level.
7. Wyoming 5-1 16-3--- One of the best seasons ever for Cowboy men's basketball.
6. Utah 4-1 16-2---- Many were looking for a better performance from the Utes on Saturday at Arizona, but it did not happen, still one fine Pac-12 team.
5. Stanford 4-1 13-4----The Cardinal make the Pac-12 2014-15 season really interesting, big non-league game win this past weekend over Connecticut.
4. San Diego State 4-1 14-4---- Steve Fisher is one of the 5 best coaches in all of college basketball and his Aztecs are rolling, have won 7 of 8 and a big road win over Wyoming this past week.
3. St. Mary's 7-0 15-3---- Showdown game this week at Gonzaga, Randy Bennett does nothing but win games at St. Mary's.
2. Gonzaga 7-0 18-1---- Still a strong pick of mine to advance to the Final Four, without question this is the deepest team Mark Few has had in Spokane.
1. Arizona 4-1 16-2---- The Wildcats move to number 1 in Crawford's Best Nine, big statement win this past weekend over a tough Utah team, plus the only team this year to beat Gonzaga.
Crawford's NWAC Women's Power Rankings---- Every Sunday, we bring you Crawford's NWAC Sports Women's power rankings. NWAC Sports women's teams play a great brand of basketball, there are 32 teams in the league, which encompass four regions of community colleges. Greg Crawford On Basketball is the leading media source for both NWAC men's and women's basketball. Here we go and as usual, we do everything in 9s, out of respect for the great game of golf.
9. Blue Mountain
6. Columbia Basin
5. Lower Columbia
3. Walla Walla
Wayne Tinkle---- Another example of why Wayne Tinkle, head men's coach at Oregon State is a terrific basketball coach. The Beavers lost a tough game on Thursday night in Seattle to Washington and also lost a a terrific player in Victor Robbins, as Robbins was suspended this past week for 10 games, due to a violation of the Oregon State athletic code.
It would have been easy for the Beavers to go into Pullman last night and get creamed by Washington State, who just happened to be one of the hottest teams on the west coast, coming off a huge overtime win on Thursday over Oregon.
But, wait just a second, the Beavers destroyed the Cougars, moving their Pac-12 record to 3-2 and 12-5 overall. It gets better, as most people know, the Beavers have a top 25 recruiting class coming in for the 2015-16 season.
My take on all of this. If the Beavers can keep Wayne Tinkle in Corvallis for the next 10 years, they will not only make an appearance in the NCAA tournament often, they will make a Final Four, where despite their storied history prior to 1990, they have only been to one Final Four and have not been to the NCAA tournament since 1990.
Cascade Collegiate Conference---- This is the best NAIA men's basketball league in country and it is having one great race for the top spot this year, so important to finish first and host all playoff games if your team keeps winning.
This Friday in Portland, Oregon, there will be a big showdown game at Warner Pacific, as Concordia comes calling. Both teams are tied for the league lead, along with Southern Oregon and College of Idaho. Get there early, but get there to see this game, as it will be standing room only.
Portland State---- Speaking of standing room only, that was the case last night in Portland, Oregon at the Stott Center, for the Idaho/Portland State game. The crowd was bolstered by a strong turnout of Idaho fans, but equally as important was a huge turnout of Portland State students.
I have argued for years, that every game should be sold out at the Stott Center, as it seats only 1,500 people at best.
Jon Spoelstra is considered universally as the best sports marketer ever, his many great books including "Marketing Outrageously, Redux", are and have been forever popular and it is Jon who always says building a strong college basketball fan base, starts with the students. Now Portland State must keep up the momentum and bring those students back for their next home stand against Montana and Montana State to close out January.
more of Gregory's blogs--- http://crawfordsgolfdaily.blogspot.com (sports biz and golf, 360 days per year)