Chicago State has struggled to a 2-6 record and a 335 ranking on Pomeroy, but some of the other teams in the Great West are starting to play some decent basketball. Just last night the conference got two key victories.
First Utah Valley took out Pac-10 conference member Oregon State, 70-68. It was the Wolverines' third win in a row, but the other two were against non-Division I schools. They now have two more winnable games coming up against Sacramento State and UMKC.
But Utah Valley isn't even the highest rate team in the Great West according to Pomeroy. That would be South Dakota. The Coyotes have three victories as well, including one last night over Wyoming, and some reasonable efforts against major conference competition. Their close losses include one by 8 against Nebraska and another by 13 against Marquette.
South Dakota went to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament last season as the Great West Conference's representative, but they lost in the first round to Creighton, 89-78. Still, it appears the Coyotes are going to be the team to beat in the league again.
That said, this isn't going to be an easy conference for anyone. Every team plays hard on its home court - just look at Northwestern's escape of Texas Pan-American earlier this season. The Cougars will get an opportunity to flex their home muscle on Saturday when Southern Illinois comes to the Jones Convocation Center.
Just one GWC team has yet to secure a win. That'd be Houston Baptist, which had the unenviable task of going to the Great Alaska Shootout. Unfortunately that ended up in a loss to host Alaska-Anchorage (a Division II school). The Huskies are currently 0-6 and things don't look good for a victory until conference play begins.
Still, it looks like we're headed to a fun season in the conference.
Current Great West Standings:
- Utah Valley - 3-3
- South Dakota - 3-4
- North Dakota - 2-3
- Texas Pan-American - 2-6
- Chicago State - 2-6
- N.J.I.T. - 1-4
- Houston Baptist - 0-6