WAC Wednesday features four matches
WAC Wednesday arrived. Yes, it’s another busy Wednesday night for WAC Hoops. And, for all intents and purposes, it’s another night of intriguing matchups. We may be saying it too much lately. But, it seems like every game every night in the WAC matters. Or, at the very least, has big implications related to most games.
For example, in a game tonight, the only undefeated team in the WAC game wants it to continue. In another, playing the WAC game for the first time outside of Texas, another team wants to keep pace at the top of the standings. Can another WAC school land a four-game skid after starting conference play 4-1? What about the only WAC team without a conference win? Will he come on Wednesday?
Do you see how there are implications on this busy WAC Hoops Wednesday?
Let’s take a look at each game.
Tarleton at Lamar — 6 p.m. MT ESPN+
Line: Tarleton -5.5, O/U 128.5
Tarleton makes the bus trip to Center Montagne on Wednesday. The Texans are coming off a pair of home losses in which they trailed the majority of two games. This after starting the WAC game 3-1 and being the only team to beat Sam Houston so far. Freddy Hicks, Tahj Small and Montre Gipson have been consistent. But, the lack of depth and size has hurt the Texans at times. The important thing for Tarleton on Wednesday is to get off to a good start.
Tarleton found themselves down 18-10 early against CBU on Thursday. And Saturday against Seattle, the start was much better but not good enough. Lean on Gipson watch that plays like a giant. Let Freddy Hicks attack the rim because he’s a mismatch issue.
And for Lamar, well, there’s not much to say right now. The Cardinals have struggled with injury issues all season. We thought that with Davion Buster, Kasen Harrison, Jordyn Adams and CJ Roberts, this team would create problems. But, one of these four was injured, so they never saw the ground together. Buster was in a boot in the loss at Utah Valley on Saturday. Roberts was suffering from an ankle injury. So the Cardinals have had to rely on young players who fight but just don’t have the experience.
Neither team has depth, so keep an eye out for them on Wednesday night at Beaumont.
Abilene Christian at UTRGV — 6 p.m. MT ESPN+
Line: ACU -7.5, O/U 150.5
I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be an entertaining game on Wednesday night. Neither team has much size. Both teams have a stellar guard game. Both teams like to go after it defensively. And both teams love going out in transition. Abilene Christian forces 22 turnovers per game. The UTRGV is struggling to bounce back defensively. Even head coach Matt Figger acknowledged that the Vaqueros are really good at defending the first shot. But it was the second-chance opportunities that really hurt the UTRGV.
Abilene Christian holds a 3-0 series lead. The Wildcats and Vaqueros last met on Feb. 12, 1972. ACU beat UTRGV, 109-92, in Abilene. Both teams are averaging over 70 points per game. And both teams are shooting about 33% from the 3-point line. Maybe we’ll see a savage WAC shootout on Wednesday night at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.
Sam Houston at California Baptist — 8 p.m. MT ESPN+
Line: Sam Houston -1, O/U 137
Last week, Sam Houston swept New Mexico State and the Grand Canyon on home soil. Now, the Bearkats are leaving Texas State for the first time since Nov. 22 on Wednesday night. Yes, it’s been almost two months since Sam Houston left the state of Texas to play ball. And getting to the CBU Events Center is no small feat. Just ask the state of New Mexico and the Utah Valley, among others. Savion Flagg and the Bearkats are 7-1 in WAC play and are looking to stay atop the WAC standings Wednesday night to put together a big game Saturday in Seattle.
CBU is coming off a loss at Abilene Christian in which the Lancers got off to a horrible start. The big key for CBU Wednesday is Dan Akin avoiding fouls. Akin is averaging nearly a double-double for the Lancers and is a big chunk of the inside score. Taran Armstrong is still out, so the Lancers will continue to rely on Ty Rowell to be the running leader. CBU can play with anyone, especially at home. The Lancers’ last three home games have ended with two runs, two runs and seven overtime runs.
Stephen F. Austin at Seattle U — 8 p.m. MT ESPN+
Line: Seattle -2.5, O/U 142
There is a lot of hype surrounding the Seattle U Redhawks. And rightly so. The Redhawks are the WAC’s only undefeated conference team. At 15-4, Seattle U is off to its best start in 58 years. One of the best shooters in the WAC resides in the Pacific Northwest. And after then-head coach Jim Hayford resigned just before the start of the season, interim head coach Chris Victor filled the shoes well. Darrion Trammell, Cameron Tyson and Riley Grigsby form a trio that causes a lot of problems for opponents. All three are scoring in double figures led by Tyson at 16.6 ppg.
But the Redhawks’ role players also stepped up at key times. Kobe Williamson had a big second half against Tarleton on Saturday. Emeka Udenyi is a steady hand. Kyree Brown can also score the ball. And that depth may be needed in a physical battle against Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday night.
The Jacks come into play Wednesday after losing at home to New Mexico State on Saturday. SFA is a bit banged up. It remains to be seen whether Nigel Hawkins will play tonight. Latrell Jossell is still struggling with a wrist injury suffered against GCU on Thursday. So the big question is: how will the Jacks fare on the road? Wednesday is the first out-of-state Texas game since Dec. 18, when the Jacks played Kansas. Add in some travel issues and take around 14 hours to get to Seattle, and you can see the cards are a bit stacked against SFA.