Western Athletic Conference (conference rank: 21st)
All games at Las Vegas.
kPOY: Dewayne Russell, Grand Canyon
Regular season champ: Cal State Bakersfield (preseason #129 / 1st WAC, current #110)
Overachiever: Utah Valley (preseason #321, current #196)
Underachiever: Chicago State (preseason #339, current #339)
It was just two seasons ago that the WAC was ranked 31st among conferences. But things are changing. Cal State Bakersfield has put together back-to-back solid seasons under Rod Barnes. New Mexico State navigated a coaching change as well as one could expect. And potential doormats UTRGV and Utah Valley showed signs of life this season. For at least one season, the WAC has bragging rights on the Big West.
Bakersfield won the regular-season title with a 12-2 record but New Mexico State, who finished a game behind, is the highest-rated team in the league. However, it saw a 39-game WAC home winning streak snapped late in the season by Utah Valley, so the Aggies are far from invincible. But they are still the favorite, even though they’ll have to win one more game than Bakersfield to get the title.
Grand Canyon, who tied New Mexico State for second in the standings, is still transitioning to Division-I and will sit this one out for the last time.
Semis Final Champ 2 New Mexico St. 94.4 76.0 44.8 1 Cal St. Bakersfield 100 72.7 39.3 4 Utah Valley 68.7 21.4 7.9 3 UMKC 71.8 19.3 6.1 5 Seattle 31.3 5.9 1.3 6 UT Rio Grande Valley 28.2 3.5 0.5 7 Chicago St. 5.6 1.2 0.1