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12/16/2011 8:17 PM (edited)

Matchups for Season 50:

Special Week 3 Pre-Conference Challenge Sneak Peak Game
W. Alabama (2-0) at CSU Chico (1-1)
Preview: The Chico Wildcats, fresh off landing the 16-ranked recruiting class in the country, play host to the West Alabama Tigers on December 13. Since neither team is playing another interconference team this season, we have added this matchup to our official slate of Conference Challenge games as a special 'sneak preview.'

Chico, with 5 postseason appearances in 9 seasons under jrnyfan's leadership, boasts a youthful squad that will get big minutes right away. Despite a campus culture that values the fine art of blunt-rolling more than the fine art of pick-and-rolling, this Wildcat club has clear eyes and full hearts. This is a team that looks to be fully rebuilt at the PG position, and since jrnyfan was born and raised in south Detroit, he knows a thing or two about rebuilding engines. 

"Our pre-game song in the locker room is 'Only the Young' by a band called Journey," said head coach, jrnyfan. "We've welcomed the youngsters to this program with 'open arms'...we'll take our lumps early in the season but as guys learn the offense and mature a bit, we'll start to see some dividends for our hard work." 

West Alabama is not to be confused with their big brothers from Tuscaloosa, but this is a team ready to play ball this season. 2nd-year head coach smokindavis might sound like a better match to coach Chico, but he's already made himself right at home in Livingston, AL. Having won only 14 games the previous two seasons, smokin' guided the Tigers to 14 wins last season alone. Expect this ballclub to approach 20 wins this year and use their veteran players to take control of this Conference Challenge matchup. 

"The guys on this team have really responded to the high expectations I've set for them," says smokindavis in between drags off his non-filtered Pall Mall, as he lounged behind his majestic, oak-trimmed office desk. "Right away last season we transitioned to a high-pressure, fastbreak offense predicated on good defense and strong court vision. Guys are really buying into how this approach can help us be successful."

Players to Watch: For Chico, freshmen Louie Gaines (10.5 ppg, 1.5 spg) and Bobby Griffin (9.5 ppg, 12.5 rpg). For W. Alabama, PG Ariel Costa (28 ppg), Benjamin Corley (16 ppg) and Michael Lehoux (13 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 4 apg).  


December 17 games
#8 St. Mary's (TX) (5-1) at #9 San Bernadino (6-0)
Preview: A battle of Top 10 teams highlights the Conference Challenge schedule. St. Mary's comes in with a veteran, battle-tested squad. After back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances, is this the year that St. Mary's pushes through to its first-ever Final 4? After four straight home games, with a respectable one-point loss to New Haven as the only blemish along the way, this will be the first true road test of the young season for mottnj's club.

"I've asked our guys to leave their cowboy boots and their spurs at home," said Coach mottnj. "These fancy people in Los Angeles won't understand our unsophisticated Texas way of life. Our pressing defense is sophisticated, however -- we call it the boot-scootin-boogie full court press. We're going to try and force turnovers which should create some good scoring opportunities."

San Bernandino counters with a savvy veteran squad as well. cradaddy, in his 3rd year as head coach, has already led this squad to back-to-back NT appearances. This team looks ready to make a deep tournament run and a big win over St. Mary's would polish up the postseason resume for sure.

"This is a nice test for our guys. St. Mary's really knows how to score, so we're going to have to work hard on the defensive end of things," said cradaddy in the CCAA-Heartland press conference call. "We're expecting a big crowd for this one, and I hope our home court advantage tips things in our favor."

Players to Watch: For St. Mary's, Paul Kronenberg (17 ppg, 6 rpg), Ben Thompson (15 ppg, 6.5 rpg), and Neal Reeves (11 ppg, 4.5 apg, 2 spg). For San Bernandino, Desmond Cook (17.5 ppg, 5 apg, 2.2 spg). 

Vegas Says...St. Mary's 78, San Bernadino 72

Lincoln (2-4) at CSU Los Angeles (4-2)
Preview: This game also pits two experienced squads on the campus of a CCAA team. Lincoln boasts a team of seniors and freshmen effectively mixing and matching on the court. Lincoln has suffered through some close losses, and after the last loss, a spanking by local rival UMSL, the seniors decided to partake in some good ol' fashioned hazing of the freshmen. Starting PG Anthony Morgan got a wedgie. C Matt Swim got thrown in the campus pool and was told to swim laps, while SGs Lawrence Armstrong and William Ervin had to ask out the ugliest girls on campus - twins Marissa and Melissa Tomajinski. Freshman PF Dicky Dulin ran back to his dorm room before he could get his hazing treatment.

"I've never seen anything like that in my life," said Dicky Dulin. "Back in Box Elder, Montana, I've seen goats on our farm do some pretty strange things. But nothing like that. And why was it so funny to ask out Melissa Tomajinski? She's a purty girl."

"I don't know what your'e talking about," said coach z0601. "We do positive team-building activities every year. I don't know of any hazing. Our guys are ready to play, and our head cheerleaders - the Tomajinski twins - are ready to cheer our guys to victory."

CSU Los Angeles, not to be confused with the hit TV show NCIS Los Angeles, has made the NT in six of the past seven seasons. dirtycajun's squad looks like prime contenders for another NT berth this year. His recruiting efforts, bolstered by the CSULAid program, which guarantees drugs and, ahem, "favors" to top recruits has been a big hit in the Los Angeles area, despite the repeated protests of CCAA coaches and campus feminist rights groups.

"I've never heard of this CSULAid program that you're talking about," said dirtycajun. "By the way, did you hear about that hazing incident at Lincoln? Sounds pretty bad."

Players to Watch: Justin Anderson (14 ppg and 4.5 apg) and Thomas Lamaster (7 ppg and 6 rpg). For CSU-LA, Ed Kessler (17 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.2 spg, and 1.5 bpg) and William Wells (6 ppg and 6 rpg) off the bench.

Vegas Says...CSU Los Angeles 70 Lincoln 61

UC-Davis (2-4) at Valdosta State (3-3)
Preview: Heavy PRB took over Davis last season and immediately led them to their most wins in 16 seasons. This program looks to continue its rebuild with another successful campaign this season. Although only 2-4 thus far, the non-conference schedule is one of the most difficult in the country and it'll pay dividends down the road in conference play. The starters consist mostly of SIM holdovers but the IQs are high and the dedication is there. Can he pull off the upset on the road?

"Our guys wanted a challenge this season and we've given them one," says a surprisingly slim Heavy PRB. "We knew this would be a tough road but we've got some fighters on this team. Don't count us out of this one."

Valdosta State counters with a balanced squad under the leadership of new coach rstumpf. This team has enjoyed some recent success, including a trip to the PI Final Four last season, and could easily be 5-1 at this point in the season. 

"This is our first home game of the season," said rstumpf just after he finished another round of golf at the Valdosta Country Club. "The campus is buzzing with excitement for this game. We expect the game to sell out and really give us an advantage. Our guys are pumped."

Players to Watch: For Davis, Thomas Barr (12.5 ppg, 2.5 spg, 56% FG) and Alvin Munquia (12.2 ppg). For Valdosta State, local hero George Garrier (14 ppg and 3 apg) and Brad Davis (6 ppg and 8.5 rpg).

Vegas Says...Valdosta State 62, UC-Davis 48

#6 N. Alabama (6-0) at Sonoma State (1-5)
Preview: robinhood has put together a fine squad for this season and comes into this contest as the highest ranked team in the challenge. This one looks to be lopsided on the surface, but don't count out the excellent coaching ability of inbayside and the home court advantage that he'll have in this contest.

Five straight postseason appearances for North Alabama frames a season of great expectations in Florence. With veteran talent returning and a strong mix of up-and-comers, this team shows no obvious weaknesses on either side of the floor.

"Our guys are focused and ready for this trip to wine country," said robinhood. "Our captains have done a fine job of setting proper expectations for the trip and the season, and I expect us to come out ready to play tomorrow night."

Sonoma State has worked in a strong sophomore class into the lineup and will use the fastbreak to counter N. Alabama's tight triangle offense. Expect to see Sonoma State try to use home court advantage for an early lead.

"We've taken our lumps early on, but our guys are resilient and we're learning each and every game," said inbayside. "These are the types of games that we'll need to get used to in order to have a successful future."

Players to Watch: For N. Alabama, Thomas Cope (18 ppg, 4.7 apg and 1.7 spg) and Nathan Brooks (12ppg, 6.5 rp, and 55% FG). For Sonoma State, sophomore Patrick Terry (10 ppg) and Mikey Bator (10 ppg, 4 rpg).

Vegas Says...N. Alabama 82, Sonoma State 60

Drury (1-5) at CSU Bakersfield (1-5)
Preview: An interesting matchup here of two teams that are off to unusually slow starts. The Drury team has suffered through some distractions early on, including the Occupy Drury movement and a mass refund of season tickets. Legendary coach alblack, with 11 straight NT appearances and a championship appearance last year, is rebuilding with fresh talent. Is this the year that the NT streak ends? Bet on al to turn this around and make a run to the NT again.

"I think the most disappointing part of the season is that my mom is really upset with me," said al. "She's demanded a refund on her season tickets, and to make matters worse, Marv the 80-year-old security guard is now sleeping on our couch. Doesn't he know that's where I sleep?"

Bakersfield is always in contention for a postseason bid and has battled close games all year. This squad doesn't pass up shots - contested or not - and never saw a three-pointer it didn't like. This one looks to be a barn-burner.

"I don't know," said head coach fhop0123. "I heard al's mom is traveling with the team on this trip. Her pre-game speeches are legendary, so we'll need to counter with a special guest speaker of our own. I'm thinking of inviting Betty White."

Players to Watch: For Drury, Harland Goering (7.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg) and William Gosselin (14 ppg, 1.3 spg).  For Bakersfield, Craig Walden (17 ppg) and Rick Leland (7 ppg, 8 rpg).

Vegas Says...Bakersfield 58, Drury 57

#12 Poly Pomona (5-1) at Incarnate Word (6-0)
Preview: Another evenly matched, fascinating contest in our inaugural CCAA-Heartland Conference Challenge. Pomona has escaped with some pretty tight wins this season, and their only loss is to #3 ranked New Haven. The Broncos start just two seniors and has only three seniors on the roster. Incarnate Word counters with a squad of six recruited freshmen and only one senior. Ryrun isn't scared of challenging his young squad and has posted four road wins already this season. They are knocking on the door of the top 25 and a win here would likely push them to a national ranking.

"Yes we are young but our upperclassmen have done a tremendous job of putting the freshmen in a position to be successful," said ryrun, who in his 6th season already has a Sweet 16 and an Elite 8 appearance. "We're not asking them to win games for us."

"We have our hands full with this game," said wolf44, whose squad has been to the NT in 5 of the past 7 seasons. "It'll be a good barometer of where we stand nationally. I'm excited about this matchup. I'm glad ryrun wanted this game."

Players to Watch: For Pomona, 5th-year senior Paul Kimbro (15 ppg and 3.8 apg) and sophomore William Tyner (8.5 ppg, 6 rpg). For Incarnate Word, senior Mark Sims (22 ppg) and sophomore Doug Patenaude (13 ppg and 7 rpg).

Vegas Says...Pomona 71, Incarnate Word 67

San Francisco State (3-3) at W. Florida (4-2)
Preview: SF State and coach kevin73 are still riding the glory recruits of syhwang's national championship team of three seasons ago. But kevin73 led them to the Elite 8 last season and has brought in some solid recruits of his own. This squad looks poised for another deep run in the NT. West Florida could very easily be undefeated at this point in the season and counters with a young and talented squad that can play with anyone. Their balanced attack makes it difficult for any team to focus on stopping just one player. Anyone can put up 15 points on a given night.

"I like where we are right now," says kevin73. "I expect us to finish strong with our non-conference schedule. This team should just get better as the season goes on."

"I have a lot of respect for San Francisco State," said skinzfan36. "They know how to win, and this is a true test for our guys. Given that San Francisco must fly across the country to play us, we're hopeful that the time change and quick turn around gives us the slight advantage."

Players to Watch: For SF State, senior pre-season All-American Trent Yang (24.5 ppg, 3 apg, 2 spg) and junior William Dunn (13 ppg and 6 rpg). For West Florida, senior Charles Graf (9 ppg and 6 rpg) and Edgardo "The Italian Stallion" Mancini (11 ppg, 4 apg).

Vegas Says...SF State 70, W. Florida 69

Rockhurst (5-1) at UC San Diego (4-2)
Preview: Several tight wins to open the season have given Rockhurst a strong start to the season. The juniors on this team have seen three coaches in three seasons, and the behavioral issues that have come to the surface with this class have damaged the relationship that options4 has with them. Can this team win with a disgruntled group of juniors? Sure looks like it so far.

"I've stepped in and given our juniors strong leadership positions and playing time right away. We need them if we want to be successful this season," said first-year taskmaster Coach options4. "I understand their hesitation to buy into my coaching style, but I'm in this for the long haul. Together we will accomplish great things."

UC-San Diego has been up and down under head coach ericmill16's tutelage. An influx of new talent last season, combined with big playing time for those youngsters, appears to be paying dividends this season. The last four games of the non-conference schedule are tough, so we'll see what this team is made of starting tonight with Rockhurst.

Players to Watch: Juniors Dicky Fairman (11 ppg), John Benson (11 ppg, 3 rpg), and Steven Clemons (7 ppg, 10 rpg, 2 bpg) for Rockhurst. For San Diego, Josh Tarvor (17 ppg, 7 rpg), Roy Wilson (14 ppg, 6 apg) and Harold Larson (12 ppg, 4 rpg, 57% from three-point range).

Vegas Says...UC-San Diego 68, Rockhurst 58

Oklahoma Panhandle State (0-6) at Dominguez Hills (4-2)
Preview: OPSU deceives with its 0-6 record. They have played one of the toughest schedules thus far and feature a young roster that continues to improve with each game. therewas47, in his second season as head coach, was left with the proverbial "bare cupboard" and has had to rebuild this program from the ground up. Certainly that hard work as paid off, as this team features a group of freshmen that are as talented as any in the conference.

"We've had to start from scratch out here, but I'm proud of the improvements we've made," said therewas47. "This team is built for the future, but maybe the future starts now."

The Hills has enjoyed five straight seasons of postseason berths, and is coming off its first 20-win campaign in nearly 25 seasons. This is a program in transition, however, as last season's talented senior class has graduated and the program is left with primarily juniors and freshmen to continue building a tradition of excellence.

"We are excited to be a part of this inaugural conference challenge," said simpleton. "Oklahoma Panhandle is a quality team and we'll need to play well to beat them. Like we've done all season, I'll ask our guys to just go out and play ball and have fun. Our guys have responded well to those instructions, and I'm expecting more of the same tonight."

Players to Watch: For OPSU, senior Anthony Chapman (12 ppg) and freshman John Bullard (4 ppg, 5 rpg, 75% FG). For The Hills, senior Randy Campbell (10 ppg, 6 rpg) and junior Sam Amado (8 ppg, 9 rpg).

Vegas Says...The Hills 64, OPSU 61

St. Edwards (4-2) at Stanislaus (4-2)
Preview: gopokes24 has sent his team to the postseason every year that he's been head coach, and this year should be no different. A balanced attack across the board, St. Edwards's only two losses this season were at the hands of ranked programs. A team featuring no seniors and a lot of young talent, expect to hear the name "St. Edwards" frequently this year and in the years to come. 

"I'm proud to be a part of this institution and to work with these quality young men," said gopokes24. "They are a pleasure to coach, and I'm excited to see what we can accomplish this season."

Stanislaus is under new leadership with luthien217 at the helm, and already they've won more games this year than the past two years. With luthien's attention to detail and gameplanning, coupled with his ability to recruit quality student-athletes, this is a program that looks to be on the rise in a very big way.

"The previous coach sucked," said luthien. "I had to practically start over. The seniors were excited to have a real coach come on board, and they've responded really well. It'll be sad to see them go but they aren't great D-II players anyway. I need my own players. Guys who know how to play ball."

Players to Watch: For St. Edwards, Robert Chamberlain (13 ppg, 6 rpg) and Phil Guthrie (10 ppg, 4 rpg). For Stanislaus, Frank Sadoski (15 ppg, 4 rpg) and Ken Hornbuckle (12 ppg, 6 rpg, 56% FG).

Vegas Says...St. Edwards 68, Stanislaus 56

12/17/2011 2:48 PM (edited)
W Alabama 72 at Chico 62
Recap: Trailing for much of the 1st half, W. Alabama outscored Chico 22-9 for the last 6:30 of the 1st half to take a 2-point lead into the locker room. The Tigers would never relinquish that lead and methodically pulled away in the 2nd half to post the first win of the CCAA-Heartland Conference Challenge. The bench strength was impressive in this one, as Ben Corley scored 17 points in 14 minutes for W. Alabama, while Keith Murry scored 15 points in 16 minutes for Chico. Ariel Costa paced W. Alabama with 14 points, 3 boards, 3 assists, and 4 steals for Player of the Game honors. Ray Howse had 13 points and 11 boards. For Chico, John Gallagher went 6-of-9 from the field for 14 points and 5 boards.

#8 St. Mary's (TX) 71 at #9 San Bernardino 73
Recap: This matchup of top 10 teams did not disappoint. St. Mary's led for much of the way, but San Bernardino mounted a comeback in the 2nd half and took control with under 10 remaining. However, St. Mary's held the Coyotes scoreless for a 4-minute span at the end of the game to give themselves a puncher's chance. Ben Thompson's last-second heave fell short giving San Bernardino the two-point victory. Thompson ended up with 16 pts and 11 boards, while Paul Kronenberg led all scorers with 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting. The Coyotes put four players in double figures with three of them chipping in 13 points. Ryan Robinson, with 13 points, 4 assists and 2 steals took player of the game honors. Desmond Cook had 12 points. 4 boards, and 8 assists.

Lincoln 49
 at CSU Los Angeles 56
Recap: LA built a big second half lead and held on late for the seven point win. The inside game was just too much as Ed Kessler paced LA with 19 points, while Justin Anderson had 21 points for Lincoln. No word yet on if the rumors of Kessler's arrest after the game are true.

UC-Davis 55 at Valdosta State 88
Recap: rstumpf was able to empty the bench early in this laugher on the beautiful campus of Valdosta State. The Blazers had five players in double figures, and were led by Ronald Benevides' 12 points and 13 boards. Thomas Barr had 17 points but 7 turnovers for Davis.

#6 N. Alabama 94 at Sonoma State 88
Recap: We saw a fast-paced contest up in Wine Country, as Sonoma State battled back from a 19-point halftime deficit to make this one a game. Thomas Cope had 30 points on 8-of-20 shooting from downtown, but also had 9 turnovers and no assists. Strangely, the guys on press row gave him player of the game. James Hunsaker had 20 points and 8 boards for N. Alabama. The Seawolves had all five starters in double figures, and were led by SF Michael Bator's 23 points and 9 boards.

Drury 66 at CSU Bakersfield 53
Recap: alblack showed by you can never count out his team with this strong road win at Bakersfield. al's mom provided the inspiration and William Gosselin provided the offense with 23 points while Harland Goering had 16 pts and 6 rebounds. Bakersfield, who only shot 28% from three-point range, was led by Stevie Jaimes' 13 points. 

#12 Poly Pomona 66 at Incarnate Word 58 - OT
Recap: In our only overtime game of the Challenge, Incarnate Word got a late basket by Mark Simms to force overtime, but Pomona used its great depth to pull away in overtime. Four players were in double figures for Pomona, led by fifth-year senior Paul Kimbro's 16 points and 6 assists. Incarnate Word's Doug Patenaude had 15 points and 12 rebounds, Mark Simms poured in 21 points. 

San Francisco State 76 at W. Florida 54
Recap: The jetlag proved to be a non-factor for SF State as they opened with an 11-2 run and never trailed in the game. Pre-season All-American Trent Yang had 21 points, 6 boards, 6 assists, and 2 steals for the Gators, who move to 4-3 on the season. William Dunn had 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting. For W. Florida, the beatdown was particularly tough on Edgard "The Italian Stallion" Mancini, who broke down in tears after the game and called his mom via skype. He was held to 4 points and his 5 turnovers were most in the game. Those Europeans are emotional.

Rockhurst 67 at UC San Diego 66
Recap: Two three-pointers in the last 8 seconds weren't enough for UC-San Diego as they lose a tight one to visiting Rockhurst. Jamie Jackson had 19 points for Rockhurst, who turned the ball over only 8 times on the night. Steven Clemons added 11 points and 8 rebounds for the Hawks. For San Diego, a 50% FG shooting night for the squad still couldn't lead to glory in the Challenge. Josh Tarvor had 14 points and 9 boards, and the bench showed flashes of excellence in limited work (4-5 FG, 4-4 FT, 10 assists, 2 TOs).

Oklahoma Panhandle State 70 at Dominguez Hills 81
Recap: The Hills overcame foul trouble to both starting guards in a convincing win over visiting OPSU. Joseph Price needed to play important minutes off the bench for The Hills, and he responded with 16 points, 4 boards, and 4 assists - earning player of the game in the process. Senior Randy Campbell pitched in a team-high 17 points. Star OPSU guard Anthony Chapman, from nearby Lynwood, Calif, contributed a game-high 21 points in front of his family and his fiance, Chaniqua Cortez, who he hadn't seen in two months. He didn't appear to have his legs for most of the game, and OPSU supporters in the crowd wondered if it was because he was "out late" with Chaniqua the previous night.

#23 St. Edwards 72 at Stanislaus 44
Recap: St. Edwards entered the top-25 with a decisive victory over rebuilding Stanislaus. The Hilltoppers jumped out to a 25-6 lead after 10 minutes and coasted the rest of the way. This was an impressive victory, as St. Edwards turned the ball over only 7 times on the night, compared to 18 assists and they shot 54% from the field. Chis Smith had 15 points and 7 boards in the balanced Hilltopper attack. Stanislaus was led by Frank Sadoski's 10 points and 5 boards. 

2/4/2012 3:22 PM (edited)
Official Season 51 Conference Challenge Matchups

10 great games highlight this season's second annual CCAA-Heartland Conference Challenge. Previews below...

Drury (4-2) at Dominguez Hills (3-3)
Preview:
After an uncharacteristic down year, alblack has his Drury squad back in full force. Only a 43% FG shooting team, this team’s calling card is its strong effort on the defensive end of the court.

“We can’t throw the ball in the ocean this year,” said alblack. “Of course, we’re in the middle of Missouri so the ocean isn’t too close to us. Maybe we’ll have better luck in Los Angeles.”

When the press corrected alblack to let him know that The Hills is actually in Compton, he raised an eyebrow.

“Really? We didn’t know that the campus was actually in Compton. Can we move this game to a neutral court somewhere over in Pasadena or something?”

Coming off its best season in school history – 24 wins and a trip to the sweet 16 – The Hills are off to a disappointing start. A pre-season #20 ranking and 9 returners gave the Hillbillies – the raucous student section – plenty to be hopeful about this season. Can this team make a late non-conference push before the brutal conference schedule begins? Don’t count on it against a strong hall of fame coach at Drury.

“We’ll need to take care of the basketball and keep our starters out of foul trouble,” said head coach simpleton. “We’re going to need our best effort to compete tomorrow night.”

Players to Watch: Kate Goseelin’s younger brother William Gosselin (15.5 ppg) and junior William Korth (10 ppg, 6 rpg) for Drury. For The Hills, Matthew Barajas (15.7 ppg, 4 apg) and senior Sam Amada (7 ppg, 6 rpg)

Vegas Says: Drury 67, The Hills 61


San Francisco St (1-5) at St. Mary's (TX) (4-2)
Preview: SFSU is off to a disappointing start, including two OT losses, and relies on senior William Dunn to carry much of the load on offense. Head coach kevin73 has had good success in his first two seasons at SFSU – an elite 8 appearance his first year and a PI appearance last year – but he’s had a rough go of it thus far.

“We need to do a better job of taking care of the ball,” said kevin73. “We have a lot of respect for St. Mary’s. Our guys will be focuses and ready to go tomorrow.”

St. Mary’s has enjoyed three straight sweet 16 appearances under mottnj’s leadership. This year’s squad features a plethora of excellent juniors, proving that once again this team is built for the long haul.


“We put together a difficult schedule to start the year,” said mottnj. “I’m pleased with where we are as a program. The campus is excited for this Challenge contest at our place. Tickets are going for upwards of $7 on craigslist!”

Players to Watch: For SFSU, William Dunn (25 ppg) and Peter McCourt (11 ppg, 7 rpg). For St. Mary’s, junior Steve Washington (17 ppg) and senior Derek Dyer (16 ppg).

Vegas Says: St. Mary’s 75, SFSU 58

Cal San Diego (4-2) at W. Alabama (3-3)
Preview: Coach ericmill puts the strongest UCSD team he’s ever had on the floor for this Conference Challenge matchup. A balanced, veteran attack has this squad ready for a good postseason run. But first this squad needs to get past a very good West Alabama team.

“I’m very pleased with our start,” said head coach ercimill. “And our seniors are showing strong leadership.”

The West Alabama Kissin’ Cousins are still trying to find consistency under third-year head coach smokindavis. An up-and-down season could once again trend “up” with a strong showing at home against UC-San Diego. The Kissin’ Cousins are 3-3, all games at home.

“Our guys like to sleep in their own beds,” said smokindavis. “I find that they get a better night’s sleep and really come out fresh if we’re at home.”

Players to Watch: For UCSD, seniors Josh Tarvor (17 ppg, 7 rpg) and Scott Cobb (13 ppg, 4 apg). For W. Alabama, PG Ben Corley (27 ppg) and Ruben Gehrke (12.5 ppg, 10 rpg).

Vegas Says: UC-San Diego 67, W. Alabama 60

#17 N. Alabama (5-1) at San Bernardino (3-3)
Preview: robinhood continues to build an elite powerhouse at N. Alabama. This squad features a nice blend of veterans and youth, and certainly looks to challenge for a Heartland title this season. With an athletic frontcourt and a speedy backcourt, this squad might be the best team, top to bottom, in the Challenge. These road warriors, quite the opposite of their fellow Alabama conference mates, have been on the road for every game this season.

“Our guys like to sleep around,” said robinhood. “Lay your head in a new bed, every night, is our motto.”

cradaddy has built his San Bernardino squad into an A- prestige team in no time, and last year’s team won more games than any other San Bernardino team in the past 37 seasons. These fellow road warriors have already seen two OT games this season. Will tonight be a third?

“We like how we match up with N. Alabama,” said big daddy cray cray. “Hopefully the home court advantage will tip things in our favor.”

Players to Watch: For N. Alabama, Louie Zhuang (17 ppg) and Kevin Wilkins (10.5 ppg and 9 rpg). For San Bernardino, Ryan Robinson (22 ppg) and Rene Rossi (10 ppg, 7 apg).

Vegas Says: San Bernardino 82, N. Alabama 81 OT

Cal Bakersfield (3-3) at #5 St. Edwards (6-0)
Preview: Bakersfield has the very tall task of facing the highest ranked team in the Challenge, in St. Edwards. The Bakersfield squad features 4 seniors among the starting 5, and their experience will be necessary to stick with the talented St. Edwards squad.

“This is a big challenge for our team,” said fhop. “Our boys will get to see what a top team looks like, and playing them on the road makes it even tougher. We’re looking forward to it.”

The St. Edwards squad from Austin, Tex. looks built for a deep tournament run this season. This talented unit is shooting nearly 50% from the field, as a team, and is averaging nearly 72 points per game. This veteran squad features 9 juniors and seniors among the regular rotation.

“It’s such an honor to be a part of this challenge,” said gopokes. “Our place will be rockin’ for this one and our guys are fired up.”

Players to Watch: For Bakersfield, seniors Craig Walden (15 ppg) and Fred Graham (10 ppg, 9 rpg). For St. Edwards, senior Robert Chamberlain – a relative of Wilt – at 16 ppg and senior Chris Smith (10 ppg).

Vegas Says: St. Edwards 75, Bakersfield 55

Cal Poly Pomona (0-6) at Lincoln (3-3)
Preview: Rough start for Pomona but there’s talent on this team and the squad has been difficult. This is a good matchup for Pomona since Lincoln boasts an incredibly young squad.

“Our team hasn’t lost faith in the system or in each other,” said wolf in the pre-Challenge presser. “We’re still focused on the long-term, which is competing for a conference championship this season.”

Lincoln has smartly taken it pretty easy on the youngsters thus far, playing a schedule that has some SIMs and a few strong human teams. They have won three of four at home, so this homecourt matchup with Pomona sets them up for success in the Challenge.

Players to Watch: For Pomona, senior Greg Peasley (15 ppg) and junior reserve William Tyner (13.5 ppg). For Lincoln, sophomore Dicky Dulin (12 ppg, 12.5 rpg) and sophomore Anthony Morgan (15 ppg).

Vegas Says: Pomona 63, Lincoln 62 OT

Cal Davis (3-3) at Oklahoma Panhandle St. (2-4)

Preview: This UC-Davis squad is still digging out of ‘simness’ and no doubt Heavy_PRB has them on the right track. With a squad still featuring 4 SIM seniors, heavy’s got them a .500 and gaining respectability in the CCAA quickly.

“Listen, no disrespect to simmy, but we were starting from scratch,” said heavy. “The proverbial cupboard was bare, but we’re starting to fill it. we expect to win a few games this year.”

Therewas47’s OPSU program is light on defense and heavy on the offense. The Runnin’ Panhandlers are scoring nearly 85 ppg and giving up a whopping 95. The Davis-Panhandle game will be an exciting one no doubt.

“We’ll run out guys out there in waves and try to wear down our opponents,” said therewas. “The matchup with Davis will be fun for the fans.”

Players to Watch: For Davis, four players average double figures, led by Thomas Barr at 13 ppg. For OPSU, junior Allen Puckett averages 15.5 ppg and 13 rpg while sophomore PG David Green averages 9 ppg and 5 apg.

Vegas Says: Davis 92, OPSU 88

Incarnate Word (5-1) at #22 CSU Los Angeles (5-1)

Preview: Very nice matchup here between two excellent programs. Incarnate Word’s won 5 straight while CSU-LA has climbed to as high as #10 in the national rankings before its first loss a couple of games ago.

Incarnate Word has only one senior and relies on a mix of juniors and sophomores for the majority of its scoring. “We still growing and learning but I couldn’t be more pleased with the direction of this team,” said ryrun, now in his 7th season at Incarnate Word.

The dirtycajun’s got his Los Angeles team humming once again. He’s led them to 10 20-win seasons in his tenure and this squad looks just as good as his previous teams. This team features veterans in the starting slot and mostly youngsters in the backup role, a formula that’s clearly worked for dirty in the past.

“I’m very happy with our defensive effort this season,” said dirty. “If we can continue to play tough, physical defense and outrebound our opponent, good things will happen for us.”

Players to Watch: For Incarnate Word, Doug Patenaude (14 ppg and 7 rpg) and Wade Long (12 ppg, 5.5 rpg). For Los Angeles, senior Michael Bennett (19 ppg) and senior Willie Wells (9 ppg, 10 rpg).

Vegas Says: CSU-Los Angeles 78, Incarnate Word 69

Montevallo (3-3) at CSU Stanislaus (3-3)
Preview: knuckledrag’s Montevallo squad relies on big minutes – and contributions – from the starters. Losers of three of their past four contests, the Falcons have several close losses that make their .500 record deceive. This is a dangerous team.

Stanislaus also comes in with a .500 record and has played three OT games already, winning two of them. Winners of their past three, Stanislaus features a roster of players from 10 different states, a rarity in the CCAA.

Players to Watch: For Montevallo, Dana Johnson (18 ppg) and Scott Osorio (8 ppg, 7 rpg). For Stanislaus, Lance Carabello (18 ppg) and Kenneth Hornbuckle (13 ppg, 6 rpg).

Vegas Says: Stanislaus 66, Montevallo 60 OT

Grand Canyon (3-3) at #9 W. Florida (6-0)
Preview: West Florida looks to be the clear favorite in this one with its senior-laden squad and top-10 national ranking. But Grand Canyon counters with 5 seniors of its own, 4 of which are getting significant minutes. Are the Antelopes in line for an upset? It will take a nearly perfect game to win at undefeated W. Florida.

“We’re going from Idaho, to Florida, and then to California, all on the road,” said coach jbt. “This road warrior mentality should get us good and ready for conference play.”

At the pre-Challenge presser, skinzfan36 noted that his squad happy with the early results but that the success isn’t “going to their heads.”

Players to Watch: For Grand Canyon, Randy Jones (16 ppg, 6 rpg) and Ivan Barrow (13 ppg, 4 apg). For W. Florida, Albert Herbst (13 ppg, 8 rpg) and Edgardo Mancini (15 ppg, 4.5 apg).

Vegas Says: W. Florida 80, Grand Canyon 66

12/17/2011 4:32 AM
Your preview writeups are terrific!  Very humorous and well-written!!
12/17/2011 11:15 AM
great job simpleton, thanks for putting this together.
2/4/2012 12:28 PM
bumping this back to the front page.     
2/4/2012 2:50 PM
Lve the previews!
2/5/2012 7:59 AM
My Drury team took your 'they can't shoot' slam to heart, hitting 50.9% in the win over Dominguez Hills
2/5/2012 3:28 PM (edited)
Recaps from the 2nd Annual CCAA-Heartland Conference Challenge...

Drury 75, Dominguez Hills 67
alblack's strong Drury squad used a season-high 50.9% shooting from the field to pull away from homestanding Dominguez Hills in the night's first contest. Drury, which stayed at the Beverly Hilton instead of the university-preferred Holiday Inn Compton, saw 4 players scored in double figures and outscored The Hills by 9 in the second half. Hills PG Matthew Barajas led all scorers with 22 points, but they were beset by 21 turnovers on the game.

St. Mary's (TX) 77, San Francisco State 57
St. Mary's held SFSU to 4 points in the last 7 minutes of the first half to build a big first-half lead, and they coasted the rest of the way for a convincing 20-point win over visiting San Francisco State. St. Mary's forced 23 turnovers and were led by PG Stephen Washington, who scored 22 points in 22 minutes. St. Mary's also recorded 16 steals on the night. William Dunn had 20 points for SFSU.

West Alabama 97, UC-San Diego 89
In a rollicking fun game in the backwoods of Alabama, the Tigers used 57% FG shooting and put 5 players in double figures for an eight-point win over visiting San Diego.  Josh Tarver had 24 points and 14 rebounds for San Diego, but it wasn't enough to overcome the balanced attack of West Alabama. Ben Corley had 27 points and James White once again proved his worth off the bench, chipping in 20 points for the Tigers, who move to 4-3 with the win.

San Bernardino 74, North Alabama 72 (OT)
San Bernardino won a thriller on their home floor thanks to a big three-point play by Ryan Robinson (15 points, 5 assists) in the dying seconds of overtime. Rene Rossi added 19 points and 6 assists for the winners, who shot 55% from the field but only 53% from the FT line. Kevin Wilkins had 15 points and 7 rebounds for North Alabama, who lost for only the 2nd time this season. North Alabama had 7 players score 7 or more points.

St. Edwards 80, Bakersfield 35
St. Edwards held Bakersfield to 29% shooting from the field, while shooting 61% themselves, in a dominating performance at home. Kevin Tregre led all scorers with 19 points off the bench for St. Edwards.

Cal Poly Pomona 86, Lincoln 82
Pomona won its first game of the season thanks to Greg Peasley's herculean 30 points (10-18 FG) and William Tyner's 19 points and 8 boards off the bench. Pomona used a 25-12 run to start the 2nd half and then held on down the stretch to give the CCAA its 2nd and last win of the Conference Challenge. Lincoln had 4 players in double figures and were led by Dicky Dulin's 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Panhandle State 92, UC-Davis 77
Panhandle State showed incredible bench strength in a convincing win over visiting Davis. Jeff Seaphan (10 points, 10 boards), John Bullard (10 points, 12 boards) and Michael Cortes (16 points) all had big games off the bench for Panhandle, who overcame 25 turnovers to win its second straight. Ernest Goad had 15 points for Davis.

Incarnate Word 62, CSU-Los Angeles 61
Incarnate Word overcame an 11-point halftime deficit, and got a big bucket from Doug Patenaude with 3 seconds left, to get the big road win over Los Angeles. Michael Bennett and William Evans each had 15 points for Los Angeles. In addition to his late bucket, Patenaude also led his squad with 15 points. 

Montevallo 51, Stanislaus 45
Montevallo turned the ball over only 8 times and held Stanislaus scoreless over the last 4:54 to secure another Heartland victory in the Challenge. Dana Johnson had 19 points and 5 assists while John Bayles had 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting to pace the Falcons. Stanislaus, which saw its 3-game win streak snapped, got 13 points from Lance Carabello.

West Florida 74, Grand Canyon 61
West Florida shot 50% in the 2nd half to pull away from visiting Grand Canyon in the Challenge's final game of the night. The Argos put 5 players in double figures and were led by the Italian Stallion's 14 points. Will Smith (no, not THAT Will Smith) had 12 points, all on three-pointers, and 6 assists off the bench for the winners. Randy Jones had 12 points and 6 boards for Grand Canyon but spent much of the night in foul trouble.

Final Results from this season's CCAA-Heartland Conference Challege: Heartland 8 wins, California Collegiate Athletic Association 2 wins.
2/6/2012 4:20 AM
Great job, simpleton! Thanks for organizing this event
2/27/2012 7:36 PM (edited)
Official Season 52 CCAA-Heartland Conference Challenge Matchups

We are going with the same matchups from the previous season, except the home team will now be the visiting team...

Dominguez Hills at Drury (Scheduled)

St. Mary's (TX) at Chico

W. Alabama at UC-San Diego (Scheduled)

San Bernardino at N. Alabama (Scheduled for Week 6)

St. Edwards at Bakersfield (Scheduled)

Lincoln at Cal Poly Pomona

Oklahoma Panhandle State at UC-Davis (Scheduled)

CSU-Los Angeles at Incarnate Word (Scheduled)

W. Florida at Grand Canyon (Scheduled for Week 8)

Rockhurst at Sonoma State (Scheduled for Week 8)

San Francisco State at Valdosta State (Scheduled)

 

3/25/2012 7:49 AM (edited)
Season 52 CCAA-Heartland Conference Challenge Preview

San Bernardino (1-4) at North Alabama (4-1)

San Bernardino is young and struggling through a very difficult non-conference schedule. The Coyotes are turning the ball over nearly 15 times per game and allowing 78 ppg. The youthfulness of this squad is to blame, but cradaddy’s team will be ready for this ‘sneak preview’ CCAA-Heartland Challenge game.

“We might not win another game in our non-conference schedule,” said cradaddy in the pregame presser. “But we’re going to fight for every game. This will be a great learning experience.”

robinhood’s North Alabama squad has made 5 straight NT appearances and they bring a top-10 ranking into this game. Senior leadership abounds on this team, and they account for about 60% of the scoring on this team. Nathan Brooks paces the squad with 17 ppg and 6.6 rpg. He also forces an inspiring 3.2 turnovers per game.

“We won’t sleep on this one,” said robinhood, who is in his 18th season has head coach. “We have a ton of respect for San Bernardino.”

#18 Chico (5-1) at Lincoln (5-1)

Chico comes in with perhaps its strongest team in 10 seasons, and journey’s team features an effective mix of strong juniors and seniors whom he’s relied on to build this program over the previous 2 seasons. Senior John Gallagher (18ppg, 6rpg) and junior PG Louie Gaines (16 ppg) lead the Wildcats, who will be making their first road trip of the season after playing their first 6 games of the season on their home court.

“The Conference Challenge isn’t make-or-break for us,” says journey. “However, we’ve always seen this game as an effective measuring stick for our progress in a season. Lincoln is a quality team so we’ll need to play well.”

Z’s Lincoln team is coming off a 3-win campaign but is poised for a breakout season. Although the Blue Tigers feature no seniors on the roster, they have enough experience to play with anyone in the country. Junior Dicky Dulin – you’ll recall he was the freshman from Box Elder, Montana who was hazed as a freshman – resisted the urge to transfer after his freshman campaign and now leads the Blue Tigers with 17 points and 8 boards a game, while shooting 56% from the field. Fellow juniors William Ervin and Anthony Morgan chip in 13 ppg.

“We’ve made it through our rebuilding process and now this team is ready to compete in our excellent conference,” said head coach Z. “I wouldn’t call the California Collegiate Athletic Association an ‘excellent conference’ but Chico’s a decent team. We’d win that conference easily though.”

#14 The Hills (5-1) at #13 Drury (5-1)

Our second game of the Conference Challenge features two ranked teams who battled to a close game last season. The Hills relies on veterans to play most of their minutes, as freshmen back up each position.  Four players average double figures for The Hills, who are led by seniors Joseph Price (12 ppg) and Kenny Alexander (10 ppg, 7 rpg).

“alblack is a legendary coach,” said head coach simpleton. “I learned my lesson last year. Drury is excellent in everything. We’ll have to play a near-perfect game to win on Drury’s home court.”

Drury ‘s experienced squad puts five players in double figures. Junior Travis Downs paces the Panthers with 14 ppg and 3 apg. Classmate Brad Fielder leads Drury in scoring at a 14 ppg clip. The Panthers are playing a rigorous non-conference schedule, projected to be in the top-10 SOS by the end of the non-conference season.

“We wanted to challenge our guys with the highest level of play,” said alblack. “Obviously The Hills are our ‘breather’ in an otherwise very tough schedule.”

San Francisco State (2-4) at Valdosta State (1-5)

Two programs mired in disappointing non-conference performance will look to jump-start their seasons before conference play gets underway. SFSU hasn’t been able to find success thus far despite starting two seniors and a junior. Four players are in double figures for SFSU, including Joey Wright’s 19 ppg.

“This is a nice trip for us,” said head coach kevin73. “I like playing golf the morning of our games, and Valdosta has some great courses. Hopefully the foursome in front of us isn’t too slow, otherwise I might miss the start of the game.”

rstumpf is still turning the squad over to his recruits while mixing in slotman’s old recruits. Senior John Flaherty leads the way with 13 ppg while playing less than 20 minutes per game. This squad gives up nearly 77 ppg, and will look to play solid defense against SFSU to stay in this one.

#20 W. Alabama (6-0) at UCSD (2-4)

Smokindavis has a squad that’s firing on all cylinders this season. He’s built this squad from the ground up and his hard work in rebuilding this program is on full display. All-American candidate Ben Corley leads the nation in scoring with 32 ppg while also leading the squad with 2 steals per game.

“Certainly we’ll look to Corley to help us put points on the board,” said smokin’. “But we’ve got complementary players who can score with efficiency.”

UC-San Diego is struggling a bit this season in head coach ericmill’s rocking chair tour. Although the squad starts 5 seniors, they haven’t quite found their rhythm in the young season. Jeffrey Dearmond leads the team with 15 ppg on 54% shooting. Irvin Gillman adds 12 ppg and 5 apg.

“We put together a difficult schedule to test our seniors,” said ericmill. “Guess they flunked the test.”

#23 St. Edwards (5-1) at Bakersfield (5-1)

St. Edwards is the dark horse final four pick this season, as the Hilltoppers start 5 seniors and back them up primarily with smart juniors. This team is impressive, shooting 52% as a team while turning the ball over less than 10 times per game. They show very few weaknesses, if any.

“Our guys understand to put the team first,” said gopokes24. “We have an unselfish group and hopefully that philosophy stays intact throughout the balance of the season.”

Bakersfield counters with fhop’s best squad in perhaps seven or eight seasons. Six players score at least seven points a game and they have only one player in double figures. The Roadrunners should challenge for their first CCAA conference title in 11 seasons.

“I don’t really like to talk to the media, so go talk to my AD if you want to get a quote on the game,” said fhop.

Oklahoma Panhandle State (3-3) at UC-Davis (1-5)

Panhandle’s run-and-gun style electrifies the fans, and we should see them put up plenty of points in this contest. OPSU’s three loses came at the hands of three top-five teams so their record could be misleading. The offense is balanced, and the Aggies are led by Allen Puckett’s 15 points and 8 rebounds per game.

“Our goal is to wear down the opposition with our relentless offense and pressurized defense,” said therewas47. “We are not afraid to take chances on both ends of the floor.”

Heavy continues to work on rebuilding a Davis team that was decimated by simness over the years. This squad features only one senior (a non-starter) and will match Panhandle’s intensity on both ends of the floor. This one should be a fun one to watch.

“We need to improve our field goal efficiency but our guys continue to work hard,” said head coach heavy_prb. “We’ll get better as we continue to play together this season.”

CSU-Los Angeles (2-4) at Incarnate Word (4-2)

Los Angeles is in the midst of an uncharacteristic ‘down’ season but can get it turned around quickly with a win at Incarnate Word. Los Angeles has made four straight NT appearances and eight in nine seasons, so this one is important if they want to keep that streak alive. The scoring is spread out among seven players, and only one player averages double figures (junior Brian Copeland – 10.2 ppg).

“The formula for us is simple – we need to shoot better and cut down on our turnovers,” said dirtycajun. “Once we improve those areas, we’ll see success.”

ryrun’s Incarnate Word squad matches the excellence of dirty’s program, having made the NT in three of the past four years, including a run to the elite 8 three seasons ago. Dog Patenaude paces Incarnate Word with 12 ppg and 8 rpg, while creating over 2 turnovers per game. Junior Clarence Taylor adds 7.5 ppg and 6 rpg while shooting 60% from the field.

“I like where our team’s at right now,” said ryrun. “dirty always has a good squad, so if we can get a win I’ll feel great about our non-conference portion of the schedule.”

3/25/2012 11:49 AM
Always love seeing these Simpleton. Hopefully the challenge keeps going. 
3/26/2012 10:35 AM
Nice writeups!
7/3/2012 11:04 AM

It’s week 7, which means it’s time for the annual CCAA-Heartland Challenge! Or, as the overweight folks in the Midwest (i.e., Heartland) call it – The All You Can Eat week. After three straights years of domination by the Heartland, is this the year the CCAA takes the title? The CCAA certainly looks like the stronger conference at this point in the season. Seven games highlight this season’s Conference Challenge:

Stanislaus (3-3) at Rockhurst (2-4)

Preview: luthien continues to take steps in the right direction after taking over Stanislaus three seasons ago, and his junior dominated ballclub looks like they could contend for a postseason invite this season. Exquisitely named junior SG Shon Caison leads CSUS with 15 ppg on 45% shooting from downtown. Senior PG Glen Wallen chips in 12 ppg and 4 apg.

Aragon’s Rockhurst squad made a surprising run to the Final Four last season, in aragon’s first season as head coach. But that talented senior class has been replaced by a talented freshman class, and the youthfulness of this squad has reared its ugly head at times this season. Rockhurst must reverse its 6 to 16 assist-to-turnover ratio if it wants to steal this one from Stanislaus.

“Having no seniors means we are relying on our youth,” said aragon, whose squad has beaten two SIMs but narrowly lost to several top teams on the season. “But we continue to improve every game and we’ll be ready by conference play.”

“We haven’t won a Conference Challenge game yet,” said luthien. “This is our time!”

#5 Dominguez Hills (6-0) at Drury (4-2)

Preview: The Hills comes into this annual matchup with Drury with their highest ranking ever, and they are looking to break a three-game losing streak to Drury. Lone senior Randy Kilburn leads the way with 14 ppg, but a strong supporting cast of juniors has helped The Hills stay perfect on the young season. Drury, just two seasons removed from a National Championship, counters with just two seniors of their own – leading scorer Tony Rowe (19 ppg) and Dan Shelton (10 ppg, 7 rpg). Drury has been in and out of the top 25 this season and is a strong contender for a third straight NT berth.

“We are excited to welcome in The Hills,” said Drury coach alblack. “My mother is excited to have them over for dinner the night before our game. I sure hope they like stewed rabbit and fried squirrel.”

#20 W. Florida (6-0) at UC-San Diego (3-3)

Preview: West Florida has used a balanced scoring attack to start off the season undefeated. They are ranked for the first time in 24 seasons, thanks to jacobwalls’ leadership of this program. Four players average double figures, with senior Aaron Piggott leading the way with 14.8 ppg.

The UC-San Diego squad will probably be West Florida’s toughest challenge thus far on the season. Coachvegas has come out of retirement and a life of nickel slot machines to restore the reputation of UC-San Diego. This ballclub features a strong group of sophomores that should have them competing for a postseason spot consistently over the next three seasons. Junior SG David Mitchell paces San Diego at 16 ppg, but a team FG % of 38% is worrisome. San Diego has already beaten one 20th ranked squad this season. Could tonight be number 2?

“It’s great to be out of retirement and coaching these young kids,” said coachvegas. “Of course, my wife told me to either take up golf or get back into coaching – I was driving her crazy with my gambling.”

Oklahoma Panhandle State (3-3) at San Francisco State (1-5)

Preview: Although OPSU has five freshmen on the roster, they come into this game as big favorites over a struggling San Francisco State team. OPSU is fresh off a big win against the #3 ranked West Virginia State Eels, so their confidence is riding as high as the SF State players hanging out at Haight-Ashbury. Jeremy Coulson, from the mountains of Montana, leads OPSU at 16.5 ppg and 8 rpg. Coulson shocked the world four seasons ago when he chose the flat farmland of Oklahoma over the local Montana Grizzlies, but his decision started to make more sense when it was revealed that he struck up an online relationship with a cutie from Oklahoma, who turned out to be therewas’s Mom. A subsequent WIS investigation found no wrongdoing.

SFSU is mired in a four-game losing streak, but shows plenty of talent on a team that made the NT last season. This squad has three seniors, all of which are averaging just over 11 ppg. Clumsy footed Wilie Varner will be the one to watch for SFSU, as he will likely match up against Coulson.

CSU-San Bernardino (4-2) at Incarnate Word (1-5)

Preview: San Bernardino has been in and out of the top 25 all season, and their senior leadership will be key in this matchup against Incarnate Word. Big men Jay Larson (15 ppg and 8 rpg) and Bernard Vincent (16 ppg and 8 rpg) lead the way for San Bernardino, who are coming off a narrow loss at #1 Wilmington.

Incarnate Word looks to right the ship after struggling early this season. Ryrun’s squad has made back-to-back Final Fours, including a run to last season’s National Championship game, so this squad knows how to win and features excellent coaching. However, this team has six freshmen backing up the upperclassmen so youth is the concern here. Certainly this squad will be a force by conference play. Senior PG Ronald Mandieta leads the way with 15.5 ppg on 50% FG shooting (52% from three-point range).

#15 Lincoln (5-1) at CSU-Los Angeles (5-1)

Preview: Heartland’s second ranked team in the Challenge, defending National Champion and 15th-ranked Lincoln, has a tough matchup against a talented Los Angeles squad. Lincoln has six seniors and six freshmen, and they are used very effectively. Five of the seniors average double figures, and the sixth is not far behind at 9.5 ppg while shooting a team-best 63% from the field. When the seniors are on the floor, this might be the best team in the country. If this team misses all-time leading scorer and rebounder – and country boy – Dicky Dulin (you’ll remember his hazing episode five seasons ago) they certainly don’t show it.

Los Angeles is always at or near the top of the CCAA standings, and this year is no different. They were ranked in the top 25 previously this year, and a win at home tonight should get them back amongst the top 25. Senior Willie Harper leads the way with 17 ppg. Nearly four seasons removed from his last NT appearance, the Cajun is pulling out all the stops to get back to a national level this year.

Sonoma State (5-1) at Valdosta State (3-3)

Preview: Our last game of the Challenge is a good one. Bbunch brings his surprising Sonoma State squad back to the conference he left several seasons ago to face old conference foe Valdosta State. Sonoma State comes into this one with a 5-1 record as bbunch starts to transition in some of his own players. Senior Milton Caldwell leads Sonoma with 19 ppg and 8 rpg while shooting 57%.

Valdosta is looking to take a step towards competing with the top of the Heartland this season, and will prepare for that challenge by playing three CCAA teams in the last four games of non-conference play. Four seniors lead this squad, starting with PF Patrick Conley (13.5 ppg and 55% FG). 

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