CCAA vs. Heartland Conference Challenge Topic

Great job simpleton.  These are my favorite part of the non-con.
7/3/2012 2:45 PM
Good news, simpleton. Mom's fixing my favorite, grilled possum.   Don't worry, though, I'm pretty sure the black marks are from searing, not tire tread
7/3/2012 2:59 PM
Another victory for Heartland in the CCAA-Heartland Conference Challenge! This marks their fourth overall victory in the Challenge, with one tie among the conferences. Recaps below:

Stanislaus 69, Rockhurst 59
Shon Caison hassled counterpart Reynaldo Lyon into 3-for-12 shooting and 5 turnovers, while Stanislaus pulled away in the second half for the CCAA's first win of the Challenge. Tied up 56-56 with 2:39 left, Stanislaus used a 13-3 run to close this one out. Glen Wallen at 11 points and 6 assists while Caison led Stanislaus with 15 points. Rockhurst's Curtis Wilcox led all scorers with 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting.

#5 Dominguez Hills 63, Drury 59
The Hills withstood a big second half comeback by al's Drury squad to hold on for a tight win. The Hills hit 10 of 14 FT attempts in the last two minutes. Al's slowdown plan neutralized the big Hills weapons - Ditulio and Kilburn - but PG Tony Garlow picked up the slack. He was the only Hills player in double figures, with 13 points including 7-for-8 from the line. Drury PG Anthony Rowe led all scorers with 22 points but Drury was done in by their 36% FG shooting. Must have been the heartburn from the grilled possum at al's house the night before.

OPSU 96, SFSU 72
Panhandle notched one in the win column for the Heartland with a convincing win over San Francisco State. Panhandle hassled SFSU into 22 turnovers, while connected on 31 FTs compared to SFSU's 9. Reserve PG Jason Reeves paced OPSU with 16 points on 12-for-12 FT shooting while five players in total ended up in double figures. Jeffrey Williford had 13 points for SFSU but he saw limited minutes due to foul trouble.

#17 W. Florida 64, UC-San Diego 59
West Florida stayed perfect on the season, thanks to a defensive effort that held San Diego scoreless for the first 6:14 of the second half. Aaron Piggott scored 18 points for W. Florida, while Chris Jackson chipped in 12 points and 7 boards. Thomas Rosenbalm, making his first start at SG instead of his normal position of PG, paced San Diego with 10 points, while leading scorer David Mitchell was hassled into 2 of 9 shooting for only 8 points.

#23 Lincoln 52, #22 CSU-Los Angeles 57
Los Angeles finds itself back in the national rankings thanks to its strong victory over Lincoln. The starters logged most of the minutes for LA, and although they shot only 35% from the field, this veteran squad showed its composure by committing only 8 turnovers and calmly draining 21 of 23 from the FT line. Willie Harper had 16 points, 4 assists and 3 steals for LA. John Levin had 20 points and 8 boards for Lincoln, who had its last lead with 1:34 remaining. 

San Bernardino 51, Incarnate Word 54
John Daniels late three rimmed out for San Bernardino as Incarnate Word escaped at home with the thrilling win. All five starters had 8 or more points for The Word, who shot 48% from the field. Ronald Mendieta led the way with 12 points and 3 assists, as he battled through foul trouble. Bernard Vincent saw most of the distro for CSUSB, and he responded with 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting. But it wasn't enough to steal this one on the road.

Sonoma State 51, Valdosta State 66
Valdosta used a dominating second half to seal the Heartland's fourth Conference Challenge title in the past five seasons. Valdosta shot 52% from the field and featured a balanced scoring attack. Thomas Reardon had 15 points - all from three-point range - to pace the Greenskeepers. Timothy Krauss came off the bench to score 11 points for Sonoma, but they simply didn't have the firepower to match up with a very good Valdosta squad.     
7/4/2012 7:53 AM

Conference Challenge Preview

Seven games are featured in this year’s CCAA-Heartland Conference Challenge. The Heartland has won every challenge since its inception with the exception of one season when the two conferences tied at 4 wins apiece. However, the CCAA looks to be in the driver’s seat with this year’s challenge, as they feature four ranked teams to the Heartland’s two. The Heartland has reigned supreme as the top conference in D-II for nearly 10 seasons. Can the CCAA upend them this year?

Rockhurst (4-2) at Stanislaus (5-1)
Luthien has officially turned Stanislaus in the right direction, having led them to the National Tournament last season for the first time in 20 seasons. They’ve won five straight heading into The Challenge. This senior –laden squad has balance – four players are in double figures, with SG Sean Caison leading the way with 16 ppg.

“We are building a nice program,” said head coach luthien. “Although we won last year’s game by 10, we aren’t thinking about last year. In this business, you look forward, not backward. Rockhurst will be a nice challenge for us as we prepare for conference play in the always-challenging CCAA.”

Rockhurst has won 4 of its past 5 games and, like Stanislaus, puts four players in double figures per game. They are led by senior SG Rynaldo Leon. The battle of senior shooting guards on each team should be a nice highlight for this one.

Aragon refused to talk to the media in the required pre-Challenge press conference. He was fined $500.

Incarnate Word (4-2) at Chico (3-3)
After a girlfriend-swapping scandal plagued both programs, canceling last year’s Challenge between these two fine squads, this nice matchup is back on. Ryrun has put together a challenging non-conference schedule, and his game against a very good Chico program is no exception. Ryrun’s program has made four straight NT appearances, advancing past the first round in every one of them. Look for the starters to get the bulk of the minutes in this one. Incarnate Word is led by senior PF Jeff Richter (13.5 ppg, 5 rpg).

“It continues to be an honor to participate in the annual Conference Challenge,” said ryrun, who leads the series with Chico, 4 games to 2. “Other conferences think they can challenge the Heartland, but the true rivalry lies with the CCAA.”

Jrnyfan’s youth movement enters year two, and his sophomore class looks to “take the next step” with a win over Incarnate Word. Sophomore PF Jason Rittenberry leads the way with 19 ppg on 51% FG shooting. This one should be a tight game!

“Our team has taken a vow of celibacy for the season – not only with their girlfriends but with Incarnate Words’ girlfriends too,” said jrnyfan. “We will never outlaw weed on our campus – shoot, I’m stoned right now and listening to “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’” by Journey– but we can focus more on scoring on the floor instead of the bedroom.”

Drury (4-2) at #3 The Hills (6-0)
Alblack’s squad looks to avenge last year’s close loss to The Hills by making the trek out to Compton for the third time since the Challenge began. Drury leads the series, 3 games to 2, but simpleton is poised to even up this matchup with his veteran squad. Drury is in the midst of a stretch where it plays the top 3 ranked teams in three consecutive days. It’s almost as if alblack wants to break his team mentally. Or maybe he’s preparing them for the grueling Heartland schedule.

“I am trying to break our team mentally,” said alblack. “This press conference is over.”

Simpleton’s Hill’s squad is full of seniors looking to take the program to new heights. Turnovers have been a problem thus far, but a balanced scoring attack has kept this team undefeated on the young season. The Hills are lead by the big-man duo of Clyde Ditullio (11.2 ppg) and Edison Starkweather (11 ppg).

“It is always fun to play al’s fine team,” said simpleton. “We also enjoy seeing the looks their Midwestern faces when they drive up to our open-air Compton Arena.”

#10 UC-San Diego (6-0) at West Florida (3-3)
Coachvegas has turned the Triton program into a winner in no time! Last season, his first in San Diego, resulted in the program’s first postseason bid in 13 seasons. This team is poised for much bigger success. A talented junior and senior class leads the way, and David Mitchell (19.5 ppg) is the star. This team can score points in bunches, so expect a high-flying game with West Florida.

Jacobwalls took his squad to the elite eight last season, and his seniors are thirsty for more success. A very challenging early-season schedule has this team at .500, but don’t let the record fool you. This team has the talent to make another deep postseason run. Three seniors are in double figures each night, with PF Howard Hardin (15 ppg, 11 rpg) leading the way. Last year these two teams battled at San Diego, with West Florida coming away with a tight win. Expect this one to be close too.

North Alabama (3-3) at #19 CSU-Los Angeles (5-1)
Robinhood’s program has fallen on hard times recently, missing out on the past two postseasons. But back-to-back road games against ranked teams, starting with the Challenge at LA, would put this team on track for a bid. Junior PG Todd Everly has started strong for robinhood, averaging 15 points and 6 assists per game in the early going.

“We are excited about returning to the Challenge this year,” said robinhood. “Although dirty runs a, ahem, dirty program out in LA, we are willing to sacrifice our decent southern morals for the good of the Conference Challenge.”

After a couple of down years, the LA program is right back in the thick of the conference title hunt, and a resulting postseason bid. Dirty has his customary balanced attack in play, with sophomore SG John Spencer pacing the scoring at 12.8 ppg. Senior PF Riley Armes is the star though, and LA’s success often hinges on Armes’ play.

“We’ve only lost one Challenge game in program history,” said head coach dirty. “Our guys know the history, and they are honored to continue our standard of excellence.”

#24 Pomona (5-1) at #20 St. Edwards (5-1)
The only Challenge affair featuring two ranked squads looks to be the highlight of the Challenge. On his sabbatical from his post in Switzerland working on the Higgs Boson, xatomsmasher has devoted his full attention to coaching basketball, and his work as paid off handsomely. Since taking over only two years ago, Pomona has made a second round NT appearance and an Elite Eight last year. Can he take this team to the Final Four this year?  Three players average 10 points per game.

“The Large Hadron Collider is really just a hobby of mine,” said xatom. “My passion lies with basketball. It’s truly the God Particle that I’ve always searched for.”

St. Edwards seems to be in the top 25 every year that the Challenge rolls around. In fact, St. Edwards has never lost a Challenge game since it started. This is a tough matchup for gopokes, though, and xatom might smash his perfect record. However, gopokes has made at least the Sweet 16 in three of the past four seasons, so he has what it takes to compete against the best. The big-man/small-man combo has worked well for St. Edwards this year – senior center David Delao averages 16 ppg and 7 rpg while senior point guard Sam Trice averages 15.5 ppg and 2.8 spg.

“The fact that we are 1-point underdogs is a travesty,” said gopokes. “We have a better ranking and we are at home. AND we’ve never lost in The Challenge. No wonder the WIS Sportsbook is out of business!!!”

Sonoma State (3-3) at #11 Oklahoma Panhandle St. (4-2)
Bbunch heads back to his old stompin’ grounds to take on Panhandle State, his fourth Heartland team in non-conference play thus far this season. Senior PG Gary Matthews, the illegitimate child of former Cubs outfielder Gary Matthews, leads the team in scoring at 15.5 ppg. Bbunch has two victories over ranked teams already this season, and he’s aiming for his third in Panhandle State.

“It is an honor and a privilege to compete against another Heartland team, especially one I can beat.” said bbunch, who is in his second season at Sonoma State, after leaving Vanderbilt.

OPSU features a nice mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen on its path to a number 11 ranking. Head coach therewas47 has taken this program from a C+ prestige in his first year all the way to an A- in just 5 short seasons. Now in his 7th season, he’s coming off his first-ever Sweet 16 bid. The excellent senior SG Jason Papstein leads Panhandle with 15.8 ppg, 3 rpg, and 1.7 spg.

“We are excited to welcome back old conference whipping boy, bbunch,” said therewas47. “Although our paths never crossed in the Heartland, I’ve heard stories from al that he wasn’t too good a coach. We’re expecting to play our backups for much of the 2nd half.”

8/22/2012 10:01 PM (edited)
Conference Challenge Results and Recaps
The CCAA won its first-ever Conference Challenge in convincing fashion, winning 5 of 7 games!

Incarnate Word 76, Chico 65
Incarnate Word (5-2) used a 10-0 with under 10 minutes left in the game to pull ahead of Chico (3-4), then proved steady at the line late to win this close battle. PG Tyler Cardoso was player of the game, with 17 points (6-for-18 FG) 4 boards and 3 assists. Jeff Richter added 17 points (6-for-10), 2 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. Chico's Jason Rittenberry was hassled into 9-for-29 shooting and 5 turnovers. He finished with 26 points and 8 boards but the team was ultimately done in by its 35% FG shooting, including 25% from downtown.

#12 Pomona 97, St. Edwards 73
In the only game featuring two ranked teams, Pomona (6-1) used its size and athleticism to wear down St. Edwards (5-2). Pomona shot a scorching 58% from the field and put five players in double figures as they coasted to victory. SF Michael J. Fox (no relation to the actor) was perfect, hitting all three FG attempts and hitting 8-for-8 from the line. David Delao and Daniel Masson each had 13 points for St. Edwards.

#8 UC-San Diego 101, W. Florida 80
San Diego (7-0) continued to use its excellent uptempo attack to remain perfect on the young season. Five players were in double figures, as is the norm for this team, and the Tritons showed its mastery at the FT line, hitting 25 of 27. David Mitchell had 20 points, 5 assists, and 4 boards. Chris Jackson paced W. Florida with 16 points (7-for-12) and 3 steals.

#11 OPSU 97, Sonoma State 86
Panhandle's starters were simply too good last night, leading the way over bbunch's revitalized Sonoma squad. Jason Papstein had a terrific night, scoring 27 points, including a perfect 10-for-10 from the line, 3 boards, 3 assists, and 4 steals. All in all, Panhandle (5-2) had four starters in double figures. Gary Matthews had 17 points for Sonoma (3-4).

#17 Los Angeles 76, N. Alabama 63
dirty's Los Angeles (6-1) team won its fourth straight behind the strength of Riley Armes, who paced the team with 145points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. As a team they shot 53% from the field. N. Alabama (3-4) got 19 points and 11 rebounds from David Walker.

Stanislaus 68, Rockhurst 55
Stanislaus (6-1) got the clincher for the Conference Challenge, winning its 5th straight in the process, by downing Rockhurst (4-3) in California. Shon Caison continued to lead Stanislaus, as he poured in 21 points. Scott Jones came off the bench to score 15 in 15 minutes for Stanislaus, who hit their FTs down the stretch. Reynaldo Leon had 13 for Rockhurst.

#2 Dominguez Hills 50, Drury 48
In really the only tight battle of The Challenge, alblack slowed it down against simpleton and stayed in it the whole way, but late FTs by Tony Garlow sealed it for The Hills (7-0). 5th-year senior Clyde Ditullio had 11 points and 7 boards for The Hills, while Kenneth Simmons had 12 points and 6 boards for Drury (4-3) which was held to 37% FG shooting for the game.
8/23/2012 7:37 AM
Dominguez Hills cheats!!
8/23/2012 11:23 AM
CCAA-Heartland Challenge
After a season of silence (and shame for the Heartland), we are back on for the CCAA-Heartland Conference Challenge previews! Traditionally a week-7 matchup pitting the two top conferences against each other, this season’s Challenge features a healthy 7 contests with 5 ranked teams. Let’s get right to the previews.

Dominguez Hills (3-3) at Montevallo (3-3)
Preview: The young Hills squad is still in its gestation period, with 4 sophomores and a junior transfer in the starting lineup. This team has experienced some trouble handling the ball, turning it over at a 15 TO per game clip. Head coach simpleton has taken the heat for this team’s struggles.

“One of the questions we ask on our recruiting questionnaire is ‘how often do you masturbate?’ and given the answers of our recent recruits, we thought they’d turn out to be great ‘ball handlers.’ said simpleton. “Turns out we were wrong.”
Montevallo counters with a team that can really put the ball through the hoop. Four players average double figures, but this team has had trouble defending thus far, as opponents are averaging over 50% shooting from the field.

“We’re not afraid to push the ball up the floor,” said head coach knuckledrag3. “If we can only choose one area to concentrate on – offense or defense – we are choosing offense every time. Our kids love to play for me.”

Junior SG William Reed leads the way for Montevallo at 15 ppg, while Antonio Deangelo leads The Hills with 10 ppg but he’s only shooting 38% from the field.

The Line:
The Hills by 1

UC San Diego (3-3) at N. Alabama (3-3)
Preview: San Diego is still suffering from a champagne hangover after their national championship two seasons ago. This squad is pretty young, and they have lost three straight heading into the Challenge against North Alabama. Junior center Emilio “Spanish Fly” Gamez leads UCSD with 17 ppg and 8 rpg.

“We are hoping to effectively mix ‘old and new’ with our lineup,” says coachvegas, between puffs of a victory cigar from two seasons ago. “We need to see a little bit more production from our veterans, and I think we’ll get that tonight. By the way, have you seen our national championship rings? Come here, let me show you.” (goes over to trophy case) “Ain’t she beautiful? 16 carats of cubic zirconia!”
Robinhood has taken his N. Alabama program to 12 straight postseason appearances, and this squad has the balance and the talent to keep that streak alive. Eight different players are pitching in at least 5 ppg, and this team really shows very little weakness across the board. Richard “Big Dick” Powell leads with 15 ppg and 8 rpg, while forcing 3.1 turnovers on the opposition.

The Line:
N. Alabama by 5

#17 Drury (3-3) at Los Angeles (3-3)
Preview: Al’s Drury squad continues to be one of the finest in Division II. Like his conference mate a North Alabama, al’s team is balanced – eight players are scoring at least 7 ppg and his team shoots an impressive 50% from the field. Senior Chris Cavitt leads the way with 17 ppg.

“My mom is really proud of my team,” said head coach alblack. “She sent flowers to my athletic director last week too, so I know my job is secure even if I lose to an unimpressive Los Angeles team. Also, why do I have to go back to Los Angeles to play in this Challenge? We were always scared to drive into Compton to The Hills’ campus. Now I have to go into Crips territory?”
Los Angeles is coming off the heels of a serious beatdown by #3 Fort Lewis, and will look to prove that they belong in the conversation among the nation’s best teams.  Preseason All-American John Spencer leads Los Angeles with 16 ppg on 52% FG shooting.
“We’re excited that Drury is finally playing us in the Challenge,” said dirtycajun. “We’ve been looking forward to face his tremendous program for a few years now, but we had to let The Hills get in their licks first. Now it’s our tun!"

The Line: Drury by 6

Grand Canyon (5-1) at #23 W. Alabama (6-0)
Preview: Grand Canyon, the for-profit institution out of Phoenix, AZ, also recruits on a for-profit basis. Leading scorer, junior SG Paul Sund cost $3500 in illegal booster payments to sign three seasons ago, while junior C David Donnell (11 ppg, 9 rpg) commanded a whopping $5000 on the open market. The for-profit model has worked well, as GC is off to a 5-1 start.

West Alabama uses a short bench and relies on big minutes from the veterans. A cupcake non-conference schedule for smokindavis has done nothing to temper excitement on the Livingston campus. A perfect 6-0 start will do that.

“We knew this would be somewhat of a transition season for us,” said smokindavis. “I like where we are right now as a team. The locker room is loose, and so are the girlfriends.”

The Line:
W. Alabama by 11

W. Florida (2-4) at Sonoma State (5-1)
Preview: West Florida is the only team in the Challenge currently sitting below .500. deuce_deuce, in his 2nd season in charge on Pensacola beach, has loaded up the non-conference schedule with road games. The contest at Sonoma State is the 7th of 10 straight on the road. There’s plenty of talent on this team, so the record deceives.

“We are becoming Boyz II Men with this road trip,” said decue_deuce. “And when we come to the ‘End of the Road’ we definitely can let go.”

Former Heartland legend bbunch has turned the Sonoma program into an A prestige outfit in no time. Last season’s trip to the Elite 8 was just the tip of the iceberg for this junior-heavy squad.

“We’ve had some fun tormenting the Heartland this season,” said bbunch, who has beaten N. Alabama and Drury already. “Just like the old days.”
The Line: Sonoma State by 19

#11 Incarnate Word (5-1) at #7 Stanislaus (6-0)
Preview: This is the premiere matchup of this season’s Challenge. Incarnate Word’s five seniors are ready to lead the program on a deep tournament run, but it’s junior Ron Powers (16 ppg, 8 rpg) who leads the attack.

Luthien has pulled the Stanislaus program from the depths of despair with three straight NT appearances, leading them to an A- prestige, but the game against Incarnate Word will be the toughest of the non-conference slate for luthien.

“This is an exciting challenge for our program,” said luthien. “The game has been sold out for weeks, and our campus is buzzing. Although the ‘buzz’ might be from the medical marijuana. Not sure.”

The Line:
Incarnate Word by 1

UC-Davis (3-3) at #6 Panhandle State (5-1)
Preview: Panhandle State, the pre-eminent technical school for future homeless people, is the highest ranked team in the Challenge, and for good reason. This team has supreme athleticism and defense, which is a killer combination for opponents. Senior PG Ben Mukai, who lived off of table scraps and spare change as a child in Montana, has, not surprisingly, fully grasped the nuances of the Panhandle curriculum. His 3.5 GPA earned him academic all-Heartland last season – a pretty low threshold for academic excellence in that conference, yet somehow he was the only student-athlete selected to the team. He also leads the team with 18.8 ppg and 4.8 apg.

Davis’s rebuild, under the tutelage of cornfused, is starting to take shape. This team features only sophomores and juniors, and they finally look ready to climb above .500 as a program for the first time in 27 seasons. This program hasn’t even sniffed a postseason since season 30.

The Line: OPSU by 18
11/30/2012 6:35 PM (edited)
Great writeups as always!
12/1/2012 5:20 AM
CCAA-Heartland Conference Challenge Recaps

The Heartland got the best of the California Collegiate Athletic Conference this season, pulling out an impressive 5-to-2 victory. In an interesting stat, the home team won every game in the Challenge, with the exception of road warrior Drury, winning at CSU-LA. Recaps below:

Montevallo 77, The Hills 68
Recap: Montevallo was simply too talented in this one, using their uptempo offense to take an early 10 point lead. The Hills took a one-point lead at the 14 minute mark of the second half, but Montevallo hit its free throws and locked down on defense to secure the first win of this season's Conference Challenge, Junior PG Boris Zigler zigged and zagged for a game-best 17 points. Senior SF Sherman Hubler chipped in 13 points, 7 boards, and 5 assists. Sophomore PF Thomas Stanley paced The Hills with 13 points and nine rebounds. Montevallo shot an impressive 52% from the field, include 7-of-15 from behind the arc.

N. Alabama 84, UCSD 71
Recap: Richard "Big Dick" Powell was simply too imposing in this one, racking up a game-high 21 points, a Challenge-best 18 rebounds, and four blocks as North Alabama's uptempo offense wore down San Diego in the second half. N. Alabama shot 16-of-28 (63%) in the second half, and that really ended up being the difference. San Diego had four players in double figures but couldn't overcome its 38% FG shooting on the day.

#12 Drury 79, CSU-LA 61
Recap: alblack's Drury squad got the only road win of the conference challenge, and al found the right preparation for his squad by staying at the Beverly Hilton last night and taking his team on a pre-game tour with a "map of the stars."

"There is no truth to the rumor that we did that tour for my mom," said a jubilant alblack in the post-game press conference. "She really just came along for the ride, although she did squeal when she saw Dr. Phil's house."

Drury forced 23 turnovers and outscored Los Angeles 48 to 29 in the second half. Chris Cavitt earned player of the game honors with 14 points, 2 assists, and 2 steals.

#19 West Alabama 67, Grand Canyon 51
 West Alabama closed the first half with an 11-2 run and was never threatened afterwards. smokindavis's squad shot 57% from the field and placed three players in double figures, Senior PG William Abron led the way with 15 points and 5 assists.

#9 Sonoma State 78, W. Florida 63
 Sonoma forced 23 turnovers and cruised to another double-digit win (its 5th out of 6 wins). John Dennis and Timmy Kraus paced bbunch's squad with 19 points and 18 points, respectively. 

#7 OPSU 95, UC-Davis 75
 Another fun-and-gun Heartland squad used an uptempo attack to dismantle its CCAA opponent, as Panhandle State turned in an impressive performance for the local hobos. Senior C Ricky Humphreys poured 25 points, along with 14 rebounds, while classmate Ben Mukai chipped in 20 points, 5 boards, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Davis simply wore out down the stretch. They were led by Erik Silveira's 15 points and 4 assists.

#5 Stanislaus 59, #16 Incarnate Word 49
 The most hyped matchup of the Challenge also proved to be the closest, albeit it was still a 10-point game. Stanislaus kept Incarnate Word at arm's length throughout the contest by sinking 15-of-16 from the line and taking care of the ball (only 8 turnovers on the game). Leslie Benningfield had 18 points and 6 assists in the winning effort, while Ron Powers had 16 points and 9 boards for Incarnate Word.

12/1/2012 8:16 AM (edited)
Our motto at OK Panhandle St is, "Preparing students for the real world".  We just don't specify what those skills are.
12/1/2012 2:33 PM
The 9th Annual CCAA-Heartland Conference Challenge
This season finds an impressive nine games slated for the annual CCAA-Heartland Challenge, which annually pits Crum’s top two conference against each other in a battle of simulated glory. This season might feature our strongest lineup yet, as no team in the Challenge is currently under .500. Something tells me that the winner of the Challenge will take the early lead in conference RPI rankings. Let’s get to the previews.
#23 Lincoln (5-1) at Cal-San Bernardino (3-3)
Preview: Lincoln has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including Best Director for Steven Spielberg and Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis. Wait a minute. Sorry. Wrong Wikipedia page. Lincoln comes into this game having just lost its first game of the season to a very strong UMSL squad. Z0601 is coming off a national championship (his second in five seasons), yet despite losing several talented players from last year’s squad, he still returned six excellent seniors. Will Sutton paces Lincoln with 14 ppg and 9 rpg. These guys average a whopping 11 steals per game, and their pressing defense will be out in full force against wesduke’s simmed out San Bernardino team.

Wesduke is a new addition to the CCAA, having just taken over a San Bernardino squad that has been vacated since cradaddy fled to the easier, err greener, pastures of Minnesota.  Wes is no stranger to the Heartland, having once coached at Drury before alblack’s mom came in and forced him out, mafia-style.  Senior David Encarnacion leads San Bernardino with 18.5 ppg and 5 apg.

#1 Sonoma St (6-0) at Drury (4-2)
Preview: In his 5th season at Sonoma State, bbunch has already established himself as one of the top coaches in Crum. His top-ranked squad reached the Sweet 16 last year also has a 30-win, Elite 8 appearance under his belt. A longtime nemesis of the Heartland, bbunch already has a win against Heartland’s OPSU this season, and he’ll face Incarnate Word in week 9. Senior Claude Tshida is a handful, averaging 18 ppg and 2 spg. Sonoma is poised for a Final Four run this season, as six seniors see regular minutes. These guys force 23 turnovers per game, so alblack’s Drury team will need to load up on his mom’s sticky buns before the game.

Drury’s got a relatively young squad, and the low P and BH ratings could play right into bbunch’s gameplan. But al’s boys have won four straight, including an impressive win over #13 New Haven last night, so he’ll be up for the challenge. Ralph Zirk, Drury’s long-ranger gunner, leads the way with 14 ppg.

West Florida (5-1) at Grand Canyon (4-2)
Preview: deuce_deuce’s West Florida boys shoot so many 3’s he should change his name to trey_trey.  These long-range bombers have impressed early, with their only blemish a tight 74-70 loss at UC-Davis two games ago. West Florida features a three-guard attack, all seniors, who have 90+ PER ratings. James Story leads the way with 15 ppg and 6 apg.

Grand Canyon has its first human coach in 5 seasons, detfirecat, who aims to revitalize the only CCAA program outside of California. Three players are in double figures, including senior SG Paul Sund’s 15 ppg.

#2 Montevallo (6-0) at #7 The Hills (5-1)
Preview: An intriguing matchup featuring two top-10 teams, this looks to be the marquee matchup in this season’s Conference Challenge. Knuckledrag’s Montevallo program hasn’t had a winning record in four seasons, yet this squad has the makeup of a national title contender. A challenging non-conference schedule hasn’t stopped this squad from starting the season undefeated, and senior SG Wee Willie Reed leads the way with 22 ppg and 4.5 apg. Fellow senior Tom Baird adds 17 ppg on 54% FG shooting.

Simpleton’s Hills team is coming off its first defeat of the season but has remained in the top 10 throughout the first six weeks. A strong junior class paces the way, with PG Lawrence Reiser leading the team in scoring at 13.5 ppg.

W. Alabama (5-1) at Chico (3-3)
Preview: smokindavis’ team has won 5 straight after starting the season with a road defeat. A roster of only nine scholarship players keeps this bench relatively short, so the slowdown offense tends to be the strategy at this point in the season. It’s worked very well, and expect this game to go down to the wire. Senior SG Roland Baker, coming off a first-team All-Heartland selection last year, leads the team with 15 ppg.

Bscollier was welcomed to the CCAA this year after spending the previous four seasons at Lees-McRae. Bscollier brought in seven of his own players right away, including five freshmen, so the 3-3 record is a nice start to the season for this still-gelling outfit. Martin McCormick, the penciled-necked geek from Spring, TX – and the only player on the team who doesn’t smoke weed – leads the way with 15 ppg. This mellow, often-stoned team plays right into smokindavis’s slowdown style.
We cannot confirm the rumor that smokindavis is smoking up with Chico pre-game.

#17 UC-San Diego (5-1) at Valdosta State (5-1)
Preview: San Diego is back on the right track after a two season National Championship hangover. The seniors are the story here, and they account for over 60% of the scoring. Emilio “The Matador” Gamez paces this team with 17 ppg and 9 rpg.

Valdosta State counters with Tim “The Toolman” Allen, who leads the team with 187ppg and 7 rpg on 54% shooting. Valdosta is coming off a big win at UC-Davis, and they’ll be looking for respect from the pollsters if they can pull off another win over a ranked CCAA team.

#3 Stanislaus (6-0) at Incarnate Word (5-1)
Preview: Stanislaus started the season with three straight wins over ranked opponents – two on the road – and is certainly building on last season’s Sweet 16 appearance. Three players are scoring over 15 ppg, and they are led by Leslie “The Look of Mormon” Benningfield’s 18 ppg.

Although Incarnate Word is unranked, this is another premiere matchup in the Conference Challenge because of ryrun’s excellent team, record, and track record of success. Last season’s Final Four run has given the returners confidence, as well as bolstering the talent – five freshmen recruits pepper the roster. But the upperclassmen see the bulk of the minutes, and senior Ron Powers muscles his way to 18 ppg and 8 rpg, while junior Adam Hodgkinson adds 17.8 ppg and 4 apg.

#20 St. Edwards (5-1) at Cal State Bakersfield (6-0)
Preview: Another nice matchup here as these teams combine for an 11-1 record in the early going. St. Edwards always plays a tough schedule, and always has a tough squad, and this year is no different. It’s only loss came at the hands of #2 Stanislaus and the non-conference schedule features at least four top-20 teams. A balanced attack is the name of the game, and John Dargen – one of only two seniors on the team – paces the squad with 10 ppg on 61% FG shooting.

Fhop’s Bakersfield squad is off to its best start in several seasons, which is off the heels of its first post-season trip in a decade. Could this be the year they get back to the NT after a 14-season absence? A win over ranked St. Edwards would go a long way towards achieving that goal. Senior PG John Melchior scores 14 ppg to lead fhop’s boys.

Panhandle State (3-3) at #12 UC-Davis (5-1)
Preview: Panhandle is coming off its deepest NT run in school history (Elite Eight), and a very tough non-conference schedule has this team off to a .500 start. The road doesn’t get any easier against 12th-ranked UC-Davis, with three top-25 teams lined up after that. Fifth-year senior Jack Stevens pours in 18 ppg but this squad will need to cut down on its turnovers against UC-Davis to stay in the ballgame.

Davis likes to shoot the ball quickly, and four players are in double figures. Senior PG Erik Silveira leads the conference in scoring at 23.5 ppg, but senior SG Greg Guo can knock down the three-ball as well to keep the defense honest. This one should be a fun one.
1/19/2013 8:29 PM (edited)
9th Annual CCAA-Heartland Conference Challenge Results

The Heartland reigns supreme once again, winning its 8th Conference Challenge Cup in 9 seasons, with a 6-games-to-3 victory. However, this one was arguably the most competitive Conference Challenge of our series. Six of the nine games were decided by single digits - this one could have gone either way. Here are the results:

#23 Lincoln 69, CSU-San Bernardino 61

#2 Montevallo 67, #12 The Hills 66

#1 Sonoma State 75, Drury 55

#16 St. Edwards 65, Bakersfield 62

#9 UC-Davis 97, Panhandle State 89

West Alabama 71, Chico 64

West Florida 84, Grand Canyon 65

Incarnate Word 66, Stanislaus 64

UC-San Diego 86, Valdosta State 76
1/20/2013 9:39 PM
The two conferences are dominating the rankings

1. California  .6051
2. Heartland  .6012
3. Sunshine   .5160
1/21/2013 6:35 AM
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