The WAC round-up is back as we take a look at how the WAC teams are stacking up through the first couple months of the season.
1. Seattle (6-3) The Redhawks are riding a wave of success from their junior guard Isiah Umipig, who sat out last season due to transfer regulations. Umipig is leading Seattle in scoring, with 19 points per game, and has led his squad to a 6-3 mark with losses to Washington, Boise State and Eastern Washington.
2. New Mexico State (7-4) Praise the Aggies for the non-conference schedule they’ve compiled — one that includes New Mexico (twice), Colorado State, Gonzaga and Arizona. Marvin Menzies’ team has lost three consecutive games, but their slate will taper off after a second battle with the rival Lobos on Dec. 17.
3. Grand Canyon (5-3) With the best mascot in the new-look WAC, the Antelopes have been above average with a non-demanding schedule. GCU is enjoying an 11-day break between games and will return to the court with a game against Northern Arizona on Saturday.
4. Cal State Bakersfield (5-4) The Roadrunners, anticipated to finish near the top of the conference standings, have hit a three-game skid, with losses to Fresno State, Drake and Santa Clara. CSUB doesn’t have a clear-cut scorer, but the Roadrunners are spreading the ball out effectively, with 10 players averaging more than five points per game.
5. Chicago State (4-5) It’s been rough for the Cougars, who have lost to underachieving opponents. Their four wins have come at the expense of Wisconsin-Parkside, Southern Illinois, Jacksonville State and Urbana. If you haven’t heard of two of those opponents … well, we haven’t either. The Cougars will have to make some adjustments if they hope to get some wins out of their WAC schedule.
6. Idaho (4-5) The most rigorous part of the Vandals’ schedule has come and gone. Other than a home-and-home with Montana, Idaho should get three wins out of its next five games. The Vandals should be a top-three finisher in the WAC standings by the time March rolls around.
7. Utah Valley (3-5) This is another squad that should be expected to do some damage come conference play. Their record isn’t indicative of that, however, as UVU has met some tough challenges. The Wolverines have losses to Oregon and Oklahoma State, and will meet a strong Utah State team on Dec. 14. Six players averaged at least eight points per game for Utah Valley.
8. Texas-Pan American (4-7) UTPA has hit a skid after starting the season 4-4 and the winless streak doesn’t look like it’ll stop anytime soon. The Broncs will meet TCU on Dec. 15 and SMU on Dec. 18. But maybe these tests, and another against Texas A&M, will help prepare them for their first season in the Western Athletic Conference.
9. Missouri-Kansas City (2-6) OK, maybe the best mascot award goes to the Kangaroos of UMKC. The Roos have just two wins on the season, but have squared up with the best of the best, including No. 7 Louisville and No. 17 Iowa State. UMKC also received the Doug McDermott treatment on Nov. 11 during a 96-70 loss to Creighton. The National Player of the Year candidate pounded the Roos with 37 points.
Theo Lawson can be reached at email@example.com