THIS WEEK IN ALASKA ANCHORAGE MEN’S BASKETBALL...

2017 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships
Mar. 2-4 - Marcus Pavilion - Lacey, Wash.
(All times listed as Alaska Standard Time)

Thursday, Mar. 2 - Quarterfinals
4:15 pm: #6 seed Montana State Billings (14-14, 9-11) vs #3 seed Western Oregon (16-12, 13-7)
7:30 pm: #5 seed Concordia Portland (14-13, 10-10) vs #4 seed Saint Martin’s (16-12, 10-10)
Friday, Mar. 3 - Semifinals
4:15 pm: MSUB/WOU winner vs #2 seed Alaska Anchorage (21-7, 15-5)
6:30 pm: CU/SMU winner vs #1 seed Western Washington (23-5, 17-3)
Saturday, Mar. 4 - Championship Game
6:30 pm: Semifinal winners

LIVE VIDEOSTREAM & STATS: All GNAC Tournament games free at gnac.tv

TICKETS: Available at the door at Marcus Pavilion ... tickets sold by session or full-tourney pass ... visit gnacsports.com for more information.

UAA PROBABLE STARTERS (2016-17 stats)
G—Diante Mitchell, 6-1, Sr. (12.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.1 spg, .452 FG, .370 3FG, .885 FT)
G—Sekou ‘Suki’ Wiggs, 6-4, Sr. (24.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.2 spg, .455 FG, .374 3FG, .756 FT)
G—Spencer Svejcar, 6-4, Sr. (15.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.5 apg, .483 FG, .476 3FG, .862 FT)
F—Corey Hammell, 6-6, Sr. (7.8 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.3 apg, .410 FG, .801 FT)
C—Connor Devine, 6-10, Sr. (7.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 spg, 2.5 bpg, .518 FG)

GNAC TITLE, NCAA PLAYOFF AT STAKE: With a No. 9 regional ranking as of last week, the Seawolves may need to secure the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s automatic berth in order to reach the NCAA Tournament ... the winners of the GNAC, Pac West and CCAA tournaments, along with the next five teams in the West Region rankings, will participate in the NCAA West Regional Championships, Mar. 10-13.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: The Seawolves will play a rubber match with a team they split against during the regular season when they meet either 6th-seeded Montana State Billings or 3rd-seeded Western Oregon on Friday in Lacey ... MSUB snuck into the GNAC Tournament despite losing its last two and five of its last six contests, but the Yellowjackets own wins against all the league’s top four finishers, including a road win over Western Washington ... MSUB is led by 6-7 So. F Preston Beverly (19.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.8 bpg, .757 FT) and 6-2 Sr. G Marc Matthews (14.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, .379 3FG, .771 FT) ... defending GNAC Tournament champ WOU enters this week with a No. 10 regional ranking and also likely needs to win the event to reach the NCAAs, where it advanced to the national semifinals a year ago ... the Wolves are led by 6-3 Jr. F Tanner Omlid (15.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.6 apg, 2.8 spg, .368 3FG) and 6-2 Jr. G Ali Faruq-Bey (14.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.6 spg, .736 FT).
 
TEAM COMPARISONS     UAA  MSUB   WOU
Neutral-Court Rec.   0-1   2-0   2-0
Points per Game     78.4  79.9  74.7
Points Allowed/Game 65.7  80.0  70.9
Rebounding Diff.   +11.1  +0.1  -3.4
Assists per Game    14.3  13.0  12.8
Turnovers per Game  11.5  14.0  11.5
Steals per Game      6.3   5.1   8.6
Blocks per Game      3.9   3.8   4.0
FG%                 .446  .433  .435
3-pt FG%            .363  .367  .350
FT%                 .749  .760  .721

ALL-TIME vs MSUB: UAA leads 43-31
Neutral: MSUB leads 2-1
Streak: UAA 1
Last Meeting: UAA 74-58 (2/11/17 at UAA)
Notes: Teams have split the last eight meetings ... this would mark the second GNAC Tournament meeting, following MSUB’s 74-70 win in the 2012 title game in Lacey ... UAA leads 14-6 in GNAC regular-season meetings since MSUB joined the league in 2007-08 … MSUB is UAA’s 2nd-most common opponent … teams met at least twice per season each year between 1981-82 and 2000-01 as members of the Great Northwest and Pacific West conferences ... first meeting was in 1977-78.

ALL-TIME vs WOU: UAA leads 21-13
Neutral: WOU leads 1-0
Streak: WOU
Last Meeting: WOU 89-71 (2/18/17 at WOU)
Notes: WOU has taken five of the last seven
 after UAA won nine straight from 2010-14 ... UAA has lost two straight in Monmouth, including 76-66 last season ... UAA leads 21-10 in GNAC regular-season meetings (since 2001-02) … fi rst and only non-GNAC meeting came when programs were Pac West foes, with WOU winning 91-81, Jan. 28, 1999.

TEAM NOTES: UAA has earned its first back-to-back 20-win seasons since 2010-11 and 2011-12 and the 16th 20-win season in 40 years of program history ... this also marks the program’s 12th straight winning season and the 34th in 40 years ... the Seawolves have earned seven straight winning GNAC records and qualified to the GNAC Tournament every year since its founding in 2011 ...  the Seawolves are among the top 50 NCAA Div. II stats leaders in seven categories, including four marks in the top 25 – rebound margin (2nd, +11.1), scoring defense (13th, 65.7), offensive rebounds per game (14th, 13.86) and scoring margin (21st, +12.7) ... in the GNAC stats, UAA paces the 11-team league in scoring defense, scoring margin, FG% defense (.417), and six of the seven rebounding categories ... UAA’s defensive efforts of five straight games with under 55 points allowed (Dec. 17-Jan. 5) and three straight games with under 50 points allowed (Dec. 29-Jan. 5) were both program firsts, while the 30-13 halftime lead against Simon Fraser on Feb. 4 marked the Seawolves’ fewest points allowed in the first half of a GNAC game.

UAA AT GNACs: The Seawolves are 3-6 all-time at the GNAC Tournament, participating each year since the event was founded in 2011 … UAA was runner-up the first two tourneys, losing to Central Washington in 2011 and MSU Billings in 2012 … UAA is 2-0 in the semifinals, beating Seattle Pacific in 2011 and Central Washington in 2012.

NCAA ANNOUNCEMENT SUNDAY: The Seawolves and the rest of the Div. II college basketball world will learn their NCAA Tournament fates on Sunday, Mar. 5, when the 64-team national playoff field is unveiled at 6:30 p.m. AST on ncaa.com.

SUKI SMOOTH: The 2016-17 GNAC Preseason Player of the Year, Sr. G Sekou ‘Suki’ Wiggs has put his scoring skills on display with at least 20 points in 20 of 28 games – including his school-record 46 points at Central Washington on Dec. 1 – and a  program-record string of four straight games with at least 30 points, Jan. 26-Feb. 4 ... in just two seasons, the 2015-16 D2CCA Third Team All-American and GNAC Newcomer of the Year ranks 7th on UAA’s career scoring list with 1,448 points, crushing the program record by reaching 1,000 in just 42 games ... in addition to capturing back-to-back GNAC Player of the Week awards in late January/early February, the former transfer from Div. I Idaho has jumped from 12th to 6th in the nation in scoring since Jan. 25, now at 24.2 ppg, while taking over the league lead as well ... in the other GNAC stats, he is 14th in assists (2.7 apg), 18th in rebounding (5.4 rpg), 6th in 3FGs per game (2.3) and 1st in FTs made per game (6.3) ... Wiggs currently ranks 3rd on UAA’s single-season scoring average list, on pace to become the first Seawolf to average more than 23 points in two different seasons ... with 11 30-point efforts, Wiggs is just the third Seawolf with that many in a career (Jason Kaiser [13], Jesse Jackson [16]), while his 24 25-plus performances rank tied for second with Kaiser and just two behind Jackson ... after 60 games in a Seawolf uniform, Wiggs has risen on UAA’s career lists to 1st in scoring average (24.1 ppg), 2nd in FTs made (420), 1st in FTs made per game (7.0), 16th in assists per game (3.0), 12th in steals per game (1.4) and 15th in double-doubles (9).

SPOT-ON SPENCER: An honorable mention All-GNAC performer last season and a preseason all-league pick this year, Sr. G Spencer Svejcar has emerged as UAA’s 2nd-leading scorer this year and ranks 13th in the GNAC with 15.1 ppg, tallying double figures in 24 of 28 contests ... the Colorado native is one of the GNAC’s most accurate shooters from any distance, ranking 4th in the league in FT% (.862) and 3rd in 3FG% (.476), along with other ranks of 19th in assists (2.5 apg) and 5th in 3FGs per game (2.5) ... in the national stats, he is 7th in 3FG% and 54th in FT% ... Svejcar dished a career-high 7 assists in the victory over Seattle Pacific and has 12 games this year with at least three dimes ...the former Laramie (Wyo.) CC transfer has tallied double figures in 44 of 58 games as a Seawolf, drawing 57 starting assignments ... on UAA’s career lists, he is 9th in FT% (.851), 13th in 3FG% (.417) and 17th in 3FGs made (123), while on the single-season lists he is currently 14th in FT% and 7th in 3FG%, 15th in 3FGs per game and 17th in 3FGs made (69).

DIANTE’S EN FUEGO: Sr. G Diante Mitchell has been one of the most effective floor generals in the GNAC this season, ranking 7th in the league with 3.1 assists per game and 31st in scoring at 12.2 ppg ... the former Western Nebraska transfer lead the GNAC in overall FT% at .885 – including clinching charities against Cal State LA, Saint Martin’s and Western Washington, and the game-winning 3-point play with 4.8 seconds left in overtime at Seattle Pacific – while his .910 rate (61 of 67) in league games led the GNAC by .038 ... the Seawolves’ 3rd-leading scorer has recorded 16 games with 12 or more points, including 25 points in the home victories over WWU and SPU, plus 21 points in the road win over UAF ... Mitchell was the Seawolves’ representative on the GCI Great Alaska Shootout after helping UAA to a discretionary exhibition victory over Div. I Drake ... on UAAs career list the Utah native currently stands 4th in FT% (.872) and 16th in 3FG% (.404).

HAMMELL TIME: After leading the GNAC by nearly three boards per game in his debut season, Sr. F Corey Hammell and he is battling for the title against this season, currently trailing Northwest Nazarene’s Maurice Jones 10.4 to 10.0 rpg ... the 2015-16 2nd Team All-GNAC selection and ’16-17 preseason all-GNAC pick ranks 5th in NCAA Div. II with 4.4 offensive rebounds per game and stands 25th in overall rebounding ... in 60 games as a Seawolf, Hammell has 35 double-digit rebounding efforts and is on pace to break Todd Fisher’s UAA career record of 9.7 rpg, currently at 10.1 rpg ... Hammell has seven double-doubles this season, and his 10 career games with 15-plus boards are 2nd-most in program history ... the Santa Rosa (Calif.) JC transfer is also one of the most productive players in program history at the free throw line, ranking 7th in FTs made (304), 17th in FT% (.819) and 3rd in FTs made per game (5.1) ... on the other career lists, he is 4th in both total rebounds and double-doubles (21).

DEVINE PRESENCE: Sr. C Connor Devine has been UAA’s first true post presence in recent seasons and its best shot-blocker in the GNAC era since transferring from Div. I mid-major power South Dakota State in the off-season ... the former 4A state player of the year at Wasilla High has emerged as UAA’s 4th-leading scorer (7.9 ppg) and 3rd-leading rebounder (4.4 rpg), while leading the way with 2.5 blocks per outing ... with 60 blocks in 20 GNAC games, Devine vaulted to 2nd in the league and now 12th nationally with 2.5 blocks per game ... he has already broken Serge Using’s 18-year-old UAA record of 63 swats in a season, now with 70, and he is also on pace to break Using’s season bpg mark of 2.38 from 1999-00 ... Devine sports additional GNAC ranks of 9th in FG% (.518) and 18th in steals (1.0 spg) ... in November, Devine had 14.5 ppg and 7.0 rpg in the Seawolf Jamboree to earn all-tourney honors and help UAA to critical West Region victories over Cal State LA and BYU-Hawaii.

THE OSBORNE FILE: Now in his 13th year as head coach, Rusty Osborne (250-137) has led the Seawolves to 11 straight winning seasons, along with five NCAA Tournaments and a trip to the 2008 NCAA D-II Semifinals … the longest tenured coach in program history and currently with the second-longest tenure in the GNAC, he became the first UAA basketball coach to reach 200 career victories when the Seawolves beat Alaska Fairbanks on Jan. 10, 2015 … Osborne captured his first career GNAC and NABC West District coach-of-the-year awards in 2008 after becoming the second coach to lead UAA to three consecutive NCAA berths (2006-08), and in 2011-12 his Seawolves posted a 24-10 record to equal the 2nd-most victories in program history; Osborne’s 2007-08 club holds that record with a 29-6 mark … before taking over the head job in 2004-05, the Texas native previously served 13 seasons (1991-04) as a UAA assistant, including 11 years as the top assistant … the Seawolves have won over 60 percent of their games with Osborne on the staff, claiming four conference titles and eight trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament ... Osborne is assisted in 2016-17 by Cameron Turner (6th season), Scott Friel (1st season) and former Seawolf guard Jesse Brown (1st season).

2016-17 Seawolf Individual Honors
Connor Devine
Seawolf Jamboree Player of the Game vs BYU-Hawaii, Nov. 18
Seawolf Jamboree All-Tournament Team
Corey Hammell
Preseason All-GNAC Team
Seawolf Jamboree All-Tournament Team
Jackson McTier
NABC All-State Good Hands Team nominee
GNAC All-Academic Team
Diante Mitchell
GCI Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament Team
GNAC All-Academic Team
Travis Parrish
GNAC All-Academic Team
Spencer Svejcar
Preseason All-GNAC Team
GNAC All-Academic Team
Suki Wiggs
Preseason All-GNAC Team (unanimous)
GNAC Preseason Player of the Year
The Sporting News Preseason First Team All-American
Division II Bulletin Preseason Honorable Mention All-American
GNAC/Pac West Challenge All-Tournament Team
Seawolf Jamboree Most Outstanding Player
GNAC Player of the Week, Jan. 23-29
GNAC Player of the Week, Jan. 30-Feb. 5
USBWA National Player of the Week, Jan. 30-Feb. 5