Small Conference Game of the Day – January 13

Check out Galen and David’s Bracket Racket here:  http://hoopshd.com/2014/01/12/bracket-racket-011214/

NORTHERN ARIZONA AT SOUTHERN UTAH, 9:00 PM Eastern, no TV (free streaming at http://b2tv.com/upcoming_events.asp?q=v&value=bigsky).

Tonight is the first “Big Monday” of the season, so the SCGD heads to Cedar City, Utah for a Big Sky matchup between the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona and the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah.  While many of our SCGD entries discuss teams battling for NCAA tournament bids — tonight’s game is probably more about a bid to the Big Sky tournament (only the top 7 of its 11 members get spots), and about a championship that only HoopsHD awards.

Every season the HoopsHD team gets together to award the Centenary Award – the award given to the worst team in Division 1.  While defending “champion” Grambling is currently the leader for this title again (especially after Cornell got its first win of the season on Saturday), Southern Utah is on the radar as a very real threat to take the crown this season.  SUU sits at 1-11 on the season, with their lone win being over non-D1 Southwestern Arizona.  KenPom rates SUU at 350 of 351 teams.  Their BPI is also 350.  Southern Utah currently joins Grambling, Cornell and Lamar as the only teams in the country with only one win, though Lamar’s win was over a D1 foe, something the other three teams cannot boast.  If the Thunderbirds fails to win again this season, they are poised and ready to take the Centenary, especially if Grambling is able to find a way to score another victory.  Of course, winning a game like tonight’s would likely take SUU right out of contention.

Northern Arizona enters tonight’s game at 5-9 on the season and 2-1 in Big Sky play, including a win over a Montana team that has captured three of the conference’s last four postseason tournament championships.  While the Lumberjacks are probably not going to challenge for the league title this season, a finish in the top half of the league standings is definitely possible.  However to get there they will need to begin with wins in games like tonight.

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