Friday, September 22, 2017

33 Years After Football National Title, WAC Hosts 1st For-Profit Basketball School

Grand Canyon, the highly successful first for-profit University to compete in the NCAA, gets its first chance at a basketball championship in a bid to dethrone New Mexico State, the dominant basketball program which also is the only school with a football team (plays in the Sun Belt) as the WAC does not play football 33 years after the conference produced national champion BYU and an Air Force football team that crushed Virginia Tech.

New Mexico State football upset New Mexico and came close against Arizona State and Troy, so hopes to compete in Sun Belt football, but it is basketball season that they dominate, and Value Add gives them the biggest edge of any conference - ranking them 98 spots ahead of the rest of the conference.

The Christian University, with strong Southern Baptist backing, was cited by the Governor for increasing surrounding home values by 30 percent while lowering the crime rate by 30 percent after the purchase took the school from 1,000 to almost 20,000 students. While a title would be a surprise, if Joshua Braun takes conference Player of the Year the team could build on its season-ending upset of the other WAC basketball power, Cal State Bakersfield, to compete for a conference title and NCAA bid.

Value Add projects Grand Canyan and Utah Valley as the best of the yes. New Mexico State's Eli Chuha (worth 6.27 extra points per game) nudges out GCU's Joshua Braun for preseason conference Player of the Year, but six of the eight teams have one of the top seven preseason players in the conference.

Here is where Value Add ranks each Western Athletic (WAC) team for the season, and the Massey Rankings have New Mexico State near the bottom of the FBS football ratings at 123rd, versus the basketball teams strong rating of 68th out of 351 D1 programs. Updates will be provided here:

Team - 2017 SeedHoopsFootball
New Mexico St. 1468123
Utah Valley166
Grand Canyon172
Cal St. Bakersfield200
UT Rio Grande Valley226
Chicago St.258

Here are the top 15 projected players in the conference in order.

15 MVP in WACValue AddSchoolHt
Eli Chuha 226.27New Mexico St.`6-07
Joshua Braun 26.00Grand Canyon`6-04
Isaac Neilson 225.99Utah Valley`6-11
Nick Dixon 45.83Texas Rio Grande Valley`6-02
Jemerrio Jones 105.54New Mexico St.`6-05
Fred Sims Jr5.00Chicago St.`6-04
Brent Wrapp 14.68Cal St. Bakersfield`6-03
Zach Lofton 24.28New Mexico St.`6-03
Keonta Vernon 244.20Grand Canyon`6-06
Sidy N'Dir 134.00New Mexico St.`6-02
Aaron Menzies 413.57Seattle`7-03
Damiyne Durham 233.36Cal St. Bakersfield`6-04
Matej Kavas 53.12Seattle`6-08
Akolda Manyang3.00Utah Valley
Zachary Moore 302.66Seattle`6-05

Ken Pomeroy ranked the WAC as the 17th best of 32 Division 1 basketball conferences, which will all be previewed here with notes on which schools are now "basketball" or "football" schools based on which program is stronger this season. Football revenue is much higher, but programs are much more expensive between equipment and the requirement of matching enough women's scholarships in other sports. Therefore some programs forgo FBS football programs to focus on low cost basketball programs as their biggest revenue sport.

Sports IllustratedFox Sports and ESPN have lauded Value Add Basketball for estimating the number of points each college basketball players is worth to his team above a replacement player - similar to baseball WAR (Wins Above Replacement). Massey Ratings is used for the football rankings above.

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