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This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Oct. 30

This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Oct. 30

Complete Release in PDF

WAC COACHES SELECT NM STATE, CBU'S ACQUAAH AS PRESEASON FAVORITES
NM State is the preseason favorite to win the Western Athletic Conference men's basketball title in 2019-20, while California Baptist junior Milan Acquaah was selected as the WAC Preseason Player of the Year in a vote of the league's nine head coaches, who could not vote for their own team or players.

The Aggies received 64 points and eight first-place votes to earn the top spot. Grand Canyon captured second place with 57 points and one first-place vote. Seattle U was third with 43 points, followed by UT Rio Grande Valley in fourth place with 39 points. California Baptist was picked to finish fifth with 34 points, while CSU Bakersfield and Utah Valley tied for sixth place with 30 points apiece. Kansas City was eighth with 16 points, while Chicago State rounded out the poll with 11 points.

Acquaah leads the list of Preseason All-WAC honorees. Joining him on the first team are NM State's Terrell Brown, Seattle U's Terrell Brown, and Carlos Johnson and Alessandro Lever of Grand Canyon.

Second team selections include NM State's Ivan Aurrecoechea, AJ Harris and Trevelin Queen, Seattle U's Myles Carter and Javon Levi of UT Rio Grande Valley.

2019-20 Preseason Men's Basketball Coaches' Poll
Rank     Teams (1st-Place Votes) Points
    1.      NM State (8)                          64
    2.      Grand Canyon (1)                  57
    3.      Seattle U                               43
    4.      UT Rio Grande Valley             39
    5.      California Baptist                    34
T-6.      CSU Bakersfield                     30
T-6.      Utah Valley                            30
    8.      Kansas City                           16
    9.      Chicago State                        11

2019-20 Preseason Men's Basketball Coaches' All-WAC Teams
First Team
Milan Acquaah, California Baptist
Terrell Brown, NM State
Terrell Brown, Seattle U
Carlos Johnson, Grand Canyon
Alessandro Lever, Grand Canyon

Second Team
Ivan Aurrecoechea, NM State
Myles Carter, Seattle U
AJ Harris, NM State
Javon Levi, UT Rio Grande Valley
Trevelin Queen, NM State

MEDIA SELECT NM STATE, CBU'S ACQUAAH AS PRESEASON FAVORITES
The Western Athletic Conference men's basketball media have selected NM State as the unanimous preseason favorite to win the conference crown during the 2019-20 season and California Baptist junior guard Milan Acquaah as the WAC Preseason Player of the Year.

The Aggies received 28 first-place votes, totaling 252 points to earn the top spot. Grand Canyon was picked to finish second with 2200 points. Seattle U was picked third with 158 points, edging out UT Rio Grande Valley in fourth place with 155 points. California Baptist was selected to finish fifth with 134 points, just ahead of Utah Valley in sixth place with 133 points. CSU Bakersfield was picked seventh with 109 points, while Kansas City was selected eighth with 67 points. Chicago State rounded out the poll in ninth place with 32 points.

Acquaah was voted Preseason Player of the Year and is joined on the Preseason All-WAC first team by NM State's Terrell Brown and Trevelin Queen, Grand Canyon's Carlos Johnson and UT Rio Grande Valley's Javon Levi.

The Preseason All-WAC second team is comprised of Brandon Averette of Utah Valley, NM State's Ivan Aurrecoechea, Seattle U's Terrell Brown, and Jaylen Fisher and Alessandro Lever of Grand Canyon.

2019-20 Preseason Men's Basketball Media Poll
Rank     Teams (1st-Place Votes) Points
    1.      NM State (20)                      252
    2.      Grand Canyon                      220
    3.      Seattle U                              158
    4.      UT Rio Grande Valley           155
    5.      California Baptist                  134
    6.      Utah Valley                          133
    7.      CSU Bakersfield                   109
    8.      Kansas City                           67
    9.      Chicago State                        32

2019-20 Preseason Men's Basketball Media All-WAC Teams
First Team
Milan Acquaah, California Baptist
Terrell Brown, NM State
Carlos Johnson, Grand Canyon
Javon Levi, UT Rio Grande Valley
Trevelin Queen, NM State 

Second Team
Brandon Averette, Utah Valley
Ivan Aurrecoechea, NM State
Terrell Brown, Seattle U
Jaylen Fisher, Grand Canyon
Alessandro Lever, Grand Canyon

WAC TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO LAS VEGAS FOR 10TH ANNIVERSARY
The 2020 WAC Basketball Tournament returns to the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas for the 10th year in a row. The tournament will be held March 12-14, and will include all eight eligible teams.

ESPNU TO TELEVISE WAC TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
ESPN will once again broadcast the WAC men's tournament championship game from the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on March 14. The championship game will be broadcast by ESPNU at 7 p.m. (PT).

STAT LEADERS BACK
The following are the returning statistical leaders in the WAC from the 2018-19 season.

Four of the top 10 scorers from last year are back, including last year's leading scorer Milan Acquaah of California Baptist (19.0). Also returning are Grand Canyon's Carlos Johnson (sixth, 14.3), and Seattle U's Terrell Brown (seventh, 14.1) and Morgan Means (eighth, 14.0).

Six of the top rebounders from last year return, including last year's leader Dejon Davis of California Baptist (9.2) and Seattle U's Myles Carter, who ranked third (7.9). The other top rebounders returning are Seattle U's Terrell Brown (fifth, 6.8), Chicago State's Christian Jacob (eighth, 5.7), Lesley Varner of UTRGV (ninth, 5.4) and NM State's Ivan Aurrecoechea (10th, 5.3).

Six of the top 10 shooters in the WAC return this season, led by Aurrecoechea, who ranked third last year (58.1) and Jacob, who ranked sixth (50.6). Also returning are Davis (seventh, 49.1), Johnson (eighth, 49.0), Carter (ninth, 47.7) and NM State's Trevelin Queen (10th, 47.5).

Five of the top 10 assist leaders return, including last year's leader, UTRGV's Javon Levi (5.7). Also returning are Seattle U's Brown (third, 4.5), Utah Valley's TJ Washington (fourth, 3.9), NM State's AJ Harris (eighth, 3.4) and Acquaah (ninth, 3.4).

Seven of the top steals leaders return, including last year's top two in Levi (first, 2.9) and Acquaah (second, 1.6). Also returning are Kansas City's Rob Whitfield (fourth, 1.4) and Brandon McKissic (fifth, 1.4), CSU Bakersfield's Taze Moore (fifth, 1.4), and UTRGV's Lesley Varner II (ninth, 1.4) and Jordan Jackson (10th, 1.3).

Seven of the top 10 shot blockers in the conference return, including the top two in Carter (first, 1.8) and California Baptist's Zach Pirog (second, 1.6). Also returning are NM State's Johnny McCants (fourth, 0.8) and Queen (fifth, 0.8), Grand Canyon's Oscar Frayer (sixth, 0.8), CSUB's Moore (eighth, 0.7) and Seattle U's Riley Grigsby (eighth, 0.7).

RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS
Of the five first team All-WAC players in 2018-19, two return for the 2019-20 season in Milan Acquaah of California Baptist and Terrell Brown of NM State. Three of the second team honorees return in Terrell Brown of Seattle U, AJ Harris of NM State and Carlos Johnson of Grand Canyon.

Four of the All-Defensive Team honorees from last year return – Myles Carter of Seattle U, NM State's Harris, UT Rio Grande Valley's Javon Levi and Brandon McKissic of Kansas City. Meanwhile, four of the All-Newcomer Team honorees from a year ago return in Acquaah, Brown, Brown and Johnson.

LETTERWINNER/STARTER CAPSULE
Seattle U returns five starters, while NM State returns four. The Redhawks have a WAC-high 12 letterwinners back, while Chicago State and Utah Valley have just two. The complete list of letterwinners returning and lost and starters returning and lost for each team is listed below.

Team                            LR      LL      SR      SL
California Baptist             8         5         2         3
CSU Bakersfield              5         9         2         3
Chicago State                 2        12        1         4
Grand Canyon                 4         8         2         3
Kansas City                    6         8         3         2
NM State                        9         4         4         1
Seattle U                        12        2         5         1
UT Rio Grande Valley      5         7         3         2
Utah Valley                     2         8         2         4

SUMMIT LEAGUE/WAC CHALLENGE
The Summit League and Western Athletic Conference announced the match-ups and dates for the second year of The Summit League/WAC Challenge. The Challenge features head-to-head competition between the teams in both leagues. Match-ups were set based upon factors including the previous year's achievements, records and RPI rankings, as well as projected rankings in the upcoming season.

The complete list of 2019 match-ups and times is below.
Nov. 9          South Dakota State at CSU Bakersfield       7 p.m. PT
Nov. 27        South Dakota at California Baptist               7 p.m. PT
Nov. 23        Utah Valley at North Dakota State               5 p.m. CT
Nov. 30        Western Illinois at Kansas City                    7 p.m. CT
Nov. 30        Fort Wayne at Grand Canyon                     6 p.m. MT
Dec. 10        NM State at Denver                                   7 p.m. MT
Dec. 15        UT Rio Grande Valley at Omaha                 12:30 p.m. CT
Dec. 17        Oral Roberts at Chicago State                    7 p.m. CT

KEY NON-CONFERENCE MATCH-UPS
WAC teams have several key non-conference match-ups this season, including 21 games against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament and eight games against teams that participated in the NIT last season. The complete list is below.

Games vs. 2019 NCAA Tournament Teams
Nov. 15        UT Rio Grande Valley vs. North Dakota State    5 p.m. CT
Nov. 16        Seattle U at Syracuse                                      7 p.m. ET
Nov. 16        Chicago State at Purdue                                  2 p.m. ET
Nov. 18        Utah Valley at Kentucky                                   7 p.m. ET
Nov. 19        Seattle U at Ole Miss                                       6:30 p.m. CT
Nov. 23        CSU Bakersfield at Gonzaga                            5 p.m. PT
Nov. 23        Utah Valley at North Dakota State                     5 p.m. CT
Nov. 23        Georgia State at California Baptist                    7 p.m. PT
Nov. 25        Chicago State at Florida State                          7 p.m. ET
Nov. 26        Utah Valley at Mount Saint Mary's                    7 p.m. ET
Nov. 26        Seattle U vs. Yale                                            TBD ET
Dec. 4          Kansas City at Iowa State                                7 p.m. CT
Dec. 7          CSU Bakersfield at Ole Miss                             1 p.m. CT
Dec. 7          California Baptist at UC Irvine                           7 p.m. PT
Dec. 8          Liberty vs. Grand Canyon                                 4:30 p.m. MT
Dec. 14        Kansas City at Kansas                                     4 p.m. CT
Dec. 17        Seattle U at Washington                                   8 p.m. PT
Dec. 21        UT Rio Grande Valley Texas Tech                    1 p.m. CT
Dec. 22        NM State vs. Mississippi State                          2 p.m. CT
Dec. 29        CSU Bakersfield at Texas Tech                        3 p.m. CT
Dec. 30        Seattle U at Saint Mary's                                  5 p.m. PT
Dec. 30        UT Rio Grande Valley at Oklahoma                  6 p.m. CT

Games vs. 2019 NIT Teams
Nov. 5          UT Rio Grande Valley at South Dakota State     7 p.m. CT
Nov. 9          South Dakota State at CSU Bakersfield             7 p.m. PT
Nov. 12        California Baptist at Texas                                7 p.m. CT
Nov. 26        Sam Houston State at CSU Bakersfield             7:30 p.m. PT
Nov. 26        NM State vs. Loyola                                         TBD ET
Dec. 3          Sam Houston State at UT Rio Grande Valley     7 p.m. CT
Dec. 13        UT Rio Grande Valley at Creighton                   7 p.m. CT
Dec. 17        Toledo at Kansas City                                      7 p.m. CT