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D-1 Independents Notebook

March 4, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

D-1 Independents Notebook

by Matthew Moll

With no automatic bids for Independents and at large bids needing a high profile rep these schools will play for next year hoping to sign onto a conference or push for a better regular season.

IPFW (4-23)

Building a tough schedule in hopes of being asked into a mid-major conference may have all but back fired for the Mastodons who will finish their season against Mid-Con powers Valparaiso and IUPUI. An early season visit by Dick Vitale gave the school some national pub as he touted the school as “not afraid to play anyone.” It looks as though the Mastodons were not afraid to lose to anyone either dropping all their games against teams in two conferences that they hoped to join the Mid-Con and the Horizon League. Next years team will be led by center David Simon who was named to the CoSIDA District Academic All-American Team and scored 33 points in their most recent loss to Oakland.

Northern Colorado Bears (6-20)

In their first season playing a mixed DI-DII schedule Northern Colorado played 10 games against DI schools including fellow Independents Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and three games against Utah Valley State. The failed to win any of these games but did shows signs in most. The Bears closest Division I contest was a six point loss to Texas State in early December. Sophomore Vincent Jackson scored 17 points for UNC in the 76-70 loss. Northern was also featured on ESPN on Jan 12 against Iowa State. The Bears opened the game with a 23-10 advantage before the Cyclones stormed back and never looked back. Junior Michael Frazier scored a game high 25 points.

Northern Colorado will finish their season in the National Provisional Tournament in Ft. Meyers, Florida.

Savannah State Tigers (4-24)

The Tigers disappointing season came to a close on Wednesday when they lost to TA&M-CC. Prior to losing their last two games of the season Savannah State went on their only winning steak of the season pulling out three straight.

Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders (15-10)

According to collegerpi.com the Islanders have an RPI rating of 167 and will need to stay on their winning ways to have any consideration for the NIT. Last week Murray State defeated CC 73-53 snapping a four-game winning streak. Senior Brian Evans scored 12 points to lead the Islanders. TA&M-CC reverted back to their winning ways over fellow Independent Savannah State. The 82-69 win was a record breaker for the Islanders, breaking their record of wins in a season and road wins in a season. Evans again led the team in scoring with 19 points.

Up Next: The Islanders look to end their regular season with a win on Saturday over the previously mentioned Broncos. Key wins over Top 100 Northern Colorado and Murray State are on their brag sheet, but my not be enough to get into the field of 32.

Texas-Pan American Broncos (13-13)

The Broncos are winners of their last eight games, including a win over Top 50 Air Force. Last week’s 37-35 win over the Air Force Falcons came courtesy of 30 percent shooting by the fly boys. Senior Allen Holcomb scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Broncos. UTPA went on to finish their home regular season schedule with a convincing 111-62 win over Central Baptist. This was the second straight game UTPA held their opponents to less than 40 percent shooting from the field. Ray Castillo led the team in scoring with 23 followed by junior Sergio Sanchez with 17.

Up Next: With a .500 record the need to win their last two games to be eligible for post-season play. According to collegerpi.com the Broncos RPI sits at 226, UTPA will need wins over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Arkansas State in hopes of climbing in the polls and sneaking into the NIT. Although unlikely, losses by upper level teams could make the Broncos a part of the field of 32.

UC Davis Aggies (17-8)

This season the Aggies for the first time played against the ranks of Division I Independents. UC Davis elected to play a Division I-Division II mixed schedule. UC’s season was highlighted by a seven game winning streak from Jan. 30 through Feb. 14. The Aggies were defeated in two attempts against Division I schools. UC was led by freshman Rommel Marentez who put up 21 points in the 84-62 loss to Nevada. UC Davis fell to San Francisco State on Jan. 24 to a tune of 68-59. Ryan Moore led the Aggies with 16 points and eight rebounds. UC Davis will end their season against two teams from the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). Friday March 5 Davis will travel to Cal St. Bakersfield and Saturday March 6 the Ag’s will finish off their season against Cal St. Stanislaus.

Utah Valley State College Wolverines (21-5)

The Wolves are currently on a six game winning streak as they prepare for the National Provisional Post-Season Tournament. UVSC lost all of their games against DI schools other than a fellow Independent who they defeated twice. The Wolverines were unable to come within 10 points of any of their three Division I opponents, which included Boise State, BYU, and Cleveland State. The closest game was a 68-80 loss to Boise State on November, 24 2003. Utah Valley State held Team Potato to just 33 percent shooting in the first half and even had a one-point halftime lead, but the Wolves four-minute field goal drought was the difference in the game. UVSC was led by Jon Bell who had 23 points.

The Wolverines will play in the National Provisional Post-Season Tournament, which will be held March 4-5.


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