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Mike's Mind

Armenian National Team & L.A. Clippers

Artur Petrosyan Takes Over Armenian National Team

         Just three games into the 2018 World Cup qualifying cycle, Varuzhan Sukiasyan stepped down as the manager, being replaced by a former legend in Petrosyan. Petrosyan is currently managing FC Zurich-2 in Switzerland and was an assistant under Bernard Challandes during the 2016 European Cup qualifying cycle. 

          "I am happy to have been entrusted with leading the national side," said Petrosyan after being appointed.

         Armenia is in quite a hole to climb out of, having lost all three games and sitting dead last in Group E, with a aggregate goal tally of one scored and nine eight conceded, with five coming at the hands of the Romanians. They had plenty of opportunities to defeat Poland, or at least come out with a point, but a last second free kick sent them packing with zero.

        The former goal scoring leader of the nation, before being surpassed by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, will have his hands full if any shot at the World Cup wants to remain alive, with a home date against Montenegro coming up in November followed by Kazakhstan in March of 2017. 

WAC Basketball Preview

       Four teams made post-season tournaments for the Western Athletic Conference in 2016, with Bakersfield out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, New Mexico State out in the first round of the NIT, Seattle out in the second round of the CBI and Grand Canyon in the quarterfinals of the CIT. Grand Canyon is in the fourth year of transition so they will once again be ineligible for the NCAA, NIT and WAC tournaments, though they have made the CIT all three years in Division 1. 

1] Grand Canyon University Antelopes (27-7, 11-3)
           Dan Majerle will have to wait one more year before his Antelopes can have a chance at cracking the NCAA tournament, but that doesn't mean the Lopes won't be the cream of the conference. Quite a lot of talent does leave the roster, but Joshua Braun and his 16.5 points as a sophomore on 44/39 shooting return. No tournament doesn't mean they won't be challenged as Thunder Dan has the Lopes set to face off against Duke, Penn State, San Diego State, Louisville and Arizona before conference play. Plenty of fluffers are also on the slate, aiding the Lopes to pad their record. 

2] New Mexico State Aggies (23-11, 13-1)
         Marvin Menzies and his Aggies lost by 3 to Bakersfield, ending a four year streak to making the Big Dance, proceeding to stumble against St. Mary's in the first round of the NIT. Ian Baker remains on the roster, and the Aggies bring in a solid amount of Junior College transfers as they look to jump back into March play. A decent non-conference plate has the Aggies facing Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego, UTEP and Arizona State. 

3] Utah Valley Wolverines (12-18, 6-8)
         Mark Pope is taking over for Dick Hunsaker, and he has himself a good amount of transfers becoming eligible along with a few solid new additions. The Wolverines are in prime position to have an opportunity and play in the Big Dance. With dates against Gonzaga, Brigham Young, Utah, Washington State and Weber State, Pope should have his team battle tested and ready to fight for glory.

4] Seattle Redhawks (15-17, 7-7)

        Like the Wolverwinees, the Redhawks are looking to taste March Madness for the first time and will claw their way through the season to have an opportunity. Cameron Dollar keeps most of his team intact, and outside of Washington, Notre Dame and Colorado, the Hawks don't face much talent before conference play, but should have the momentum going into WAC play.

5] Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners (24-9, 11-3)
        Rod Barnes got the Roadrunners a taste of the Big Dance, and they will have a solid shot at returning in 2017, though, the road will not be easy. A couple of JuCo transfers, with a 3* recruit coming in, the Runners will integrate a few new faces, which could cause issues. They will face some tests as they visit Arizona, BYU and Southern Methodist while hosting Fresno State.

6] Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos (12-19, 4-10)

         UMKC is pretty tough to gauge, lots of new faces, but very experienced with 7 seniors on the roster. Kareem Richardson and the Roos will most likely have to keep waiting for the elusive bid to the Big Dance, but will face good talent as they visit West Virginia, Kansas, Mississippi State, Creighton and take part in the Bill Frack Tournament. 

7] Texas Rio-Grande Valley Vaqueros (8-22, 4-10)
          UTRGV has no seniors on the roster and seven scholared underclassmen. Lew Hill has his work cut out for him, though the non-conference isn't very daunting. They do play Iowa twice and visit Memphis & Houston, but the rest of the games should be competitive. 

8] Chicago State Cougars (4-28, 0-14)
         It's going to be a looooong season for the Cougars, though the 4-win mark shouldn't be very difficult to overcome. They do have tough trips to Oakland, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, St. Louis, DePaul, Missouri State and Valparaiso. A conference win in itself would be a huge boost to try to get some decent recruits. 



Big West Basketball Preview:

         Hawaii was a half of good play away from making the Sweet 16, and the Big West hopes that this may the be year that they are able to achieve such a feat. It won't be the Rainbow Warriors, however, who are barred from post season play for the 2016 campaign. Four teams won between 11-13 conference games last season, making the Big West a lopsided affair, that ended with UC Irvine losing in the CIT Finals to Columbia. 

1] Long Beach State 49ers (20-15, 12-4)
         9ers lose Hammonds and Faust but are returning Bibbins and Levin, who combined for 21.5 points last year, while bringing in a trio of 3-star recruits. Dan Monson continues his typical difficult scheduling, as the 9ers will make trips to Wichita State, North Carolina, Louisville, UCLA, Washington, Kansas, New Mexico State, Texas while also hosting Oregon State prior to conference play. By a country mile, that is the nation's toughest non-conference slate, just a year after they faced BYU, Seton Hall, Virginia, Oklahoma State (twice), San Diego State, New Mexico State, UCLA, Oregon, Arizona and Duke. Battle tested, the 9ers should take the Big West regular season title. 

2] Cal State Fullerton Titans (10-20, 3-13)
        A big jump here for the Titans, who lose Brooks and Johnson, combining for over 22 points a night, but do bring back Coggins and Ahmad who topped 3. Bringing in much needed front court help was vital for CSUF, and the task was completed with a handful of 2* recruits teamed with Dearing being a RS Freshman. Dedrique Taylor will go from the bottom half of the conference into regular season contention, while facing a bland non-conference slate, which features trips to Washington, UNLV, San Diego whilst also hosting former Big West member, Pacific. 

3] UC Irvine Anteaters (28-10, 13-3) 
         Russell Turner had the Anteaters within 6 points of winning the CIT, but just fell short. They do lose quite a bit of talent, with Mamadou N;Diaye and Young leaving, but Dimakopoulos and Nelson do return. A few 3*s should help boost the Anteaters into remaining solid and they have a fairly challenging slate outside of the Big West with California, Arizona, St. Mary's, Nevada and Utah State featured. 

4] UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (19-14, 11-5)
        Gaucho's ended 2016 with a disappointing performance during the Big West Tournament, but look to bounce back with some oomph in 2017.  Bryson and Greene depart a solid UCSB squad, but Vincent remains, along with a handful of decent recruits. In his 19th year, Bob Williams will be hoping to get the Gauchos into the big dance for the first time since 2010-11 and they will be ready during the non-conference with games against Southern Methodist, USC and UCLA with a neutral site game against Nevada. 

5] Cal State Northridge Matadors (10-20, 5-11)
         Reggie Theus and his Matadors were barred from post-season play in 2015-16, and that didn't matter much as the team averaged only eight active players, or so, per game. They do lose Trae Hale-Edmerson and Landon Drew, but return a bunch of talent with Jason Richardson, Aaron Parks, Willbut and so on. Adding in a pool of good recruits, the Matadors may very well compete for the top spot, however, they are really unstable and difficult to predict. They do have match-ups with the Bruins of UCLA, Stanford and the Texas A&M Aggies to prep for conference play. A trip to St John's and Boise State should provide a solid gauge to where Theus has his team. 

6] Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (28-5, 13-3)
       A half away from the Sweet 16, the Rainbow Warriors will take a major step back in 2016-17 with talent leaving due to graduation/post season ban pcoming. Valdes, Bobbit, Jovanovic and Janks are all gone, though a solid core of young guys will gain valuable experience with eyes on a 17-18 push. Still, Earn Ganot will have his team tested with games against North Carolina, Seton Hall and participating in the Diamond Head Classic with a possible meeting against Utah/San Diego State. 

7] UC Davis Aggies (11-19, 6-10)

         Davis brings back a majority of it's squad, whilst sprinkling in a handful of 2* recruits with Fox being the major loss. The non conference isn't very pretty as they do visit Cal, Idaho, Air Force and Santa Clara, which is about it. They did win 25 in 2014-15, and Jim Les could very well have the Aggies on the other side of the rankings come December.

8] Cal Poly Mustangs (10-20, 4-12)
         Joe Callero looks to get the Mustangs back on track in 16-17 with a good amount of guys returning and solid recruits, though I don't expect much noise. They do face three Pac-12 opponents (Arizona State, California & Washington) and very little else. Don't really expect them to climb in the standings. 

9] UC Riverside Highlanders (14-19, 5-11)
           Bland & Johns open up just under 32 points for the Highlanders, with Thames and Johnson expected to pick-up the slack, however, a relatively solid scheduling with games against Utah, UCLA, Denver, Montana and Utah State, they may have difficulty building any kind of momentum prior to league play.