Anchorage — On the eve of their final home series of the season, the UAA men's basketball team got some good news Wednesday.
The Seawolves are No. 8 in the initial West Region rankings, which will help determine which eight teams from the region advance to the NCAA Division II national tournament next month.
All four regions send eight teams to the tournament. In the West Region, three of those berths go to the conference tournament winners in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, the California Athletic Association and the Pacific West Conference.
The remaining five berths go to the highest ranked teams in the region rankings. Provided there are no big upsets in any of the three conference championship games, the top eight teams in the rankings routinely advance to the national tournament.
The rankings are based on a team's record against other Division II teams. The Seawolves are 13-5 in that category.
They are one of three teams from the GNAC in the rankings. Western Washington (21-0 against Division II teams and the defending national champion) is No. 1 and Seattle Pacific (17-3 against DII teams) is No. 3.
The Seawolves entertain Western Washington on Saturday and play Seattle Pacific on the road next week.
The regional rankings will be released two more times before the Division II tournament field is announced March 10.
Both UAA teams are home this weekend, meaning basketball doubleheaders on Thursday and Saturday at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
It's the final home series for both teams, and the occasion will be noted with a pair of giveaways. The first 150 fans at Thursday's doubleheader will get a Seawolves scarf, and the first 300 at Saturday's doubleheader will get a bobblehead.
The women (14-9 overall, 8-7 GNAC) host Saint Martin's (12-12, 5-9) on Thursday and Western Oregon (8-16, 3-11) on Saturday.
The men (16-6, 9-5) take on Simon Fraser (6-17, 1-14) on Thursday and Western Washington (24-0, 15-0) on Saturday.
Gibcus reaps honor
UAA senior Liam Gibcus is a third-team selection on the Capital One Academic All-American team announced Wednesday.
Gibcus, a 6-foot-10 center from Lysterfield, Australia, owns a 3.8 grade-point average in civil engineering. He is UAA's leading rebounder with 6.5 per game and its third-leading scorer with 10.9 points per game.
Gibcus is the second UAA men's player to earn academic All-America recognition, joining Rick Stafford, a second-team pick in 1997.