GNAC Announces Changes To Basketball Championships

Monday, January 31, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – In an effort to lessen the effects of postponements and cancellations of games this season due to COVID-19, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference has announced changes to the field sizes and qualifying criteria for its 2022 men’s and women’s basketball championships.

The conference’s Management Council and CEO Board unanimously voted to expand this year’s tournament to all 10 men’s and women’s programs. The GNAC Championships will run from March 2 to 5.

To accommodate full fields in both genders, the first two rounds of games will be split between Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington, and Seattle Pacific University. In total, six games – two play-in contests and four quarterfinals matchups – will be contested at SPU’s Royal Brougham Pavilion. The other 12 games, including the semifinals and championship games in both genders, will be played at Marcus Pavilion on the campus of Saint Martin’s, which was awarded tournament-hosting rights two years ago.

For each gender, the No. 7 through No. 10 seeds will compete in play-in games on Wednesday, March 2. The winners will advance to an eight-team bracket, which will begin play on Thursday, March 3.

With the prospect of conference teams playing unbalanced schedules, tournament seeding in 2022 will be based on a points rating system rather than win/loss percentage.

The points rating system is an end-of-season calculation that attaches numeric values to each result based on whether the game was at home or on the road and where each opponent’s final conference winning percentage fell (i.e., .750 and above, .500 to .749, .250 to .499 and .249 and below). The better an opponent’s final winning percentage, the greater the point values for a win or a loss. It is similar to one of the key metrics used by Division II in ranking teams under consideration for NCAA postseason at-large berths in multiple sports, including men’s and women’s basketball.

“Given the significant disruption to the conference schedules this season, expanding the championship tournaments to include all members was the right thing to do for our basketball student-athletes,” said GNAC commissioner Dave Haglund. “Last year’s conference schedule and postseason tournaments were canceled as a result of COVID, which has also taken its toll on the first half of this year’s conference schedule. All told, there have been nearly as many postponements as games played to date.

“Since some GNAC teams could be affected by canceled contests more significantly than other teams, our Management Council believes a fairer system of seeding teams will be to use a points-rating formula that places a numeric value on the result of each completed contest, win or loss, depending on the quality of opponent. This is a system adopted by many Division II conferences to more fairly seed teams for their basketball tournaments.”

Championship brackets are expected to be announced on Saturday, February 26, following the conclusion of the final games of the regular season. Ticket information for both venues will be released at a later date.

County health and safety protocols will be in place for fans attending tournament contests at Seattle Pacific (King County) and Saint Martin's (Thurston County). Currently, for basketball games at Seattle Pacific, spectators 12 years of age or older will need to provide proof of full vaccination or results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event. Facemasks worn over the nose and mouth are required for all spectators over 5 years old, regardless of vaccination status. Currently, all fans attending basketball games at Saint Martin’s are required to wear facemasks regardless of vaccination status.

Points shall be awarded for each conference contest played:
7 points – win over a .750 or better team on the road
6.5 points – win over a .750 or better team at home
6 points – win over a .500 or better team on the road
5 points – win over a .500 or better team at home
4.5 points – win over a .250 or better team on the road
4 points – win over a .250 team or better at home
3.5 points – win over an under .250 team on the road
3 points – win over an under .250 team at home
2.5 points – loss at home or on the road to a .750 or better team
2 points – loss to a .500 or better team at home or on the road
1 point – loss to a .250 or better team at home or on the road
.5 points – loss to an under .250 team on the road
0 points – loss to an under .250 team at home