The Great West is dead. After four years of men's D-I basketball, all five of its team have found new homes (well, except NJIT, which seems to be in limbo as it continues to lobby for membership in the American East), and now we have an official date and time for the end.
I'm surprised they even bothered to draw up a logo for the conference tournement which takes place Thursday to Saturday at Chicago State's Jones Convocation Center. Luckily, CSU is conveniently located 1,436 miles from Great West member Utah Valley University, 773 miles from top-seeded the New Jersey Institute of Technology and just 1,417 milles from the University of Texas-Pan American.
Of course, none of these teams are eligible for the NCAA Tournament because of their membership in the fledgling conference, but an automatic bid to the College Insider Tournament is on the line for the champion.
Previously: Current Big Sky Conference North Dakota won each of the last two GWC Tournaments, and current Summit League member South Dakota did it before that.
This year: History is on the line, I guess. None of the five teams in this year's tournament have ever won the tournament. Crazy.
Only NJIT (16-12, 6-2) and UTPA (16-15, 5-3) can boast of records above .500 and none rank higher than 260th in Pomeroy's rankings. College Sports Madness picked NJIT head coach Jim Engles as their GWC coach of the year, senior guard Chris Flores as player of the year and Ky Howard as freshman of the year.
However, UTPA took down NJIT in the final game of the regular season, 76-59, so that highly-coveted CIT berth won't come easily for the Highlanders. But it would go a long way towards their campaign to join the American East Conference, and I'm picking them as the favorite. Perhaps that added pressure will fan their fires.
If you for some reason want to watch the sad end of GWC basketball, Chicago State will be streaming all the games online.