2023 Saginaw Valley vs Northern Michigan - Women's

GLIAC Tournament Men's And Women's Games To Watch

GLIAC Tournament Men's And Women's Games To Watch

After a regular season full of surprises, the GLIAC Men’s and Women’s Tournaments are set to start, with the higher seeds in each game hosting.

Mar 1, 2023 by Ron Balaskovitz
GLIAC Tournament Men's And Women's Games To Watch

After a regular season full of surprises, the GLIAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments are set to start, with the higher-seeded team in each game earning the right to host those games.

The eight-team league saw a ton of shocks this season, including a team that was picked to barely make the tournament ending up with the coveted No. 1 seed, while last season’s tournament champions stumbled badly and are not in this season’s field.

Starting with the GLIAC men, here’s a look at the four opening-round matchups that are set to take place. Below that, a look at the women’s action.

No. 1 Parkside Vs. No. 8 Michigan Tech

One of the biggest shocks of the Division II college basketball season comes in the form of the Parkside Rangers, who were picked to finish eighth in the preseason poll in October, but instead went 21-7 overall, including 14-4 in the GLIAC to claim the regular-season title.

The top seed is a huge get for the Rangers, who went 14-2 on their home court this year and will get to host each game they play in the GLIAC Tournament, should they continue to advance. 

The Rangers are paced by Rasheed Bello, who was third in the GLIAC at 18.5 points per game. 

A big key for Parkside has been its outside shooting. As a team, they made nearly 40% of their 3-pointers this season, while the defense gave up the fewest points in the league at 66.7 per game.

It was tough sledding for Michigan Tech this season, going 5-13 in the GLIAC and tying for final spot in the tournament, getting in on a tiebreaker over Wayne State. 

The Huskies biggest issue was their struggle to score, ranking next to last in the GLIAC at 67.7 points per game, while ranking last in the league in rebounds per game and blocked shots.

Parkside swept the regular-season meetings between the two teams, winning by 23 and 18.

No. 2 Ferris State Vs. No. 7 Purdue Northwest

The favorite entering the season, Ferris State ended up as the No. 2 seed, finishing a game back of the regular-season title, after falling to Grand Valley in the regular-season finale.

Ferris State still is a very strong team, with Solomon Oraegbu the leading scorer at 17.6 points per game, one of three Bulldogs to average double figures on the season. 

The Bulldogs feature a high-powered offense that topped the GLIAC at nearly 87 points per game, the best in the league by over six points per night.

Purdue Northwest might be a bit of shock to be in the field at all, after being picked last in the league’s preseason poll.

The Lions, however, found a way to get to five wins and did so on the back of a good offense that was third in the GLIAC in scoring and led the conference with 293 made 3-pointers, 43 more than the next team. 

Mikell Cooper and his 17.5 points per game leads the way for the Lions.

Ferris State won both games during the regular season, including a 20-point romp in Big Rapids.

No. 3 Northern Michigan Vs. No. 6 Saginaw Valley State

The Wildcats of Northern Michigan finished in a tie for second place with Ferris State, but settled for the third-seed based on tiebreakers, and will host the Cardinals of Saginaw Valley State.

The story for Northern starts with Max Bjorklund, who topped the GLIAC in scoring at 20.3 points per game and was among the top 15 in both made 3-pointers and made free throws, making him perhaps the league’s top shooter.

Northern was second in the league at nearly 81 points per game and had the second-highest shooting percentage in the league as a team.

Saginaw Valley, as you might expect from a team that was both .500 in the league and overall, was a middle-of-the-pack team in most categories, but saw the struggles on defense prevent them from a higher finish, yielding the second-most points per game in the league, ahead of only Davenport. 

Reddie McIntosh paced the Cardinals this season at 16 points per game, mainly doing so as a volume shooter, while being efficient at the foul line at 82%.

Northern swept the regular-season meetings between the two teams, winning by 17 on their home floor, while squeaking out a three-point win at SVSU, which could mean a close game in the tournament.

No. 4 Lake Superior State Vs. No. 5 Grand Valley State

The Battle of the Lakers sees LSSU and GVSU battle it out in the No. 4-5 game, after being separated by just a game in the GLIAC standings.

LSSU was 1-7 in non-league games but caught fire in GLIAC play to finish 12-6 in the conference and earn the last home game. 

The Key for the Lakers was their defense, giving up the third fewest points per game once league play began, while the offense connected at nearly 38% of its 3-pointers, finding a way to pull out tight games. LSSU won 4-of-5 to close out the year.

Caden Ebeling leads LSSU at 16.1 points per game, doing his damage in the post and hitting 55% of his shots on the year.

GVSU was a tale of two ends of the court, ranking third in the conference in scoring once league game started, but giving up the third-most points of any team, seeing opponents shoot over 45% against them, while also committing the second-most fouls of any team in the league. 

GVSU is more of a scoring-by-committee team, despite their high-scoring totals, with Marius Grazulis leading the team at just 12.1 points per game.

LSSU swept the meetings during the regular season, winning in OT at home, then downing GVSU on its home court by eight points.

Women’s Tournament

While the men’s bracket saw a number of surprises at the top and bottom of the standings, there was no such drama on the women’s side, as league favorite and national title contender, Grand Valley State, romped to the regular-season title, going 17-1 as part of a 26-2 record. 

GVSU won the GLIAC regular-season title by two games. The road to the GLIAC title will go through Allendale, Michigan, and Grand Valley State.

The eight teams that were tabbed in the preseason poll to make the postseason all did.

No. 1 Grand Valley State Vs. No. 8 Purdue Northwest

Grand Valley is the deepest team in the league, as evidenced by a league-leading 76.5 points per game and the team’s leading scorer sitting 14th in the league at 13.4 points per game. 

While there isn’t a scorer star among the bunch, there are five players who averaged over eight points per game, and another two who chip in over six per game. 

Throw in a defense that gave up under 51 points per night, and you can see how GVSU lost only once during the GLIAC regular season.

Purdue Northwest tied with Lake Superior State for the final spot but got in thanks to the tiebreakers. 

The Lions roster features a standout in Dash Shaw, who was third in the league in scoring at 18.6 points per game. 

The struggle for the Lions is on defense. They gave up over 70 points per game, tied for next to last in the league.

GVSU swept the regular-season series, winning by eight at PNW, then rolling by 41 in the rematch three weeks later.

No. 2 Michigan Tech Vs. No. 7 Wayne State

Michigan Tech was a strong bunch on both ends this year, going 15-3 in the GLIAC, thanks to a defense that gave up fewer than 60 points per game, while the offense averaged over 70 points per game.

The Huskies also were a good 3-point-shooting team, finishing second in the league at over 36% on the season. Isabella Lenz (14 ppg) and Ellie Mackay (13.4 ppg) give the Huskies a strong 1-2 scoring duo.

Wayne State was a better-than-you-think No. 7 seed, winning seven games in the league and finishing over .500 on the season.

The Warriors kept things close with an offense and defense that both were in the mid-60s in terms of points per game. 

Wayne State’s big problem on offense was 3-point shooting, which came in at under 30%, but if it’s a close game, they were second in the league at the foul line at nearly 80%. 

The Warriors are led by Becca Fugate, who netted 13.6 points per night.

Tech took both games in the regular season between the two, winning by 15 and 10.

No. 3 Parkside Vs. No. 6 Ferris State

One of the more surprising matchups of the opening round, Parkside was picked to finish in the middle of the pack but surged to a top-3 finish.

Ferris State, which was tabbed as the league’s runner-up coming into the year, faded to a 9-9 mark and a road game as the sixth-seed.

Parkside is led by the league’s top scorer in Alyssa Nelson, who was a bucket and a problem all season at 22.3 points per game, burying a league-best 73 from the 3-point line, all while shooting nearly 50% from the floor. 

She paces a Rangers offense that was second-best in the GLIAC at over 75 points per game, and a team that made the most free throws in the league.

Ferris State scored in bunches this year, hitting 71 points per game on the season, but struggled with holding onto the ball, coughing it up the third-most in the league at over 16 times per night.

The Bulldogs are led by Chloe Idoni on offense, who finished third in the league at 19.1 points per game, while also grabbing over seven rebounds per night.

Parkside won both meetings in the regular season, winning by nine and 13 in those games.

No. 4 Northern Michigan Vs. No. 5 Saginaw Valley State

These two teams tied for fourth place in the league at 10-8 and were within a half game of each other overall, which should make for a close matchup in the 4-5 game.

Northern gets home-court advantage due to the tiebreakers, and the game will feature some of the league’s top scorers.

NMU is led by Makaylee Kun’s 16.4 points per game, good for sixth in the league, while SVSU’s Kaitlyn Zarycki was one of two players to average over 20 points per game in the league, finishing second at 21.3, while leading the league with a 91% showing at the foul line.

Despite those two offensive stars, it could be a defensive battle, as both teams finishing among the league’s top 4 in points per game allowed.

The two team’s split a pair of low-scoring games in the regular season, with each team winning on the road. 

Northern won 56-52 at SVSU, then the Cardinals returned the favor 46-43 at Northern a month later.