This season the strongest and deepest region of the NWAC is the West Region. The Clippers entered January understanding how much of a challenge they faced, and now enter the second half of conference with a 5-2 record in West Region play. The Clippers put together an impressive non-conference record of 13-2, winning the Dales Bates Classic at Lane Community College, followed by sweeping the SPSCC Crossover prior to a 10 day holiday break. Following the break the Clippers played four road games, winning three of four, leading up to the start of West Region play.
SPSCC faces a huge challenge in the second half of conference, as there are currently five teams within two games of first place. Green River currently leads the West Region with a 6-1 record, followed by SPSCC at 5-2. Only one game back from the Clippers are Highline, Lower Columbia, Centralia and Pierce, all of whom enter the bye week at 4-3. Among that group are three teams that have spent time ranked in the NWAC Coaches “Top 8” poll so far this season.
The NWAC will take the top four teams from each region into the championship tournament in March. The Clippers understand that RPI rankings and the coaches poll are meaningless at this point, but they do serve as a testament to how strong the West Region is. The most recent RPI rankings (January 22) had the Clippers ranked #2 overall in the NWAC, joined by three other West Region teams (Green River, Centralia and Highline) in the top 11 http://nwacsports.org/index.php?id=15774&cat=0. In the latest coaches “Top 8” poll, the Clippers came in at #3 in the NWAC, right next to Green River at #4, Centralia at #8 and Highline receiving votes in the poll http://nwacsports.org/index.php?id=15795&cat=0.
The Clippers return to action on February 6th with a road game at Highline College, then will return to Olympia for a February 9th rematch with Green River.