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Joward Basketball Power Rankings returns for 2014-15 season

Joward NWAC basketball power rankings are back for its fourth season! Here's how Mr. Joward sees the 2014-15 season shaping up:

Men's Basketball

I make the preseason speech every year: This first set of rankings is more of a starting place than anything else, and things are likely to be completely upside down by the end of the year. However, the eventual league champion has been ranked in every initial set of rankings since the system's inception. Example: In the first-ever set of rankings, Tacoma was ranked 6th. They won a title that year. The next season, Chemeketa was ranked first initially and finished as champions. Last season, there was one set of rankings that had Portland ranked sixth before they came in as a cinderella team and won it all. Just food for thought.

Also edible: Only two currently ranked teams actually placed at last years tournament: Clark and Chemeketa. Three ranked teams didn't make the tournament at all in 2014.

In other housekeeping news, the NWAACC has rebranded to become the Northwest Athletic Conference, or NWAC. They have a fancy new logo to go along with the new acronym, both of which I like. It's slick, it's shiny and it looks like a preview of the future for the league. Two questions for you higher-uppers: When will the championships move into a smaller, more-appropriate and less expensive venue, and when will the championships move to a larger metro area like Portland or Seattle?
And with that, chomp away. The NWAC season is in full swing. The next set of rankings will publish on Dec. 21 as a preview for the holiday tournaments.

#1. Spokane
#2. Bellevue

See who else made the Joward top 8 NWAC men's teams and read more about his picks and in-depth analysis here.

Women's Basketball

There's been a bit of a shakeup in NWAC womens' basketball for this season, and the most fascinating thing will be to watch how it affects the balance of power — especially for the Eastern Region. Cheryl Holden, head coach of the dominant and defending-champion Columbia Basin Hawks, announced her retirement in June due to health reasons. Former Blue Mountain head coach Christy Martin, who had turned the Timberwolves into an Eastern Region contender, was hired at Tacoma CC in October. There are still several perennial powerhouses in the east, but it definitely opens a door for a few new faces to join the discussion.

#1. Umpqua
#2. Olympic

See who else made the Joward top 8 NWAC women's teams and read more about his picks and in-depth analysis here.

The JOWARD Power Rankings are just the opinion of one man. His ranking are posted on the NWAC website for review. Joward’s ranking and comments are his alone and is in no way the view or opinions of the NWAC or NWAC Sponsors.

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