Team of the Week
|Joe Rahon||Guard, Saint Mary's Gaels|
|Ray Bowles||G/F, Pacific Tigers|
|Lamond Murray Jr.||G/F, Pepperdine Waves|
|Corbin Kaufusi||Forward, BYU Cougars|
|Domantas Sabonis||Forward, Gonzaga Bulldogs|
Joe Rahon: In his first game of the week, against Manhattan, Rahon dished out 10 assists and played lock-down defense. On Sunday against Stanford he scored 24 points on 10 of 13 shooting. The Boston College transfer is just one half of the Gaels' scary efficient backcourt.
Ray Bowles: 22 and 10 against Cal State Fullerton. 19 and 12 against Nevada. The sophomore has seen an increase in workload in the Tigers offense and has managed to not just avoid the drop off in efficiency that often accompanies that, but he's actually playing better with extended minutes.
Lamond Murray, Jr.: The Wave averaging over 20 points per game and shooting better than 50% from the field this past week wasn't Stacy Davis, it was Murray. The Junior wing put up 23 against San Diego Christian while only missing two shots. Against UCLA he went for 22.
Corbin Kaufusi: A rare bright spot for the Cougars in their one point loss to Long Beach State in the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon was the composed play of Kaufusi. 17 points, seven of 10 shooting, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Then a quality follow up against Adams State of 14 points on seven of nine shooting.
Domantas Sabonis: I don't know if anybody in the nation had a better week than Sabonis. The sophomore came off the bench in both games but managed a career high 26 points against Northern Arizona and then 15 against Mount St. Mary's. He went a combined 19 of 23 from the field in those two games. Oh, and he averaged 10.5 rebounds per game.
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs (2-0)
Last week: W 91-52 vs. Northern Arizona, W 101-56 vs. Mount St. Mary's
Mark Few has abandoned the three big starting lineup that he flirted with in the preseason. He's moved Kyle Dranginis into the starting line-up and now brings Domantas Sabonis off the bench. All that has done is make Sabonis (149.6) and Dranginis (141.9) the team leaders in offensive rating. The skill up front is now balanced by quality in the backcourt.
The Gaels are putting on a clinic when it comes to offense. Emmett Naar and Joe Rahon form a two-headed point guard monster that puts up numbers without needing a lot of shots. Kyle Clark has yet to miss from inside the arc. And, when the Gaels do miss the mark, they've got Dane Pineau to clean up the boards. As of 12 a.m. Monday, no player in the nation is grabbing offensive rebounds at a rate higher than Pineau (34.9%).
3. BYU Cougars (2-1)
Last week: L 66-65 at Long Beach State, W 97-56 vs. Adams State
Long Beach State made BYU look silly in the Tip-Off Marathon, but really the Cougars are to blame for the embarrassment. They couldn't hold onto the ball (lazy passes) or hit free throws (eight for 21). Still, they were never out of the game and lost by just one point.
4. San Francisco Dons (3-1)
Last week: W 80-54 vs. Rice, L 78-71 at Fresno State, W 58-57 vs. UC Riverside
The Dons are the happy surprise of the young season in the WCC. How has Rex Walters' group, picked seventh by the coaches and ninth by me in the preseason, found themselves so far up this list? Devin Watson is averaging 19.5 points per game so far and ranks 24th in the nation in assist rate, per KenPom. Tim Derksen doesn't have to do it all, after all.
5. Pepperdine Waves (1-2)
Last week: W 91-49 vs. San Diego Christian, L 81-67 at UCLA
A season with so much promise for the Waves has gotten off to a rocky start. They've lost to both Division-I teams they've played so far, and squandered the only chances to pick up quality non-conference wins in the process. The Waves rank 243rd in the nation from behind the arc.
6. Portland Pilots (2-2)
Last week: L 85-63 at Colorado, W 87-57 vs. Abilene Christian
The Pilots are shooting a solid 40% from three. That's almost the same as their percentage inside the arc (40.3%). Uh oh.
Unbeaten teams remaining: 74 (Sorry, Abilene Christian).— Ken Pomeroy (@kenpomeroy) November 23, 2015
That's the positive from this week. Portland ended the unbeaten run of Abilene Christian. It was a two game run against non-Division-I teams.
7. LMU Lions (2-2)
Last week: L 83-75 at Colorado State, W 86-62 vs. Antelope Valley
The Lions are shooting even worse from inside the arc than the Pilots, at a measly 39.7%. Combine that lack of interior presence with painfully slow start of highly touted freshman point guard Munis Tutu (3 points, total, over first four games), and the Lions don't have much going for them on the offensive end. They do have wins though, unlike the following three teams.
8. Pacific Tigers (0-3)
Last week: L 77-76 vs. Cal State Fullerton, L 85-82 (2OT) vs. Nevada
Wins will come. A season opener at Arizona was almost an assured loss. Cal State Fullerton barely made it out of Stockton with a one point win then Nevada needed two extra periods to escape. Until the Tigers learn how to close out a game they're just another winless WCC team. Thankfully, Non-D1 Notre Dame de Namur comes to town on Monday.
9. San Diego Toreros (0-3)
Last week: L 74-62 at Western Michigan, L 67-55 at Cal State Fullerton
First year head coach Lamont Smith needs to figure out what his team's identity is. They can't shoot —even from the free throw line, where they are sixth worst in the nation at 51.9%— yet they're taking nearly half of their shots from outside the arc.
10. Santa Clara Broncos (0-4)
Last week: L 77-63 at UC Riverside
Jared Brownridge is crumbling under the pressure. He's scoring, sure, because he has to. But the junior all-conference guard seems like the only guy on the team — no other Bronco has scored in double-figures more than once this season. His offensive rating so far this season is 95.8, well off his mark of 119.0 from last season and 117.3 as a freshman.