Team of the Week
|Guard: Devin Watson||Sophomore, San Francisco Dons|
|Guard: Jared Brownridge||Junior, Santa Clara Broncos|
|Guard: Chase Fischer||Senior, BYU Cougars|
|Forward: Stacy Davis||Senior, Pepperdine Waves|
|Forward: Domantas Sabonis||Sophomore, Gonzaga Bulldogs|
Devin Watson: 55 points and 14 assists in two games last week. Watson has emerged in his sophomore year as one of the league's best guards. He has scored in double figures in all but one game this season and his 33 against Gonzaga is a career high. He does more than just score, however, as his assist rate ranks second in conference play.
Jared Brownridge: He always comes to play, so it's no surprise he had another big game against a big name. The junior racked up 31 points before fouling out against the Zags. Then against Portland he went for 27 points and made all 13 of his free throws.
Chase Fischer: It's a second straight Team of the Week appearance for BYU's sharpshooting senior. That slump from earlier this season is clearly over. He scored 21 in the loss to Saint Mary's and 23 in the win over Pacific. Consistent high-volume production.
Stacy Davis: The Waves only played one game last week, against travel partner LMU, so Davis didn't get to put up the same volume as the other guys on the team. But he made the most of his one shot. Another double-double: 11 points and 15 rebounds.
Domantas Sabonis: While Kyle Wiltjer got the CBS Sports Preseason Player of the Year honors it's Sabonis who leads the way early for the WCC Player of the Year award. This is his third consecutive appearance on the Team of the Week. Why? He's a monster: 35 and 14 in the win over San Francisco.
1. Saint Mary's Gaels (13-1, 4-0)
Last week: W 85-74 vs. BYU, W 79-46 vs. San Diego
This week: 1/7 at Loyola Marymount, 1/9 at Pepperdine
The slow and steady Gaels hosted the run and gun BYU Cougars on New Year's Eve and completely controlled the tempo. There were 68 possessions in that game, BYU's lowest total of the season to that point. The Gaels remain the nation's best shooting offense in both traditional and advanced metrics. They're more than just that, though. The nation's leaders in three point percentage have an inside game as well. According to KenPom, no team in the nation gets a higher percentage of offensive rebounds from the power forward percentage than Saint Mary's.
2. Gonzaga Bulldogs (12-3, 4-0)
Last week: W 79-77 at Santa Clara, W (OT) 102-94 at San Francisco
This week: 1/9 vs. Portland
It's time for life without Przemek Karnowski for the Zags. On track to be the program's all-time winningest player his senior season was cut short due to back surgery. Josh Perkins had a breakout game against Santa Clara, as the freshman point guard went for a career high 26 points. Gonzaga barely won. Domantas Sabonis had 35 and 14 to help Gonzaga erase a second half deficit at San Francisco — The Dons defeated Gonzaga on the Hilltop in 2010, 2011 and 2012 — and eventually win in overtime. Not an impressive week for the Zags but two gutsy wins count the same as two impressive wins come March.
3. BYU Cougars (10-5, 1-1)
Last week: L 85-74 at Saint Mary's, W 81-67 at Pacific
This week: 1/7 vs. Santa Clara, 1/9 vs. San Francisco
A loss at maybe the best team in the conference followed by a win at maybe the worst team in the conference. It's a wash of a week for the Cougars, who are significantly above the teams below them to this point but not on the same level as those above them. A promising sign is the reemergence of center Nate Austin. Back in the starting lineup for the past four games the sixth year senior grabbed 10 and 14 rebounds in last week's games.
4. San Francisco Dons (8-6, 2-2)
Last week: W 107-95 vs. Portland, L (OT) 102-94 vs. Gonzaga
This week: 1/7 at San Diego, 1/9 at BYU
Rex Walters' Dons got another stellar week from the backcourt tandem of Devin Watson (33 points vs. Portland, 22 points vs. Gonzaga) and Tim Derksen (27 points vs. Portland, 12 points vs. Gonzaga). They've been producing all season but the trend of increased production from their supporting cast continues. The Dons won three straight against Gonzaga to start the decade and very nearly had another home court upset on their hands before giving up a second half lead on Saturday.
5. Pepperdine Waves (8-6, 1-2)
Last week: W (OT) 68-65 vs. Loyola Marymount
This week: 1/7 vs. Pacific, 1/9 vs. Saint Mary's
The Waves played their ideal style and picked up a win over kinda-crosstown rival LMU in the first leg of this year's PCH Cup. After a week of monster performance from Jeremy Major the Waves got it done as a team this week. Major had just eight points but four Waves hit double figures against LMU. They held the Lions to just five of 19 from long range. That's a marked improvement from the previous week's torching at the hands of Portland and Gonzaga.
6. Santa Clara Broncos (5-11, 1-3)
Last week: L 79-77 vs. Gonzaga, W 84-77 vs. Portland
This week: 1/7 at BYU, 1/9 at San Diego
Gonzaga's Josh Perkins needed a career night to fend off the upset minded Broncos at the Leavey Center on New Year's Eve. This is the second time Jared Brownridge and company have very nearly taken down one of the west's best — Arizona survived 75-73 against the Broncos back on Thanksgiving. This team is talented and should be so much better than their record.
7. Portland Pilots (8-9, 2-2)
Last week: L 107-95 at San Francisco, L 84-77 at Santa Clara
This week: 1/9 at Gonzaga
An up and down season continues for the Pilots, who drop from fourth to seventh after a winless trip to the Bay Area. The Pilots take a lot of threes. When they make those threes they look great. When they don't they lose games. There's a saying about living and dying by the three.
8. Loyola Marymount Lions (7-7, 0-3)
Last week: L 68-65 (OT) at Pepperdine
This week: 1/7 vs. Saint Mary's, 1/9 vs. Pacific
Adom Jacko had another efficient game, scoring 20 points on nine of 14 shooting from the field but the Lions as a whole weren't able to match. Against a stingy Pepperdine defense the Lions had their third worst points per possession of the season. Two of those three games have now come in WCC play (Portland), which is obviously not a good sign of things to come.
9. Pacific Tigers (3-10, 2-2)
Last week: W 77-75 vs. San Diego, L 81-67 vs. BYU
This week: 1/7 at Pepperdine, 1/9 at Loyola Marymount
Beat the only team below them in the power rankings, lose to the team ranked third. The Tigers and Toreros are way behind the rest of the league but the Tigers are the ones getting the wins here and there. That said, they have two wins vs. Division I competition this year. Combined scoring differential in those wins: +3. And one of those wins came at the buzzer in overtime.
10. San Diego Toreros (5-8, 0-2)
Last week: L 77-75 at Pacific, L 79-46 at Saint Mary's
This week: 1/7 vs. San Francisco, 1/9 vs. Santa Clara
Hack-a-Shaq lovers rejoice as the concept can now be employed against an entire team. Hack-any-Torero. They're shooting in the low 60% range as a team this season. Amazingly their 75.8% mark against an equally hapless Pacific team was their fourth best this season. The offensive woes aren't confined to the free throw line, as the 46 point performance in Moraga shows.