Team of the Week
Guard: Nick Emery — BYU Cougars
Three games, 21.3 ppg. Tied his career high with 37 in BYU’s loss to Utah Valley.
Guard: Jared Brownridge — Santa Clara Broncos
He’s back. First two weeks: 13 ppg, season-high 14 points. Last week: three games, 31 ppg and a new season-high of 36 points against Vanderbilt.
Forward: Brett Bailey — San Diego Toreros
Before last week Bailey’s career high was 22 points. He scored 26 against Bethune-Cookman, then 24 against New Mexico State.
Forward: Lamond Murray Jr. — Pepperdine Waves
Four games, 19.3 points per game. Unfortunately, his Waves went 1-3 during that span.
Forward: Jock Landale — Saint Mary’s Gaels
The anchor of the Gaels’ elite offense, Landale took 21 shots over two games this week and made 18 of them.
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs (6-0)
Last week: W 82-62 vs. Quinnipiac, W 77-72 vs. Florida, W 73-71 vs. Iowa State
This week: 12/1 vs. Mississippi Valley State, 12/3 vs. Arizona
Gonzaga went to the Advocare Invitational for the third time, and for the third time, left with the trophy. A solid field allowed the Zags to pick up the WCC’s best wins of the season so far per KenPom (Florida, No. 11 at press time), and according to the polls (Iowa State, No. 21). Gonzaga’s offense is legit and has now shown resilience with back-to-back tough wins. Another tough challenge comes this weekend against a ranked Arizona squad at Staples Center in L.A.
2. Saint Mary’s Gaels (5-0)
Last week: W 81-64 vs. San Jose State, W 76-63 vs. UAB
This week: 11/30 at Stanford
The Gaels fall here only because their resume is simply not that strong enough... yet. Junior Jock Landale (21 ppg, 9.2 rpg) has emerged as one of the best bigs in the nation. Thanks in large part to his play, no team in the country shoots it better inside the arc than the Gaels (62.9 percent).
3. BYU Cougars (4-2)
Last week: W 92-62 vs. Saint Louis, L 92-82 vs. Valparaiso, L 114-101 vs. Utah Valley
This week: 12/30 vs. Utah State, 12/3 at USC
Okay, they gave up 206 points in two losses last week. But the defense is, from an efficiency and shooting perspective, better than it has been in years past. Still, the Cougars let Utah Valley come into the Marriott Center and drop 114 in regulation. It’s gut-check time in Provo, as the Cougars set out on a more challenging week than they just emerged from: Utah State in Salt Lake City, then a trip to face the Trojans in Southern California.
4. Portland Pilots (4-2)
Last week: L 99-77 vs. UCLA, L 84-74 vs. Dayton, W 96-78 vs. Cal State Northridge
This week: 12/3 vs. Colorado
The Pilots went to the Wooden Legacy and faced stout competition in UCLA and Dayton. They lost to both, before bouncing back against Cal State Northridge. This is a surprising team that, thanks to the emergence of sophomore guard Jazz Johnson (18.5 ppg) alongside senior Alec Wintering (22.8 ppg), is an early candidate for most overlooked/undervalued mid-major backcourt. Keep an eye on the Pilots.
5. San Francisco Dons (4-1)
Last week: W 79-67 vs. Troy, W 77-59 vs. Sacramento State, L 96-90 at Eastern Washington
This week: 11/30 vs. Alcorn State, 12/2 vs. Lamar
Kyle Smith’s Dons haven’t really played anybody, and they won’t until the Diamond Head Classic in late December. It looked like they were turning a corner in the first half against Eastern Washington, with a balanced scoring offense and no players in double-figures. Then, they went back to depending too much on Ronnie Boyce, and lost. Boyce has taken 40.2 percent of available shots this season, the second-highest rate nationally.
6. Pepperdine Waves (4-3)
Last week: L 88-77 vs. Central Michigan, W 66-65 vs. Little Rock, L 89-63 vs. St. Bonaventure, L 91-85 vs. Portland State
This week: 12/3 vs. Belmont
There is no reason this team should lose at home, to Portland State. Chris Reyes struggled a bit during the week, but continues to be a solid replacement for Stacy Davis. Marty Wilson’s Waves are a top-half team talent-wise, but so far this team has been less than the sum of its parts.
7. Pacific Tigers (2-2)
Last week: W 73-65 vs. Wyoming
This week: 11/29 at Nevada, 12/1 vs. Sacramento State, 12/3 at Cal. State Fullerton
Pacific is 2-0 at home, 0-2 on the road. The Tigers haven’t played any cupcakes yet. In fact, both of their wins came against teams ranked above them in KenPom. This team is downright awful on the offensive end, though, with an effective field goal percentage of 41.5 percent — 16th-worst in the nation.
8. Santa Clara Broncos (3-4)
Last week: W 84-74 vs. Sacred Heart, L 69-61 vs. Arizona, L 76-66 vs. Vanderbilt
This week: 11/30 vs. UC Irvine, 12/3 at San Jose State
The Broncos lost two games to two good teams last week. How do they always play Arizona so close? But the good news is they didn’t look bad in either loss, and even better is that Jared Brownridge is finally playing like the all-WCC guard he is. The Broncos have the upside to climb if Brownridge keeps this up.
9. Loyola Marymount Lions (2-2)
Last week: W 78-62 vs. Portland State
This week: N/A
Mike Dunlap starts five upperclassmen. On offense, his Lions are among the top half in the WCC as far as efficiency is concerned. They still have just one win against a D-I program, and that won’t change until December since they’re taking this week off.
10. San Diego Toreros (2-4)
Last week: W 96-91 (3OT) vs. Bethune-Cookman, L 56-51 vs. New Mexico State
This week: 11/30 vs. USC, 12/3 at Northern Arizona
San Diego takes a lot of threes. The Toreros are actually not bad at shooting from long range (38.9 percent), but so far have been more of the team that dies by the three rather than lives by it. They are by far the least efficient offense in the WCC despite that decent three-point percentage.