Regular season titles and conference tournament seeds are being locked up left and right, so let’s take a look at the current landscape of the WCC.
Team of the Week
Guard: Nigel Williams-Goss (eighth appearance) — Gonzaga Bulldogs
The dynamic junior point guard scored 30 points Thursday against San Francisco, bringing his career average against the Dons down to 33 points per game.
Forward: Calvin Hermanson (third appearance) — Saint Mary’s Gaels
Connected on seven-of-13 three’s, last week and his 17 points led the Gaels past the Cougars in Provo Saturday.
Forward: Anthony Townes — Pacific Tigers
In Portland on Thursday, the sophomore matched a career-high 18 points but was even more impressive on the glass, where he pulled down 16 of the Tigers’ 31 rebounds.
Forward: Nate Kratch — Santa Clara Broncos
Averaged 23 points per game last week and dropped 32 in a win over Pepperdine Thursday.
Center: Zach Collins (third appearance) — Gonzaga Bulldogs
The Zags’ seventh man continues to put up big numbers in limited minutes. In 19 minutes per game last week, he averaged 11 points, 7.5 rebounds and four blocks.
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs (28-0, 16-0)
Last week: W 96-61 vs. San Francisco, W 82-61 vs. Pacific
This week: 2/23 at San Diego, 2/25 vs. BYU
The Zags have won 20-consecutive games by double-digits. Their last single-digit margin of victory was a 69-62 victory over Arizona on Dec. 3.
The Zags, with Saturday’s win, have now also clinched at least a share of their 20th WCC regular season title. Their first came back in 1994. They’ve won 16 in Mark Few’s 18 seasons at the helm, and the last five straight.
Gonzaga has also locked up the No. 1 seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament.
2. Saint Mary’s Gaels (24-3, 14-2)
Last week: W 81-48 vs. Loyola Marymount, W 70-57 at BYU
This week: 2/23 at Pepperdine, 2/25 vs. Santa Clara
Saint Mary’s is still technically alive in the hunt for the WCC title, but will need Gonzaga to lose twice. And even then they’ll just get a share of the crown. But, with their dominating victory in Provo on Saturday, Saint Mary’s has knocked BYU out of the race for second place. That means the Gaels have locked up their spot opposite Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament bracket.
3. BYU Cougars (19-10, 10-6)
Last week: W 82-70 vs San Diego, L 70-57 vs. Saint Mary’s
This week: 2/23 at Portland, 2/25 at Gonzaga
The Cougars were eliminated from contention for a top-two finish with their loss to second place Saint Mary’s on Saturday. But Santa Clara’s loss to San Diego gives BYU a leg up in the hunt for the three seed.
The road ahead for the Cougars is rough. A Pacific Northwest road trip stands between BYU and the WCC Tournament.
BYU’s bench is averaging two points per game over their last three outings.
4. Santa Clara Broncos (15-14, 9-7)
Last week: W 106-55 vs. Pepperdine, L 60-58 2OT vs. San Diego
This week: 2/23 vs. Pacific, 2/25 at Saint Mary’s
It was a wild week for the Broncos. They torched Pepperdine Thursday and then found themselves in a double-overtime dogfight with San Diego, which they lost at the buzzer.
That all but knocks the Broncos out of the hunt for the three seed. I project BYU and Santa Clara will both split their remaining two games this season. However, if they were to finish tied at 11-7, they would tie on the first tiebreaker (head-to-head), but Santa Clara would win on the second (record vs. higher seed), because for the Broncos to finish 11-7, they’d need to win at Saint Mary’s in their season finale. This is unlikely, to say the least.
5. San Francisco Dons (19-10, 9-7)
Last week: L 96-61 at Gonzaga, W 65-51 at Portland
This week: 2/23 at Loyola Marymount, 2/25 at Pepperdine
The Dons have the easiest remaining road of the three teams in the hunt for the three seed. However, while the opponents aren’t the toughest, the venues are both hostile.
If San Francisco finishes in a tie with Santa Clara, the teams will also tie in the first tiebreaker (head-to-head), but Santa Clara would win on the second. San Francisco has been swept by Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s and BYU, while the Broncos have picked up a win over BYU and have one last shot at the Gaels.
6. Loyola Marymount Lions (13-14, 6-10)
Last week: L 81-48 at Saint Mary’s, W 82-61 vs. Pepperdine
This week: 2/23 vs. San Francisco, 2/25 at Pacific
There is no way for the Lions to finish in the top half of the WCC at this point. They have a legitimate chance to improve to 8-10 on the season, but would still fall at least one game off top-half pace.
The Lions haven’t locked up the six seed, though. And that’s big, because the top-six seeds get byes into the quarterfinal round of the WCC Tournament.
7. San Diego Toreros (12-16, 5-11)
Last week: L 82-70 at BYU, W 60-58 2OT at Santa Clara
This week: 2/23 vs. Gonzaga, 2/25 vs. Portland
The Toreros continue to be the most confusing team in the WCC. They’ve put up 27 against Saint Mary’s and lost (obviously), but also dropped 88 on BYU in a victory. Last week they played BYU kind of close in Provo before upsetting Santa Clara, in double-overtime, on a Tyler Williams buzzer beater.
Tyler Williams @BeGreatTy1 hits a buzzer beating jumper in Double OT to lead the Toreros to a 60-58 win #GoToreros pic.twitter.com/cHAT83RaGS— USD Men's Basketball (@usdmbb) February 19, 2017
If you want to bet on a dark horse in Vegas, here you go.
8. Pacific Tigers (10-19, 4-12)
Last week: W 76-65 at Portland, L 82-61 at Gonzaga
This week: 2/23 at Santa Clara, 2/25 vs. Loyola Marymount
The Tigers could finish tied for sixth, but can’t get the six seed due to tie-breakers with LMU, who they would need to beat for that scenario to come true.
9. Pepperdine Waves (9-19, 5-11)
Last week: L 106-55 at Santa Clara, L 82-61 at Loyola Marymount
This week: 2/23 vs. Saint Mary’s, 2/25 vs. San Francisco
Pepperdine could, with two victories and the right combination of losses from other teams, jump into the six spot. Which is actually crazy considering they were 2-7 halfway through conference play.
10. Portland Pilots (9-19, 2-14)
Last week: L 76-65 vs. Pacific, L 65-51 vs. San Francisco
This week: 2/23 vs. BYU, 2/25 at San Diego
14 straight losses for the Alec Wintering-less Pilots, who have now clinched the 10 seed in the WCC Tournament. Which, is something.