Team of the Week
Guard: Joe Rahon (second appearance) — Saint Mary’s Gaels
The senior guard dished out 12 assists to just two turnovers last week as the Gaels and their offense continued humming along.
Guard: D’Marques Tyson (second appearance) — Portland Pilots
The junior guard knocked down 12 of 19 three pointers last week.
Forward: Anthony Townes (second appearance) — Pacific Tigers
Scoring 22 points in each game last week, the sophomore’s late-season emergence earns him a second straight team of the week honor.
Forward: Johnathan Williams (third appearance) — Gonzaga Bulldogs
Gonzaga’s most overlooked and undervalued player posted 14 points and 19 rebounds in a dominating victory over San Diego Thursday.
Center: Eric Mika (sixth appearance) — BYU Cougars
The sophomore big man powered his team to the program’s first ever victory over a No. 1 ranked opponent with 29 points and 11 rebounds at Gonzaga. Also, surpassed 1,000 career points.
Gonzaga’s performance against BYU was truly an aberration. It was their least efficient offensive (0.95 points/possession) and second worst defensive (1.055 points/possession) display of the season. It really overshadowed that 29th consecutive win, which came by 58 points, the most ever by a no. 1 ranked team on the road in conference play. And that’s a shame, because that win Thursday was much more representative of this Gonzaga team. Which, mind you, still remains among the best teams of this millennium.
Gonzaga is the one seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament.
2. Saint Mary’s Gaels (29-1, 17-1)
Last week: W 78-49 at Pepperdine, W 70-56 vs. Santa Clara
This week: 3/4 vs. San Diego/Portland (WCC Tournament Quarterfinals)
The Gaels head to Las Vegas with a little less pressure on them than they had last season. Saint Mary’s is listed in every bracket included in the bracketmatrix.com project. Essentially, unlike last season when the Gaels were among the two or three biggest snubs on Selection Sunday, they’re a lock. A first round loss to San Diego or Portland, though, and the Gaels won’t be getting the six seed they’re projected as right now.
Saint Mary’s is the two seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament.
3. BYU Cougars (21-10, 12-6)
Last week: W 97-78 at Portland, W 79-71 at Gonzaga
This week: 3/4 vs. Loyola Marymount (WCC Tournament Quarterfinals)
Of the Cougars’ ten losses this season four have been to incredibly inferior competition. The teams ranked 296, 256, 195 and 138 in KenPom have all picked off the Cougars. Then, as 20+ point underdogs, BYU knocked off undefeated and top ranked Gonzaga in Spokane. Which Cougars are gonna show up in Vegas? Their tournament opener is against Loyola Marymount, which ranks 171 in KenPom. So, a team they could lose to. But, a team that nobody who beats the best should lose to. What a weird season for BYU.
BYU is the three seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament.
4. San Francisco Dons (20-11, 10-8)
Last week: L 53-51 at Loyola Marymount, W 76-65 at Pepperdine
This week: 3/4 vs. Santa Clara (WCC Tournament Quarterfinals)
The Dons split the L.A. road trip with a close loss at LMU followed by a closer than it looks win over Pepperdine. That win on Saturday gave San Francisco win 20 on the season. It’s only the Dons’ third 20 win season since 1982, when they self-imposed a death penalty and spent three seasons without a men’s basketball program. First year man Kyle Smith, who has now won 20 or more games in three of his seven total seasons as a head coach (previously with Columbia), has done a remarkable job with this team that was picked to finish ninth in the preseason by his fellow coaches.
San Francisco is the five seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament.
5. Loyola Marymount Lions (15-14, 8-10)
Last week: W 53-51 San Francisco, W 67-66 at Pacific
This week: 3/4 vs. BYU (WCC Tournament Quarterfinals)
Two wins last week by a combined three points; the cardiac Lions are back! Six of LMU’s first ten games this season were decided by three or fewer points. That number is now 11 games, and seven of them have been one point contests. The Lions are riding a three game winning streak into the WCC Tournament, the second longest active streak in the conference.
LMU is the six seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament.
6. Santa Clara Broncos (16-15, 10-8)
Last week: W 69-68 vs. Pacific, L 70-56 at Saint Mary’s
This week: 3/4 vs. San Francisco (WCC Tournament Quarterfinals)
The Broncos narrowly escaped what would’ve been a devastating home loss to Pacific Thursday before doing what just about everybody has done against Saint Mary’s this season. Their 10-8 record is tied for fourth in the WCC standings with San Francisco — the Dons and Broncos split their regular season series — but thanks to a win over three seed BYU, Santa Clara won the tiebreaker for the four seed. Are they better? We’ll find out next, because the Broncos play the Dons in their WCC tournament opener.
7. San Diego Toreros (13-16, 6-12)
Last week: L 96-38 vs. Gonzaga, W 85-82 vs. Portland
This week: 3/3 vs. Portland (WCC Tournament Opening Round)
On Thursday the Toreros made history, though they’d have rather not.
Gonzaga's 58-point win over San Diego is the largest road win by the top-ranked team in AP poll history.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 24, 2017
That historic defeat at the hands of the WCC’s top team was followed by a too close for comfort win over its worst. Oh yeah, and remember how San Diego beat BYU by 13 back in January? Two days after being embarrassed by Gonzaga, BYU beat Gonzaga in Spokane. So, nobody knows what to make of the Toreros.
San Diego is the seven seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament.
8. Pacific Tigers (10-21, 4-14)
Last week: L 69-68 at Santa Clara, L 67-66 vs. Loyola Marymount
This week: 3/3 vs. Pepperdine (WCC Tournament Opening Round)
Two losses last week by a combined two points. Ouch. A couple bounces go their way and the Tigers are the seven seed rather than the nine. Either way, though, they wouldn’t get a bye. Unlike last season, when they were on self-imposed probation, they’ll play in the WCC Tournament. Take what you can get if you’re a Tigers fan, I guess. It’s not been a fun four years back in the WCC for this program that used to be dominant in the Big West.
9. Pepperdine Waves (9-21, 5-13)
Last week: L 78-49 vs. Saint Mary’s, L 76-65 vs. San Francisco
This week: 3/3 vs. Pacific (WCC Tournament Opening Round)
Two years ago Pepperdine ranked third in the nation in three point percentage defense (27.3%). This year they’re second worst in that category (41.7%). Thankfully for them, they’re playing the WCC’s worst team at shooting from deep in their first game in Vegas.
Pepperdine is the eight seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament.
10. Portland Pilots (10-21, 2-16)
Last week: W 96-58 vs. Walla Walla, L 97-78 vs. BYU, L 85-82 at San Diego
This week: 3/3 vs. San Diego (WCC Tournament Opening Round)
I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know about Monday’s game against Walla Walla until Thursday. Portland had an open slot since their December 10 game against Boise State, postponed due to inclement weather, was unable to be rescheduled this year. What does it mean? What would’ve been a 16 game losing streak was snapped at 14, because of a last second game against an NAIA opponent.
Portland is the 10 seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament.