We’ve made it through one week of West Coast Conference play. All ten teams have played two games, and two of those games have major implications in the race for the WCC crown.
Team of the Week
Guard: Souley Boum - San Francisco Dons
A 26-point performance in a win at Portland an an average of 23.5 points for the week.
Guard: Roberto Gallinat - Pacific Tigers
The junior transfer didn’t post the best lines last week, but he sure was fun (and clutch) to watch against LMU. Big dunks and blocks in the second half helped Pacific survive the Lions.
Forward: Rui Hachimura - Gonzaga Bulldogs
The sophomore came off the bench to average 15 points over two games last week. Hachimura went 10-12 from the field and 10-11 from the line.
Forward: Yoeli Childs - BYU Cougars
An average of 27.5 points over two games last week earned Childs his fourth appearance on our team of the week.
Center: Jock Landale - Saint Mary’s Gaels
The Aussie big man makes his fifth appearance on our team of the week, thanks to a 31-point performance against BYU.
1. Saint Mary’s Gaels (13-2, 2-0 WCC)
Last week: W 87-59 vs. Loyola Marymount, W 74-64 (OT) at BYU
This week: Jan. 4 vs. Pacific, Jan. 6 vs. San Diego
The Gaels’ first trip outside the state of California this season was a big one. And for most of the game it seemed as if it was going to be a bad one. But the Gaels are a disciplined, elite offensive team. Shots weren’t falling, but they never stopped taking them. They fell eventually, at just the right time. The Gaels sit alone atop the WCC standings with the second toughest roadtrip of the year in the rear view mirror. Plus, Jock Landale’s the frontrunner for WCC Player of the Year. When everybody else’s shots aren’t falling, his usually are.
2. Gonzaga Bulldogs (12-3, 2-0)
Last week: W 81-48 vs. Pacific, W 101-52 vs. Santa Clara
This week: Jan. 4 at Pepperdine, Jan. 8 at Loyola Marymount
Two significantly over-matched teams came into Spokane and left with blowout losses. Not exactly a surprise. But Gonzaga’s performance in both games was a departure from what we had been seeing of late. This doesn’t look like the turnover-prone team devoid of energy we’d seen for the past few weeks. The Zags scored the first 15 points against Santa Clara but never took their foot off the gas. They scored 1.49 points per possession while allowing just 0.76, both of which are season bests.
3. BYU Cougars (12-3, 1-1)
Last week: W 69-45 vs. Portland, L 74-64 (OT) vs. Saint Mary’s
This week: Jan. 4 at San Francisco, Jan. 6 at Pacific
There’s little shame in an overtime loss to a preseason Top-25 team, but it really hurts the Cougars’ chances for a top-two finish in the standings. There are five games remaining between the league’s big three. If each team simply holds serve, and doesn’t slip up elsewhere, BYU’s on the outside looking in. And, unfortunately, BYU has a habit of slipping up elsewhere. The Cougars have lost 17 games to teams outside the WCC’s big three since joining in 2011, which is just shy of three losses per season. Gonzaga, in that same span, has lost just three such games.
4. San Diego Toreros (11-3, 2-0)
Last week: W 73-63 vs. San Francisco, W 74-66 vs. Pepperdine
This week: Jan. 4 at Portland, Jan. 6 at Saint Mary’s
San Diego separated itself from the pack with a convincing home win over San Francisco. The Dons were supposed to be the team fighting to break into the top-three, but the Toreros took them down and proved that they are for real in the race for the WCC. Their second in the nation shooting defense will get a real test this Saturday against the hot-shooting Saint Mary’s Gaels. Big game upcoming.
5. San Francisco Dons (9-6, 1-1)
Last week: L 73-63 at San Diego, W 84-61 at Portland
This week: Jan. 4 vs. BYU, Jan. 6 at Pepperdine
Just about everything goes through Souley Boum. The freshman guard ranks 17th in the nation with a usage rate of 32.2 percent. He’s scored in double-figures in all but one game and is coming off a season high 26 points against Portland.
6. Pacific Tigers (6-9, 1-1)
Last week: L 81-48 at Gonzaga, W 88-82 (OT) vs. Loyola Marymount
This week: Jan. 4 at Saint Mary’s, Jan. 6 vs. BYU
The Tigers opened WCC play with a trip to Gonzaga. In week two they’ll travel to Saint Mary’s before hosting BYU. That’s about as brutal of a stretch as is possible.
7. Portland Pilots (6-9, 0-2)
Last week: L 69-45 at BYU, L 84-61 vs. San Francisco
This week: Jan. 4 vs. San Diego, Jan. 6 at Santa Clara
Portland’s going to pick somebody off if Terry Porter lets his team keep chucking up threes. They lost by 24 points in Provo last Thursday, but kept it close for nearly 30 minutes. The Pilots took 27 threes in that one. They weren’t falling down the stretch, but considering Portland ranks as the 25th best three point shooting team in the nation (40.2 percent) you have to imagine they’ll fall in the future.
8. Santa Clara Broncos (4-10, 1-1)
Last week: W 72-65 vs. Pepperdine, L 101-52 at Gonzaga
This week: Jan. 4 at Loyola Marymount, Jan. 6 vs. Portland
Santa Clara got absolutely smacked by Gonzaga in Spokane. Even Gonzaga’s garbage time squad of deep bench players had no trouble with the Broncos. But the team isn’t winless in league play, so there’s that.
9. Loyola Marymount Lions (5-8, 0-2)
Last week: L 87-59 at Saint Mary’s, L 88-82 (OT) at Pacific
This week: Jan. 4 vs. Santa Clara, Jan. 6 vs. Gonzaga
The Lions lost another two possession game. They’ve done this against a number of good teams over the past two seasons, but they’ve also done it against teams like Pacific. It was exciting. It’s gotten boring. Mike Dunlap’s got some work to do, and this is his fourth season at the helm.
10. Pepperdine Waves (3-11, 0-2)
Last week: L 72-65 at Santa Clara, L 74-66 at San Diego
This week: Jan. 4 vs. Gonzaga, Jan. 6 vs. San Francisco
Kameron Edwards missed the past five games and Amadi Udenyi missed the last two. Injuries have plagued the Waves for years now, and it looks like the bug has bit Marty Wilson’s starters yet again.