Welcome back everybody! The season is upon us once again! What a glorious time to be a college basketball fan, and if this week was any indication it’s going to be a glorious time to be a fan out west. The WCC went 14-5 over the first week of the season with some really strong performances from some high level players on the league’s top teams.
So, let’s take a look back at the week that was. And, in case you forget how this works, let’s also take a quick look back at the basics for this weekly feature.
Each week of the season I’ll update my WCC power rankings and put together a five-man “team of the week” which is nothing more than the five guys who impressed me the most from the week that was in WCC basketball. It’s a simple concept, for reader and writer. Basically, I like it and I hope you do, too.
Team of the Week
G - Jordan Ford: Junior, Saint Mary’s
Career high 35 points vs. Utah Valley.
G - Charles Minlend: Soph., San Francisco
Averaged 19 points per game on 62% shooting last week.
F - Rui Hachimura: Junior, Gonzaga
Averaged 25 points per game last week.
F - Isaiah Pineiro: Senior, San Diego
Averaged 26.5 points and 10 rebounds per game last week.
F - Brandon Clarke: Junior, Gonzaga
Averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds last week.
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs (2-0)
Last week: W 120-79 vs. Idaho State, W 104-67 vs. Texas Southern
This week: Nov. 15 vs. Texas A&M
The Zags are averaging 112 points per game so far this season and the team from Spokane has done that without perhaps their best offensive player: Killian Tillie. The sample size is small, and weak — the two games have been against Idaho State and Texas Southern — but Gonzaga certainly looks the part.
2. Saint Mary’s Gaels (2-0)
Last week: W 87-65 vs. McNeese St., W 92-63 vs. Utah Valley
This week: Nov. 14 at New Mexico St.
Jordan Ford (29 ppg) has arrived, folks. After two years in the shadow of the three headed monster that was Jock Landale/Emmett Naar/Calvin Hermanson, the junior shooting guard is ready to take over his team. And he’s got support, too. Five other Gaels have scored in double-figures this season. Rebuild, or reload? We’ll find out when Saint Mary’s faces a real test in a true road game on Wednesday against New Mexico State.
3. BYU Cougars (1-1)
Last week: L 68-70 at No. 7 Nevada, W 75-65 vs. Utah Valley
This week: Nov. 13 vs. Northwestern St.
BYU went to Reno on opening night and led for a good portion of the first and second halves against a top-ten ranked Nevada team. But, that good performance has been overshadowed because the Nick Emery saga continues. Without getting too deep into it, let’s just say the NCAA did what the NCAA does and I’m doubtful any school in the FBI investigation will face anything near this level of punishment. Which, honestly, isn’t that harsh.
4. San Diego Toreros (2-0)
Last week: W 83-66 vs. Weber State, W 76-57 at UC Davis
This week: Nov. 12 at Washington
Isaiah Pineiro continues to be an absolute dude for the Toreros. The senior forward led the team in points and rebounds in both games last week, as well as in assists against UC Davis. A real test comes up this week in Seattle against the Washington Huskies.
5. San Francisco Dons (2-0)
Last week: W 76-42 at UC Davis, W 93-50 vs. Maine
This week: Nov. 12 vs. Sonoma St., Nov. 16 vs. Arizona St., Nov 18 vs. LIU Brooklyn
Charles Minlend is back, and we should all be grateful. After taking last year off due to a shoulder injury, the redshirt sophomore has wasted no time picking up where his dazzling freshman campaign left off. The Dons had high hopes coming into this year, based on what they did without Minlend last season, and those hopes are certainly higher now.
6. Loyola Marymount Lions (2-0)
Last week: W 75-43 vs. Westcliff, W 61-50 at UNLV
This week: Nov. 13 vs. Cal State Northridge, Nov. 16 vs. Georgetown, Nov. 18 vs. Ohio
Once upon a time, in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the LMU Lions were the high-scoring darlings of college basketball. Also at that time the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels were both high-scoring darlings and honest-to-goodness title contenders. Times have changed, as evidenced by Saturday’s 61-50 scoreline. But, it still feels strange to say the No. 6 team in the WCC handled business at the Thomas and Mack and it really didn’t turn heads. That said, don’t sleep on these Lions.
7. Pacific Tigers (1-1)
Last week: W 74-65 at SIU-Edwardsville, L 83-61 at No. 7 Nevada
This week: Nov. 13 vs. Cal State Stanislaus, Nov. 15 at Idaho State
Back-to-back road games to open the season for the team from Stockton. The Tigers traveled to southern Illinois to open the season before hitting Reno for a date with the No. 7 ranked Wolf Pack. The first half of that trip was longer, but considerably easier. The Tigers split their first road trip of the year, and didn’t look half bad doing so.
8. Pepperdine Waves (1-0)
Last week: W 100-68 vs. Cal State Dominguez Hills
This week: Nov. 13 at Northern Colorado, Nov. 16 vs. Towson
Pepperdine has closed its campus until after Thanksgiving due to the Woolsey Fire, which is raging in and around Malibu. Basketball should be pretty far down the list of concerns for the Waves.
9. Portland Pilots (1-2)
Last week: W 111-103 vs. Multnomah, L 82-64 at Hawaii, L 78-73 vs. North Texas
This week: Nov. 17 at Cal State Northridge
Portland went all of November without a win against a D-I opponent last season. Here we go again?
10. Santa Clara Broncos (0-1)
Last week: L 81-64 vs. Prairie View A&M
This week: Nov. 15 vs. UC Irvine, Nov. 18 vs. Washington
KJ Feagin went 2-9 from the field and Santa Clara lost at home to a SWAC team. Yikes.