I used to be a strong believer in the stark revival of the West Coast Conference this year. LMU had a new coach, great transfers, and a strong recruiting class, Pepperdine had tons of youth and welcomed back a coach from the glory days, and San Francisco and Santa Clara both have players in contention for WCC Player of the Year. It turns out this is not enough at all. All four of these teams continue to be about as inconsistent as possible and the jury is still out on San Diego. Let's see how these teams stack up in ESPN's InsideRPI. USD is at 133, USF is at 167, Santa Clara is at 213, Pepperdine is at 303, and LMU is at 310 which is very kind because that means their are 33 teams behind LMU which I'm not sure is accurate.
Anyways...rant over, here is our third installment of WCC power rankings...
|Rank||EDZ's Pick||Movement||BuffZag's Pick||Movement|
|1||St. Mary's Gaels (18-1)||-
||Gonzaga Bulldogs (14-4)||-
|2||Gonzaga Bulldogs (14-4)||-
||St. Mary's Gaels (18-1)||-
|3||Portland Pilots (13-7)||+1
||San Diego Toreros (12-8)||-
|4||San Diego Toreros (12-8)||-1
||Portland Pilots (13-7)||-
|5||Santa Clara Broncos (9-13)||+2
||Santa Clara Broncos (9-13)||+1
|6||San Francisco Dons (8-12)||-1
||Pepperdine Waves (4-17)||+1
|7||Pepperdine Waves (4-17)||-1
||San Francisco Dons (8-12)||-2
|8||Loyola Marymount Lions (1-20)||-
||Loyola Marymount Lions (1-20)||-
continue reading after the post for our rankings explained...
Everydayezag's Rankings Explained...
1) St. Mary's (18-1; 5-0): I keep the Gaels ahead of Gonzaga because they continue to take care of business against teams they should beat. Omar Samhan continues to play terrific basketball, as he had a double-double in the impressive 65-42 victory over USD. We will all find out how good St. Mary's is this Thursday, as they bring a 15 game win streak with them to Spokane.
2) Gonzaga (14-4; 5-0): This team has the opportunity to earn a #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament if they can take care of business the rest of the way. There is not one game left on the schedule that I don't think this team should win, and hopefully the guys realize the opportunity they have been presented. The next 3 weeks will define the season, as the Zags play St. Mary's and USD twice, Portland, and Memphis.
3) Portland (13-7; 4-1): What a huge two weeks the Portland Pilots have coming up. After taking care of business against the Southern California schools, Portland has a chance to stake its claim as the 3rd best team in the conference. In their next 3 games, the Pilots host USD, St. Mary's, and Gonzaga. If the Pilots can sneak out a 2-1 record, this could be the stepping-stone to some great things in Portland.
4) USD (12-8; 4-1): Perhaps I put to much value into the Toreros starting conference play at 4-0. USD laid an egg against St. Mary's, and there is a very good chance they will get swept by the Northwest schools this week. USD has the talent to beat the Pepperdine's and LMU's of the world, but without Brandon Johnson, it's going to have trouble against the upper-echelon of the conference.
5) Santa Clara (9-13; 1-4): We might look back at this week as the turning point for the Broncos. It took over half the season, but it appears that James Rahon can be the compliment to the tremendous John Bryant. Rahon averaged 23 points in victories over USF and Houston Baptist, and if he can become a consistent scoring threat, the Broncos can be scary.
6) USF (8-12; 0-5): Despite how bad USF has played in conference so far, I just can't allow myself to have LMU or Pepperdine above them. USF desperately needs someone to emerge as a second scorer to Dior Lowhorn. We will see how little confidence this team has when it hosts LMU and Pepperdine this week. Anything less then a sweep, and I just might have to drop them to the bottom 2.
7) Pepperdine (4-17; 1-4): Did anyone else notice how good Keion Bell is? Bell is a freshman guard for the Waves, and he is currently averaging 11.4 points and 3.9 rebounds. I love the effort that Bell plays with, and I expect him to be one of the top guards in this conference for years to come. Keep in mind, he scored 19 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists in the loss to Gonzaga.
8) LMU (1-20; 0-5): Prior to last week, I wasn't sure if LMU was as bad as their 1-20 record indicated. After watching them for two hours, I can assure you that indeed they are. If they can steal a conference win this season I will be truly stunned. It's really stunning to believe that LMU could be staring at a 1-29 final record. Don't forget how much optimism was running through the program when Bill Bayno was hired, and now they are in the process of putting together the worst season I can remember from a WCC team.
BuffZag's Rankings Explained...
1) Gonzaga- I guess I am the resident GU homer of the writing team so I'll wear that badge proudly. I'm glad we will finally be able to settle this on the court on Thursday. The Zags have run through the conference with ease thus far. St. Mary's, with the exception of a buzzer beater over SCU (really?) has done the same.
2) St. Mary's- They have really been impressive lately and absolutely demolished San Diego at Slim Gym. They seem to be playing at a very high level heading into the game of the year in the WCC.
3) San Diego- I'm not really sure what is going on with this team. They started off the conference schedule red hot but were embarrassed by SMC. When it's all said and done, they scare me more than Portland, which is why they are here. I would not be surprised if Portland took out USD this weekend though.
4) Portland- I hope Eric Reveno has his team ready. Portland has been the cute story in an otherwise abysmal conference but they will be taking on San Diego, SMC, and Gonzaga all before the first week of February ends. Maybe they can make the conference a three-horse race.
5) Santa Clara- I wanted to put the Broncos at 8th just for scheduling 2-18, Houston Baptist in the middle of conference play. John Bryant continues to play well against teams other than Gonzaga and Kevin Foster and James Rahon are helping him out a bit. They get two free-bees against LMU and Pepperdine before taking on USD and SMC.
6) Pepperdine- Why not? If there is one team I pull for other than Gonzaga in this league it is the Waves. Keion Bell showed me a ton in their match up with Gonzaga and he's only a freshman. LMU was my up and comer before this year, maybe Pepperdine will be the up and comer next year. I just hope I don't jinx them too.
7) San Francisco- No team should go winless in this conference after five games. USF has played the toughest schedule thus far in the WCC but I thought behind Dior Lowhorn they would be able to squeak out one win. The Pepperdine/USF match up will be huge in my power rankings 4.0 next week.
8) LMU- The Lions have two more chances to win this season and that is when Pepperdine and USF come to town. If they can't sneak one out then, they will conclude one of the worst seasons, off the court as well, in recent memory.