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Gonzaga sits atop West Coast Conference Preseason Poll

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With seven newcomers and only one returning starter from a season ago, 2009-10 is expected to be a season where the conference championship could really be up for grabs.  Today, the coaches of the West Coast Conference gathered to vote on the preseason poll and all-conference team.  Many Gonzaga fans anticipated a new team sitting atop the rankings.  The Portland Pilots are loaded with veteran leadership and return 12 players from their remarkably successful season a year ago including the best point guard in the conference, TJ Campbell.  With that being said, the coaches decided that Portland's veteran team wasn't enough to put them ahead of Gonzaga and their nine consecutive regular season titles.  Here is a look at how the coaches voted (first places votes in parentheses):

2009-10 WCC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Gonzaga - 48 (6)
2. Portland - 44 (2)
3. Saint Mary's - 34
4. San Francisco - 26
Santa Clara - 26
6. San Diego - 21
7. Pepperdine - 13
8. Loyola Marymount - 12

Two coaches voted Portland as the number one team in the conference, one of which was obviously Gonzaga coach Mark Few as coaches can't vote for their own team.  Saint Mary's is definitely a solid choice at #3.  They have one of the best big men in the conference in Omar Samhan and Wayne Hunter is a very solid WCC player.  Four through six is basically anyone's game.  Each team has one outstanding player they base their teams around.  USF has probably the best player in the league, Dior Lowhorn, Santa Clara has Kevin Foster, and San Diego has Brandon Johnson who returns from injury.  Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount both are pretty solidly locked in at seven and eight although Pepperdine does have my favorite non-Gonzaga player in the conference, Keion Bell

The coaches also got together to vote on a preseason all-conference team and here's what they came up with:

2009-10 WCC Men's Basketball Preseason All-Conference
Keion Bell, PEP
Matt Bouldin, GON
T.J. Campbell, POR
Jared DuBois, LMU
Kevin Foster, SCU
Steven Gray, GON
Brandon Johnson, USD
Dior Lowhorn, USF
Nik Raivio, POR
Omar Samhan, SMC

No real surprises here.  It's cool that every team in the conference has at least one representative.  Gonzaga and Portland are the only two programs with two representatives.  The conference player of the year will probably come from the regular season champion so I'd put money that it is either Matt Bouldin or TJ Campbell.