Well, the regular season in the West Coast Conference is over and, while their were a few small surprises, the conference is basically the way we assumed it to be. Sure, USD and Portland swapped places this season thanks to the injury to Brandon Johnson and the emergence of Nik Raivio, but other than that, it was status quo. Gonzaga and St. Mary's largely dominated the conference even though Patty Mills missed a solid chunk of the season. The Zags were able to go undefeated in conference for the third time in a couple of decades. There were a few rough patches for Gonzaga this season, especially the first half of the St. Mary's game but overall, it was a banner year for the Bulldogs as undefeated conference seasons are extremely rare. Here is the eighth a final version of the WCC Power Rankings (explanations after the jump).
Slipper Still Fits' Rank
|1||Gonzaga Bulldogs (23-5)||-
|2||St. Mary's Gaels (24-5)||-
|3||Portland Pilots (18-11)||-
|4||Santa Clara Broncos (15-16)||-
|5||San Diego Toreros (15-15)
|6||San Francisco Dons (11-18)
|7||Pepperdine Waves (8-22)
|8||Loyola Marymount Lions (3-27)
rankings explained after the jump...
Once again, the rankings and their explanations come via Everydayezag:
1) Gonzaga (23-5; 14-0): Although it wasn't always pretty, Gonzaga was able to go undefeated in the WCC for the third team. Over the past month, Josh Heytvelt has positioned himself to be a contender for WCC player of the year, and it appears that this team may be hitting its peak at the perfect time of the season.
2) St. Mary's (24-5; 10-4): With a little bit of help from Portland, the Gaels earned the coveted second seed in the WCC Tournament. This means that St. Mary's will receive a bye to the semifinals, which will give Patty Mills an extra day to try and recover from his injury. The real question is whether the Gaels have done enough to earn an at-large berth since the loss of Mills last month.
3) Portland (18-11; 9-5): It's important that Portland fans do not let the final weekend of WCC play sour the tremendous season that this team had. While the consecutive losses to USD and Santa Clara were frustrating, the Pilots exceeded every preseason expectation, and have positioned itself to be a contender for the WCC crown next year.
4) Santa Clara (15-16; 7-7): If there is one team that can cause an upset in Las Vegas, it's the Santa Clara Broncos. Besides the blowout loss in Spokane at the start of WCC play, all of the Broncos losses have come by 8 points or less. Santa Clara had a solid ending to WCC play, as they were competitive in the loss to Gonzaga, and ended the season with a solid victory over Portland.
5) San Diego (15-15; 6-8): I'm so impressed by how USD has responded the dismissal of arguably its best player in Trumaine Johnson. I expected to see a Toreros team that was lacking heart and effort, but instead they played with tremendous heart last week. The potential match up between USD and Santa Clara in the quarterfinals should be fun to watch.
6) USF (11-18; 3-11): It was very difficult for me to pick a team for the 6th spot, as the three teams in contention are all beyond marginal. I put the Dons here because of the wins over Santa Clara and Pepperdine the past two weeks, and because I think they are the only team that might be able to cause an upset out of the group.
7) Pepperdine (8-22; 5-9): The Waves had a very disappointing end to WCC play, losing their final 4 games. Although none of the losses were unexpected, it would have been nice to see this team be competitive. I'm sure that Tom Asbury and the team will be kicking themselves for the loss to USF.
8) LMU (3-27; 2-12): LMU did its best to salvage a lost season with a victory over USF last week. But this is still one of the worst teams in college basketball, and there is no way to justify the 3-27 record.