The Gonzaga Bulldogs open up the season ranked No. 22 in the preseason 2016-17 Ken Pomeroy rankings. For those that aren’t in the know and want to learn a little bit about basketball, the general rule of thumb is this: ignore the AP/Coaches top 25, pay attention to Pomeroy.
The bigger news story, however, is the Saint Mary’s Gaels are opening the season ranked higher than the Zags, at No. 18. Initially, when my eyes first laid upon Kenpom.com, I saw nothing but red, and threw my laptop into the rainy abyss.
But now that the red has settled, and I am starting to see the gray that is the Pacific Northwest standard morning, I can approach this from a different viewpoint. I have to say, I agree with Ken Pomeroy here.
Remember, the Gaels had one one of the more efficient offenses in the nation last season. They were ranked No. 34 overall, but the offense was ranked No. 17. At times last season, that offense was ranked even higher than that. What dragged Saint Mary’s down last season was its defensive woes (according to Pomeroy).
That isn’t the case this season. Gonzaga opens with the No. 18 best offense, and the No. 40 defense. Saint Mary’s is the No. 12 offense, and the No. 48 defense. Saint Mary’s is returning all of its players in a great offensive machine, so realistically, it isn’t much of a surprise that the Gaels are ranked so high. Will they stay ranked so high? That will be the storyline of the season.
Overall, like it usually is, things are really high up top in the West Coast Conference, and then things get really bad the further down you head. According to Pomeroy, the WCC is ranked overall as the 12th best conference in the nation. Here is how the entire WCC stacks in the preseason:
- Saint Mary’s: No. 18
- Gonzaga: No. 22
- BYU: No. 54
- Pepperdine: No. 140
- Portland: No. 173
- Santa Clara: No. 181
- LMU: No. 208
- Pacific: No. 209
- San Francisco: No. 262
- San Diego No. 276