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Looking Around the WCC

BYU looking like a tournament team.

NCAA Basketball: Brigham Young at San Diego State Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the whenever we remember to take a look around the league post. The WCC has piled together a few good wins this season, so let’s try and keep track of what has been going on over the past week.

BYU, 9-2

The Cougars are looking like a tournament team, picking up a quality win at San Diego State last week. Senior guard Alex Barcello is averaging over 17 points a game and big-time transfer Matt Haarms has two blocks per game. The Cougars now own wins over the Aztecs, Utah, Utah State, and St. John’s, and just two respectable losses against Boise State and USC. If the tournament began today, the Cougars would definitely make the WCC a two-bid league.

Loyola Marymount, 5-3

The Lions picked up a good win over UC Santa Barbara and have seen some strong play from redshirt sophomore Dameane Douglas. Douglas also leads the team in points, averaging 14 points per game and just narrowly beating out resident WCC good player Eli Scott, who is averaging 13.9 points per game. The Lions have one game left on the non-conference schedule against USC.

Pacific, 3-1

The jury is out on the Pacific Tigers, mainly because they lost a substantial portion of their non-conference schedule due to COVID. The Tigers went 18 days between contests already in December and just announced again that the basketball program has suspended team activities, essentially cancelling the rest of their non-conference slate.

Pepperdine, 4-5

It has been fully hit or miss for the Waves this season, who haven’t won (or lost) a consecutive game. Pepperdine recently played San Diego very close in a loss and rattled off a win over Cal. But a five-point loss to Cal-State Northridge is rather suspect. Colbey Ross scored 29 points and Kessler Edwards added 21 in the loss. Everyone else combined for just 34 points.

Portland, 6-2

On one had, Portland’s record is deceiving because their wins aren’t against the best of teams, most of them at least. The Pilots might own the best upset in the WCC with an overtime win over Oregon State. Was it a fluke? Who knows. The Oregon Ducks beat Portland, 80-41, last Saturday. The Pilots own the sixth-best free throw rate as a team in college, so they do have that going for themselves. Portland will finish the non-conference out with their second game against Seattle University on Dec. 30.

Saint Mary’s, 8-2

Things seemed to be looking up for the Gaels. They were just coming off of holding Colorado State to just 33 points in the absolute disgusting final score of 53-33. But then San Diego State wanted payback for the BYU loss, and the Gaels looked absolutely atrocious, losing 74-49. Saint Mary’s has a couple good-to-better wins over Northern Iowa and South Dakota State, but the rest of the resume just lacks anything impressive. And it cannot be overstated how bad the Gaels have looked in their two losses. Barring some crazy WCC miracle (beating Gonzaga at least once, beating BYU twice?) the Gaels are not looking a tourney team.

Saint Mary’s closes out their non-conference schedule against Sacramento State on Dec. 30.

San Diego, 1-3

It has also been a rough go for the Toreros, who started the season later than most because of COVID and just had to put a halt on activities because of the pandemic for the second time this season. Junior guard Joey Calcaterra is looking like one of those nice scoring WCC guards, leading San Diego with 15.5 points. Otherwise, offense has been hard to come by for USD.

San Francisco, 6-4

The Dons live and die by the three, attempting the sixth-most three-pointers out of their field goal attempts. That is who they can beat teams like Virginia, and it is also how they can lose games against Oregon. It was only a 10 point loss, but the Dons shot 8-of-35 from long range. This season, the team is averaging 31.2 three-point attempts per game, the seventh-highest mark in the country. Just that volume alone makes San Francisco probably the most dangerous trap game for the Zags during WCC play.

Santa Clara, 6-1

Herb Sendek is putting together a nice defensive-oriented squad for the Broncos this year, but that record is rather deceiving. Santa Clara has the worst non-conference schedule out of all WCC teams by a large margin—pretty much playing one average opponent in Colorado State (the one loss).