The Gonzaga Bulldogs open the season ranked as the top team in the nation by Ken Pomeroy, whose rankings are widely considered the holy grail of advanced statistics in college basketball.
Pomeroy is predicting the Zags to own the top offense in the nation as well as the No. 7 ranked defense. The difference in the AdjEM gap between the Zags and the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines is greater than last year’s gap between the Zags and Baylor. (Although we all know how that turned out.)
Pomeroy also gives the Zags a 5.2 percent chance of going undefeated this season, a rather generous outlook considering the Zags non-conference schedule contains five games against teams ranked in the top 15.
The West Coast Conference makes a great showing in the preseason rankings as well. Alongside Gonzaga, San Francisco (34), BYU (38), Saint Mary’s (42), and Loyola Marymount (69) are all top 100 teams. Santa Clara, Pacific, and Pepperdine all land within the top 150, with the only stragglers being the Toreros (180) and, of course, the Portland Pilots (330).
Overall, that adds up to the WCC starting the season ranked as the seventh-best conference in the nation, just slightly better than the American Athletic Conference and substantially better than the Mountain West Conference.
This is probably one of the better showings for the WCC in recent memory. It will be interesting to see if the rest of the pack can keep up with the lofty rankings bestowed upon the conference.