Around the West Coast Conference

Big win for Gonzaga over Kentucky, gives them the Quad 1 win they were lacking.

IMO, as long as they have no more than another two losses (and no bad ones) and get to the WCC tourney final then they are in the NCAA Tourney.

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Yeah, zags will be in the tourney again.

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should help our NET ranking, no?

Can’t hurt but GU’s NET was already pretty good at 25 and at this late date in the season it’s harder to move the needle. My guess is they move up to 21 or 22.

Current WCC standings / records plus NET and Torvik ranks:

  1. SMC - 12-0 / 15 (NET) / 10 (Torvik)
  2. GU - 10-2 / 23 / 21
  3. USF - 10-2 / 60 / 81
  4. SCU - 8-4 / 106 / 125
  5. USD - 6-7 / 229 / 245
  6. Pepp - 4-9 / 228 / 243
  7. LMU - 3-9 / 206 / 183
  8. Portland - 3-10 / 314 / 290
  9. Pacific - 0-13 / 352 / 339

LMU has really struggled of late and are missing three starters (Leaupepe, Dom Harris and Issanza).

The battle for 2nd between USF and GU will be interesting. Both have to play 3 of their remaining 4 games against the other top 4 teams in the league.

The Broncos are not mathematically eliminated from finishing 2nd but to do so we’d have to win out (meaning beat both USF and GU) and also have both USF and GU lose out to SMC. In which case we’d finish tied w/ either GU or USF at 12-4 but hold the tiebreaker by virtue of our sweep of GU. That’s all a lot to ask for but possible; the biggest obstacle will be beating GU in Spokane next Saturday.

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A more sober and very achievable goal is to beat out USF for 3rd and claim 3 straight third place finishes. (Fun fact: for all of USF’s success, they haven’t finished better than 4th in the last decade). All that would take is USF losing to both the Zags and SMC (likely but not certain) and SCU losing only to Gonzaga. Basically chalk in the current predictions and beat USF, which should be very achievable, especially with a full roster. Because USF/SCU would have split, SCU gets the tie breaker for third by virtue of the Gonzaga win. That’s if the tiebreaker rules are the same as the past few years which, if the teams split, takes the team with the best record against the other WCC teams, starting from the top and moving down.

To be clear, SCU should shoot for as high of a finish as possible. But 4th place here would be a disappointment, especially after choking against USF which gave them the inside route for 3rd. But remember, USF has beaten exactly one decent team this season and no good ones. Mogbo is the only exceptional thing about them. SCU should expect to beat the Dons if they don’t give the game away like last time.

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Agree Patty.

Finishing 3rd instead of 4th provides no additional value in terms of WCC tourney byes but it should still be the minimum goal because: 1) finishing 4th would be underperforming considering the relative overall weakness of the league this season; 2) USF is a rival, should always have a goal of beating them and finishing above them in the standings; 3) improves odds for a NIT invite; and, 4) a lessor consideration: but finishing 3rd instead of 4th allows us to avoid SMC (the presumed 1st place team) until the tourney final and presents the possibility that we avoid them all together if USF as the 4th place team can beat them in the semi-finals.

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Exactly. Plus, I’ll add that the narrative will start to grow louder that Santa Clara is the team ready to take BYU’s role and create a steady top 3 (leaving USF in the cold being the bonus, of course). Add that to the Jalen/Podz returns, and you’ve got a good recruiting pitch for both prospective players and, if we’re being honest, donors.

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This will be another weird week where the weekday WCC games are spread over Tues/Wed/Thurs…not sure why we’ve seen so much of that this year.

Games of interest and consequence this week:

Tuesday: USF @ St. Mary’s, 8pm, ESPN2/ESPN+
Saturday: Broncos @ GU, 7pm, ESPN2

Also of note: SMC’s Joshua Jefferson is out for the rest of the season due to injury. He has been one of SMC’s heroes this season. That is a significant blow to SMC. How significant remains to be seen.

And of course, I’m wishing Jefferson a speedy recovery and return for next season, even for a bitter rival.

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I do think that ignites Alex Ducas’s offense for SMC was has been largely dormant this year

I took a glance at the AP poll this week. SMC is in and up to #18. Future WCC opponent Washington State enters at #21. The Zags are the second team left out of the Top-25.

This is kind of a made-up stat, but the Broncos have two wins this season over teams that have been ranked in the top-25 after the season’s mid-point. Wazzu wasn’t ranked when the Broncos beat them; Gonzaga was and then immediately dropped out of the poll. I don’t know the last time something like that happened. I know that SCU beat a ranked SMC team two seasons ago, but I don’t think they’ve gotten two wins of that caliber in the same season in recent history.

That’s both impressive and also underlines how costly the losses to SJSU, USD, Cal, and Yale are. This is a team that could absolutely get an at-large if it played to potential, and it has played close to that potential at times. But the lack of cohesion and consistency has sunk them out of even a likely NIT spot. Still, to put a brighter spin on things, SCU has for three seasons been a few bad losses away from at-large contention, and if you knock on that door enough times hopefully it opens eventually.

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That’s very bad news and bad luck for SMC and Jefferson. His play was improving throughout the year.
They started Luke Barrett in Jefferson’s spot at the 4 their last game. Barrett has played both the 3 and 4. Does make them smaller in the frontcourt…Barrett is listed at 6-6, 200lbs. vs. 6-8, 220 for Jefferson.
And silver lining is they do have decent depth at the 4 as Harvard transfer Mason Forbes has also gotten consistent though modest minutes, he’s bigger/stronger and decent athlete, his rebounding/Def/Shot blocking matches Jefferson but he’s not much of a scorer and doesn’t shoot the 3.