Week 4 Review / Take-aways:
- Rough week for BYU, 0-2, dropped them from 3rd to 5th.
- LMU with the big upset, moving them in to strong contention for 3rd; GU falls out of 1st place for the first time in awhile.
- USF and Portland both with 2-0 weeks, attempting to get back in the race for 3rd/4th. Both still have a ways to go and can’t afford many, if any losses to anyone besides GU and SMC.
- Pepp continues to struggle. Will Romar be on the hot seat if they go winless in the WCC or manage only a win or two?
Week 5 Preview and WCC Thoughts:
Thurs games: Portland @ LMU; USD @ Pepperdine
Sat. games: Pacific @ Santa Clara; GU @ Portland; USF @ San Diego; SMC @ BYU; Pepp @ LMU.
- A quiet week with 6 teams with a single game and only two games on Thurs…may limit movement in the standings.
- LMU could move in to 3rd place outright with 2 wins
- BYU could drop below .500 after their game with SMC
- Important for the Broncos to handle Pacific on Sat.; to stay in at least 4th alone, have the head to head tie-breaker vs. Pacific and put them in jeopardy of falling out of contention for 3rd/4th.
Standings through Week 4:
SMC - 7-0
GU - 6-1
SCU - 4-3
LMU - 4-3
BYU - 4-4
Portland - 3-4
Pacific - 3-4
USF - 3-5
USD - 2-5
Pepp - 0-7
‘92–I just want to (re)note how much we all appreciate the time and thought you put in your posts and previews. You’re the Blue Ribbon Guide and KenPom rolled into one.
Props and Kudos.
And thanks to you and Patty and other mods for keeping this site running!
We have a realistic shot at losing to only smc and Gonzaga in the conference season. The blowout to smc was tough to bear, BUT in my opinion we have turned a corner of not dropping games to worse teams - that has been a trait of this program for the last 12 years.
A loonnggg way to go but IF we can keep it up, then 3rd place for the second year in a row has a promising ring to it.
Side note, it was also great to hear Jalen on the byu game, he really praised a lot of the players, coaches, program and university.
It seems like we’re doing something right - and not living the up and down lives others (namely Usf) are living.
I agree. I’m a bit of a Pollyanna by nature. But if Santa Clara finishes 3rd and only drops games to SMC and Gonzaga or maybe just one more to BYU, I think Sendek is in the pole position for COY in the conference (could be a close race with Bennett, though).
Losing the best player in 30 years and another multi-season all-WCC selection but having Santa Clara come back just as good is quite shocking. And it was done without any meaningful contribution from the lone grad transfer into the program.
As a fan, the cycle of hedonistic adaptation is ridiculously short and creates the extreme peaks and valleys after each loss or win. But seen in the big picture, this season so far is a minor miracle. And next season could be even better.
It all could go off the rails tomorrow. But I thought an NIT bid would be a long-shot for this season, and it would actually take a notable downtrend going forward to knock us out of contention for at least that.
Beating BYU in Provo is no small task. Running the table on all non-SMC/GU teams will require extraordinary focus and execution. 10-6 would be a very good outcome; 11-5 would be outstanding. If we want a chance at winning the conference tourney, finishing 3rd/4th is critical to get the double-bye.
BTW, one big benefit of BYU leaving the conference: the WCC can go back to playing games on Sundays!
EDIT to add a question: doesn’t anyone else agree with me that the 9th-place and 10th-place teams should not even be in the tourney?
Agree on winning @ BYU. Someone alluded to ‘hostile’ road environments in the last game thread…IMO, BU and BYU are the only hostile environments given the overall size, sizable and loud student sections, plus the playing at altitude challenge in Provo.
My take on WCC expectations based on where we stand today, keeping in mind our schedule gets slightly easier over the final 9 games with just two games against the ‘traditional’ top teams (1 each @ BY and GU)…10-6 should be the minimum goal and would allow for losses @ BYU, @ GU and one other team; 11-5 is doable but what we could call the stretch goal; 12-4 isn’t out of the question but is improbable…needed to close out either of the SMC or GU games at home for that to be viable.
Excluding 9th/10th place from the tourney…I don’t think excluding them would fly in the very collegial WCC.
Related note, barring a quick addition of a replacement for BYU, we’ll only have 9 teams next season which is an awkward # for tournament formats. I expect GU will lobby to retain the ‘triple buy’ format. I guess there could be a play-in game of sorts between #9 & #8 to determine who plays the #5 team in the 2nd round along with #7 vs. #6. Other option is an 8/9 prel round game to determine who plays the #1 seed in a standard 8 team, 3 round, tourney format but I doubt GU would be agreeable.
If the WCC insists on “every team plays”, then I’d guess the Zags would want something like this:
1-3 bye; 4v9, 5v8, 6v7
1-2 bye; 3v[lowest remaining seed]; remaining 2 play each other
Semi & Final remain same
I think your take on league this year is well thought out. At GU will be tough, but they did lose to LMU and are not as dominant as in pBYU is a maybe as they lost both games last week and are not as good as usual. It would be good to send them out of the league with them behind us in the standings. USF and LMU can be tough. I think 11-5 would be great and agree that 10-6 would be what we would need for a chance at third place in league.
WCC should add Grand Canyon to the league when BYU leaves. They have incredible student support (Google GCU Havocs); have a 7,000 seat arena that they fill every night; They have won the WAC in men’s and women’s basketball and soccer in recent years and would add Phoenix to the conference. They also have first class TV broadcast for men’s basketball (good replacement for BYU TV), And they are a Christian school
I’d prefer to just stick with 9 teams so that we don’t have to start conference play before New Year’s Day. Gonzaga certainly won’t give up the two precious out-of-conference game slots during conference play.
Perhaps we could drop UOP (to get it down to an even #)… just wishing.
If we’re going to add any schools, about the only school i’d be interested in is Seattle U…they align with the WCC schools better than other option:
Jesuit, former WCC member, large metro with no other WCC schools, and hoops team currently leading the WAC and have generally been solid in recent years.
Modestly interested in Denver U but their hoops team has been pretty bad the past several years. Not particularly interested in Cal Baptist, too much of a D1 newbie, little to nothing in common with other WCC’s. Hard pass on GCU.
Seattle U just received top 25 votes in the coaches poll too… but they have played basically no one since November.
Yep, schedule is less than impressive which is why they’re #96 in NET even though they’re 16-4 overall, 7-0 in the WAC.
But the WAC isn’t terrible…Sam Houston St. #51, Utah Valley #74, GCU #102, plus a couple of others in the low 100’s…all better than the bottom 4 in the WCC.
GCU from a pure basketball/business standpoint would be a great fit.
There are some definite red flags there.
I looked up GCU briefly for some numbers… they have a 41% graduation rate. That seems astronomically low!
If Seattle invested in their program they could be interesting. Last time I watched one of their games their gym made SMC’s gym look like Chase Center.
GCU, I believe, remains a for-profit institution even after several years of attempting to transition to non-profit status (basically because they tried to keep the bulk of their online education business as a for-profit entity). It also has a majority of its students in online programs, which is likely the biggest contributor to the low graduation rate.
I think it’s possible to overstate how much any of that means for conference affiliation. At the end of the day, it’s just a question of which teams are automatically put on the schedule for participating sports. But the President of GCU is also a CEO of a for-profit corp, accountable chiefly to shareholders. That could have spillover effects with GCU in the conference (especially with NIL developments, etc.) that would be more challenging than, for example, BYU’s prohibition on Sunday sports.
Agree Patty and Hoops5.
Too many red flags with GCU, with minimal upside for the WCC.
Started as an on-line school, somewhere along the way they started calling themselves a ‘Christian’ university which seems like a marketing ploy to appeal to a certain demographic. And pouring money in to sports and transition to D1 recently all seems like an attempt to quickly buy there way to University legitimacy.
It’s nice for GCU students that they’re trying to build this ‘fun’ environment, getting students to attend games, etc. but not sure that benefits the WCC, just GCU.
ie- GU was known for having a pretty good fan following in the 90’s prior to their rise to fame and of course that fan support has grown with their significant success. But it’s GU’s actual success on the court and deep NCAA tourney runs that have been of greatest benefit in elevating the WCC…it’s not their sold-out arena or loud student section.
And GCU seems to have plateaued…somewhat meteoric rise to mid-major-ish about 7 years ago with a bunch of seasons ranked low 100’s but haven’t really progressed much beyond that level. Remains to be seen if they can legitimately get to Top 75 at all, let alone on a consistent basis.
US News & World Reports does NOT rank GCU dead last of the 443 national universities. Nobody gets that distinction. Instead, GCU is simply lumped in the bottom quartile (#331-#443) with 111 other academic underachievers. Apparently, once you get that far down the list, nobody really cares.
The former WCC Commish made an effort to add GCU last year, and was unanimously rejected by the WCC school presidents.
Seattle U makes the most sense, though as noted earlier, their facilities are garbage. Denver has appeal because they invest huge amounts of money to athletics (their athletic budget would be the biggest in the WCC by several million dollars), but their biggest and most successful programs are Gymnastics and Hockey, which wouldn’t have a home in the WCC.