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As usual, Gonzaga was predicted to win the West Coast Conference last season, although the league featured a fun league race. The Bulldogs did win the league, but by only one game over Saint Mary’s, and two games over Portland. They were not invincible last season, as evidenced by losses to San Francisco and Loyola Marymount in the WCC. Saint Mary’s surprised some by contending, while Portland fell off after a hot start. In the conference tournament, Gonzaga suffered a shocking 19-point loss to Saint Mary’s in the championship game, although the Zags would obviously make the NCAA Tournament. In the Big Dance, Gonzaga beat Florida State in the first round before getting blown out by Syracuse, while Saint Mary’s made a run to the Sweet 16 by beating Richmond and Villanova before losing to Baylor. Will the WCC get multiple bids again?
- 1. Gonzaga: The Bulldogs lose Matt Bouldin, but no one in the league can match up with Elias Harris and Robert Sacre down low, and Steven Gray on the wing. They need a consistent point guard, though.
- 2. Loyola Marymount: Although they only went .500 last season, the inside-outside duo of guard Vernon Teel and forward Drew Viney can carry the Lions. Jarred DuBois is another double-figure scorer.
- 3. Saint Mary’s: The loss of Omar Samhan is going to be tough for the Gaels, but they return an excellent and productive backcourt in Mickey McConnell and Matthew Dellavedova.
- 4. Santa Clara: The Broncos finished tied for last a year ago, but they return all five starters and get scoring guard Kevin Foster back from injury. Marc Trasolini bangs down low.
- 5. Portland: The Pilots lose four starters from last season, although Jared Stohl is a tremendous three-point shooter and forward Luke Sikma is efficient in the paint.
- 6. Pepperdine: Another team that finished tied for last but returns five starters, the Waves have one of the most electrifying players in the country in Keion Bell. Mychel Thompson is also solid.
- 7. San Francisco: Dior Lawhorn, an all-conference guy for a couple of years, is gone, leaving 6-10 Moustapha Diarra and Angelo Caloiaro as the top players in the frontcourt.
- 8. San Diego: The Toreros were a disappointment last season, going just 3-11 in the WCC. Moreover, they lose four starters from that team. Chris Manresa is the top returnee.
Player of the Year: Elias Harris, F, Gonzaga
- G- Steven Gray, Gonzaga
- G- Mickey McConnell, Saint Mary’s
- G- Vernon Teel, Loyola Marymount
- F- Elias Harris, Gonzaga
- F- Drew Viney, Loyola Marymount
- G- Keion Bell, Pepperdine
- G- Matthew Dellavedova, Saint Mary’s
- G- Kevin Foster, Santa Clara
- F- Marc Trasolini, Santa Clara
- C- Robert Sacre, Gonzaga