After somewhat of an unexpected start to the conference season, order has been restored in the West Coast Conference race with all the league's pre-season favorites claiming a spot a top the conference standings and our power rankings.
Despite slow starts in both games of their Southern California road trip, Gonzaga made fairly easy work out of Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount this past week. Sam Dower Jr. seems to be nearing full strength as he put together his best performances since returning from his back injury. Dower was named the WCC Player of the Week after putting up 18 points and 8 rebounds against Pepperdine followed by 28 points and 14 rebounds in a huge night at Loyola Marymount. The Zags are still without starting guard Gary Bell Jr., who has missed just over three weeks with a broken hand. The most recent reports have Bell targeting tomorrow night's game with San Diego for his return, but a final decision from his doctor has yet to be made.
Saint Mary's got big contributions from three of its starters in the Gaels only game this week. Stephen Holt scored 26 points, Brad Waldow contributed 22 points, and Kerry Carter added 21 points in the Gaels' 79-73 victory over Pacific. Although Saint Mary's remains near the top of the conference, the Gaels have had very little offensive production from their bench over the last few games. If not corrected, that lack of depth could really prove detrimental to the Gaels as the conference race heats up over the last month and a half of the regular season.
After pulling out of a four-game losing streak, BYU has been red-hot the last few weeks. The Cougars have rattled off five-straight wins and have worked their way back into the conference title picture. A change in BYU's starting lineup has proved to be successful for the Cougars as Matt Carlino has been very efficient in his new role off the bench. Carlino is averaging 13.2 points, 4.8 assists, and 25 minutes of playing time as a reserve. BYU's reemergence in the conference race should make this weekend's matchup between the Cougars and Gonzaga one of the most important and exciting games of the season.
Pacific has been by far the biggest disappointment in West Coast Conference play this season. The Tigers had positioned themselves nicely to make some noise coming into conference play, but have since gone 1-5 and find themselves at the bottom of the conference standings. The Tigers will have a great opportunity to pick up their second win in the WCC tomorrow at home where they will face a Loyola Marymount team that has lost six straight.
WCC Hoops Power Rankings: Week 11
|1||Gonzaga||16-3 (6-1)||99 (9)||1|
|2||BYU||13-7 (5-2)||88 (1)||3|
|3||Saint Mary's||14-5 (4-2)||83||2|
|5||San Francisco||12-8 (5-3)||58||4|
|7||San Diego||11-9 (2-5)||34||10|
|8||Santa Clara||10-11 (3-5)||31||7|
Week 11 voters (10 total): Los Angeles Loyolan's, Kevin Cacabelos, SB Nation's Matt Brown, Slipper Still Fits' Peter Woodburn, and Vanquish the Foe's Clark Gerber, Devan Mitchell, Kevin Kennedy, Kevin Schaefer, Nate Kennedy, Nate Mathis, and Michael Murray.
What would your week 11 WCC Hoops Power Rankings ballot look like? Tell us what you think below.