The first week of West Coast Conference play is now behind us and it was an exciting one. We had some major shakeup in the WCC Hoops Power Rankings as a few unexpected teams got off to hot starts and some of the teams expected to contend for the WCC title disappointed in their first few conference games.
If there were any questions that Gonzaga was the team to beat in the WCC this season, they were answered last night. The Zags hammered Saint Mary's 73-51 even with starting guard, Gary Bell Jr., out of the lineup and starting forward, Sam Dower, playing limited minutes due to injuries. Gonzaga also defeated San Francisco and Santa Clara this past week putting the Zags at 3-0 in conference and atop the conference standings.
BYU, Pacific, and San Diego, who were 3rd, 4th, and 6th respectively in last week's rankings, all fell flat on their faces to start conference play. The Cougars, Tigers, and Toreros all lost their first two WCC games putting them two and a half games back of Gonzaga and Pepperdine in the conference race.
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Speaking of BYU, the Cougars are on a four-game losing streak with the losses they suffered to LMU and Pepperdine this past week. After putting a fairly decent non-conference resume together, Dave Rose's team looked completely out of sync in the losses to the LMU and Pepperdine. There has been some speculation that BYU's issues are not completely basketball related. No matter what the Cougars' issues are, they will need to be resolved quickly for BYU to have any chance at competing for the WCC tittle and an NCAA Tournament bid.
The biggest surprise in conference play so far is Pepperdine. The Waves are off to a 3-0 start with wins over San Diego, BYU, and Santa Clara. Pepperdine's three wins ties them with Gonzaga for first place in the conference standings. Junior guard, Malcolm Brooks, has been a big part of the Waves' recent success. Brooks scored 20 points or more in both the win over San Diego and the win over BYU.
Loyola Marymount also turned a few heads this past week, knocking off San Diego and BYU before suffering a disappointing loss to San Francisco last night. Even with the loss the Lions play was good enough to move them up to third in this week's rankings. LMU has gotten a large contribution from freshman Evan Payne recently. Payne averages 19.2 points per game over the last five games and had a career-high 27 points in the Lions' win over BYU last Saturday.
WCC Hoops Power Rankings: Week 8
|1||Gonzaga||13-2 (3-0)||100 (10)||1|
|2||Saint Mary's||10-4 (1-1)||86||2|
|7||San Diego||9-6 (0-2)||33||6|
|9||San Francisco||9-6 (1-2)||28||9|
|9||Santa Clara||8-8 (1-2)||28||10|
Week 8 voters (10 total): Los Angeles Loyolan writer, Kevin Cacabelos, Mid-Major Madness writer, Will Maupin, Slipper Still Fits writer, Zach Bell, Land-Grant Holy Land and Vanquish the Foe writer, Matt Brown, and Vanquish the Foe writers, Devan Mitchell, Kevin Kennedy, Kevin Schaefer, Jordan Edwards, Nate Mathis, and Michael Murray.
What would your week 8 WCC Hoops Power Rankings ballot look like? Tell us what you think below.