Which has been the strongest year for WCC Basketball?


Since BYU joined the West Coast Conference in 2011, men’s basketball in the conference has experienced an unprecedented amount of success.  The conference RPI rank these last few seasons has been higher than it ever has been before.  But over the last 3 seasons, when has WCC men’s basketball been at it’s best?  That’s the question I’m looking into.  First let’s start with the league’s essential accomplishments for each year

 

2011-12

- 3 teams in the NCAA Tournament, all worthy of at large bids.

- 2 teams ranked in the top 25 for the WCC tournament finals (#25 Gonzaga vs. #18 Saint Mary’s, according to the Coaches Poll)

- 3 NCAA Tournament victories, one each by Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, and BYU

- Loyola Marymount made it to the quarterfinals of the Collegeinsider.com Tournament

- San Francisco lost in the 1st round of the College Basketball Invitational

Best non-conference wins 

- LMU won at UCLA

- Pepperdine won at Arizona State

- Santa Clara beat New Mexico and Villanova in the DirecTV Classic in Anaheim

- LMU beat Saint Louis at home

- Gonzaga beat Notre Dame at home

- BYU beat Oregon in Salt Lake City

- Gonzaga beat Arizona in Seattle

 

2012-13

- 2 teams in the NCAA tournament

- 2 NCAA Tournament victories, one each by Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s

- BYU made it to the semifinals of the NIT

- Santa Clara won the CBI

- Gonzaga became the #1 ranked team in the country in early March

- Saint Mary’s, for the first time ever, went undefeated in the WCC against opponents not named Gonzaga

Best non-conference wins

- Santa Clara beat Saint Louis

- Gonzaga beat Clemson, Oklahoma, and Davidson in the Old Spice Classic

- Gonzaga beat Kansas State in Seattle, Baylor at home, and Oklahoma State on the road

- Saint Mary’s beat Harvard at home

 

2013-14

- 2 teams in the NCAA tournament

- 1 NCAA tournament win by Gonzaga, none for BYU

- 2 teams in the NIT (Saint Mary’s and San Francisco)

- 1 NIT win for Saint Mary’s, none for San Francisco

- 2 teams in the CIT, Pacific made it to the semifinals and San Diego made it to the quarterfinals

Best non-conference wins

- BYU won at Stanford, and vs. Texas in the CBE Classic

- Saint Mary’s beat North Dakota State and Murray State at home and won at Boise State

- Gonzaga beat Arkansas in the Maui Invitational, New Mexico State at home, at West Virginia

- Not exactly a victory, but San Diego came within a single point of beating San Diego State, a team that was ranked in the top-10 in the country for most of the year.

 

Overall Recap

Well to answer the question, it depends on what the definition of best season for the WCC is.  From top-to-bottom, I’d say 2013-14 was the best year.  Never before has the WCC gotten 6 teams into the postseason, and never before did the bottom teams give so many fits to teams like Gonzaga, BYU, and Saint Mary’s.  And that’s no disrespect to the top teams.  It’s just that teams like Pepperdine, San Diego, and Portland were much much more talented than they had been during the past few seasons.  However, I’d say the top 3 or 4 teams of the WCC as a group were as its best during the 2011-12 season.  While that was not the first time the WCC got 3 teams into the NCAA Tournament, it was the first time where all 3 teams didn’t need an automatic birth to make it.  And for an individual team representing the league, there may not ever have been a better example of this than the 2012-13 Gonzaga team, which became the #1 team in the country and went 16-0 in the West Coast Conference.  So there you have it.  2011-12 was the most top heavy season in the WCC, 2012-13 was the best for one individual team, and 2013-14 was the best the league has ever been top to bottom.

 

 

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