WCC Releases Official Preseason Coaches’ Poll


During the WCC Hoops Tip-Off event today in Los Angeles, the west Coast Conference released their official Preseason Coaches’ Poll predicting the order of finish this year in the standings. Here is the full poll:

Team (First Place Vote)Pts.
1. Gonzaga (9)81
2. BYU (1)69
3. Saint Mary’s62
4. San Francisco59
5. San Diego47
6. Portland45
7. Pepperdine29
7. Santa Clara29
9. Loyola Marymount19
10. Pacific10

As you can see, the conference thinks very highly of Gonzaga and projects them to roll to another WCC Championship. The Bulldogs received all nine possible first place votes. Each coach cannot vote for his own team, so the one vote for BYU was Mark Few picking his top competition. Because we know Few couldn’t vote for his own team, that is his vote. And it means all nine other coaches like the Bulldogs to win it all once again.

Lots of things worth noting here. First is the projected resurgence of Saint Mary’s. After a down year last season where they fell to fourth behind breakout team San Francisco, the Gaels are picked to finished third and are not many points behind second place BYU. Like us, the coaches must think the Gaels are fully reloaded and will get a big year from guys like Brad Waldow and Aaron Bright.

The league also believes in San Francisco picking them among the top contenders after they had a huge breakout season finishing third. The Dons have a ton of returning talent plus a couple big transfers, and they may have the best frontcourt in the conference. No surprise everyone is still very high on the Dons.

Jan 9, 2014; Provo, UT, USA; Pepperdine Waves head coach Marty Wilson gives direction to his team during the first half against the Brigham Young Cougars at Marriott Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

From there it’s a noticeable drop-off in points. It’s no surprise as those top four dominated last year and will probably do the same. But that middle group is chock full of potential breakout teams. The coaches apparently like the senior cores of players on San Diego and Portland and have them pretty much neck and neck in the middle of the pack. Both have lots of potential to shake things up and do big things.

There’s another big gap between those middle teams and the lower level teams. Personally, I can’t agree with having Pepperdine so much further behind Portland and San Diego. I love their young core, and Stacy Davis might be the best forward in the WCC. They are so dangerous, and they could easily vault into the upper portion of the standings.

One possible explanation for being so much lower is that the coaches think they are still young and a year away from contending. This is in contrast to Portland and San Diego who have some key seniors leading the way. The Waves meanwhile don’t have any seniors. For us we think their talent will take them far, but it’s understandable why the coaches put them where they are.

Pepperdine is neck and neck with Santa Clara, and then there’s a drop-off to LMU and Pacific. We agree that the Broncos, Lions, and Tigers should be the bottom three, but there is some differentiation. The coaches obviously like Santa Clara and their key guards, but we don’t think they have enough to keep pace with Pepperdine like the coaches do.

Apr 15, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap during the second half against the New York Knicks at Time Warner Arena. Mandatory Credit: Curtis Wilson-USA TODAY Sports

The coaches must think LMU will have a rough rebuilding year under new coach Mike Dunlap, but we don’t think it will be that bad with the talent he is inheriting. I actually have them ahead of Santa Clara in my rankings. That’s no knock on Santa Clara however, both teams are trending in a good direction and could be in line for big things in a couple years.

Overall it’s a great year for the conference. Every team has talent and the potential to beat all the others on a given day. It’s going to be fun to watch if any of that middle group can break out like a lot of people think they can. And if more than one takes the next step, it’s gonna be a wild ride.

Stay tuned this week as we will look more into this poll versus our own predictions, as well as compare our Preseason All-WCC Team to the one released today by the conference.