WCC Bracket Watch


Welcome to our first edition of the 2015 West Coast Convo Bracket Watch! As the calendar turns to February, it’s crunch time for all college basketball teams as March Madness is right around the corner. Let’s take a look at which WCC teams are primed for a postseason berth based on their current standing.


Record: 22-1 (10-0)

National Ranking: 2/2

RPI: 7

Good Wins: SMU, UCLA, Memphis, St. John’s, BYU, St. Mary’s

Bad Losses: None

The Bulldogs continue to roll along as they’re just a poor overtime period against Arizona from a perfect season so far. They moved up a spot in the rankings this week after Virginia suffered their first loss of the year, so their standing as a #1 seed for the NCAA Tournament got a little boost. Assuming they win out, they will not fall out of the top four and would earn their second #1 seed in the past three years.

Any losses would be big however, and they could easily fall out of a #1 seed. No team on their remaining schedule has a high enough RPI to be a good loss, so it would likely mean falling to a #2 seed. Not a guarantee, but likely. The seed is the only thing in question as anything but one of the greatest collapses in the history of college basketball would cause them to plummet out of the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs will be going dancing once again.

Saint Mary’s

Record: 17-5 (9-2)

National Ranking: Unranked

RPI: 67

Good Wins: BYU

Bad Losses: Northern Arizona, Pepperdine

The Gaels have not built a NCAA Tournament resume despite their excellent record. Their win over BYU is the only one over a team with a top 100 RPI currently as the Creighton win is looking less impressive. The losses to Northern Arizona and Pepperdine were very concerning and are certainly not the type of losses a tournament team should be suffering. They failed to get wins over their best non-conference opponents in Boise State and St. John’s, so they do not have much of a case to be elevated above their #67 RPI and into the postseason.

If they can finish strong, they could move up a little into more of the bubble team range. But even with a perfect finish including an upset of Gonzaga, they would still have a lot of questions surrounding them. And that’s far from certain considering any team on the rest of their schedule could jump on them. They have NIT Tournament written all over them if they can’t win the WCC Tournament. But they would be a pretty high NIT seed potentially, and a good run there is possible.


Record: 17-7 (7-4)

National Ranking: Unranked

RPI: 62

Good Wins: Long Beach State, Stanford

Bad Losses: Pepperdine, San Diego

Up until recently, the Cougars seemed like they might be doing just enough to squeak into the NCAA Tournament like last year. Their offense was dynamic, and they hadn’t lost to a bad team. They were very impressive in non-conference play with a couple good wins as well as playing some elite opponents very close despite not pulling out a marquee win. But then WCC play happened, and they have ugly losses to Pepperdine and San Diego that create a lot of issues for the selection committee.

Like the Gaels, the Cougars could finish strong and move into the bubble conversation. But also like the Gaels, they lack enough signature wins and have too many ugly losses to really expect to make a huge jump over other worthy bubble teams. They have a better standing however, so a strong finish will look better for them than it would for Saint Mary’s. But it’s a lot to ask the Cougars to go into Spokane and beat Gonzaga, a win they will probably need. It may be a WCC Tournament victory or a trip to the NIT Tournament for the Cougars as well.


Record: 14-8 (7-4)

National Ranking: Unranked

RPI: 128

Good Wins: BYU, Saint Mary’s

Bad Losses: IUPUI, San Francisco, Santa Clara

Unfortunately for any fans hoping the breakout season for the Waves was going to turn them into a postseason team, they’re aren’t there quite yet. This schedule wasn’t built to be strong enough to provide a NCAA Tournament resume even if the Waves were at 20 wins already. So while it’s a great stepping stone to bigger things and possibly better opponents, it won’t yield any major postseason milestones this year.

The two big wins over BYU and Saint Mary’s look great, but the three bad losses were to teams buried in the RPI. Even the NIT Tournament is probably out of reach. They need to be in the top 100 of the RPI to even get real consideration, and they would be overlooked even then in favor of bigger conference teams with worse records. It’s disappointing, but that’s the norm for a mid-major with a very unimpressive strength of schedule. Hopefully they get a nice reputation boost, and they will certainly be invited to play in the CBI or CIT Tournament if they choose to participate. And like Santa Clara did a few years back, they could make a run and win it. It would be a nice end to what has turned into a great season.

On the Postseason Bubble


Record: 12-10 (3-7)

RPI: 140

Santa Clara

Record: 11-12 (5-6)

RPI: 168

San Diego

Record: 12-11 (5-6)

RPI: 175

These are the remaining WCC teams in the top 200 of the RPI. San Francisco is just outside at #201. Loyola Marymount is #213, and Pacific is #235. Odds are someone is going to heat up, and a top 5 finish in the WCC might be good enough for a team to creep into the CIT or CBI. Last year, the WCC got two teams into the CIT with San Diego and Pacific, so it could happen again. But it would require someone rising out of this group.

More from West Coast Convo

San Diego is the best candidate right now. They’re over .500 overall, and they have won three in a row. It’s a massive climb to even get into consideration for a third-tier postseason tournament, but remember the CIT only invites mid-major teams. So when you filter out major conference opponents, all of these teams are a bit closer to the postseason than it might seem. If the 5th place team at the end of the season has a decent record, they might sneak into the postseason.