End of Season WCC Power Rankings


The 2014-15 season is in the books, and it was a great one for the West Coast Conference. Over half the teams made postseason tournaments, and the WCC was among the best mid-major conferences in the nation. Let’s rank the teams one more time taking their entire seasons into account in our final WCC Power Rankings of the year!

#10 – LOYOLA MARYMOUNT: It was another rough year for the rebuilding Lions. They won just 8 games, although they were able to tie with Pacific for last place in the conference. Their best win of the season was against Portland, and with the Pilots having an RPI of #149 it’s not that impressive. Evan Payne had another stellar season, but it’s easy to see why he is taking his talents to another school. The Lions are deeply buried at the bottom of the conference right now, and have a lot of work ahead of them to climb out of the basement.

#9 – PACIFIC: The Tigers were not much better than the Lions. They finished tied for last place, and their best win was also over the Pilots. They flashed some strong defense at times, but they never found enough support for their top scorers. By the time guys like Dulani Robinson had emerged, T.J. Wallace was hampered by injuries and wasn’t scoring at the same rate as he was early in the year. They may have gotten 4 more wins than the Lions, but the quality of the teams they beat isn’t anything to write home about. The Tigers are right there with the Lions as the bottom tier of the WCC this season.

#8 – SAN FRANCISCO: What a fall for the Dons. So much hope after last season and the NIT berth, and they fell nearly all the way to the bottom of the conference. Transfers hurt them in the offseason, and the ones brought in to replace them never fully realized their potential. Great seasons by Kruize Pinkins and Mark Tollefsen were squandered as the the guard situation hurt them all year. They flashed their potential at times highlighted by a season sweep of Pepperdine, but that only made the losses more agonizing as they piled up. It will be a very interesting offseason as the Dons try and salvage the momentum of last season after a big step back.

#7 – SANTA CLARA: Like the Lions and Tigers, the Broncos were very evenly matched with the Dons on this next tier. They split their season series and finished with identical 7-11 conference records and 14-18 overall records. The Broncos get the slight nod for the #7 spot over the Dons on the strength of the their upset win over Saint Mary’s late in the season, by far the best win for any of these teams in the bottom tier. There’s a lot of good young talent here, and they could be even better next year even with the loss of Brandon Clark. Injuries like the one to Yannick Atanga really hurt them this year, so some of their struggles can be forgiven.

#6 – SAN DIEGO: The Toreros were one of those teams that had lots of talent, but never put it all together. They got quality wins over teams like UC Santa Barbara and BYU and pushed very good teams like Xavier and UCLA, but they finished at 14-18 and 8-10 in conference play as they let too many bad losses pile up. It resulted in them missing the postseason, a disappointing finish for a team coming off a good run in the CIT Tournament last year. They sent off starts Johnny Dee and Chris Anderson with a close loss in their opening game of the WCC Tournament, and there will be many questions looming in the offseason as new Head Coach Lamont Smith gets to work rebuilding the program.

#5 – PORTLAND: The Pilots had a great non-conference schedule highlighted by a win over Murray State who finished 27-5 and nearly made the NCAA Tournament. But conference play was not kind to them as injuries caused a number of lineup changes. They finished 17-16 overall, but their 7-11 conference record was tied with the Dons and Broncos for second-worst in the conference. They got a nice upset over Saint Marys in the WCC Tournament however, and they found their form a bit late in the season. It helped propel them to a berth in the CIT Tournament where they lost in the first round. This was a very good team that just never got it going, and their late run to make the postseason was very impressive.

#4 – PEPPERDINE: On the one hand, it was a great breakout season for the Waves, they broke into the top four in the conference, finished at 18-14 and 10-8 in conference play, and made the postseason. On the other hand, it felt like things could have gone a lot better. Their amazing defense and quality post players faded late in the season, and some bad losses doomed them. Their ugly loss to Seattle in the opening round of the CBI Tournament felt more like a disappointing end then an achievement to be enjoyed. But the focus can be on the positive, because they got some great experience and have all their players returning. This was a huge step in the right direction, and they will be a popular breakout team again next year as people look for a big encore performance.

#3 – SAINT MARY’S: The Gaels were another team that faded late and ended up with a disappointing finish. For much of the season, they were rolling along as the clear #2 team in the conference. And in many wins, they were making it look easy as they were clearly much deeper and talented than most of their opponents. But lackadaisical play started to come back to haunt them, and they faded late falling out of second place and going from an NCAA Tournament bubble team to stuck in the NIT. The exclamation point on their decline came in a first round NIT at home to Vanderbilt. With star Brad Waldow and a number of other key players graduating plus the number of quickly improving teams behind them, the Gaels are at a crossroads. They can continue to decline, or Randy Bennett will be able to discover some more gems and keep them at a high level.

#2 – BYU: Unlike the teams behind them that started fast and faded late, the Cougars took the opposite route. For most of the year, they were a dynamic offense who just didn’t look like they were good enough to make the NCAA Tournament. Too many bad losses had a ton of questions surrounding them, but then they went on their big run highlighted by the upset of Gonzaga in Spokane. Kyle Collinsworth made headlines for his triple-doubles, and they snuck into the Big Dance. It would have been nice to see them not blow their big lead against Ole Miss and make it into the next round of games, but even making the First Four was a big milestone after they were left for dead during the regular season.

#1 – GONZAGA: The cream of the crop once again. One of their best squads in program history went wire-to-wire as the top team in our rankings. How could they not after a dominant regular season and their first Elite Eight since 1999? Kyle Wiltjer and Kevin Pangos were two of the best players in the country, and they were the most talented and complete team in the WCC by far. With a number of key players returning, they should be able to build off this season as they continue to chase that elusive first Final Four appearance.