Wednesday, March 1, 2017

West Coast Conference tournament preview

This is part 9 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

The standings:
Gonzaga 17-1
St Mary's 16-2
BYU 12-6
Santa Clara 10-8
San Francisco 10-8
Loyola Marymount 8-10
San Diego 6-12
Pepperdine 5-13
Pacific 4-14
Portland 2-16

Tournament format:
Friday March 3 to Tuesday March 7.  They skip Sunday because lol BYU.  No double byes or anything funky.  Neutral site in Vegas.

The matchups:
1) Gonzaga vs. 8/9) Pepperdine/Pacific
4) Santa Clara vs. 5) San Francisco
3) BYU vs. 6) Loyola Marymount
2) St Mary's vs. 7/10) San Diego/Portland

The stakes:
I wonder if people are ignorant of Gonzaga's resume.  11 Top 100 wins, but what really matters is signature wins over N-Florida (really @Florida) and N-Arizona.  Iowa St helps too.  St Mary's 2x helps too.  But the two high-end wins show they're competent against elite teams, and is the key to the argument for a 1 seed.  I think they take the 1 seed, barring a stupid loss to anyone other than St Mary's, IMO.  Now, which 1 seed may be an argument, and Oregon can still take the West regional away by running the table, perhaps.  Would Gonzaga prefer to be a 2 seed out west than a 1 seed in the South?

(pet peeve:  all the talking heads saying the competition for a 1 seed in the West is between Gonzaga and the Pac-12, and that UNC has the South wrapped up.  NO.  BOTH Gonzaga AND the Pac-12 champ can be 1 seeds.  You idiots)

St Mary's seed could vary wildly.  @Dayton is the best win, which is good enough to make the field, but may not help seeding that much.  I can argue anywhere from a 5 to a 10 for them.  They sneakily only played 2 road games and 1 neutral in the non-con, which doesn't look good for a mid major.  That they won all 3 do help mask that flaw, though.  Frankly, I think they got lucky with their SoS, as Stanford, Nevada, and UTA have all helped out more than you'd think.  I'm having a tough time pinning down a seed for them, and I expect many people to miss their predictions on their seed.

Deeper down, BYU probably clinched a NIT bid by beating Gonzaga.  San Francisco despite a top 100 RPI will likely fall short of that and will join Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount in a CBI/CIT tournament.

No comments: