Thursday, July 24, 2014

Power rankings: Pac-12, WCC, MWC men's basketball, Edition 8 (17 items)

By Nate Gagon, For the Deseret News

Feb. 28, 2014

Considering how closely bunched many of the teams from the Pac-12, Mountain West and West Coast conferences are, this season has largely gone as expected. All 11 teams currently projected to make the NCAA Tournament by either ESPN or CBS Sports were ranked in the top 15 of the initial set of these power rankings Nov. 21. Let's look more closely at the teams from the Pac-12, WCC and MWC that have pleasantly surprised and the teams that have disappointed before we get to the top 15 teams. Here is Edition 8 of the Pac-12/WCC/MWC power rankings (games through Feb. 27)

1 of 17. Most positive surprises

1. San Diego State: Picked to finish fourth in the MWC preseason media poll, was initially ranked generously at No. 9 in these power rankings and did not even receive a single preseason vote in either the AP Top 25 or USA Today Coaches Poll.

2. Arizona State: Picked to finish seventh in the Pac-12 preseason media poll, is currently tied for third.

3. Pepperdine: Picked to finish last (10th) in the WCC preseason coaches poll, is currently fifth in the conference.

4. Nevada: Picked to finish ninth in the MWC, is currently tied for fourth.

5. Stanford: Picked to finish sixth in the Pac-12, is currently tied for third.

6. Utah: Although the Utes are roughly where they were predicted to be in the Pac-12 standings, they have been far more competitive generally than most expected. Utah's total annihilation of BYU was a stunner.

2 of 17. Most disappointing surprises

1. Utah State: Based on preseason polls versus current conference standings, Utah State has been the most disappointing team from among these three conferences. Picked to finish fifth in the MWC, the Aggies are currently second-to-last (10th place) in the conference.

2. Oregon: Oregon was a positive surprise through non-conference play but has been a major disappointment in Pac-12 play. The Ducks were projected to finish fourth in the conference but currently sit tied for seventh with Utah, Oregon State and Washington.

3. UNLV: Although the Rebels are third in the MWC, their season as a whole has been a disappointment. They would have been ranked No. 37 in the preseason AP poll if it had extended that far, but the Rebels are in a position now where they will have to win their conference tournament to have any shot at the Big Dance.

4. Loyola Marymount: Picked to finish sixth in the WCC, the Lions are currently dead last (10th) in the standings.

5. Boise State: Most had Boise pegged as an NCAA Tournament team in the preseason and the Broncos would have been ranked No. 32 in the preseason AP poll if it had extended that far. While Boise is only currently two spots below preseason projections in the MWC standings, the Broncos have no shot at an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.

6. BYU: Based on preseason predictions, BYU has not disappointed. The Cougars received no votes in the preseason AP Top 25 poll and were picked to finish second in the WCC, and that is exactly where they currently are. Considering how impressive the team looked early in the season, racking up losses to the likes of Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Portland and Pacific lands the Cougs on the disappointing list. Even after recent wins over Saint Mary's and Gonzaga, BYU is still left out of the NCAA Tournament in the latest CBS Sports (Jerry Palm) projections.

3 of 17. 15. San Francisco Dons (WCC)

Not in rankings last edition

By the numbers:

Projected NCAA Tournament seed (ESPN/CBS Sports): Out/Out

RPI/BPI (ESPN's advanced ranking system): 72/82

Major poll rankings (AP/Coaches): N/A

Conference rank: 3

Record: 19-10 / 12-5

4 of 17. 14. UNLV Rebels (MWC)

Not in rankings last edition

By the numbers:

Projected NCAA Tournament seed (ESPN/CBS Sports): Out/Out

RPI/BPI (ESPN's advanced ranking system): 105/70

Major poll rankings (AP/Coaches): N/A

Conference rank: 3

Record: 18-10 / 9-6

5 of 17. 13. Saint Mary's Gaels (WCC)

Down one

By the numbers:

Projected NCAA Tournament seed (ESPN/CBS Sports): Out/Out

RPI/BPI (ESPN's advanced ranking system): 59/56

Major poll rankings (AP/Coaches): N/A

Conference rank: 4

Record: 21-9 / 11-6

1. LonestarRunner
Salt Lake City, UT,
Feb. 28, 2014

Sounds like Nate needs to do a little more research:

#35 BYU(20-10) #20 SOS is all but a lock to make the NCAA tournament as long as they beat San Diego and win a couple of games in the WCC tournament

#93 Utah(18-9) #142 SOS has absolutely no chance of getting an at-large bid to the NCAA; Utah's ONLY chance to go dancing is to win the PAC 12 tournament

In the Latest 2014 Bracket Matrix (90 different brackets), BYU is listed in SEVENTY-ONE (including ESPN, Yahoo, and USA Today), Utah is listed in ONE.

2. JD
Las Vegas, NV,
Feb. 28, 2014

Sounds like Nate has done his homework and reported "reality" which is that the WCC is a one bid league. Congrats to whomever wins the conference tourney, because after that, the NIT is probably only going to take one WCC team as well, leaving the 3rd place team to the CBI. Most projections agree, nobody from the WCC is a "lock" for anything.

3. DeepBlue
Anaheim, CA,
March 1, 2014

JD

Sounds like you need to do your homework too. With the arrival of BYU, the WCC has become a 2 to 3 bid league.

4. MyPerspective
Salt Lake City, UT,
March 1, 2014

What Coach K has accomplished with the Utes in just 2 years (3rd season) is simply stunning. He started with nothing and has his team on the cusp of a 500 season in the elite Pac-12. What an outstanding turnaround and great success this year. It's fun to see the HC come back to life!

Given the preseason talk from byu fans this has to be humbling for them (if it's even possible for byu to reach that point in their world). Rose was handed a healthy program several years ago and it has gone no where even considering the pathetic conference that is the WCC. So fun to have Duckhunter disappear from the Utah boards for a month. lol.

5. MyPerspective
Salt Lake City, UT,
March 1, 2014

"BYU: Even after recent wins over Saint Mary's and Gonzaga..." Who?

"...racking up losses to the likes of Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Portland and Pacific..." Who?