Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

The West Coast Conference Tournament participants in a nutshell (8 items)

By , For the Deseret News

March 7, 2014

After Loyola Marymount beat Portland 67-64 and Santa Clara dispatched Pacific 81-64, the quarterfinals are set in the WCC. Here is a look at each team remaining in the field.

Jay Yeomans is a courier by day and a freelance writer by night. He is the creator and lead writer of the website Contact him at Twitter: @jmoneysports

1 of 8. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Record: 26-5 (15-3)

RPI: 24

The Bulldogs are the class of the West Coast Conference once again as shown by the fact that they won the regular season championship by two games. Gonzaga is a great shooting teams who relies on the great inside-outside tandem of Kevin Pangos and Sam Dower Jr. They are tied for the team lead in scoring with 14.6 points a game. Pangos is known for his outside shooting prowess (41.4 percent from 3-point range) and his ability to distribute the ball (3.9 assists a contest) while Dower is an impressive rebounder (seven rebounds a game) and an effective shooter (61.1 percent from the floor).

The Bulldogs are the only lock from the WCC for the NCAA Tournament.

2 of 8. Santa Clara Broncos

Record: 14-18 (6-12)

RPI: 206

The Broncos are led by the backcourt of Brandon Clark and Jared Brownridge. Clark isn't a great outside shooter, but he can really penetrate and cause problems for opposing teams when he gets into the lane. He averages 17 points and 3.5 assists a game. His greatest strength is his ability to get to the free-throw line where Clark shoots 87.1 percent in more than five attempts a game. Brownridge has had an impressive freshman campaign averaging 17 points and 2.3 assists. He is most effective from behind the arc where Brownridge shoots 43.1 percent.

Although Santa Clara didn't have a great regular season, they played Gonzaga close in both contests losing by 14 on the road and by just a basket at home. Don't be surprised if the Broncos give the Bulldogs all they can handle on Saturday.

3 of 8. Saint Mary's Gaels

Record: 21-10 (11-7)

RPI: 62

The Gaels look to two All-West Coast Conference players to do most of their damage. Brad Waldow averages 15.7 points and 7.7 rebounds to lead the Gaels. He is a dominant force on the block who is difficult to stop when he gets touches. The other Gaels All-Conference player is Stephen Holt. Holt is good for 15 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists a game. He can score from all over the floor.

Even though this has been a down year by Gaels' standards, they still have plenty of fire power and could easily win three games to land in the Big Dance once again.

4 of 8. Pepperdine Waves

Record: 15-15 (8-10)

RPI: 155

The Waves are led by a pair of impressive forwards in Stacy Davis and Brendan Lane. Davies was an All-WCC selection who averages 15.2 points and 7.7 rebounds. Davis is a great outside shooter (47.7 percent from 3-point range) who can also get to the free-throw line. Lane is also a capable scorer averaging 13.2 points on 55 percent shooting, but is relied on heavily for his great defense. In fact, Lane is so good on defense that he won the WCC Defensive Player of the Year.

Pepperdine gave the Gael fits in their two earlier match-ups this season losing by six on the road and by a basket in overtime at home. If Saint Mary's looks past the Waves, Pepperdine could very well make a run to the semi-finals.

5 of 8. San Francisco Dons

Record: 20-10 (13-5)

RPI: 66

The Dons have had one of their best seasons in recent memory, thanks in part to head coach Rex Walters who earned the WCC Coach of the Year. On the floor, they are led by senior forward Cole Dickerson who earned All-WCC honors. He averages 14.6 points and 7.6 rebounds. The Dons have a very balanced offense with three other regulars averaging double figures in scoring.

San Francisco has all the tools to make a deep run in the WCC Tournament.