Thursday, January 2, 2014

WCC Power Rankings 1.0

By Jack Wellington

Alright everyone, we are 46.667% through the season and we all know what that means.  It is time for the first ever PilotsCourtside.com Power Rankings!  We are going to dig deep to find out who might be cutting down some nets at the end of the season and who might be giving their coach the “Mack Brown” treatment. 

10.  San Diego Toreros                   9-6 (0-2)
Let’s face it, mustering only 69.9 points per game isn’t going to put you in the tournament at the end of the year.   That being said, the Toreros have only allowed a conference best 62.0 points against this season.  Their guard Johnny Dee (18.9 ppg), son of former Seahawk Donnie Dee, has been lights out this season.   Unfortunately, only 4 players on the squad are averaging double digits which earns them the 10 spot in the Power Rankings.

9.   Portland Pilots                           8-6 (0-2)
Listen guys, I had a really hard time finding a team that might be worse than the Pilots at this stage.  Fortunately those San Diego surfers are focusing more on their tan then playing basketball and allowed the Pilots to slip in front of them.  After taking down those nerds from Princeton, the Pilots allowed one to slip away against San Francisco (81-87) in OT and couldn’t  stop Santa Clara’s big 3 from getting 20 points apiece (68-78).  Kevin Bailey leads the attack this season (17.7 ppg) and Nicholas and van der Mars are securing the paint with 15.9 rebound per game combined.   The Pilots’ next three games are at home, but they aren’t going to be easy as they face Pacific, Saint Mary’s and #24 Gonazaga.  Be strong Pilots Fans, your team needs you.  

8. Santa Clara Broncos                    8-7 (1-1)
Santa Clara lands in 8th place on this ranking due to the simple fact that they are finding ways to win games that other teams might not be able to.  They are led by Brandon Clark, Jared Brownridge and Evan Roquemore who average 59.3% of the entire teams scoring by themselves.  Though these three are talented, you need more depth if you want to succeed in the cutthroat WCC.

7. San Francisco Dons                     8-6 (1-1)
The Dons have one thing going for them and that is DEPTH.  They often play a 9 man rotation and have 5 scorers averaging double digits this season.  However, they are second worst in the Conference for allowing 76.4 points per game.  If they can figure out how to play some D they may finish in the top half of the WCC when all the dust settles.

6. Pepperdine Waves                     9-5 (0-2)
Even though they have the least intimidating mascot in the WCC, Pepperdine is averaging a .486 team shooting percentage which places them at 34th best in the nation.  Although they can shoot, they can’t rebound very well (35.8 rebound per game).  Pepperdine has played 10 out of their 14 games at home and their poor rebounding will prove to their detriment as they head out to face the meat of their WCC schedule.  The Waves will be solid mid-table performers when all is said and done.

5. Pacific Tigers                                  9-3 (0-1)
The Pacific Tigers’ mascot ‘Powercat’ has had something to brag about this season.  After winning 8 out of their first 9 games, the Tigers have been slowed down of late.  They have lost 2 of their last 3, and now facing your very own Portland Pilots at the Chiles Center.  Here’s hoping Portland and Pacific’s fortunes are reversed after this game.

4. BYU Cougars                                  8-7 (0-2)
The Mormons’ season has been one of impressive losses.  They battled the #21 ranked Iowa State to the final second losing 88-90, lost to the #21 ranked UMASS 96-105, and they took the #13 ranked Oregon Ducks into OT only to lose 96-100.  You may be wondering, “Why does this guy have BYU ranked 4th? They are only BARELY above .500.”  Well my friend, they are averaging a 4th best in the nation 87.3 points per game, 7th best in the nation 44.1 rebounds per game, and 12th best 17.1 assists per game.  Utah’s born and bred Tyler Haws is averaging 22.0 ppg which is good enough for 12th best in the NCAA (for reference Jabari Parker is only averaging 21.4).  Don’t be surprised if these Bible Thumpers make a strong run towards the end of the season.

3. Loyola Marymount Lions          10-4 (2-0)
Anthony Ireland baby!  The All-WCC First teamer is 18.1 points per game and has led the Lions to a very good 10-4 start.  Loyola Marymount is on a 4 game win streak and have started off their Conference schedule strongly.  They will be able to keep their momentum going as they start a 4 game road trip to San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Diego and BYU.

2. Saint Mary’s Gaels                      10-3 (1-0)
Even though their coach was banned for the first 5 games of the season and not allowed to recruit off campus because of ‘recruiting violations’, that didn’t stop the Gaels from starting off the season from winning their first 9 games.  Their 3 losses this season have been by 7 points, 2 points and 2 points.  Led by their scoring big man Brad “Where’s” Waldow, methinks the Gaels will be in contention to challenge the Zags for the WCC crown by the end of the season

1. Gonzaga Bulldogs                        12-2 (2-0)
So Gonzaga is good at basketball….. what else is new?  The Zags are shooting a staggering .513 from the field this year and Pangos has been lighting up the scoreboard averaging 17.6 ppg.  However, Gary Bell Jr. is out with a broken hand and Sam Dower is having back problems.  They may not be a #1 seed in the NCAA tourney this year, but that doesn’t mean they won’t steamroll the WCC on their way to their 12th WCC championship in the past 13 years.