Not much has changed in the WCC, as the story remains whether a team can challenge Gonzaga at the top. Once again, it looks like that will not be the case, as the ‘Zags are poised to be one of the better teams in the country after getting eliminated by Arizona in the second round of last season’s NCAA Tournament.
BYU is the biggest threat and is led by one of the top scorers in the nation in Tyler Haws. The Cougars also added Wake Forest transfer Chase Fischer and elite recruit T.J. Haws, the younger brother of Tyler. The older Haws makes everybody better, but will it be enough to enable BYU to make the tournament?
Saint Mary’s is hoping that Brad Waldow and an influx of transfers will be enough for a postseason bid, but beyond that, the conference is still looking for another team to make a jump as the conference remains top-heavy. San Francisco and Portland seem to be the most likely to do that, but there is still a ways to go.
Transfers will make an impact
The WCC will be heavy on transfers this season as Gonzaga, BYU and numerous others brought in players who will be eligible immediately. Their impacts will likely differ, but the conference should be full of plenty of new faces this season.
Tyler Haws, guard, BYU
Haws makes everybody around him an efficient player, and is one of the best scorers in the nation. He won the conference Player of the Year award last season, and this year should be no different.
BREAKOUT PLAYER (NON-FROSH)
Kyle Wiltjer, forward, Gonzaga
Wiltjer is a Kentucky transfer who is looking to get a new start on his career. A talented player, Wiltjer found the perfect landing spot and should be ready to break out.
Josh Perkins, guard, Gonzaga
Gonzaga probably got a bit of a steal with point guard Perkins. The Zags are loaded, but Perkins could be good enough to come in and play right away.
COACH ON THE HOT SEAT
Bill Grier, San Diego
If Grier is unable to have some success with San Diego, this could be it for him. He has a veteran team and brought in transfer Brandon Perry, but he needs to duplicate the success of his early years.
The Pilots return players who garnered the majority of their minutes last season, and are better than their 7-11 conference record last season would indicate. Figuring that the returning players have improved, Portland could surprise.
GAME OF THE YEAR – CONF
Gonzaga at BYU
It seems that when Gonzaga plays BYU, it is a lock to be the best conference game of the season, at least in terms of competitiveness. This season should be not different, as these are clearly the most talented teams in the conference.
GAME OF THE YEAR - NON-CONF
Gonzaga at Arizona
The Bulldogs will travel to Arizona in hope of getting revenge for last season, but beyond that it will be a matchup of two of the most talented teams in the country.
McCarthey Athletic Center
Gonzaga’s home court is one of the toughest places to play in the country. It only holds 6,000 people, but makes up for its size with plenty of enthusiasm.
Three teams in the Big Dance
The WCC will have plenty of parity, but will be strong enough at the top of the conference to warrant sending three teams to the NCAA Tournament.