PROVO -- The BYU Cougars wrapped up their inaugural West Coast Conference regular season with a 76-66 win over Portland in Provo Saturday. A 24-7 record and a 12-4 conference record is what the Cougars came away with good for a 3 seed at the WCC tournament in Las Vegas this weekend. Both records are right where I thought BYU would end the regular season. I just didn't think they would do it the way they did.
Case in point: Losses to LMU and St. Mary's at home and a win at Virginia Tech. Those are the three games I didn't see playing out the way they did. The rest pretty much were the way I expected they would be. I thought BYU would be 25-6 before the season started so they were one game off that. Because of the two unexpected home losses BYU has put themselves in a tough spot relating to the NCAA tournament.
On the surface it's easy to say BYU is one of the best 64 teams in the country.
I have no problem with that.
The problem for BYU is the lack of what are called marquee wins. The Gonzaga win at home is really the only one. The Nevada, Oregon, Virginia Tech and Weber State wins are all solid, but not marquee.
So where does this leave BYU? A win in the opening game of the WCC is a must. Lose to either Pepperdine or San Diego in the WCC opener and a sixth consecutive trip to the Big Dance is done. Win the opener and beat Gonzaga in round two and I think that's enough to dance again. The tricky scenario is winning the first game of the WCC tournament and then losing to Gonzaga in game two. This, I think will still be enough to get BYU in, but they'll be sweating in that scenario on Sunday the 11th.
The Cougars are off until this Friday when they will be in Las Vegas at the Orleans Arena to face the winner of the No. 6 San Diego vs. No. 7 Pepperdine game. You will hear all games in the WCC tournament on KSL Newsradio 1160 AM & 102.7 FM and the BYU Radio Sports Network. The pre-game Friday against San Diego/Pepperdine starts at 8:00 p.m. followed by the tip-off at 9:00 p.m. Mountain time. A win and then BYU moves on to face the No. 2 seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs on Saturday, with a pre-game at 8:00 p.m., again followed by the tip at 9:00 p.m. o'clock Mountain time. The WCC final will be Monday night at 7:00 p.m.
Best Division-1 teams in the State of Utah
- BYU (24-7), the #3 seed in the WCC tournament playing Pepperdine or San Diego Thursday in Las Vegas.
- Weber State (23-4), 14-1 in the Big Sky and tied with Montana for 1st place. For all the marbles Tuesday in Missoula against the Grizzlies and the right to host the Big Sky Tournament.
- Utah State (15-14), two more WAC games at SJSU and Hawaii Thursday and Sunday.
- UVU (20-10), have won 12 straight. At North Dakota on Saturday.
- Southern Utah (13-16), have lost 6 of 7. Finish conference play Saturday at Oakland.
- Utah (6-22), Break out the UTES! Big win 58-57 over Stanford; at Oregon St and Oregon to finish PAC-12 play.
Names to watch in the West Coast Conference
- This week's Player of the Week in the West Coast
Conference, "Gonzaga Junior Elias Harris is the final WCC
Player of the Week for 2011-12. In critical wins over BYU
and at San Diego, Harris averaged 13.0 points and 14.0
rebounds per game. In the victory over BYU, Harris scored
19 points and grabbed a career-high equaling 16 rebounds
for his fourth double-double in the last five games. It
was his 10th double-double of the season and the 19th of
his career as Gonzaga secured second place, marking the
15th straight season Gonzaga has finished first or second
in the WCC." This is Harris' second player of the week
honor this year. Three players won the award twice this
year. Anthony Ireland (SO), the smooth playing guard from
LMU. The other guy? Brandon Davies (JR) from BYU! The
only three time winner this year? Kevin Pangos (FR), the
rock solid and steady point-guard from Gonzaga. You'll
get a great look at all these guys this weekend in Las
Vegas and next year as all four will likely be back to
play next season.
- BYU's Craig Cusick honored as a WCC All-Academic member.
Games to watch WCC
Here is a link to the WCC website and their Conference tournament page. The link includes a full schedule of the games and their TV information.
- Great read from ESPN's Myron Medcalf about this week's upcoming Conference tournaments. Keep reading to the bottom where he gives a solid preview of the WCC tournament,
- Joe Lunardi's Bracketology has the Cougars sitting at a 12 seed
playing Notre Dame.
- Tuesday in the Big Ten has No. 5 Michigan State (24-
5), in Bloomington to play No. 18 Indiana (22-7). In the
Big East it's a big week for Georgetown as they will play
No. 20 Notre Dame and No. 8 Marquette.
- The game of the Week is in the ACC, its Duke and North Carolina. If it's even close to the first one it will be a beauty!!! Duke won the first game earlier in the year at North Carolina on a last second buzzer beater 85-84. Duke was down by 10 points in the final three minutes and pulled off the comeback. No. 6 North Carolina vs. No. 4 Duke, Saturday at Cameron Indoor in Durham, 5 p.m.