Las Vegas will be busy over the next few weeks as the first of four conference tournaments gets underway. The West Coast Conference will attempt to see if someone can hand Gonzaga their first conference loss of the season and dash their dreams of a number one NCAA tournament seed.
The Zags made a mockery of their conference schedule going 16-0 with 12 of those games being double digit victories. This is a team on a mission with a lot to play for considering the committee along with the national media are looking for reasons to knock them off their perch. Kelly Olynyk is one of the best players in the nation and is one of many threats for opponents to worry about. They will have a lot of time to sit as Gonzaga has a double bye before they take the court.
The two seed is St. Mary’s who is looking for some positive vibes after the NCAA dropped the hammer on their program. The Gaels have had their way with the WCC outside of two losses to the Bulldogs. Five seniors led by Matthew Dellavedova at the point make this team experienced and a threat as they took the crown in Vegas last year.
The rest of this conference is a bit of a wash although BYU could win the automatic bid despite being 0-4 against the top two seeds. Brandon Davies and Matt Carlino lead the Cougars who will need to win it all if they hope to make the field of 68. Santa Clara is the four seed featuring Kevin Foster, but they were also 0-4 against the Gaels and Bulldogs.
The pick for this one is obvious as Gonzaga has something big to play for. Most years a conference tournament championship didn’t make a difference too much in their seeding. This season, the Bulldogs are playing for a top seed and a trip to the West region. They won’t overlook this field, but they are focused on the prize and will be cutting down the nets in Vegas on March 11th.