Surprise, surprise. The Gonzaga Bulldogs are once again WCC Tournament Champions. The long-time class of the WCC earned their spot in the upcoming NCAA Tourney by defeating the BYU Cougars 75-64.
Zags’ big man, Sam Dower was terrific in the victory. He posted a double-double, scoring 20 points while also grabbing 13 rebounds. He was aided by one of the top point guards in the country in junior Kevin Pangos. Pangos did not even convert on one single field goal, however he still managed to have a positive impact on his team with 11 points — all on free throws. He also added four rebounds and three assists. On the BYU side, Tyler Haws led the way for the Cougars with 24 points.
The big story to follow in the coming days leading up to Selection Sunday is now whether or not Dave Rose‘s squad will be invited to the Big Dance. Entering tonight, the Cougars sat in a very favorable position with regards to their NCAA Tournament hopes. It’s possible they still may remain in that position, but at the same time, there’s also a great chance that they won’t.
Working in BYU’s favor is the fact that they have an RPI that ranks 32nd best in the country. Additionally, they also possess a quality win earlier in the season against Gonzaga as well as two really solid non-conference victories over probable tournament teams Stanford and Texas. Whether or not that will be enough to get them into the field of 68 will be the pressing question over the next five days.
BYU’s resume is solid and they have some nice players, but playing the WCC Tourney this early could potentially hurt their chances. The rest of this championship week will be filled with bubble teams rising to the occasion to play their ways into the Dance, and now the Cougars can only hope that when the time comes, the selection committee still remembers their overall body of work and that it will be considered good enough for admittance.
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27