We enter the final week of league games and there are still six seeds that still need to be decided. Here is a quick rundown of those situations for Wednesday/Thursday:
3. BYU (9-5)
- BYU will be either the No. 3 or 4 seed and earned a bye into the WCC quarterfinals.
- BYU clinches No. 3 seed with a win vs. Gonzaga or a Santa Clara loss at Loyola Marymount.
- BYU owns the tiebreaker over Santa Clara (swept SCU).
4. Santa Clara (8-6)
- Santa Clara will be either the No. 3 or 4 seed and has earned a bye into the WCC quarterfinals.
- Santa Clara can become the No. 3 seed with wins over LMU and Saint Mary's and BYU losses to Gonzaga and LMU.
5. San Diego (6-8)
- San Diego will finish as the No. 5 or 6 seed.
- San Diego will claim the No. 5 seed with a win over San Francisco.
6. San Francisco (6-9)
- San Francisco will finish as the No. 5 or 6 seed.
- The Dons can claim the No. 5 seed with a win over San Diego (tiebreaker).
- A win over San Diego would give USF a season series split and give San Francisco the tiebreaker (RPI: USF 155, USD 174).
7. Pepperdine (4-10)
- Pepperdine will finish as the No. 7 or 8 seed.
- Pepperdine claims the No. 7 seed with a win over Saint Mary’s.
- Pepperdine owns tiebreaker over Portland (swept Pilots).
8. Portland (4-11)
- Portland will finish as the No. 7 or 8 seed.
Now, back to the matchups. BYU could shock the world and upset a Top 5 team with a win over No. 2 Gonzaga, the school’s highest ranking ever. Gonzaga is also the highest ranked team to ever play at the Marriott Center.
Saint Mary’s needs to avoid a letdown this week to have a chance at the NCAA Tournament. THe wins over BYU and Creighton last week were huge for the Gaels’ resume but a loss this week would likely destroy any chance they have on an at-large bid.
San Francisco has a shot for the fifth seed in the WCC Championships after starting 0-5 and they are in complete control of their own fate. San Diego, who currently sits in the five spot, and the Dons face off on Thursday and it could go either way.
But let’s get down it:
No. 23 Saint Mary’s (24-5, 12-2) at Pepperdine (12-15, 4-10), ESPNU, 8 p.m.
The Gaels are at the point where they can do nothing to help their at-large candidacy before the WCC Championships. In fact, all they have to do is avoid a letdown. That task starts in Malibu. The Waves have kept all of their recent games close, which includes a trip to Santa Clara. That continues to be because of their defense and free throw shooting. Pepperdine is second in the WCC in field goal defense and third in free throw percentage. Saint Mary’s is coming off its biggest week of the season and is ranked for the first time all season. The Gaels held the vaunted Creighton offense to 41 percent shooting and got a big boost from Brad Waldow in that contest.
Predicted winner: Saint Mary’s
San Francisco (13-15, 6-9) at San Diego (13-16, 6-8), FOX Sports SD, CSNCA, 6 p.m.
Who can grab fifth place? A win for USF would put the Dons right back where they were a year ago for the WCC Championships. A win for San Diego would be a small step up from a year ago when is was the sixth seed. The Dons have gotten a recent spark from Mark Tollefsen, who made his first two career starts last week, and this continues to display the amount of talent USF has moving into the future. The Toreros came up flat against Portland last Thursday and got beaten up on the boards. Portland outrebounded San Diego 36-25 and grabbed 15 offensive rebounds. This game could really go either way.
Predicted winner: San Diego
No. 2 Gonzaga (27-2, 14-0) at BYU (20-9, 9-5), ESPN2, 8 p.m.
Need we say how big of a game this is for both teams? BYU is looking to keep its slim at-large hopes alive. Gonzaga? Well, they now have the opportunity with another sweep of this week’s games to become the first WCC team to be ranked No. 1 in the nation since San Francisco in 1977. Gonzaga is playing its best basketball right now and is coming off back-to-back wins by a combined 74 points. The last time these teams saw each other Tyler Haws was held to one (yeah, that’s right) point as the Zags went onto win by 20. Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris combined for 51 points. Look for more of the same.
Predicted winner: Gonzaga
Loyola Marymount (8-19, 1-13) at Santa Clara (20-9, 8-6), CSNCA, TWC SN, ROOT Sports, 8 p.m.
Santa Clara is likely looking at the fourth seed but there is still an outside shot for the Broncos. They would need BYU to lose both of its final two games (vs. Gonzaga, at LMU) and win both of their two games (vs. LMU, at Saint Mary’s). A long shot but a shot nonetheless. Marc Trasolini and Yannick Atanga have eaten up the offensive glass and are the top two players in the league in the category. Atanga is also the league leader in rebounds at 8.2 per contest. LMU has seen multiple victories slip away recently and has not won since Jan. 10 against (guess who?) Santa Clara. Don’t be surprised if LMU finally gets another win.
Predicted winner: Santa Clara