The West Coast Conference Tournament kicked off on March 3rd, 2017 with a pair of opening round games. The firs round action saw the ninth seeded Pacific Tigers take out the eight seeded Pepperdine Waves, while the tenth seeded Portland Pilots upset the seventh seeded San Diego Toreros. The Tigers win, advances them into a matchup against the number one seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Pilots will face the second seeded St. Mary’s Gaels.
The West Coast Conference is comprised of ten teams, all which qualify for the conference tournament. Obviously, the bottom four teams play each other, while the other six are on a bye. The aforementioned Gonzaga Bulldogs are the top dog this year, a team that nearly went a perfect 30-0 in the regular season. However, a relatively weak road team in the BYU Cougars yet again defeated the Bulldogs on their home court. The defeat cost the Bulldogs not only their undefeated season, but also their number one ranking according to the Associated Press.
The schedule are as follows:
Friday, March 3 (first round)
Game 1: No. 9 Pacific Tigers 89, No. 8 Pepperdine Wave 84
Game 2: No. 10 Portland Pilots 60, No. 7 San Diego Toreros 55
Saturday, March 4 (quarterfinals), Spectrum SportsNet/BYUtv/TheW.tv/ESPN2
Game 3: No. 3 BYU vs. No. 6 Loyola Marymount, 4 p.m.
Game 4: No. 4 Santa Clara vs. No. 5 San Francisco, 6 p.m
Game 5: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 9 Pacific, 10 p.m.
Game 6: No. 2 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 10 Portland, 12 a.m. (March 5th)
Sunday, March 5 (semifinals),ESPN/ESPN2
Game 7: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 9 or 11:30 p.m.
Game 8: Game 3 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 9 or 11:30 p.m.
Monday, March 6 (championship)
Game 9: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 9 p.m., ESPN
Prediction: While the St. Mary’s Gael have a chance, at the same time I believe they no chance. The loss that the Gonzaga Bulldogs endured at season’s end is going to fire them up and unleash a fury beyond imaginable.
On the season, the Zags are an impressive 29-1, with their only blemish coming at regular seasons end to the BYU Cougars. A game in which the they were up 18-2 at the start. But hey, the loss isn’t the worst thing, as I believe it will invigorate them. Out of conference, the Zags were sterling, defeating the likes of the Arizona Wildcats, Florida Gators, Iowa St. Cyclones and Tennessee Volunteers. In conference, the two wins over the St. Mary’s Gaels stand out.
According to Ken Pomeroy, the Zags are the 1st ranked team. They have the 6th ranked offense and the 3rd ranked defense. With Nigel Williams-Goss at the helm, this is a really scary team. And many might be writing them off after the BYU Cougars loss, which is fair, but at the same time going to be proven wrong.
The West Coast Tournament games are taking place in Las Vegas, in which their is no real home court advantage. Again though, it doesn’t matter. This is the Zags tournament to win and I believe that they will be taking on the Gaels in the finals. A team they have dismantled twice already and the third game won’t be any different.