Michael Vernetti is the WCC correspondent for RTC.
Crystal Ball Time
With most teams in the WCC having completed half the conference schedule it’s time to do some end-game handicapping. Here’s how the rest of the schedule shapes up for the main players:
- Gonzaga, although sitting pretty at 8-1 with a game-and-a-half lead on Saint Mary’s, has a tough second half of conference play ahead. Its three home games should give the Zags little trouble, but road pitfalls could come against the Bay Area schools (Saint Mary’s, San Francisco and Santa Clara), in Provo against BYU, and in the Jenny Craig Pavilion against San Diego.
- Saint Mary’s has an unfavorable (4/6) home/road balance ahead, but two of the road games are against nearby rivals San Francisco and Santa Clara. The Gaels’ main peril begins right now with four games in southern California and Provo. If Saint Mary’s comes off that journey intact, it will be well positioned to entertain BYU and Gonzaga at home.
- San Francisco also has a chance to do some damage against the leaders by entertaining Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s at home, but will be at risk on the road against BYU and San Diego.
- BYU is up against the wall no matter how you slice it because of its inability to win a single conference game on the road. The Cougars will certainly battle Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga tough at home, but its chances against the Gaels and Toreros on the road don’t look good based on performance to date.
- Gonzaga (18-3, 8-1)
- Saint Mary’s (16-5, 6-2)
- San Francisco (13-8, 6-3)
- BYU (13-9, 5-4)
- Pepperdine (12-10, 5-5)
- Portland (12-9, 4-5)
- San Diego (12-10, 3-6)
- Santa Clara (10-12, 3-6)
- Loyola Marymount (11-11, 3-7)
- Pacific (11-8, 2-6)