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Angelo Roncalli
10-10-2007, 11:54 AM
I expect the format is the same as in past year, coaches can't give a first place vote to their own team.


Gonzaga Edges Saint Mary's For Top Spot In 2007-08 WCC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll

Zags predicted to win their eighth consecutive WCC regular season title.


Gonzaga's Mark Few looks to lead the Bulldogs to their eighth straight league title.

Oct. 10, 2007


SAN BRUNO, Calif. - The Gonzaga University Bulldogs edged Saint Mary's College as the favorite to capture their eighth consecutive regular season West Coast Conference crown in the 2007-08 WCC men's basketball preseason poll, as selected by the league coaches. The Zags tallied 61 points and received five first place votes. Just two points behind Gonzaga is Saint Mary's, which earned an at-large bid to the 2005 NCAA Tournament, with 59 overall points and the other three first place votes. The Gaels are followed by the University of San Diego (43) and Santa Clara University (38). Rounding out this year's poll is the University of San Francisco (34), followed by Pepperdine University (22) in sixth, the University of Portland (16) in seventh, and Loyola Marymount University (15) in eighth.

The Zags return nine letterwinners, including three starters from last season's squad that posted a 23-11 overall record and captured its seventh consecutive WCC regular season title, and eighth WCC Tournament title in the last nine years. Headlining the list of returners for the Bulldogs is junior guard Jeremy Pargo, a 2006-07 All-WCC first team selection. Pargo will team up with sophomore guard Matt Bouldin, an All-WCC freshman team member, to give the Zags one of the top backcourts in the country.

Saint Mary's, looking for a return trip to the NCAA Tournament, returns four starters and eight letterwinners overall from last season's 17-15 squad. The Gaels strength lies in its frontcourt as they return arguably the top frontcourt tandem in the conference in junior forward Diamon Simpson and sophomore center Omar Samhan. Simpson, an All-WCC first team member last season, led the Gaels in scoring (14.1 ppg), rebounding (7.7 rpg) and blocks (79), while Samhan, a freshman All-American, led all WCC freshmen in scoring (9.2 ppg), rebounding (5.6 rpg) and blocks (49).





First-year Head Coach Bill Grier inherits a San Diego squad that returns eight letterwinners and four starters that helped the Toreros post an 18-14 overall record last season. Junior forward Gyno Pomare headlines the list of returners after averaging 14.9 ppg and a league-leading 8.3 rpg. Also back for the Toreros is junior guard Brandon Johnson (12.8 ppg, 4.8 apg), an All-WCC honorable mention pick last season, and sophomore forward Chris Lewis (5.8 ppg), who was selected to the All-WCC freshman team in 2006-07.

Santa Clara, coming off of a 21-10 campaign, welcomes in new Head Coach Kerry Keating. The Broncos welcome back eight letterwinners from last year's squad that finished in second place in the regular season standings with a 10-4 conference record. San Francisco is picked fifth, followed by Pepperdine in sixth. Portland and Loyola Marymount round out this year's preseason poll in the seventh and eighth spots, respectively.

2007-08 WCC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Gonzaga - 61 (5)
2. Saint Mary's - 59 (3)
3. San Diego - 43
4. Santa Clara - 38
5. San Francisco - 34
6. Pepperdine - 22
7. Portland - 16
8. Loyola Marymount - 15
(First place votes)


http://wccsports.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/101007aaa.html

Rubbadub
10-10-2007, 11:57 AM
1. Gonzaga - (5)
2. Saint Mary's - (3)
(First place votes)


...

JLGutrocks
10-10-2007, 12:24 PM
Are there really 2 coaches (I am assuming Few voted for SMU) that think GU will be dethroned?

I'll take two of what they're drinkin.

pbriz
10-10-2007, 12:27 PM
I think coaches in the WCC are suffering from what many of us are called out on as wearing "glasses" when thinking about the possibilities of a team. If you were to ask anyone who is PAID to analyze these types of things without bias how big the separation is between Gonzaga and St. Marys it would not be this close.

Fran Fraschilla: "the Zags should cruise through the WCC without many speed bumps."

Ed Graney: "Here's a reality this season that might be difficult for other WCC teams to accept: Mark Few, in his ninth season as head coach, should have his deepest roster since the 2003-04 season and owns a young and veteran balance of talent. "

I don't want to knock St. Marys in anyway, Simpson is a stud and Samhan looks promising, along with the Aussie but its going to take ALOT more than beating GU once in awhile to make a run at the tournament. The WCC schools that finish near the top are usually beaten up pretty hard in nonconference play.

Can St. Mary's bring the fire to the table every night? I guess we will see but I think there are 64 teams out there (including GU) that are far better than St. Mary's when its all said and done. Gonzaga has to bring it EVERY night against every team they play because non conference is brutal and every team in conference brings their best game to the table against GU.

DavyZag
10-10-2007, 12:34 PM
I think coaches in the WCC are suffering from what many of us are called out on as wearing "glasses" when thinking about the possibilities of a team. If you were to ask anyone who is PAID to analyze these types of things without bias how big the separation is between Gonzaga and St. Marys it would not be this close.

Um... do you really think that someone like Fran Fraschilla or recruiting services or other random national media people have a better idea of the talent level in the WCC than actual WCC coaches? You've got to be kidding me.

I wouldn't take this as a slight towards Gonzaga... I'd take it as a compliment to St. Mary's. Remember, even when we won the WCC with Ammo it's not like we absolutely dominated the conference - there were lots of close games. And last year we needed a meltdown by Santa Clara to win it.

I think St. Mary's is good enough to go 11-3 or maybe even 12-2. Do I think we will do better than that? Yes, obviously. But am I insulted that some coaches think SMC might be able to dethrone us? No way. I say bring it on!

Please... let's not crown ourselves kings of the world just yet.

JLGutrocks
10-10-2007, 12:40 PM
Um... do you really think that someone like Fran Fraschilla or recruiting services or other random national media people have a better idea of the talent level in the WCC than actual WCC coaches? You've got to be kidding me.

I wouldn't take this as a slight towards Gonzaga... I'd take it as a compliment to St. Mary's. Remember, even when we won the WCC with Ammo it's not like we absolutely dominated the conference - there were lots of close games. And last year we needed a meltdown by Santa Clara to win it.

I think St. Mary's is good enough to go 11-3 or maybe even 12-2. Do I think we will do better than that? Yes, obviously. But am I insulted that some coaches think SMC might be able to dethrone us? No way. I say bring it on!

Please... let's not crown ourselves kings of the world just yet.

I am not insulted. I just realistically think they aren't anywhere near Gonzaga's talent level.

Rubbadub
10-10-2007, 12:47 PM
I am not insulted. I just realistically think they aren't anywhere near Gonzaga's talent level.

agree

DavyZag
10-10-2007, 12:57 PM
I am not insulted. I just realistically think they aren't anywhere near Gonzaga's talent level.

Fair enough. I don't disagree, really. But I do think it's kind of silly for people to say other coaches must have been drinking if they think SMC could unseat us. Obviously two other coaches did, so it's not just some "rogue" or whatever.

And really... most of us probably can't even name more than a few players on SMC's team, so it's not really fair to say a blanket statement that they aren't anywhere near our talent level.

Again... do I think GU is better? Yes. But honestly I can't remember a time from when I started there as a freshman until today where I felt like we were sooooo much better than the rest of the conference that it was just a total joke. It's always competitive enough to keep it interesting, and I think Saint Mary's looks like they are going to have the best "other" team in the WCC we've seen in a few years... probably since the St. Mary's team that got an at-large.

pbriz
10-10-2007, 12:58 PM
"Um... do you really think that someone like Fran Fraschilla or recruiting services or other random national media people have a better idea of the talent level in the WCC than actual WCC coaches? You've got to be kidding me."

Talent level, yes.

Success, No.

So you agree that Mark Few didn't deserve coach of the year last year when it went to Davy. (Just an example, no knock on Santa Clara) Few deserved it but it went to Davy because he was retiring and has a better than average year. Do you really think these coaches vote on who they actually think is going to win because I guarantee you if each coach was asked to place a bet on their life on who would win each coach would put their money on Gonzaga. Coaches can vote on whoever they want and will put their team ahead of others out of optimism to show other coaches that they have faith in their own team. Also, coaches want to show Few that they aren't scared of Gonzaga and that they aren't the best so they vote against Gonzaga in an effort to show that Gonzaga isn't that intimidating. Every coach is trying to gain an edge on the other, which is why it is helpful to look at outside non-biased sources with these types of things. That was my point.

pbriz
10-10-2007, 01:03 PM
WCC coaches predictions for last season:

http://wccsports.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/101706aaa.html

JLGutrocks
10-10-2007, 01:05 PM
Do you really think these coaches vote on who they actually think is going to win because I guarantee you if each coach was asked to place a bet on their life on who would win each coach would put their money on Gonzaga.

Bingo.

DavyZag
10-10-2007, 01:09 PM
So you agree that Mark Few didn't deserve coach of the year last year when it went to Davy. (Just an example, no knock on Santa Clara) Few deserved it but it went to Davy because he was retiring and has a better than average year.

You make a fair point about the "political" side to the vote. But I've got to disagree with the above statement.

I'm sorry, but Few most definitely DID NOT deserve it. Santa Clara was the best team in the WCC up until the last week until they crapped the bed at Pepperdine and Loyola in the last week. He was getting production out of stiffs like Sean Dennison and Scott Dougherty, had a scrawny little gym rat in Danny P. as his shooting guard, got good numbers out of a walk-on in Joey Keampf. Tell me how that is not a better coaching job than coasting along and not living up to expectations and then watching two players get suspended for drugs. The Zags really only showed a spark last season after the suspensions and when Pendo carried us on his back. Before then, last season was pretty frustrating.

I suppose you could say that Few is a victim of the heavy expectations placed on him, but still... Davey totally came out of nowhere with that Santa Clara team and still ended up tied with us for the best record in the WCC. That would definitely get my vote any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

pbriz
10-10-2007, 01:18 PM
I don't want to argue about who deserved coach of the year because I agree that Davey definitely deserved it, as well as Few and possibly even Portland's head coach who had hardly ANY talent yet still managed to compete.

It can't go both ways though. The politics are RIDICULOUS in the WCC. Davey wins coach of the year outright but Raivio has to share POY with Denison.

Just because Gonzaga has success doesn't mean that politics should overshadow player accomplishments.

I just want to say also that I have nothing against Davey or Denison or any other school like St. Marys. I for one just don't believe in politics when it comes to sports. The best player should get POY and best coach should get coach of the year based on that season-not on past successes or anything else.

But I do agree that Davey did a ton with what he had. They were supposed to finish in the bottom of the WCC but almost took it from Gonzaga. Definitely deserving of the award, along with Few.

DavyZag
10-10-2007, 01:27 PM
It can't go both ways though. The politics are RIDICULOUS in the WCC. Davey wins coach of the year outright but Raivio has to share POY with Denison.

Now THIS is a very good point. Dennison didn't deserve squat - Raivio was clearly the best player.

I guess I never really paid attention to the political side of it... how silly of me to think coaches just vote on who they think will win the conference! :)

gu03alum
10-10-2007, 01:27 PM
I don't take a lot of stock in preseason polls. Look at how much drama that caused this year in college football. Its fun to look at them, but they don't mean anything. The standings will be decided on the court.

former1dog
10-10-2007, 01:28 PM
I don't take a lot of stock in preseason polls. Look at how much drama that caused this year in college football. Its fun to look at them, but they don't mean anything. The standings will be decided on the court.

AMEN!

deathchina
10-10-2007, 01:35 PM
GU is the best team in the WCC. I'm not insulted that someone would vote for Saint Mary's.....But as a GU fan I think you can EXPECT to win the WCC. I don't think any other conference school is even CLOSE to that level of expectation bred from a historical success.

omahazag
10-10-2007, 01:36 PM
Are there really 2 coaches (I am assuming Few voted for SMU) that think GU will be dethroned?

I'll take two of what they're drinkin.

Or, whatever it is they are smoking.

ZagnetitForce
10-10-2007, 03:15 PM
Grier probably voted St Mary's just to mess with Few! :D

sullyzag66
10-10-2007, 06:38 PM
I don't take a lot of stock in preseason polls. Look at how much drama that caused this year in college football. Its fun to look at them, but they don't mean anything. The standings will be decided on the court.
Any team, on any given night. . .

JLGutrocks
10-11-2007, 10:16 AM
Good post MJ, always enjoy your thoroughness.

pbriz
10-11-2007, 10:19 AM
I wish more than anything that St. Marys can have success in the non-conference that will carry over to conference play. Both St. Marys and Gonzaga need to face tough competition in January and February if they want to have success in the tournament.

I wouldn't count USD out tho..... Grier has some real talent over there with Pomare and Johnson.

Basically how I see it is that St. Mary's has Simpson and Samhan who are legitimate stars while USD has two legitimate stars in Pomare and Johnson. It's going to be the supporting cast that needs to step up and it looks like St. Mary's has the edge right now.

Call me crazy but If either St. Marys or USD can get into conference play with only 3 or 4 losses, one of them (or both) will have a legitimate shot at the tourney.

That means that USD will have to knock off one of these 5 schools:
Kentucky, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego St., or UNLV with no other losses in non-conf.

St. Marys would have to knock off:
Oregon, San Diego St., Seton Hall, Texas or Southern Illinois with no other losses in non-conf.


Either way I would love to see it.