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Could this be the best year ever for WCC basketball?

Four WCC teams — Gonzaga, BYU, Saint Mary’s and San Francisco — are projected to make the NCAA Tournament in March, which has never happened before

BYU forward Caleb Lohner (33) shoots over Gonzaga forward Drew Timme (2) during game in Spokane, Wash., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. The Cougars and Zags are two of four teams from the WCC projected to make the NCAA Tournament in 2022.
Young Kwak, Associated Press

Based on what’s happened so far, this might be the best basketball season ever for the West Coast Conference.

Here we are, in early January, and four WCC teams — Gonzaga, BYU, Saint Mary’s and San Francisco — are projected to make the NCAA Tournament in March.

That would be a historic feat because the WCC has never had four teams in the Big Dance.

Gonzaga, which played in the NCAA championship game last season, BYU, Saint Mary’s, San Francisco and Santa Clara have combined to win 81% of their nonconference games.

The WCC has earned multiple wins over teams from conference that will likely receive multiple NCAA Tournament bids — Pac-12 (6), Mountain West (9), Big 12 (3), AAC (2) and ACC (1).

Every metric utilized by the NCAA Tournament selection committee ranks the top four WCC teams similarly — NET (four in the top 50), KenPom (four in the top 40), Sagarin (four in the top 40), KPI (four in the top 40), BPI (four in the top 50) and SOR Strength of Schedule Record (four in the top 40).

The WCC, boasting four projected NCAA Tournament teams, trails only the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Big East in probable NCAA bids. The WCC is tied with the ACC (four berths) and ahead of the Pac-12 (three) and AAC (2).

“In a WCC that’s better than it’s ever been before, I think by the metrics, that’s pretty accurate,” said Cougars coach Mark Pope. “This is the best this league has ever been. It’s the league’s best nonconference performance; the most teams ranked in the top 40. It just gets harder from here.”

Problem is, the WCC season was supposed to tip off last weekend but due to COVID-19, every game was postponed.

In early January, five teams are on COVID-19 pause — San Diego, Santa Clara, Portland, Pepperdine and Gonzaga.

The league is trying to reschedule games that have been postponed, which could make things somewhat chaotic, similar to last season.

BYU is scheduled to open WCC play Thursday at home against Pacific. The Cougars host Saint Mary’s on Saturday.

Here’s a look at all 10 WCC teams heading into conference play, in order of their current NET ranking:


Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren (34) and forward Drew Timme stand on the court during game against North Alabama, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Spokane, Wash.
Young Kwak, Associated Press

Gonzaga Bulldogs

Record: 11-2.

Statistical leaders: Drew Timme (16.7 ppg), Chet Holmgren (8.4 rpg)

Coach: Mark Few, 23rd season

Best win: Beat UCLA 83-63

NET ranking: 4

Fast fact: Gonzaga has been ranked in the top five of 39 consecutive AP polls.


Brigham Young Cougars guard Alex Barcello (13) runs down a loose ball as BYU and Westminster play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021.
BYU guard Alex Barcello chases down a loose ball as BYU and Westminster play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

BYU Cougars

Record: 12-3

Statistical leaders: Alex Barcello (17.3 ppg), Fousseyni Traore (7.4 rpg)

Coach: Mark Pope, third season

Best win: Beat Oregon 81-49

NET ranking: 31

Fast fact: The Cougars have never lost back-to-back regular-season games under Pope


San Francisco guard Jamaree Bouyea brings the ball up court during game against Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021.
Young Kwak, Associated Press

San Francisco Dons

Record: 13-1

Statistical leaders: Jamaree Bouyea (17.8), Yauhen Massalski (7.9 rpg)

Coach: Todd Golden, fourth season

Best win: Beat Alabama-Birmingham 63-61

NET ranking: 34

Fast fact: The Dons entered the new year with the most victories in college basketball


Saint Mary’s forward Matthias Tass, right, competes against Wisconsin at the Maui Invitational in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021.
Rick Scuteri,Associated Press

Saint Mary’s Gaels

Record: 12-3

Statistical leaders: Matthias Tass (12.5 ppg), Kyle Bowen (6.5 rpg)

Coach: Randy Bennett, 21st season

Best win: Beat Oregon 62-50

NET ranking: 41

Fast fact: The Gaels are surrendering just 58.1 points per game, best in the WCC and No. 14 nationally


Santa Clara guard Jalen Williams dribbles as California forward Obinna Anyanwu defends Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, in Berkeley, Calif.
John Hefti, Associated Press

Santa Clara Broncos

Record: 10-5

Statistical leaders: Jalen Williams (18.8 ppg), Keshawn Justice (8 rpg)

Coach: Herb Sendek, sixth season

Best win: Beat TCU 85-66

NET ranking: 76

Fast fact: Four different Broncos starters have scored at least 20 points in a game, led by Williams (seven times).


Loyola Marymount guard Eli Scott brings the ball up the court against Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021.
Young Kwak, Associated Press

Loyola Marymount Lions

Record: 7-5.

Statistical leaders: Eli Scott (15.6 ppg), Eli Scott (6.7)

Coach: Stan Johnson, third season

Best win: Beat SMU 76-70

NET ranking: 158

Fast fact: Scott is the only player ranked among the top 10 in the WCC in scoring (sixth at 15.6), rebounding (seventh at 6.7) and assists (ninth at 3.8).


St. John’s forward Marcellus Earlington (10) scores against Connecticut Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Earlington is one of three transfers who have bolstered San Diego’s roster.
David Butler II/Pool Photo via AP

San Diego Toreros

Record: 7-6

Statistical leaders: Marcellus Earlington (13.6 ppg), Terrell Brown-Soares (7.7 rpg)

Coach: Sam Scholl, fourth season

Best win: Beat Nevada 75-68

NET ranking: 216

Fast fact: The Toreros have been bolstered by three transfers — Earlington (St. John’s), Brown-Soares (Pittsburgh) and Jase Townsend (Denver).


Eastern Washington head coach Shantay Legans during game against Arizona, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. Legans is in his first year coaching the Pilots.
Rick Scuteri, Associated Press

Portland Pilots

Record: 9-6

Statistical leaders: Tyler Robertson (15.6 ppg), Tyler Robertson (6.3 rpg)

Coach: Shantay Legans, first season

Best win: Beat UC Davis 65-60

NET ranking: 247

Fast fact: The Pilots have posted a 1-42 record over the last three seasons in WCC play.


Pepperdine head coach Lorenzo Romar during a game against BYU Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Malibu, Calif.
Ringo H.W. Chiu, Associated Press

Pepperdine Waves

Record: 6-9

Statistical leaders: Jan Zidek (12.4 ppg), Keith Fisher (6.3 rpg)

Coach: Lorenzo Romar, seventh season

Best win: Beat UC Davis 72-67

NET ranking: 255

Fast fact: Four Pepperdine freshmen have combined to score 37% of the Waves’ points, led by guard Houston Mallette (11.3 points per game).


Pacific forward Jeremiah Bailey prepares to pass against Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021.
Young Kwak, Associated Press

Pacific Tigers

Record: 5-9

Statistical leaders: Jeremiah Bailey (10.8 ppg), Alphonso Anderson (6.2 rpg)

Coach: Leonard Perry, first season

Best win: Beat UC Santa Barbara 80-71, OT

NET ranking: 304

Fast fact: Eleven different players have started at least one game for Pacific and eight different players have led the team in scoring in a game.