Gonzaga, Arizona Shine; Oregon, San Diego State SlumpBy Alex H.
College basketball on the West Coast is weak. That’s what we’re being led to believe, and in many ways, that’s exactly the case.
Take a look at last week’s AP poll and you’ll find just five schools out west made the list. That represents just 20 percent of ranked sides. Add to that the fact that the likes of Oregon and San Diego State had rough weeks that will have a big impact on their standings, and you realize things aren’t about to get much better.
However, some of those schools – as we shall see – are making a real push, and will potentially pose a big threat come March.
Here’s BettingSports.com take on the West Coast as it stands after Saturday’s action.
No. 7 Gonzaga
Gonzaga (21-2, 8-0 WCC) continues to stake its claim to be nominated the best team out west. The Bulldogs picked up a pair of wins this week, showing they can win in a number of ways. Thursday’s game against Loyola-Marymount was a blowout, while Saturday’s game in San Diego was a much tighter affair. The result remained the same.
Still with only two losses on the tally (vs. Illinois, at Butler), Gonzaga is looking like a lock to win the West Coast Conference. This week’s wins should see the side make another climb up the polls, passing Syracuse into the No. 6 spot.
Thu: Gonzaga 88, Loyola-Marymount43
Sat: Gonzaga 65, San Diego 63
Thu: vs. Pepperdine
Sat: vs. Loyola-Marymount
Gonzaga was 20/1 to win the NCAA Tournament in Wednesday’s refresh. Expect those odds to shorten this week.
No. 8 Arizona
Arizona (19-2, 7-2 Pac-12) remains right on the heels of Gonzaga in the rankings. With a pair of victories in the Evergreen State this week, the Wildcats now have a share of the Pac-12 lead, by way of Oregon’s losses (see below). Having lost to the Ducks in their only meeting of the season, Arizona will need to hope Oregon drops more games later down the line.
Like Gonzaga, Arizona should pass Syracuse in this week’s rankings.
Thu: Arizona 57, Washington 53
Sat: Arizona 79, Washington State65
Wed: vs. Stanford
Sun: vs. California
Arizona was 14/1 to win the NCAA Tournament earlier this week. Expect those odds to shorten marginally.
No. 10 Oregon
After being heralded by some as the best team in the Pac-12, the bubble burst for Oregon (18-4, 7-2 Pac-12) this week. A lopsided loss to Stanford on Wednesday was the Ducks’ first conference loss of the season. It was quickly followed up by a second on Saturday as the Cal Golden Bears snatched a close victory in Berkeley.
Games against Colorado and Utah this coming week will give the school a chance to rebound, but not before it takes a nosedive down the AP rankings.
Wed: Oregon 52, Stanford 76
Sat: Oregon 54, California 58
Thu: vs. Colorado
Sat: vs. Utah
Oregon was 50/1 to win the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday. Those odds might lengthen this week, but don’t expect a huge move.
No. 20 New Mexico
New Mexico (19-3, 6-1 MWC) rebounded from last Saturday’s loss to San Diego State with a pair of wins over Wyoming and Nevada. Whilst the pedigree of those two sides won’t win the Lobos any short-term accolades, the two victories alone should be enough to keep the side at around the No. 20 spot in this week’s rankings. New Mexico will need to look over its shoulder though, as Colorado State makes a push in the Mountain West (see below).
Wed: New Mexico 63, Wyoming 59
Sat: Nevada 62, New Mexico 75
Wed: vs. Air Force
Sat: at UNLV
New Mexico was 75/1 to win the tournament in Wednesday’s refresh. Despite two wins, those odds aren’t going to change a huge amount – call it prejudice against the Mountain West – but they should shorten slightly at least.
No. 22 San Diego State
In all likelihood, the Mountain West’s other AP Top 25 representative will stumble out of the rankings this week. San Diego State (16-5, 4-3 MWC) fell to Air Force on Saturday in its only game of the week. That loss could prove costly, not only in terms of rankings, but also the MWC standings; the Aztecs now sit in fifth position, beneath New Mexico, Colorado State, Air Force, and UNLV. The conference meanwhile continues to beat itself up.
Sat: San Diego State 67, Air Force 70
Wed: vs. Boise State
Sat: vs. Fresno State
San Diego State was 66/1 to win the NCAA Tournament earlier in the week. Expect those odds to lengthen slightly.
UNLV (17-5, 4-3 MWC), UCLA (16-6, 6-3 Pac-12), and Arizona State (17-5, 6-3 Pac-12) all received votes on last week’s AP poll, but with all dropping at least one this week, don’t expect these sides to make a move into the Top 25.
However, Saint Mary’s (19-4, 8-1 WCC) – who received two points on last week’s AP Top 25 – could be poised to gatecrash this week’s rankings. The Gaels scored victories over San Francisco and Portland this week, running the school’s current winning streak up to seven games. The side has lost just one game in the last 12, and that was to Gonzaga. But then again, the side is from the WCC so it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see it snubbed.
Colorado State (18-4, 5-2 MWC) – who received one vote last week – could also be poised to make an impact. The Rams scored a pair of victories over Boise State and Wyoming this week, moving the side into second place in the Mountain West. With San Diego State slipping up against Air Force on Saturday, we might see a different MWC side make this week’s list.