WCC Men’s Basketball Season Preview (2020-21)
A WCC basketball season preview doesn’t have to be all about Gonzaga. The Bulldogs supremacy in the West Coast Conference is entirely genuine, but don’t discount multiple WCC teams qualifying for the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Six programs won at least 20 games last season and BYU finished the year ranked inside the top 20.
Starting with the WCC odds, let’s dive in.
WCC Basketball Tournament Odds
The best college basketball betting sites have removed most of the upside attached to backing the Zags to win the West Coast Conference Tournament. Unless you consider laying a thousand bucks just to win $100 is worthwhile, you may just have to pass on this futures bet.
However, there’s plenty of value lurking in some other college basketball conference tournament picks.
Highlighting the WCC Favorites
Mark Few churns out a Final Four contender in Spokane every single year. 2020-21 figures to be no different – despite losing the likes of top performers Filip Petrusev and Killian Tillie.
Corey Kispert is ultra-consistent and Joel Ayayi does a bit of everything. They’re a big reason why the Bulldogs will begin the season atop the AP Poll.
With that being said, what makes this team so hard to defend and a threat to win it all is that Kispert and Ayayi are just a couple of the pieces that make up this perfectly-constructed puzzle.
Drew Timme is a big-bodied post player who will clog up the paint can clean up on the offensive glass. And then there’s Jalen Suggs – one of the most highly-touted diaper dandies in America.
Suggs narrowly missed out on a spot of my top 5 freshmen in college basketball but could easily wind up as the WCC Player of the Year.
Any Sleeper Teams in the West Coast Conference?
As far as challenging the Zags for the crown, it’s highly unlikely. Nonetheless, the BYU Cougars should have enough to ensure that the West Coast Conference isn’t a one-bid league.
Mark Pope indeed waved goodbye to his top three scorers – guys that represented more than 51 points per game – but here’s the consolation.
Passing on opportunities to log minutes at Kentucky, 7’3” grad-transfer Matt Haarms chose to take his talents to Provo.
Purdue grad transfer Matt Haarms had tons of playing time on the table at both Kentucky and Texas Tech. Instead, he chose BYU.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 23, 2020
Here's why: https://t.co/53YvcdvH3I
Also aiding the rebuilding process are three transfers from Utah Valley State who each played for Coach Pope (Mark Pope coached UVU from 2015-2019). Speaking of transfers, Utah native and former Gonzaga guard Jesse Wade is eligible for the Cougars after sitting out 2019-20.
With a proven leader like Mark Pope guiding the way, look for Brigham Young to be on the “right side” of Joe Lunardi’s bubble watch come March.
The Best Players in the WCC
Two of the best players in the WCC are teammates, but here’s the crazy part.
They don’t play for Gonzaga.
Corey Kispert – Gonzaga
Corey’s 43.8% clip from downtown alludes to his ability to be a lights-out shooter but he’s a lot more than that. Kispert is a 6’7” 220-pound wing who happens to be the most valuable asset on Mark Few’s roster.
Most importantly, he’s more than ready to accept the role of being the senior captain.
Colbey Ross – Pepperdine
As outstanding as Colbey Ross was as a sophomore (19.4 ppg, 7.0 apg, 2.9 rbg), the Pepperdine point guard was even better as a junior (20.5 ppg, 7.2 apg, 4.7 rbg).
Ross’ complete skillset was on full display in the Waves final game of 2019-20 against Saint Mary’s. Colbey drained seven threes and lit up the Gaels for 43.
Kessler Edwards – Pepperdine
Graduating Kameron Edwards clears a pathway in Malibu for “the younger brother” to shine. Meet Kessler Edwards – a highly dynamic hybrid forward who was a nice player as a freshman.
As a sophomore, Kessler ballooned into one of the best players in the West Coast Conference.
|Freshman Season (2018-19)||10.0||5.6||1.0||44.7||36.8||70.3|
|Sophomore Season (2019-20)||13.8||7.5||1.9||48.9||41.7||75.4|
Entering his junior campaign, the cat is now out of the bag. This kid is the real deal.
More Conference Previews Showcasing Mid-Majors
There’s a lot less drama going on in a WCC basketball preview compared to some of the other “mid-major” conferences.
Have a look.