Gonzaga Picked to Win WCC Again - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Gonzaga Picked to Win WCC Again

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Mark Few's Gonzaga team is the preseason favorite in the WCC. Mark Few's Gonzaga team is the preseason favorite in the WCC.

by WCCSports.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - With the 2015-16 basketball campaign just over two weeks away, Gonzaga University is once again the preseason favorite to win the West Coast Conference regular season title in the annual poll of the WCC's 10 head coaches. The Bulldogs received all nine possible first place votes and a unanimous 81 points. The poll and the all-conference team were announced Monday at Time Warner Cable Sports studios as part of the Fifth Annual West Coast Conference Basketball Tip-Off event streamed live on TheW.tv. 

No. 11 Gonzaga enters the season with its highest USA Today Coaches Poll preseason ranking since 2011-12 (12) and received nine first place votes. The Bulldogs won their 14th regular season title in the last 15 years and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 17th straight year, marching to the second Elite Eight appearance in program history (1999). Along the way the Bulldogs established a program and WCC record with 35 victories. Preseason National Player of the Year and 2014-15 All-American forward Kyle Wiltjer (16.8 ppg, 54.0 FG%, 6.2 rpg), senior center Przemek Karnowski (10.9 ppg, 62.6 FG%, 5.9 rpg) and sophomore forward Domantas Sabonis (9.7 ppg, 66.8 FG%, 7.1 rpg) earned preseason All-WCC honors for Gonzaga. 

Gonzaga was one of just five programs nationally (Duke, Louisville, Notre Dame and North Carolina) to advance both its men's and women's programs to the NCAA Sweet-16 in 2015. 

Brigham Young University received one first place vote and was picked second in the WCC preseason poll with 73 points. The Cougars earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament in 2014-15 for the second straight year after turning in a 25-10 record, 13-5 during conference play. BYU led the WCC in scoring for the fourth straight season (83.7 ppg), good for second place among NCAA Division I leaders. Two Cougar senior guards made the preseason squad: All-American Kyle Collinsworth (13.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 6.0 apg) set the NCAA Division I single-season and career records for most triple-doubles (6), while fellow senior Chase Fischer (13.2 ppg, 41.5 3PFG%) knocked down a WCC-best 103 3-pointers as a junior. 

Pepperdine University was picked third in the survey with 62 points after an 18-14, 10-8 WCC campaign en route to its first postseason since 2001-02 (CBI). The Waves are the only team in the WCC to return all five starters, headlined by preseason All-WCC selection senior forward Stacy Davis (15.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg). Saint Mary's College was picked fourth with 58 points after going 21-10, 13-5 in the WCC last year. The Gaels qualified for their eighth straight postseason berth and qualified for the 2015 NIT Tournament. 

The University of Portland rounded out the top-five with 43 points, six points in front of Santa Clara University's 37 points. The Pilots advanced to the 2015 CIT Tournament, finishing the year at 17-16. Portland welcomes back All-WCC senior guard Alec Wintering (12.3 ppg, 5.7 assists). The Broncos return preseason All-WCC junior guard Jared Brownridge (15.9 ppg, 43.3 3FG%), who connected on 93 3-pointers last season. 

The University of San Francisco and University of the Pacific tied for seventh place with 32 points apiece in the coaches poll. The Dons will rely on preseason All-WCC selection senior guard Tim Derksen (12.6 ppg, 47.3 FG%). Junior guard T.J. Wallace (13.0 ppg, 2.6 assists) earned preseason honors for the Tigers. The University of San Diego (17 points) and Loyola Marymount University (15 points) round out the preseason poll. 

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