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Gonzaga hopes to continue dominance of WCC

Gonzaga hopes to continue dominance of WCC

     It has been a long time since a team other than the Gonzaga Bulldogs have been West Coast Conference Champions. To say the Zags have dominated the conference would be understating exactly how much disparity there has been between them and their conference foes. Since Mark Few took over as head coach, the Bulldogs have won 12 out of 14 regular season conference championships. Ten times they have cut down the nets as WCC tournament champions. That type of domination of a conference is unparalleled in college basketball. 

While the WCC is not a traditional powerhouse conference, there are still some talented teams vying to unseat the Zags at the top. 

    For years St. Mary's has been Gonzaga's main rival. Randy Bennett's teams have been tough, hard-nosed, and well balanced. However they haven't been able to do what many in Moraga have wished for; replace Gonzaga as the top program in the WCC. That task is going to be more difficult for the Gaels now that the NCAA has levied sanctions against Bennett and the program. 

    The sanctions will without question hinder the recruiting process. The NCAA has cut two scholarships for 2014-2015, as well as two scholarships for 2015-2016. Bennett also has been restricted from recruiting off campus. This puts the Gaels' Australian pipeline in potential jeopardy. These punishments are harsh, but the current players at St. Mary's have to be glad that no postseason ban is in place.

    Another team trying to unseat the Zags as top dogs in the WCC is BYU. New to the WCC, Brigham Young University has had a successful basketball program dating back to its days in the Mountain West Conference. Dave Rose has been outstanding in Provo, leading BYU into the NCAA tournament in six consecutive seasons. With the sanctions against St. Mary's, BYU is the most likely candidate to challenge Gonzaga at the top of the conference. 

    Dave Rose is known for being a successful recruiter. He recruited former player of the year Jimmer Fredette, as well as many other top national players. Coming to BYU this season is Freshman forward Eric Mika. He is a 4 star recruit of of Highland Utah, and should see action in BYU's front court right away. 

    While BYU and St Mary's pose the most obvious threat to Gonzaga's dominance, nobody should write off the other teams in the WCC. The University of San Francisco and The University of San Diego  both have strong teams, and will look to make a push for the top spots in the standings. While it may not receive the National attention of many other conferences, fans on the West Coast know that the WCC is host to competitive, entertaining basketball. This season will be no different.