Tyler Haws

Justin Anderson, Jordan Price

Chase for 180: So far, so good for Virginia’s Justin Anderson

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The “Chase for 180″ is back for a second year, and for those who may not be familiar with the project it’s our attempt to identify some of the best shooters in America. But what makes one an “elite shooter?” For some it’s merely the ability to knock down perimeter shots at a high rate, but that isn’t the case for all players. High-level shooting requires proficiency from three, the field overall, and from the foul line. 

“180” refers to the resulting number when adding a player’s field goal, three-point and free throw percentages, with the best shooters either approaching or surpassing that mark. 50 percent or better from the field overall, 40 percent or better from three and 90 percent or better from the foul line. This achievement has occurred more often in college basketball than it has in the NBA, where just six players (Steve Nash did it in four different seasons) have done it in the history of the league. 

This season we’ll update this list weekly, with players also needing to qualify to be ranked by the NCAA in each of the three percentage categories in order to be considered. In order to qualify to be ranked a player needs to have played in at least 75 percent of his team’s games and have averaged: 

  • five or more field goal attempts per game;
  • two or more three-point attempts per game;
  • 2.5 or more free throw attempts per game.

To read prior installments of the Chase for 180, click here

Despite returning three starters from a team that won 30 games, an ACC title, and made the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 1995, Virginia had some important questions to answer in advance of the 2014-15 season. Chief among those questions was how they would account for the loss of Joe Harris (12.0 ppg), who despite seeing his role within the Virginia offense change some was still the team’s second-leading scorer in 2013-14. Without Harris the Cavaliers were left with one double-digit scorer, Malcolm Brogdon, meaning that at least one of their supplementary offensive pieces from a season ago would need to step forward if Tony Bennett’s team is to defend its ACC crown.

Enter Justin Anderson, who in each of his first two seasons was a valuable reserve and won ACC Sixth Man of the Year honors in 2013-14. While the Montrose Christian product may not be considered a “lights out” shooter, the strides he’s made offensively are a major reason why Virginia is currently 9-0 and ranked sixth nationally.

After shooting 40.7% from the field and 29.4% from beyond the arc in 2013-14, Anderson’s gotten off to a hot start in 2014-15. Currently shooting 57.0% from the field and 58.8% from beyond the arc, Anderson’s more than doubled his scoring average from a season ago (7.8 ppg) to 15.8 points per game. Thus far Anderson’s reached double figures in eight of Virginia’s nine games, and while he managed to do so on 15 occasions last season Anderson’s been far more efficient this season.

According to Kenpom.com Anderson’s effective field goal and true shooting percentages have jumped substantially, with the former going from 47.0% to 68.6% and the latter from 51.6% to 70.8%. As a result Anderson’s offensive rating has gone from 100.9 to 135.2, but it is early in the season. That leads to the question that was asked in our weekly National Player of the Year rankings: can Anderson sustain this level of production?

Obviously things are going to get tougher for Anderson and the Cavaliers when they get into ACC play. However what needs to be considered are the team’s willingness to work for quality looks regardless of who takes the shot (Brogdon and Anthony Gill are also averaging double figures, and Mike Tobey isn’t far off at 8.4 ppg), and Anderson not taking the increased opportunities as a license to fire away from the perimeter indiscriminately (39.8% of his shots this year have been taken at the rim per hoop-math.com, compared to 30.5% last year).

The percentages for Anderson are likely to change as the season wears on. But given the fact that thus far he’s been a more efficient player in terms of the shots he’s taking, Anderson has the ability (and talent) to ensure that any decrease isn’t too drastic.

50-40-90 Club

1. Marcus Marshall (Missouri State)
56.0% FG, 57.1% 3PT, 93.5% FT = 206.6

One of the best scorers and all-around shooters in the Missouri Valley Conference, Marshall’s scored 18 points or more in five of the seven games he’s played in this season.

He’s Really Close 

2. Tyler Haws (BYU)
49.7%, 43.4%, 90.1% = 183.2

Haws was in part of the “50-40-90 Club” in the last installment, and the concern for BYU is how long they’ll be without him thanks to the ankle injury suffered over the weekend.

Nine More “180” Players

1. Sean Sellers (Ball State)
51.7%, 62.5%, 89.3% = 203.5

December hasn’t been as kind to Sellers as November was, as he’s shot 38.9% from the field in three games, but the three-point shooting (3-for-5) has remained solid.

2.  Marc Loving (Ohio State) 
54.9%, 53.8%, 87.5% = 196.2

The sophomore’s been quiet over the last two games for the Buckeyes, scoring a total of eight points on 1-for-5 shooting from the field (6-for-6 FT, however).

3. Justin Anderson (Virginia)
57.0%, 58.8%, 80.0% = 195.8

4. Austin Richie (Western Michigan)
52.8%, 56.8%, 84.4% = 194.0

In two games this month Richie’s shooting 9-for-19 from the field, 7-for-13 from beyond the arc and 7-for-8 from the foul line, averaging 16.0 points per game.

5. Derrick Marks (Boise State)
51.8%, 53.3%, 85.2% = 190.3

With Anthony Drmic struggling with back problems, a more efficient Marks has stepped forward for the Broncos.

6. Alec Peters (Valparaiso)
53.2%, 50.0%, 86.1% = 189.3

After struggling in a loss to New Mexico (4-for-14 FG) the sophomore bounced back in a three-point win over Ball State on Saturday, scoring 23 points (7-for-16 FG, 3-for-8 3PT, 6-for-6 FT) and grabbing ten rebounds.

7. Milton Doyle (Loyola-IL)
58.2%, 63.6%, 66.0 = 187.8

While the free throw percentage can use some work, keep in mind that Doyle (15.6 ppg) is playing with a torn labrum in his right (shooting) shoulder.

8. Atif Russell (Pepperdine)
52.1%, 55.0%, 80.0% = 187.1

Russell (9.6 ppg) isn’t among the three Waves averaging double figures, but his play is one of the reasons why Pepperdine is off to a 7-2 start.

9. Corey Hawkins (UC Davis)
52.5%, 54.2%, 79.5% = 186.2

Already one of the Big West’s best shooters, the senior has improved his percentages across the board from last season and he’s also scored 18 points or more in six of the 7-1 Aggies’ eight games.

BYU starting guard has a sprained ankle

Tyler Haws
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source: AP

BYU can breathe a bit of a sigh of relief on Monday as starting senior guard Tyler Haws, the nation’s third-leading scorer this season, only has a sprained left ankle and will miss a few weeks.

According to a report from ESPN‘s Andy Katz, BYU head coach Dave Rose hopes that Haws can return in time for the Dec. 27 game against Gonzaga, which is the Cougars’ West Coast Conference opener.

Haws sustained the injury with 3:29 remaining in a Saturday win over Weber State and had to be helped off of the floor without putting pressure on the injured ankle. He did not return to the contest. BYU is also dealing with injury to starting senior forward Nate Austin, as he’s expected to miss at least three-to-four weeks with a hamstring injury.

Both losses leave BYU depleted and in need of younger players to step up the next few weeks to close out the non-conference schedule. The 6-foot-5 Haws is averaging 23.8 points per game this season and is also shooting 43 percent from the three-point line and 90 percent from the free-throw line.

After Haws had to be helped off of the floor, this injury looks pretty light compared to what it could have been and hopefully BYU can be back at full strength for conference play. With fellow senior guard Kyle Collinsworth coming off of an ACL tear earlier in 2014, three of BYU’s seniors will have to stay healthy for the Cougars to once again make the NCAA Tournament in 2014-15.  The Cougars are 8-3 on the season.

Injury bug bites BYU as starting guard injures ankle, starting forward to miss even more time with hamstring injury

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Injuries are beginning to creep up on BYU as the team was already without starting senior forward Nate Austin. Senior guard Tyler Haws also left Saturday night’s Cougar win over Weber State as the nation’s third leading scorer sprained his left ankle in the second half and did not return to action.

Haws sustained the injury with 3:29 remaining in the game and had to be helped off of the floor without putting pressure on the injured ankle.

According to Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune, BYU is saying Haws has a sprained ankle and he’ll have an MRI to look into further damage.

“We’re hoping it’s a sprain and we’ll get that checked out and find out and see how he can recover from that,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said of Haws after Saturday’s win. “We’ll probably have an MRI and we’ll be really cautious with this because ankles have not been good to us, so hopefully we can catch a break here.”

Austin has been battling a torn hamstring the last few days and it was originally reported that he would likely miss “at least two weeks” with the injury.

Things appear to be a little bit worse for the 6-foot-11 Austin as Greg Wrubell, BYU basketball’s play-by-play guy, spoke to head coach Dave Rose. Rose expects Austin to be out “at least probably three or four weeks, maybe longer.”

Players such as freshmen Isaac Nielson and Corbin Kaufusi should see more minutes as a result of Austin’s injury.

Austin’s injury was bad enough because of BYU’s limited front court depth but if Haws goes down for a few games, the Cougars will need to replace his dynamic scoring ability and rebounding from the guard spot. BYU still has seniors Kyle Collinsworth and Anson Winder but losing two additional senior starters might be tough in the short-term for the Cougars. Hopefully Haws’ injury isn’t serious and Austin’s prognosis improves.

Weekly Awards: The ACC, led by Tyus Jones and Virginia, dominated headlines this week

Tyus Jones (AP Photo)
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Tyus Jones (AP Photo)

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Tyus Jones, Duke

In the best regular season matchup that we are going to get this season, Duke put together arguably the most impressive performance of the year. The Blue Devils went into Madison, Wisconsin, and knocked off the Badgers in the Kohl Center, 80-70. They shot the ball 65.2 percent from the floor, went 7-for-12 from three and had a firm grip on the game for 40 minutes despite the fact that Wisconsin actually played well.

The star on that Wednesday night was Tyus Jones, Duke’s freshman point guard, who finished with 22 points, six boards and four assists while shooting 7-for-11 from the floor and 2-of-3 from three. He did all that while playing his first true road game in one of the toughest home courts in the country while playing a team that will spend the whole year as a one of a handful of favorites to win a national title. Do you realize how impressive that is?

And here’s the craziest part about it: Jones is one of the freshman that you forget about from Duke’s 2014 recruiting class. Jahlil Okafor is the star of the class and was the NBCSports.com Preseason Player of the Year. Justise Winslow has been the trendy name in NBA Draft circles over the course of the season’s first month. Jones is the guy everyone forgets about, yet here he is, averaging 10.5 points and 5.8 assists with eight turnovers in eight games.


  • Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky: Cauley-Stein was unbelievable in Kentucky’s win over No. 6 Texas on Friday night, finishing with 21 points, 12 boards, five steals and three blocks. On a night where Kentucky couldn’t buy a bucket from the perimeter, he was a difference-maker in the paint and in transition.
  • Georges Niang, Iowa State: Everything that makes Niang special was on display on Thursday as the Cyclones knocked off Arkansas in Ames. He had 26 point, six boards and eight assists in the win.
  • Tyler Haws and Kyle Collinsworth, BYU: In wins over Hawaii and at Utah State, Haws averaged 32.5 points and 6.5 boards while shooting 19-for-36 from the floor, 5-for-13 from three and 22-for-23 from the line. And Collinsworth was better, following up a double-double (20 points, 10 boards, four assists and three steals) against the Aggies with a triple-double (19 points, 12 boards, 10 assists) against the Rainbows.
  • Jerian Grant, Notre Dame: Grant looked the part of an all-american in Notre Dame’s 79-78 overtime win against Michigan State, finishing with 27 points, six assists and three steals.
  • Venky Jois, Eastern Washington: Jois finished with 38 points, seven boards and three blocks in a win at Seattle on Saturday. That was the second straight game that he went for 38 points.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Virginia Cavaliers

Justin Anderson (Getty Images)

I had my doubts about Virginia after seeing them in the Barclays Center Classic two weeks ago, and to a point, I still do. But Virginia did their best to make those concerns look foolish, as they won at Maryland and VCU within a four-day span in convincing fashion. It doesn’t get much better than that.

The biggest question that I had centered on their ability to replace Joe Harris. He required the attention of the entire defense whenever he was on the floor, and they just don’t have that guy this season. What they do have, however, is a trio of guys capable of getting 20 points on any given night. We knew that Malcolm Brogdon would be an all-ACC caliber player, and anyone that watched Virginia in March knew that Anthony Gill had a chance to be special. The difference-maker has been Justin Anderson, an athletic marvel that has turned into a dead-eye three-point shooter this season.

If those three continue to play at this level — and London Perrantes continues to be London Perrantes — Virginia will be better than I gave them credit for.


  • Arizona Wildcats: Arizona got key performances from T.J. McConnell and Brandon Ashley as they picked up a hard-fought, overtime win against No. 9 Gonzaga at the McKale Center.
  • Iowa Hawkeyes: Perhaps the most surprising outcome during the ACC/Big Ten Challenge was Iowa going into the Dean Dome and knocking off No. 12 North Carolina in a game where they out-toughed a good team. Iowa won with their defense, which is huge not only for their confidence, but their tournament resume.
  • Utah Utes: Utah finally won a close game, surviving a visit from No. 8 Wichita State after the Shockers erased a late, nine-point deficit to force overtime. They did it without Jordan Loveridge, and since they’ll be without him during the most important stretch of their non-conference schedule, the win is that much more important.
  • Yale Bulldogs: If you paid attention in the preseason, you knew that Yale had a chance to be special this season. They proved it on Friday by going into Gampel and knocking off UConn at the buzzer.
  • LSU Tigers: Remember when we wrote off LSU? Well, they blew out UMass at home and knocked off West Virginia in Morgantown this week. Maybe it’s time we start paying attention again.

Chase for 180: Sterling Gibbs’ improved shooting a significant factor in Seton Hall’s 6-0 start

Sterling Gibbs (Getty Images)
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The “Chase for 180” is back for a second year, and for those who may not be familiar with the project it’s our attempt to identify some of the best shooters in America. But what makes one an “elite shooter?” For some it’s merely the ability to knock down perimeter shots at a high rate, but that isn’t the case for all players. High-level shooting requires proficiency from three, the field overall, and from the foul line. 

“180” refers to the resulting number when adding a player’s field goal, three-point and free throw percentages, with the best shooters either approaching or surpassing that mark. 50 percent or better from the field overall, 40 percent or better from three and 90 percent or better from the foul line. This achievement has occurred more often in college basketball than it has in the NBA, where just six players (Steve Nash did it in four different seasons) have done it in the history of the league. 

This season we’ll update this list weekly, with players also needing to qualify to be ranked by the NCAA in each of the three percentage categories in order to be considered. In order to qualify to be ranked a player needs to have played in at least 75 percent of his team’s games and have averaged: 

  • five or more field goal attempts per game;
  • two or more three-point attempts per game;
  • 2.5 or more free throw attempts per game.

Note: Provisional Division I member Incarnate Word was not included, as four of their first five games have been played against non-Division I competition.  

After finishing the 2013-14 season with a 17-17 overall record, the hope for the Seton Hall Pirates entering this season was that a highly regarded recruiting class would help them take a step forward in the Big East. In this current era of college basketball the tendency is to focus on “who’s next” while a decent number of returnees are viewed as “yesterday’s news.” In regards to Seton Hall Isaiah Whitehead and company may have been the focus, but there is no doubt that the Pirates need their returnees as well if they’re a factor in the Big East conversation.

One of those returnees is junior guard Sterling Gibbs, and his play to start the season is a significant reason why the Pirates are currently 6-0. Gibbs is currently averaging a team-best 18.3 points per game, an increase of more than five points from a season ago (13.2 ppg). Part of that has to do with the loss of three of the team’s top five scorers from last season in Fuquan Edwin, Eugene Teague and Patrik Auda.

The bigger factor: Gibbs is not only taking better shots, but he’s also made them at a far greater clip through five games.

After shooting 41 percent from the field, 34.4% from three and 72.4% from the charity stripe in 2013-14, Gibbs has been a “50-40-90” player for Willard’s Pirates thus far. Gibbs is currently shooting 52.5% from the field (14th in the Big East), 58.3% from three (first) and 91.4% from the foul line (third). And a look at Gibbs’ percentages in certain areas of the floor reveal that he’s done a better job of converting around the rim than he did a season ago.

According to hoop-math.com Gibbs attempted 53.5% of his shots at the rim in 2013-14, making 44.8% of those shots. Through six games in 2014-15 Gibbs has taken 47.5% of his shots in that area of the floor, shooting 55.2%. Gibbs has also made strides with regards to his effective field goal and true shooting percentages, going from 46.7% to 63.9% in the former and from 55.2% to 70.8% in the latter per kenpom.com.

Those numbers may very well change when the Pirates begin conference play, thanks to opponents being more familiar with Gibbs and his skill set. Or they could remain where they are, with the junior building on the quality start his team needed. As Seton Hall’s underclassmen find their way in Willard’s system, the play of the “elder statesman” Gibbs is a big reason why the Pirates are currently on the edge of the Top 25.

“50-40-90 Club”

1. Sean Sellers (Ball State)
Percentages: 51.7 (FG), 63.2 (3PT), 90.0 (FT) = 210.3

Sellers (19.5 ppg) is one of two freshmen leading the way for the Cardinals, with guard Jeremie Tyler being the other.

2. Sterling Gibbs (Seton Hall)
Percentages: 52.5, 58.3, 91.4 = 202.2

3. Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga)
Percentages: 58.3, 46.2, 90.0 = 194.5

Pangos’ assist-to-turnover ratio has received a lot of attention thus far, but he remains one of the nation’s best shooters.

4. Tyler Haws (BYU)
Percentages: 50.5, 42.4, 91.1 = 184.0

Haws has picked up where he left off last season, averaging 22.1 points per game on a team that’s averaging nearly 96 points per contest.

Seven more “180” players 

1. Alec Peters (Valparaiso)
Percentages: 59.8, 55.0, 84.6 = 199.4

After averaging 12.7 points per game as a freshman, the 6-foot-9 Peters is up to 19.2 and is one of the top shooters in the Horizon League.

2. Marc Loving (Ohio State)
Percentages: 57.9, 57.9, 81.8 = 197.6

D’Angelo Russell is the headliner offensively, but keep an eye on the sophomore Loving as the season wears on as he gives the Buckeyes a solid pick-and-pop option.

3. Austin Richie (Western Michigan)
Percentages: 54.7, 58.3, 83.3 = 196.3

The senior guard has made improvements across the board, with his scoring (13.1 ppg) increasing by more than five points from last season (7.9 ppg).

4. Tim Douglas (Portland State)
Percentages: 55.9, 61.1, 78.6 = 195.6

Douglas (12.0 ppg) is one of five Vikings averaging double figures, with the balance being one reason why they’re currently 4-1.

5. Anthony Livingston (Arkansas State)
Percentages: 63.9, 62.5, 68.8 = 195.2

The 6-foot-8 sophomore is currently averaging 20.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest.

6. Wade Baldwin IV (Vanderbilt)
Percentages: 54.8, 58.3, 80.0 = 193.1

Baldwin’s part of a freshman class that’s being asked to hit the ground running at Vanderbilt, and he’s averaging 8.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest.

7. James Blackmon Jr. (Indiana)
Percentages: 51.2, 53.7, 87.5 = 192.4

Blackmon Jr.’s ability to score has taken some of the scoring load off of Yogi Ferrell’s shoulders.


Vince Edwards (Purdue): 63.5% FG, 47.6% 3PT, 80.0% FT
Trevon Bluiett (Xavier): 55.7% FG, 50.0% 3PT, 86.4% FT

2014-15 Season Preview: Who is Gonzaga’s biggest threat in the WCC?

Mark Few
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Gonzaga’s looking to win yet another WCC title (Getty Images)

Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

Today, we are previewing the West Coast Conference.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

After seeing their streak of 11 straight WCC regular season titles (shared or outright) come to an end in 2011-12, Mark Few’s Gonzaga Bulldogs have won the last two conference titles. And given the talent that’s in Spokane, the expectation in the WCC is that the Bulldogs will extend their new streak to three in 2014-15. But to think that Gonzaga won’t be challenged at all in the WCC would be a mistake, with there being multiple teams capable of running with Bulldogs, including BYU, San Francisco and Saint Mary’s. In recent years the WCC has developed into a conference that will receive multiple NCAA tournament bids, and that should once again be the case in 2014-15.


1. Just one coaching change in the WCC: Only one program changed coaches at the end of last season, with alumnus and experienced coach Mike Dunlap replacing Max Good at Loyola Marymount. Dunlap has experience as a head coach at both the Division I, filling in for Steve Lavin at St. John’s, and NBA levels. But this job sets up to be a difficult one, with Anthony Ireland out of eligibility and WCC All-Freshman Team selection Gabe Levin deciding to transfer.

2. Kyle Collinsworth returns from a torn ACL: One of the biggest pre-NCAA tournament storylines in March was BYU’s loss of Collinsworth, who suffered a torn ACL in the WCC title game against Gonzaga. BYU was still in the field of 68 but they were without their best playmaker in the loss to Oregon. How close to 100 percent is Collinsworth? That’s the key question entering this season as BYU looks to dethrone Gonzaga, even with this potentially being Dave Rose’s deepest teams.

3. Gonzaga returns three starters, and they add some very good pieces as well: The Bulldogs’ most important personnel loss was center Sam Dower, but they’ve got more than enough talent to account for his graduation. Guards Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. return for their senior season, and they’ll be joined by newcomers such as USC transfer Byron Wesley, Vanderbilt transfer Eric McClellan (eligible in January) and freshmen Josh Perkins and Silas Melson. As for the front court, Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis pair up with starting big man Przemek Karnowski. Depth, talent, experience…Gonzaga has it all.

4. Nine of the league’s top ten scorers return: The only loss in this area is Loyola Marymount PG Anthony Ireland, who finished the season second in the WCC in scoring. Tyler Haws leads the way amongst WCC returning scorers, as he averaged 23.2 ppg last season, and Santa Clara guards Jared Brownridge (17.2 ppg) and Brandon Clark (16.9) were the highest-scoring tandem in the conference.

5. Transfers will have an significant impact on the conference title race: Given Gonzaga’s stature this goes without saying, with Wesley and Wiltjer both factoring into the rotation for Mark Few. But they aren’t the only contender looking to transfers for production. BYU will have Chase Fischer (Wake Forest) competing for minutes in a deep backcourt, and Saint Mary’s will expect significant contributions from Joe Coleman (Minnesota), Aaron Bright (Stanford) and Desmond Simmons (Washington).


In the two seasons since he’s returned from his LDS mission, Haws has established himself as one of the nation’s best shooters (and scorers). Last season Haws accounted for 23.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, shooting 46.3% from the field, 40.4% from three and 88.1% from the foul line. Having won WCC Player of the Year honors last season, it would come as no surprise if Haws repeated that feat as a senior.

BYU’s Tyler Haws (AP Photo)


  • Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga: One of the nation’s best shooters, Pangos averaged 14.4 points, 3.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game as a junior.
  • Stacy Davis, Pepperdine: Davis averaged 15.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in WCC play, earning first team All-WCC honors.
  • Brad Waldow, Saint Mary’s: Waldow’s been a mainstay in Moraga the last couple of years, and as a junior he shot 56.5% from the field and posted eight double-doubles.
  • Jared Brownridge, Santa Clara: Brownridge was one of the most productive freshmen in the nation in 2013-14, averaging 17.2 points per game and winning WCC Newcomer of the Year honors.


  • Kyle Collinsworth, BYU
  • Kruize Pinkins, San Francisco
  • Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga
  • Jeremy Major, Pepperdine
  • Johnny Dee, San Diego

BREAKOUT STAR: Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga

The name is well-known based upon his time at Kentucky, but Wiltjer’s role will be far different in his first season as a Bulldog. Wiltjer will be a primary scoring option for Gonzaga, and that season spent on the sidelines should benefit him greatly. Wiltjer wasn’t placed on the WCC preseason all-conference team which is understandable given the fact that he didn’t play last year, but that won’t be the case in March.

COACH UNDER PRESSURE: Eric Reveno, Portland

After winning 19 games or more in three straight seasons (2008-11) the Pilots have finished below .500 in each of the last three campaigns. The good news for Portland is that their top two scorers, preseason All-WCC selection Thomas Van Der Mars and guard Kevin Bailey, return from last year’s group that finished 15-16 (7-11 WCC). Another piece of good news for the Pilots: they won’t play more than three straight road games in league play. Last season, Reveno’s Pilots played their last four regular season games on the road.

ON SELECTION SUNDAY WE’LL BE SAYING … : Gonzaga looks poised to make a run deep into the NCAA tournament.

I’M MOST EXCITED ABOUT : The depth at the guard positions in this league. There are a lot of talented perimeter players in the WCC this season, which will make for some fun nights in conference play.


  • December 6, Gonzaga at Arizona
  • November 24, BYU vs. San Diego State (Maui Invitational)
  • November 23, UC Irvine at Saint Mary’s
  • November 17, SMU at Gonzaga
  • December 3, San Francisco at Colorado



1. Gonzaga: The Bulldogs are loaded with offensive weapons, but how far the go in March will depend upon the progress made defensively.
2. BYU: Tyler Haws is one of the best players in the country, and Dave Rose has what could be his deepest team at BYU.
3. Saint Mary’s: Graduate transfers Aaron Bright (Stanford) and Desmond Simmons (Washington) bring additional experience, as does former Minnesota guard Joe Coleman.
4. San Francisco: Rex Walters lost his two most productive players in Cole Dickerson and Avry Holmes, but the Dons won’t lack for talent.
5. Portland: The tandem of Van Der Mars and Bailey could potentially push Portland into the top half of the WCC.
6. San Diego: The Toreros have one of the better backcourt duos on the west coast in Christopher Anderson and Johnny Dee, but they need Jito Kok to bounce back from an underwhelming sophomore campaign.
7. Pepperdine: Stacy Davis receives a lot of the pub when it comes to the Waves, but guard Jeremy Major can play as well.
8. Santa Clara: Guards Jared Brownridge and Brandon Clark are the leaders for a young team that could still be one year away from a major jump in the standings.
9. Pacific: The Tigers were a senior-laden group in their WCC debut. That won’t be the case this season, with sophomore guard T.J. Wallace among those expected to step forward. 
10. Loyola Marymount: Given the personnel losses and the transition to a new system, this could be a tough year for the Lions in Mike Dunlap’s first season at his alma mater.