Jan. 2, 2007
The West Coast Conference is ranked No. 8 in the latest Collegiate Basketball News RPI listing. The No. 8 ranking marks the third consecutive season that the WCC has been ranked in the top 10, including a conference-best No. 7 ranking to end the 2004-05 season. The WCC's No. 8 RPI ranking is better than some other highly regarded basketball conferences such as the Big 12, the WAC, Conference USA, and the Atlantic 10. The Collegiate Basketball News RPI mimics the NCAA RPI taking into consideration Division I winning percentage, schedule strength, and opponent's schedule strength to generate the RPI rankings.
WCC Owns No. 1 Strength Of Schedule
A large contributing factor in the WCC's No. 8 RPI ranking is the Conference's schedule strength. According to the Collegiate Basketball News RPI report, the WCC has clearly played the toughest schedule in the country. Gonzaga, well known for playing a demanding non-conference schedule, headlines six WCC schools ranked in the top 70 in the country in schedule strength. The Zags (9), are followed by Loyola Marymount (45), Pepperdine (49), Saint Mary's (52), Santa Clara (67), and San Francisco (70). Portland (129) and San Diego (139) rounding out the rest of the WCC schools, making the league the only Division I conference in the country with all of its member institutions in the top 140 in strength of schedule.
Conference Play Begins This Weekend
After playing grueling non-conference schedules, WCC teams turn their attention to league play beginning this weekend. The WCC adopted a Saturday-Monday conference schedule last season and will continue that trend this season. The conference slate is tipped off with a match-up of the top two teams in the WCC preseason poll as Loyola Marymount travels to Gonzaga on Saturday, January 6th for a 1:00 p.m. (PST) showdown. Later that day, Pepperdine plays at Portland, San Diego travels to San Francisco, and Santa Clara hosts Bay Area rival Saint Mary's.