Just when it looked like the USF Dons were making their move back into the WCC’s elite, the elite is getting eliter. Gonzaga looked like they had all but fallen from the perch they’ve owned for a decade now, and I even proclaimed that they had – prematurely. St. Mary’s took a big step back this year when they failed to make the NCAA tournament, and subsequently got ousted in the first round of the NIT by Kent State. Though USF has been making strong run to the Elite 8 of the prestigious CIT, surprisingly my attention was squarely focused on the Gonzaga-BYU game yesterday in Denver.
After Gonzaga turned their season around and won the WCC tournament, they dominated St. John’s and looked poised to make another cinderella run in the tournament. But then they ran into BYU. After a pretty close first half, the Cougars steamrolled the Zags and disposed of them 89-67. The scary part is, BYU is coming to the West Coast Conference next season. Gonzaga has ruled the conference for the last 11 years, and BYU has just squashed them like they were nothing. Part of me finds relief in the fact that Jimmer Fredette won’t be around next year, but another part of me knows that Brigham Young is a perennial 20-win team with 8 NCAA Tournament appearances in the last 10 or 11 years. Despite CIT wins over Idaho and Hawaii, the Dons suddenly move down to the fourth best team in the WCC next season. It’s gonna be lot harder to get back into the NCAA tourney for the first time since 98…..