Zags, Waves WCC Men's Hoops Favorites

Aug. 1, 2002

SAN BRUNO, Calif. - The West Coast Conference men's basketball coaches don't see much different happening atop the conference standings this season than they did last year according to the 2003 pre-season coaches poll released Thursday.

Gonzaga University and Pepperdine University each went 13-1 in the regular season last year - each defeating the other in their respective home meetings - and the two met in the title game of the WCC Tournament won by the Bulldogs.

The coaches split their eight first-place votes among the two teams this week, each garnering 46 points to share the pre-season top spot. The University of San Francisco was given the unofficial darkhorse title with 37 points for third place. They were followed by the University of San Diego (26), Santa Clara University (25), Saint Mary's College (21), Loyola Marymount (15) and the University of Portland (8).

Gonzaga finished the 2002 season ranked 6th in the final Associated PRess Top 25 and 16th in the ESPN/USA Today poll after posting a 29-4 overall record. The Bulldogs appeared in their fourth straight NCAA Tournament. The Zags will miss first team All-America Dan Dickau at point guard, but will have the luxury of one of the biggest teams in the WCC with six players on the roster 6-8 or taller. Returning at the forward position are All-WCC performers Cory Violette (6-8) and Zach Gourde (6-8), along with sophomore reserve Ronny Turiaf (6-9). Richard Fox, a 6-11, 270 pound transfer, is expected to solidify one of the best frontcourts in the west.

Last season, Pepperdine tied Gonzaga for the WCC regular-season title after being picked fourth in last year's WCC pre-season poll. With the return of All-WCC first-teamers Boomer Brazzle and Jimmy Miggins, second-year head coach Paul Westphal hopes to lead the Waves to a repeat of their 2002 success. Both Brazzle and Miggins return to the Waves starting lineup along with point guard Devin Montgomery and 2002 WCC Freshman of the Year Terrance Johnson.

USF will showcase one of the country's top double-double performers in senior Darrell Tucker. Tucker amassed 17 double-doubles last season and averaged 19.6 ppg and 10.7 rpg in league play. In addition to Tucker, transfers James Bayless, Alvin Broussard and Mamdou Cissi will be expected to contribute with the loss of three frontcourt players to graduation.

2003 West Coast Conference Men's Basketball Pre-season Coaches Poll (First-place votes in parenthesis)

1. Gonzaga (4) 46 Pepperdgine (4) 46 3. San Francisco 37 4. San Diego 26 5. Santa Clara 25 6. Saint Mary's 21 7. Loyola Marymount 15 8. Portland 8



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