The college basketball season is about to get underway, and with it comes various preseason previews.
Joe Lunardi of ESPN delivered his preview of the West Coast Conference on Monday where there was plenty said about the BYU Cougars.
While talking about how many teams should make the NCAA tournament out of the conference, Lunardi wrote, "BYU's arrival was supposed to make the WCC a three-bid league more often than not. But that has only happened once in six seasons, and it's not going to happen in 2018 without an upset winner of the conference tournament."
He then explained that two teams, Saint Mary's and Gonzaga should earn bids before turning to the Cougars, and the rest of the league.
"The unexpected loss of 6-foot-10 Eric Mika likely limits BYU to another NIT," wrote Lunardi. "With no one else in the conference ready to take the proverbial next step, the WCC's Selection Sunday forecast has very little mystery."
After talking about the best player, most interesting freshman, toughest coaching job and the surprise team, Lunardi turned his attention back to BYU as "the team that will disappoint."
"The Cougars should continue to score with guards T.J. Haws (13.8 PPG), Nick Emery (13.1 PPG) and Elijah Bryant (11.7 PPG), but the loss of All-WCC center Eric Mika(20.3 PPG, 9.2 RPG) is crushing," Lunardi explained. "Without him, the Cougars are more likely to slide out of the league's top three than they are to contend with Gonzaga or Saint Mary's."
SB Nation's The Slipper Still Fits, (a Gonzaga based site) also did a preview of sorts where it looked at the top half of the WCC.
Speaking of the Cougars, the site first looked at what they will have in terms of players, saying, "There's not much to say about this team from the physical standpoint. Sophomores Yoeli Childs and TJ Haws are first team all-conference caliber players. Zac Selijaas returns early from his LDS mission after shooting 50% from deep his freshman year."
The site then explains why the Cougars have had problems getting over the hump since joining the league.
"But really this isn't about BYU's 'talent', as they've had plenty since they've arrived in the WCC. With the exception of one season, BYU and Gonzaga have split their regular season meetings, so there's been opportunities to win the league. The problem is the losses to the bad teams that eliminate them from championship contention. If you watch them play outside of Gonzaga, the level of urgency and effort drops dramatically, even against Saint Mary's."
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Real Salt Lake handed out its season-ending awards on Monday and based on player votes, midfielder Albert Rusnak was named MVP while Justen Glad was the Defensive Player of the Year.
Rusnak led the team with seven goals and 13 assists according to the press release while making 30 appearances.