BYU Clinging To Second Place In WCC’s ‘Innovative Model’ For Tournament Seeding

Feb 17, 2021, 4:25 PM | Updated: 4:27 pm

WCC - College Basketball...

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 09: Basketballs are shown in a ball rack before a semifinal game of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament between the San Francisco Dons and the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the Orleans Arena on March 9, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball is gearing up for the final three scheduled games of a unique 2020-21 regular season. Typically at this point, teams know their path towards a particular seed in a conference tournament. That’s not the case this year amidst a pandemic.

The West Coast Conference introduced a new “innovative model” to determine seeding for the upcoming 2021 West Coast Conference Tournament. Instead of the usual win-loss record and tiebreakers, seeding will now be determined by college basketball statistical analyst Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted winning percentage for both the men’s and women’s championships in the WCC.

The West Coast Conference introduced this after it became clear that it would be impossible to reschedule all of the postponed games, with the conclusion of league play coming up on February 27.

It’s not common to see a new metric to determine standings just two weeks before a conference tournament, but is anything normal this year with college hoops in a one-in-a-lifetime pandemic? The answer is simply no.

It’s not clear which teams will actually opt-in to play in the WCC Tournament at this time. But for now, the WCC is planning on holding its annual conference tournament as scheduled on March 4-9 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

BYU, currently 6-3 in WCC play, sits at No. 2 in the Ken Pom AWP, with the Cougars Adjusted Winning Percentage at 0.789. A slight edge over Pepperdine, who also has a 6-3 record. The Waves AWP is at 0.786.

Before the introduction of the one-of-a-kind AWP, BYU basketball was tied with Pepperdine for second-place. But the Cougars had a sizable lead due to a tiebreaker, the RPI rankings. BYU currently sits at No. 18 in the RPI, while the Waves are at 81. Now that goes out the window, and it’s all based on the AWP.

“Everyone is kind of flying by the seat of their pants trying to figure things out,” BYU coach Mark Pope said on his weekly coaches show. “I think it’s a little bit of a complicated notion. Instead of taking any of the metrics that we’ve had all season that all of us are shooting for, that the league is just going to create a metric two weeks before the tournament. But, you know, I think everyone is trying to do the best they can.”

The old WCC standings before AWP was introduced

1. Gonzaga – 11-0

2. BYU – 6-3

3. Pepperdine – 6-3

4. Santa Clara – 3-2

5. Loyola Marymount – 4-3

6. San Francisco – 4-6

7. Pacific – 3-5

8. Saint Mary’s – 2-4

9. San Diego – 1-4

10. Portland – 0-10

Updated WCC standings with Ken Pomeroy Adjusted Winning Percentage

As of February 16th, 2021

1. Gonzaga – (0.978 AWP)

2. BYU – (0.789)

3. Pepperdine – (0.786)

4. Saint Mary’s – (0.517)

5. Santa Clara – (0.498)

6. Pacific – (0.481)

7. Loyola Marymount – (0.423)

8. San Francisco – (0.384)

9. San Diego – (0.137)

10. Portland – (0.008)

Pope continued, “Danny Gavitt said it better than anybody else. He’s the Vice President of the NCAA, and he’s over Men’s Basketball. He said before the season, ‘Listen, it’s not going to be fair. There’s no way to make it fair. So we’re just going to do the best we can, and the most important thing is that we actually play games. So as long as you kind of keep yourself there, you can kind of reduce some of the frustration all of the teams in the league might be feeling. At least we’re playing games, and that’s what’s important.”

The WCC plans to send updated standings each Friday and Sunday over the regular season’s final two weeks. The final report will be the seeds for the 2021 WCC Tournament, and those will be unveiled on Sunday, February 28th.

BYU basketball will be back to playing games after a 10-day break when facing the Pacific Tigers on Thursday night in Stockton, California. Tip-off is at 6 p.m., and the game can be seen on CBS Sports Network and heard on KSL NewsRadio.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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BYU Clinging To Second Place In WCC’s ‘Innovative Model’ For Tournament Seeding