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BYU Basketball Staring Up At Gonzaga In Preseason WCC Poll

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 09: Caleb Lohner #33 of the Brigham Young Cougars is guarded by Corey Kispert #24 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the championship game of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on March 9, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Bulldogs defeated the Cougars 88-78. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

PROVO, UtahΒ – The penultimate season for BYU basketball in the West Coast Conference is almost here. This season and next will be the final years in the league before the Cougars move on to the Big 12 Conference.

But until that day arrives in 2023, BYU wants to go out of the WCC with a title. They’ll have to knock out powerhouse Gonzaga in order to do it.

The West Coast Conference preseason Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll was released on Thursday and it was a lineup everyone has grown accustomed to since BYU joined the league in 2011. Gonzaga, the defending National Runner-Ups last season, is picked first with BYU in second.

Take a guess who checks in at third?

Yeah, you guessed it, Saint Mary’s.

Business as usual in the West Coast Conference. But this season looks to be potentially the deepest the league has ever been with five teams looking like potential postseason squads. San Francisco and LMU have made some big additions out of the Transfer Portal and they’ve maintained some of their top personnel from a season ago.

BYU is led by “super senior” Alex Barcello who received first-team All-WCC recognition from the preseason Coaches Poll. Along with Barcello, sophomore forward Caleb Lohner earned a preseason first-team nod on the 10-man unit.

BYU did receive one first-place vote among the 10 coaches. That vote came from Gonzaga’s Mark Few as you’re not allowed to vote for your own team in the first spot. All the other nine coaches, including BYU’s third-year coach Mark Pope, tabbed Gonzaga to take home another WCC crown.

Last season, BYU finished with a 20-7 overall record and a second-place finish in the WCC. BYU faced Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament Championship Game and had a 12-point lead before the No. 1 Zags rolled in the second half to keep their undefeated record in tact at the time.

BYU basketball picked second in preseason WCC Coaches Poll

1. Gonzaga (9)

2. BYU (1)

3. Saint Mary’s

4. LMU

5. San Francisco

6. Santa Clara

7. Pepperdine

8. Pacific

9. San Diego

10. Portland

Preseason WCC Basketball All-Conference Team

Alex Barcello, Sr., Guard – BYU

Jamaree Bouyea, Sr., Guard – San Francisco

Logan Johnson, Sr., Guard – Saint Mary’s

Caleb Lohner, Soph., Forward – BYU

Andrew Nembhard, Sr., Guard – Gonzaga

Eli Scott, Sr., G/F – LMU

Khalil Shabazz, Sr., Guard – San Francisco

Drew Timme, Jr., Forward – Gonzaga

Josip Vrankick, Sr., Forward – Santa Clara

Jalen Williams, Jr., Guard – Santa Clara

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

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