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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

WCC adopts new seeding formula for conference tournaments

UPDATED: Tue., Feb. 16, 2021

Gonzaga’s Joel Ayayi receives the 2020 West Coast Conference Tournament MVP trophy.  (By Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga’s Joel Ayayi receives the 2020 West Coast Conference Tournament MVP trophy. (By Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
By Jim Meehan The Spokesman-Review

The West Coast Conference announced a new seeding formula for its men’s and women’s conference tournaments based on a Ken Pomeroy-generated analytics model.

The conference enlisted Pomeroy, a statistical analyst and founder of the popular KenPom.com website, with numerous teams playing unbalanced schedules due to COVID-19 interruptions. For example, Gonzaga’s men have played 11 conference games while Santa Clara and San Diego each have played five.

Teams will be seeded using a proprietary algorithm that best reflects conference games completed and yields an adjusted conference winning percentage (ACWP) for each program. The ACWP accounts for the strength of the opponent and location of the game (home/away). The offensive and defensive efficiency metric isn’t being used in the algorithm.

The tournaments are scheduled for March 4-9 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Athletic director Mike Roth reiterated Gonzaga’s concerns about the COVID-19 risks of holding the events in Las Vegas and the potential impact on NCAA tournaments starting a short time later.

The topic resurfaced Tuesday when Oregonian columnist John Canzano tweeted that Gonzaga and BYU are weighing the possibility of opting out of the WCC Tournament because there’s little to be gained since they’re NCAA-bound. GU was listed as the top overall seed by the selection committee in Saturday’s bracket reveal, but BYU has been projected as a No. 8 or 9 seed.

“It’s a daily conversation. Everyone wants a definitive answer, our fans, benefactors, the families of our players,” Roth said. “As of 3:24 on Feb. 16, yes, if the tournament were to be played right now (in Las Vegas), our teams would be there representing our university and the WCC and doing everything in our power to win it.

“That’s about as much of a guarantee as I can give at this point.

“Our players want to play. We want to play games, just like every year leading into the NCAA Tournament. However, my concern continues to be going to a location where there may be more people around, in hotels and elsewhere, around the players and the risk that poses.”

Gonzaga’s men (11-0 WCC) and women (13-0) are comfortably in the top spot in the model. For men, BYU and Pepperdine are both 6-3 in conference, but BYU has a slight ACWG edge (.789 to .786). Saint Mary’s, despite a 2-4 record, is in fourth at .517.

Gonzaga’s women are first at .964, followed by BYU (10-2 record, .816), Santa Clara (8-6, .608) and San Diego (8-3, .573).

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