Beyond Golf — 27 February 2012 by Bob Sherwin
Gonzaga No. 1 for finishing second

In a twist exclusive to the highly revered and much-copied GolfersWest Coast Top 10 College Basketball poll, Gonzaga (23-5) was denied winning the West Coast Conference for the first time in 12 years yet has moved to No. 1 in the rankings.

The Zags (23-5), which handily knocked off BYU (24-7) Thursday 74-63, finished second to St. Mary’s (25-5) in the WCC. The Gaels won the league title for the first time in 23 years but staggered down the stretch, losing three of their final six games. The losses included a 73-59 setback to Gonzaga.

The Zags and Gaels – along with first-year power BYU – all will have an early opportunity to sort things out again as the WCC tournament begins Wednesday, one of the nation’s earliest.

It seems the three teams battling it out for the Mountain West Conference title can’t figure out how to secure the hardware. New Mexico (22-6) had a two-game lead on UNLV (24-6) and San Diego State (22-6) a week ago then lost two in a row. All three teams are tied with 8-4 conference records. It may stay that way as none will play the other two over the final weekend.

UNLV, however, may be in the driver’s seat as the conference tournament is being held at the Thomas & Mack Center on the Vegas campus.

Washington (20-8) also has pulled a half game ahead of Cal (23-7) in the Pac-12 race. The Huskies have won four in a row and nine of their last 10.

With a week to go before the bulk of the conference tournaments begin, here’s this week’s GolfersWest Coast Top 10:

No. Team (record)                 Rundown

  1. Gonzaga (23-5)                 Beat BYU 74-63 but failed to win WAC
  2. UNLV (24-6)                    Gearing up for ‘home’ the Mountain West tourney
  3. Washington (20-8)             Earned tough 59-55 win at rival Washington St.
  4. BYU (24-7)                       Lost to Gonzaga Thursday, 74-63
  5. St. Mary’s (25-5)                First outright WCC title in 23 years
  6. California (23-7)                Lost to Colorado Sunday and Pac-12 leadership
  7. New Mexico (22-6)            Blew it with two upset losses
  8. San Diego St. (22-6)          Struggling down final stretch
  9. Long Beach St. (21-7)        Fullerton stands in way of unbeaten Big West
  10. Arizona (21-9)                   Have won seven of last eightOn the cusp: Nevada (23-5), Weber State (23-4), Montana (22-6), New Mexico State (22-8), Cal-State Fullerton (19-8)

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About Author

Bob Sherwin

Bob grew up in Cleveland, an underdog city with perennial underdog teams, and that gave him an appreciation and an affinity for the grinders in golf, guys such as Rocco Mediate, Jhonattan Vegas and star-crossed John Daly. This is the 53rd year for Bob as a sportswriter, the first 34 working for newspapers throughout the west, Tucson (Daily Star), San Francisco (Examiner) and Seattle (Times), and the past 19 years as a freelancer. He has covered just about every sport, including golf tournaments, Tucson Open, Bing Crosby/AT&T Pro-Am, the 1998 PGA Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Amateur the 2015 U.S. Open and the annual Champions Tour Boeing Classic. He also writes articles for Cascade Golfer Magazine and Destination Golfer. For most of his 20 years at the Seattle Times his primary beat was the Mariners. He then picked up Washington men's basketball in the winter. He also was the beat writer for the Sonics, including 1996 when they played the Bulls for the NBA title. After a lifetime hacking on public courses, he finally gave in and joined a country club in 2011, Aldarra near Seattle. Despite (or perhaps because) of his 14 handicap, he won the 'Super Senior'' (65 and older) championship in 2017. He has a pair of aces – 37 years apart – and in 2009 came agonizingly close to his ultimate golf goal of scoring in the 70s when he finished with an even 80. He lives in Seattle.

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