This article is part of our Conference Preview series.
Gonzaga is coming off the most successful run for a West Coast Conference team in the NCAA Tournament in the conference's history. The Zags broke through their previously set ceiling to advance to the championship before losing to North Carolina in an ugly game that included many, many fouls. Coming off such a successful season, we should just hand the 2017-18 championship to the Bulldogs, right? Gonzaga should be good once again, but they may not be favored against the excellent St. Mary's Gaels, who return their top three scorers from a team that went 29-5. St. Mary's will be looking for revenge after being beaten three times by Gonzaga to account for 60 percent of last year's losses.
Top Three PlayersJock Landale (C)
The Gaels entered the 2016-17 season with a deep and experienced backcourt, but some questions in terms of bigs. Landale answered all of those questions and gave St. Mary's the balance they needed to be a factor in March. The 6-foot-11 native of Australia blossomed into an effective paint player to provide 16.9 points and 9.5 rebounds. He had 17 double-doubles. One of the reasons St. Mary's couldn't topple Gonzaga was that Landale accrued foul trouble in each of the three losses against the massive Bulldog frontline. If Landale can play more than 26 minutes against Gonzaga, we may have a new WCC champion.
T.J. Haws (G)
The Haws dynasty continues provisionally. BYU received four strong years from Tyler Haws. His younger brother T.J. moved