Gonzaga University edged Saint Mary's College and the University of San Diego in the 2008-09 WCC men's basketball pre-season poll as selected by the league coaches. The announcement was made at the 2008 WCC Basketball Media Day at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, site of the 2009 WCC Basketball Tournament.
In recent weeks, the Rise & Fall series has chronicled the progress (or regress) of college basketball's major conference teams. But if I equated each team to a civilization, I was mistaken. It is really the NCAA conference that equates to a burgeoning civilization or nation, each with its sometimes stable and sometimes rotating member states. Like civilizations, the prestige and power of conferences wax and wane..
People have been emailing me this week asking how I came up with the groupings for the Conference Rise & Fall articles. While the groupings I used were based on a mix of intuition and stats, here are the actual conference RPI's over the last decade. Notice the clean split between certain league divisions.. for example, the BCS leagues and non-BCS leagues. The difference in avg RPI between the best and worst BCS leagues (ACC & Pac-10) is 2.7, which is almost as big as the gap between the Pac-10 and the closest non-BCS league.