CBB Review hands out awards for each conference tournament in 2023. Up next: The WCC Tournament.
This was Gonzaga’s annual reminder of who they are. In a year where many people are doubting, they went up against a top 20 team in the country in Saint Mary’s and manhandled them, winning by 26. It wasn’t close from the start, and the balanced scoring of Drew Timme, Anton Watson, Nolan Hickman, Julian Strawther, and Malachi Smith allowed them to control the tempo of the game.
The WCC Tournament was filled with non-exciting victories, as seven of the nine games were won by double digits. We did get one of the best games of any conference though when San Francisco and Santa Clara played themselves into a double overtime thriller that ended at 3:30 AM Eastern Time.
CBB Review WCC Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Khalil Shabazz, San Francisco
While Shabazz was unable to get the Dons to the finals, he did everything he could to get them close. Against a really good Santa Clara team, Shabazz put together one of the best scoring performances in WCC Tournament history, going for 38 points on really great shooting splits. Follow that up with 26 points against Gonzaga and that’s just enough to win the award.
It’s tricky to name a winner due to the format of the conference tournament. No team besides San Francisco played more than two games, so a small sample size for each team gives Shabazz the nod.
CBB Review All-WCC Tournament First Team
- G: Khalil Shabazz, San Francisco – 3 games played (23.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.6 APG, 2.0 SPG, 41.7 3P%)
- G: Brandon Podziemski, Santa Clara – 1 game played (22.0 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 9.0 APG, 4.0 SPG)
- G: Alex Ducas, Saint Mary’s – 2 games played (16.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, 45.5 3P%, 52.4 FG%)
- F: Drew Timme, Gonzaga – 2 games played (17.5 PPG, 7 RPG, 3.5 APG, 76.5 FG%)
- F: Anton Watson, Gonzaga – 2 games played (14.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 4 APG, 1.5 BPG, 54.5 FG%)
Gonzaga’s NCAA Tournament Prediction
Gonzaga has a reputation for underperforming in March, but they are a consistent Final Four team and make the second weekend almost every year. Timme is still a top-ten player in the country, and they have really solid pieces in Anton Watson and Julian Strawther that do more than the box score shows.
They’re slated around the three-seed line, and if the matchups are right, they should cruise to the Elite 8. After that, it’s very possible they can go further, as long as they get guys other than Timme to perform at a high level.