It’s early in the season, but the Bay Area’s six college basketball teams have already shown that they could all compete in their respective conferences.
The WCC might be as interesting as it’s ever been. Cal and Stanford have a shot of showing what they could do in their last year in the PAC12, and San Jose State could repeat some of its success from last season.
Without further ado, here are the Bay Area men’s basketball power rankings for the week of November 27.
1) Santa Clara (7-1)
The Broncos have been on a tear lately.
Santa Clara earned an impressive 88-82 win over Oregon last Friday. Arizona transfer Adama Alpha-Bal scored 25 points on an efficient 10 for 14 from the field. The junior is averaging 13.9 points per game thus far and is filling in the hole current Golden State Warrior Brandin Podziemski left last season.
Santa Clara took a bad loss against Ohio State a day later, but the Buckeyes are a very bad matchup. This team will struggle when faced against athleticism, but the WCC won’t have much of that.
The Broncos have a tough challenge against Cal on Saturday, but head coach Herb Sendek has this program trending in the right direction.
2) Saint Mary’s (3-5)
The Gaels have surprisingly struggled thus far this season.
After winning its first three games of the season, Saint Mary’s has dropped three of its last four. Monday night’s loss against Utah was a case of a disappearing second half as Utah took a nine-point lead with under a minute left in the game.
Saint Mary’s has struggled to find scoring outside of Aidan Mahaney and Alex Ducas. As we saw against New Mexico earlier this season and Connecticut in last season’s NCAA tournament, the Gaels struggle against athleticism.
Still, this is one of the best teams in the WCC, and under Randy Bennett, this team should still compete for an NCAA tournament berth.
3) San Francisco (5-2)
The Dons are going to surprise a lot of people this year.
Freshman Ryan Beasley won WCC Freshman of the Week on Monday after scoring 11 points in a win against Minnesota. Jonathan Mogbo is the Dons’ go-to guy on the offensive end, and his versatility has given head coach Chris Gerlufsen versatility on both ends of the floor.
USF’s only two losses thus far are against Boise State, who is projected to finish near the top of the Mountain West, and Grand Canyon, who is also a projected tournament team.
Could the Dons push the selection committee to select more WCC teams this year? Time will tell, but this team is exciting to watch for sure.
4) Stanford (3-4)
The Cardinals have shown promise through seven games, though the results have not really come.
Stanford lost in double overtime to Arkansas, who beat Duke last night. The Cardinals fought hard against Michigan, but the Wolverines’ athleticism ultimately got the best of Stanford.
But against Northern Iowa, there was no excuse. Stanford was thoroughly outplayed on both ends of the floor in a neutral environment.
The young pieces are encouraging, however. Andrej Stojakovich has come into his own as a freshman, playing a key role as a floor spacer. Maxime Raynoud is still the centerpiece of the offense and could put up numbers when in a rhythm.
The Cardinal have three more games against San Diego, Idaho, and San Diego State before they head into conference play.
5) San Jose State (5-3)
The Spartans have surprised a lot of people through their play in the first part of the season.
SJSU earned an impressive win over North Dakota State at home in what was a reunion game for head coach Tim Miles.
But this team has been inconsistent in their losses. SJSU blew a double-digit lead against Cal Poly on Wednesday and lost a winnable game against Abilene Christian.
Losing Omari Moore to the NBA was a huge blow to this team, but forwards Trey Anderson and Tibet Gorener have been the team’s top scorers thus far.
6) California (2-5)
The Golden Bears are rebuilding under first-year head coach Mark Madsen.
Cal did show a fight against San Diego State, taking the Aztecs to overtime, but Cal still lacks the pieces to compete in the PAC-12.
The Bears’ two wins this season are against Cal State Bakersfield and Montana State, but Cal hasn’t been able to grab the big win against an opponent who is in a respectable conference.
The Bears have a challenging game against Santa Clara at home on Saturday, but it will be a good test for this young team. As long as Cal remains competitive this season, it will be a win for the rebuilding program.
Photo: Santa Clara Athletics