Gonzaga picked to win West Coast Conference

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Gonzaga has been chosen to win the West Coast Conference by the league’s coaches.

The Zags received eight of 10 first-place votes ahead of the WCC’s tipoff event Thursday, with charter conference member Pacific back in the league this season.

Gonzaga is coming off a 32-3 season and its 15th straight trip to the NCAA tournament, eliminated by Wichita State to miss the round of 16. The Bulldogs lost 7-foot forward Kelly Olynyk to the NBA but have a strong core returning.

BYU is picked to finish second, followed by Saint Mary’s, San Francisco, San Diego, Loyola Marymount, Pacific, Santa Clara, Portland and Pepperdine.

Pacific reached the NCAA tournament after winning the Big West championship. Coach Ron Verlin, a 19-year Pacific assistant, was promoted to replace retired Bob Thomason.

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