The San Diego Toreros ripped the heart out of all the teams poised on the bubble on Monday night when they won the West Coast Conference tournament. There were two teams that were pretty much guaranteed to go to the tournament from the WCC, but San Diego wasn’t one of them. Now the WCC is a very unlikely a three bid conference, with San Diego joining Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga. The spot that San Diego will take up in the field is one that would have belonged to a deserving at-large team.
So is San Diego totally out of place? The short answer is not particularly. They obviously wouldn’t have been here if they didn’t win the conference, but they had a decent year with a few highlights. They were solid at 21-13, and at 11-3 in their conference they were one of just three teams in the WCC to have a winning conference record. Their only conference losses were to Gonzaga (twice) and Saint Mary’s, and they managed one nice win by eight over Saint Mary’s when they were seven point underdogs. Most importantly for bettors, they were a very nice 10-4 ATS during the conference stretch. They deserve particular credit for their conference tournament run. Over the course of three days they blew out Pepperdine, topped Saint Mary’s in overtime, and then bounced back to top Gonzaga in the final. They couldn’t be coming into the tournament into any better form.
Outside of the conference was a different story entirely. They were only 7-10. Barring another unexpected team getting in, the only tournament team San Diego beat was Kentucky. That was back in December before the Wildcats got their act together, but it is still impressive any time a 13 point underdog wins by nine. Less impressive was the fact that they lost to three potential tournament bound teams outside of the conference, and they weren’t particularly competitive any time. They lost to New Mexico and USC by 10, and UNLV by 11.
There is a bright spot for this team – they can cover spreads. At 21-9 ATS they are among the most profitable teams in the country, and they have failed to cover just once in their last 10 games. Any team that covers seven of every ten games it plays over the course of a season is certainly worthy of a long look. That could be particularly relevant in the tournament, because as a low seed they are going to face a large spread that might work well for them. Unfortunately, as a low seed they are quite unlikely to get more than one chance to cover a spread.
Likely seed: 15
Tournament outlook: Could cover, won’t win