Olynyk, Haws show coaches got it wrong on all-WCC preseason team
College basketball • Both players left off preseason all-conference list.
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Olynyk, Haws emerge in WCC

No question about it, Gonzaga is the best basketball team in the West Coast Conference this year. The 17-2 Zags are No. 10 in both polls, despite Saturday's 64-63 loss at No. 9 Butler.

But who's the best player in the league?

Oddly, the WCC Player of the Year award might just go to a player who did not make the preseason all-WCC team — either Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk or BYU's Tyler Haws. Neither played last year (Olynyk redshirted, while Haws was on an LDS Church mission), so you can't blame coaches for leaving them off their preseason ballots.

Haws leads the WCC in scoring at 21.6 points per game, while Olynyk is the leading scorer in conference play, averaging 25.3 ppg.

Santa Clara's Kevin Foster, Loyola Marymount's Anthony Ireland, Gonzaga's Kevin Pangos and Elias Harris and Matthew Dellavedova of Saint Mary's are also having MVP-type seasons.

Wild times at Wyoming

What is going on at Wyoming? A couple days after scoring just 36 points in a 49-36 loss at Fresno State — their fewest points in a game in the shot-clock era — and appearing as if the loss of leading scorer Luke Martinez was catching up to them, the Cowboys bounced back to upset then-No. 15 San Diego State 58-45 in Laramie on Saturday night.

You can always count on bitter cold nights in Laramie in the winter, and you can always count on Wyoming giving the Aztecs all kinds of trouble at 7,100 feet.

Wyoming (15-2, 2-2 MWC) is not only the most surprising team in the Mountain West Conference this season, it might just be most surprising in the country. And that has remained true even though Martinez was suspended indefinitely by coach Larry Shyatt for his role in a fight at the Buckhorn Bar early on the morning of Dec. 30.

Because he has coached at Clemson and Florida, Shyatt was asked if the MWC — which could get as many as six teams in the NCAA Tournament — is as good as advertised this year.

"Well, I haven't been able to see the national advertisements," Shyatt joked. "But from my perspective, it is the best I have ever seen, from top to bottom."

Washington's highs and woes

Good luck figuring out the Washington Huskies this season. The Huskies won their first four Pac-12 games and were looking to start 5-0 in conference play for the first time since 1984 when Utah rolled into Seattle on Saturday night. The Utes had never won a Pac-12 road game and hadn't won a league game since Feb. 25, 2012.

Naturally, Utah stunned the Huskies 74-65 as Jason Washburn and Brandon Taylor combined for 37 points.

The Huskies won the Pac-12 regular-season title last year but missed out on the NCAA Tournament. Saturday's loss to the 9-9 Utes will surely be remembered in March, if 12-6 Washington finds itself on the bubble again this year.

Anything goes with Eustachy

Former Utah State coach Larry Eustachy has Colorado State (15-3) playing well and receiving votes in both major polls. And he is also keeping the weekly MWC coaches teleconference entertaining.

Monday, Eustachy turned the tables on a reporter from New Mexico by asking why Wichita State is still behind Creighton in the national polls despite having defeated the Bluejays 67-64 on Saturday night. Both teams are 17-2. The reporter begged off the question, saying he can't explain the polls, either.

Then Eustachy complained that Utah State got more votes in the polls althought it "lost badly" at New Mexico State and Denver last week. Actually, the Aggies didn't get any votes in either poll after the disastrous road trip in which junior guard Preston Medlin fractured his wrist and senior forward Kyisean Reed torn his ACL.

The Rams play at No. 15 New Mexico on Wednesday night and winning at the Pit "is going to be a monumental task," Eustachy said, noting how the Rams have won just one conference road game in star forward Pierce Hornung's four-year career.

drew@sltrib.com

Twitter: @drewjay —

Wild times at Wyoming

What is going on at Wyoming? A couple days after scoring just 36 points in a 49-36 loss at Fresno State — their fewest points in a game in the shot-clock era — and appearing as if the loss of leading scorer Luke Martinez was catching up to them, the Cowboys bounced back to upset then-No. 15 San Diego State 58-45 in Laramie on Saturday night.

You can always count on bitter cold nights in Laramie in the winter, and you can always count on Wyoming giving the Aztecs all kinds of trouble at 7,100 feet.

Wyoming (15-2, 2-2 MWC) is not only the most surprising team in the Mountain West Conference this season, it might just be most surprising in the country. And that has remained true even though Martinez was suspended indefinitely by coach Larry Shyatt for his role in a fight at the Buckhorn Bar early on the morning of Dec. 30.

Because he has coached at Clemson and Florida, Shyatt was asked if the MWC — which could get as many as six teams in the NCAA Tournament — is as good as advertised this year.

"Well, I haven't been able to see the national advertisements," Shyatt joked. "But from my perspective, it is the best I have ever seen, from top to bottom."