The Brigham Young University men's basketball team is about to embark upon its second season of West Coast Conference play. In its first year, BYU finished third, and this year presents a clean slate with new opportunities for the Cougars.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are the perennial power of this conference, and they are not a team to take lightly. They have lost but one game heading into conference play, and have a top-25 strength of schedule. Unless a total meltdown occurs in Spokane, the Bulldogs are virtually a lock for the NCAA tournament.

St. Mary's is also looking to prove once again that its run as last season's postseason tournament overtime championship was no fluke. With reigning conference tournament MVP and Olympian Matthew Dellavedova returning for the Gaels again, this 4-loss St. Mary's team is also one to take seriously.

But of course, conference play is an animal of its own. Here's a very quick glance at how the nine basketball teams of the WCC have done heading into conference play, in projected order of finish from the preseason media poll.

9 Pepperdine Waves
Tom Smart, Deseret News

Record: (8-5)

Head coach: Marty Wilson (21-34)

Scoring leader: Senior guard Lorne Jackson, 14.8 ppg

Rebounding leader: Freshman forward Stacy Davis, 6.9 rpg

Assists leader: Senior guard Caleb Willis, 4.8 apg

Notable wins: Washington State, Hawaii

National RPI: 185th

National strength of schedule: 299th

8 Portland Pilots
Andy Lyons, Getty Images

Record: (7-8)

Head coach: Eric Reveno (92-112)

Scoring leader: Junior forward Ryan Nicholas, 13.7 ppg

Rebounding leader: Nicholas, 9.7 rpg

Assists leader: Sophomore guard David Carr, 2.5 apg

Notable wins: North Florida, Bradley

National RPI: 240th

National strength of schedule: 182nd

7 San Francisco Dons
Mitchell Layton, Getty Images

Record: (7-6)

Head coach: Rex Walters (69-72, 100-105)

Scoring leader: Junior forward Cole Dickerson, 15.4 ppg

Rebounding leader: Dickerson, 11.9 rpg

Assists leader: Junior guard Cody Doolin, 6.2 apg

Notable wins: Montana, East Tennessee State

National RPI: 173rd

National strength of schedule: 108th

6 Santa Clara Broncos
Lance King, Getty Images

Record: (11-3)

Head coach: Kerry Keating (85-93)

Scoring leader: Senior guard Kevin Foster, 18.9 ppg

Rebounding leader: Senior forward Marc Trasolini, 7.6 rpg

Assists leader: Junior guard Evan Roquemore, 6.1 apg

Notable wins: Utah Valley, Pacific

National RPI: 77th

National strength of schedule: 176th

5 San Diego Toreros
Kent Horner, Getty Images

Record: (7-8)

Head coach: Bill Grier (75-100)

Scoring leader: Sophomore guard Johnny Dee, 15.2 ppg

Rebounding leader: Senior forward Ken Rancifer, 4.4 rpg

Assists leader: Sophomore guard Chris Anderson, 6.2 apg

Notable wins: Siena, Tulane

National RPI: 247th

National strength of schedule: 212nd

4 Loyola Marymount Lions
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Record: (7-6)

Head coach: Max Good (60-81, 302-304)

Scoring leader: Junior guard Anthony Ireland, 21.3 ppg

Rebounding leader: Senior forward Ashley Hamilton, 7.4 rpg

Assists leader: Sophomore guard Chase Flint, 4.5 apg

Notable wins: Portland State, Cal State Bakersfield

National RPI: 237th

National strength of schedule: 317th

3 St. Mary's Gaels
AP Photo

Record: (11-3)

Head coach: Randy Bennett (246-120)

Scoring leader: Senior guard Matthew Dellavedova, 17.4 ppg

Rebounding leader: Sophomore forward Brad Waldow, 5.8 rpg

Assists leader: Dellavedova, 6.6 apg

Notable wins: Utah State, Drexel, Harvard

National RPI: 105th

National strength of schedule: 261st

2 BYU Cougars
Scott Winterton, Deseret News

Record: (10-4)

Head coach: Dave Rose (195-58)

Scoring leader: Sophomore guard Tyler Haws, 20.9 ppg

Rebounding leader: Senior forward Brandon Davies, 7.9 rpg

Assists leader: Sophomore guard Matt Carlino, 3.9 apg

Notable wins: Utah, Weber State, Virginia Tech

National RPI: 23rd

National strength of schedule: 29th

1 Gonzaga Bulldogs
Phelan M. Ebanhack, Associated Press

Record: (13-1)

Head coach: Mark Few (354-91)

Scoring leader: Junior forward Kelly Olynyk, 15.7 ppg

Rebounding leader: Senior forward Elias Harris, 7.2 rpg

Assists leader: Sophomore guard Kevin Pangos, 3.9 apg

Notable wins: West Virginia, Clemson, Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State

National RPI: 7th

National strength of schedule: 18th

Related: BYU more familiar with a tough West Coast Conference