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Dick Harmon: Gonzaga's loss sets up Cougar-Bulldog matchup; adds intrigue to WCC race

Gonzaga's loss sets up even more intrigue in WCC

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  • ManInTheMiddle SANDY, UT
    Feb. 18, 2012 10:31 p.m.

    The WCC is a joke. Dave Rose and the Cougars deserve MUCH MUCH BETTER. Coach has put together another great squad that has huge upside in the next few years. We need to find him a much better conference. We are lying to ourselves if we think the WCC is worthy of our talent. It's not even one of the 10 best conferences in the NCAA. Perhaps the Big 12 would take us for basketball only???? I don't know the solution but at least I'm willing to be honest and admit that BYU participating in the WCC is a big problem.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 18, 2012 11:19 p.m.

    ManInTheMiddle, and whatever the rest of your pseudonyms are, what the WCC lacks in depth (and that it does), it makes up in quality at the top.

    If, for example, the WCC and the PAC were to merge, 3 of the top 4 teams would be WCC teams.

    If the WCC and MWC were to merge, the WCC would have 3 of the top 5 teams.

    If all three conferences merged, the WCC would have 3 of the top 6 teams.

    Of course under ANY scenario Utah would be the worst.

    Now to your point, if the WCC did have more depth, the RPI of all three top WCC would be likely be better, however.

  • I Bleed Blue Las Vegas, NV
    Feb. 18, 2012 11:53 p.m.

    It has been a great ride this year with how young this team is. Having them on TV all the time makes it even better. Thank you ESPN and BYUTV.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 12:13 a.m.

    @ManInTheMiddle

    I would say you're half correct. Take away BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's and Loyola Marymount and the WCC is about as good as the bottom of the Ivy League.

    Gonzaga and Saint Mary's could easily compete with schools from the PAC 12, Big 12 and Big 10, and Loyola Marymount could compete well in the Mountain West Conference, Conference USA or WAC.

    Go Cougars !

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Feb. 19, 2012 6:10 a.m.

    ManInTheMiddle,

    Saying the Cougars "deserve MUCH MUCH BETTER" and suggesting the WCC isn't "worthy of our talent" won't win you many friends. And remember, BYU chose to join the WCC, it wasn't thrust upon them.

    Rational,

    If the quality at the top of the WCC "made up for" the conference's lack of depth, it wouldn't be rated lower as a conference than the Pac-12, which is currently in its worst season in recent memory.

    Sagarin says: MWC #6, Pac-12 #8, and WCC #11.

    The computers reward depth. Gonzaga, BYU, and St. Mary's are all solid teams, but none of the remaining 5 teams are rated in the Top 100. The Pac-12, on the other hand, has 8 teams ranked in the Top 100.

    Regarding strength of schedule, only 1 team in the WCC (Pepperdine) has played one of the 100 most challenging schedules. In the Pac-12, 9 teams have played Top 100 schedules.

    It's true that the Utes are unfortunately the lowest rate team in the three conferences you mentioned. That shouldn't be surprising since this is the worst Utah season in its history!

    Your final statement - "if the WCC did have more depth, the RPI of all three top WCC would likely be better" may not be true. With the addition of some better teams, there would be an increased risk for losing games.

    Bottom line - good luck, Cougars, finishing strong in the conference that you decided to join. Don't lose to anyone in your conference other than Gonzaga or St. Mary's and you should be fine.

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    Feb. 19, 2012 6:24 a.m.

    @ManInTheMiddle, What's your definition of a joke? Is it because the WCC mostly play in so called high school arenas compared to other conferences? Let's face it dude, compared to the highly over rated Pac 12, I would have no problem figuring out which conference is the real joke. The problem is you and your overheated ego. BYU is fine where it's at and until something better comes along,(and I'm not holding my breath) I think they should stay put where they are and enjoy the company of those who WANT them in their conference.

    Go Cougs!

  • CO Ute PARKER, CO
    Feb. 19, 2012 8:23 a.m.

    @rational
    Comments don't equate to your screen name. I will ignore the PAC 12 this year because they arent't very good, although the RPI conference ratings are higher than the WCC. Look at the recruiting class for some of the schools next year (especially AZ) and it appears the conference will soon be strong again.
    Regard the rest of your supposed mergers ... how do you get 3 of the best 5 teams from the WCC if that conference merged with the MWC? NM,SDSU,UNLV, Gonzaga, St M, would be the best by far. But at least you got to make a comment about Utah that had nothing to do with the article. Hope that makes you proud.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 8:28 a.m.

    ManInTheMiddle your comments show glaringly your lack of knowledge of basketball and the weaknesses of other leagues. 12 leagues are better than the WCC. The PAC-12 surely is not one of them. Get a life and study basketball, then come back and make some comments with credibility. Right now you lack credibility based on your comments.

  • Mountainman56 Alpine, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 9:08 a.m.

    ManInTheMiddle, Do you think that the 3 teams that beat BYU in the WCC feel that they are worthy of being in the same conference as BYU? How about S.F. who we barely squeaked past and who just beat Gonzaga? This is a very good conference and with the television coverage that BYU and the conference gets, it a much better situation for BYU than the MWC. There will likely be at least 3 NCAA bids from this 9 team league and maybe even a 4th if someone other than the top 3 wins the conference tournament. On the other hand, the mighty PAC 12, has little to no chance of getting more than 1 of its 12 teams into the big dance. From any semi-objective view point, the WCC is a quality conference with a few weak teams like all conferences have but a very high level of competition in the top half of the league.

  • ManInTheMiddle SANDY, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 9:27 a.m.

    Right now the RPI has BYU's schedule strength as 108. What's so hard to figure out here????? 107 schools have a stronger schedule. I'm tired of watching our guys play terrible basketball teams.

    Last night we won on the road by 15 points and our RPI rank fell from 41 to 48. Being in this league is a waste, a complete waste. The numbers don't lie.

    Right now the WCC is the 11th ranked conference. That means that the Mountain West (ranked 5), Atlantic 10 (ranked 7), Missouri Valley (ranked 8), and Conference USA (ranked 9) are all ranked higher. Even the Pac 12, who everyone will agree is TERRIBLE this year is ranked higher than the WCC. Can you even tell me who is in the Missouri Valley Conference, yet their conference is ranked 8 and ours is ranked 11. You can talk all you want about how the "top of the WCC is good" but the facts are the facts. The conference is terrible. Maybe if we beg the Mountain West would let us back in for basketball only???

    What a joke to have our guys travel to gyms that are the size of Utah high school's gyms. It's pathetic and I'm disappointed more Cougar fans aren't saying that this emperor has no clothes. Get out of the WCC now.

  • Where's Stockton ??? Bowling Green, OH
    Feb. 19, 2012 9:43 a.m.

    BYU and thier national draw of loyal fans with thier wallets helped build the Mountain West and the WAC...so why would it be any wonder that the WCC wounldn't naturally take advantage of that as well.

  • Where's Stockton ??? Bowling Green, OH
    Feb. 19, 2012 9:55 a.m.

    MiddleMan I don't know where you have been sticking your head the last several years but the top half of the WCC especially perennial's St Mary's, Gonzaga and occasionally Loyola MM have been contenders...and along with BYU certainly this year... could all match play close with or beat most everything in the pac. You obviously haven't got a clue!!!

  • Where's Stockton ??? Bowling Green, OH
    Feb. 19, 2012 10:10 a.m.

    Co Ute....Recruiting doesn't even statistically stand unless you're in the top 5 consistently year in and year out... and in Basketball there is no better example of that than UCLA under John Wooden. Teams like N Carolina...Duke UConn..a resurging Kentucky and an oncoming Kansas team are coming close to being able to prove thier recruiting prowess statistically...but I'm sorry...the pac as a conference is by far way behind the Big East and the ACC right now so... I don't see that thier present recruiting is going to be a whole lot better unproven as recruiting always is... until these newbies actually hit the court and play a couple seasons... than what it's been for the last several years.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    Feb. 19, 2012 10:53 a.m.

    No argument that the WCC is not the ACC or Big East. But they play good hoops and this has been a fun season to watch. BYU's young team is doing well to be in the mix for the big dance. And, ultimately, the NCAA Tournament is a tournament, not a rigged beauty contest like the BCS is. If a team gets into the tournament, and wins, they are National Champions. Ever hear of Butler? How big is their gym?

    You BYU haters can rant all you want, but BYU may get to the Dance. And therefore, they have a chance of winning the NC.

    How many PAC12 teams will have a chance this year? Maybe Washington. Who else? The rest will have no chance to get into the Dance. But BYU has a chance, and if the do get in, they have a chance to win the NC.

    Slim chance, true, but not zero. For you BYU detractors, what are the chances of your team making it to the Dance? Easily calculated: zero.

  • Cougarista Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 12:59 p.m.

    BYU's affiliation with the WCC is fine. It's called faith based education with a primary commitment to strong undergraduate scholarship. Their universities rule athletics, not the reverse. But it's not the SEC or ACC or even the PAC-12? Thankfully true.

  • NightOwlAmerica SALEM, OR
    Feb. 19, 2012 1:15 p.m.

    Why do BYU fans continue with the inferiority complex about the PAC12?
    Yeah its a down hoops season. Most likely they will get two teams, the regular season and conference tournament champion into the dance. Maybe a third team.

    You are in the WCC. You know, the conference that other BYU fans are bashing for small gyms. Well don't ask to be invited to the ACC. They have small gyms as well. That has not stopped Duke from winning national titles.
    The upcoming game against Gonzaga is going to be good. And yes this is coming from a Washington State fan that will be watching.

    And don't look now but USF is on the way up. You barely won in another small gym. Coach Walters is building a good team in the bay area with a good crop of recruits coming in.

    So keep bashing the PAC. Its having a bad year but won't be down forever.

    Someone mentioned the Missouri Valley Conference. Its another WCC with good teams like Creighton, Wichita St and Mizzou St.

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Feb. 19, 2012 1:39 p.m.

    According to Sagarin:

    -In the last 10 seasons, the Pac 10 has been ranked higher than the MWC and WCC 9 times. The only exception was in 2004, when the MWC was #8 and the Pac 10 was #9.

    -The WCC has finished third to the Pac 10 and MWC in all ten seasons.

    -At this point in the season, the MWC is more highly ranked than the Pac 12, and both of them are once again ranked ahead of the WCC.

    The Washington Post has a NCAA tournament database. It indicates that the Pac 10 has won 57% of its tournament games in the last 15 years. The WCC has won 41%, and the MWC has won 33%.

    I am not posting this as a "BYU hater." Read my posts - in them I frequently quote objective measures (statistics, rankings, etc.), and often conclude with well-wishes to the Cougars. But it's hard for me to not respond to posts that favor loyalty and emotion over objectivity.

    If you are happy as a BYU fan with your current independence/conference affiliation, I'm happy for you. But I don't believe that three top 50 teams + 0 additional Top 100 teams trumps 2 Top 50 teams + 3 additional Top 100 teams (MWC) and 2 Top 50 teams + 6 additional Top 100 teams (Pac 12).

    Sagarin clearly doesn't buy it either.

    We'll see how the NCAA tournament selection committee feels about this stuff in about a month. But unfortunately, it's painfully obvious that Utah won't need to wait by the phone for an invitation to the Big Dance.

  • phoenix Gilbert, AZ
    Feb. 19, 2012 2:50 p.m.

    Utah'95

    Quit hiding behind the skirts of your conference and face reality.

    Sagarin buys that the Top 3 teams in the WCC are better than the Top 3 teams in the PAC 12:

    #19 California
    #30 Gonzaga
    #31 BYU
    #38 Saint Mary's
    #44 Arizona
    #61 Washington

    BYU is one of the BEST teams in the country (Top 10%)
    Utah is one of the WORST teams in the country (Bottom 15%)

    Sagarin
    #31 BYU
    #298 Utah

    During the Dave Rose era, BYU has SEVEN consecutive 20+ win seasons
    overall - 182-51 (78%)
    conference - 89-21 (81%)
    conference championships - FOUR

    During the same time span, Utah has ONE 20+ win season, and FIVE losing seasons
    overall - 100-115 (47%)
    conference - 46-64 (42%)
    conference championships - ONE

    Just as in football, the highlight of the season for the PAC 12 conference bottom dweller, was beating Utah.

    Football
    Colorado 17
    Utah 14

    Basketball
    USC 62
    Utah 45

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Feb. 19, 2012 2:51 p.m.

    The fans are stepping up. This frenzy is amazing considering the incredible high with Jimmer mania last year. Certainly an incredible, passionate fan base. Go Cougars!

  • moderateinmagna MAGNA, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 4:49 p.m.

    Night owl america, it is not the BYU fans saying anything about how small the gyms are in the WCC it is a bunch of uTAH TROLLS saying that byu plays in small gyms , but most of them are dolts that don,t realize that Utah ,CSU,SDSU,UNLV BYU,WYOMING,&many other teams at one time not too long ago all had small gyms that they were playing in. i have seen some of the gyms in the ACC & you are correct they are not real big either, i,m lkie you i get real tired of all the trolls bashing the PAC 12 and the WCC all it does is show their ignorance or stupidity.

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Feb. 19, 2012 4:50 p.m.

    phoenix,

    You are making assumptions based solely on my screen name

    In my two previous posts, not once did I suggest that BYU is not a solid team. And my only mention of the Utes was pointing out how horrible they are this year.

    I have nothing but respect for what Dave Rose has done as the coach at BYU. And I greatly miss the basketball success that the Utes are accustomed to.

    At a glance, I believe your numbers you posted are accurate. But they don't discount what I have said.

    Back to what I pointed out:

    If the WCC finishes with a higher rating than the Pac 12, it will be the first time in 12 years.

    Good luck, Cougars.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 4:56 p.m.

    @CO Ute

    "how do you get 3 of the best 5 teams from the WCC if that conference merged with the MWC? NM,SDSU,UNLV, Gonzaga, St M, would be the best by far."

    Any objective observer would list BYU in with the likes of NM, SDSU, UNLV, Gonazaga, and St. Mary's. The fact that you did not means that you are NOT an objective observer and you have an anti-BYU bias. Your comment holds zero credibility.

    @Utah-95

    "According to Sagarin:

    -In the last 10 seasons, the Pac 10 has been ranked higher than the MWC and WCC 9 times. The only exception was in 2004, when the MWC was #8 and the Pac 10 was #9."
    I'm guessing you were arguing against this same analysis up until a few years ago. It's so funny how Ute fans can pull a 180 so fast. Evil has now become good.

  • ManInTheMiddle SANDY, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 5:13 p.m.

    All this talk and still no one has been able to produce any stats that prove the WCC is a good conference. The reason is, of course, that there are no stats out there to support such a claim. I'm tired of being one of the top teams in a bad conference. I'm tired of have the 108th ranked strength of schedule. The MWC finally became good, but we fell asleep at the wheel and let them sign a terrible tv deal - so we had to leave, fine. But games against Santa Clara? Come on. Pepperdine??? San Diego?? please.

    Coach Rose is a good enough coach to get us a National Championship team. He's one of the most underrated coaches in the county. If he were in a better conference he could get better recruits, the Cougs would win more games, would get better seeds in the NCAAs and making being a Cougar fan even better. (as an aside we should pay Coach Rose SIGNIFICANTLY MORE MONEY- he's worth it!!)

    I'm disappointed that the Cougar faithful aren't putting more pressure on BYU top brass to get us out of this pitiful conference. (Consider what the conference would be ranked without our non-conference wins added to the conference total - maybe the conference is the 14th best conference in the NCAAs without us???)

    What are we afraid of??? Why not play against the big boys every night??? This mediocrity doesn't sit well with me and I'm disappointed that it does with many Cougar fans.

  • sls Columbia, MO
    Feb. 19, 2012 6:01 p.m.

    I'm curious about the article's comment that Rose could be at NC State this year, because I never did hear that one. I did read in the papers back here in Missouri that he was considered for the head coaching position here at MU (where the Tigers are ranked in the top 5) and that he was offered $1.7 million to take the head coaching job at Oklahoma (where they turned to UNLV coach Lon Kruger, who did accept the offer after Rose turned it down).

    Rose is a great coach and he knows he has a great job at BYU. WCC or any other conference, it makes little difference if you get invited to the NCAA tournament. If BYU beats Gonzaga on Thursday, they can punch their ticket. Even if they lose on Thursday, they get another chance at the WCC tournament in Las Vegas. They are no worse off than they were in the MWC last year, but they won't be playing on UNLV's home court.

  • NightOwlAmerica SALEM, OR
    Feb. 19, 2012 6:19 p.m.

    moderateinmagna.

    Well I have read posts from a couple of BYU fans complaining about that. Not sure if they are trolls though.
    Yeah take a look at Wake Forest. Has WCC size enrollment and yes a small gym. They are in the ACC due to having a football team. If not, they would be in a mid-major conference.
    A lot of people probably don't know that Gonzaga is a former PAC member. Yep that's right. They even had a football team. Who know's, if they still played football they might have remained in the PAC, regardless of their enrollment size.

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Feb. 19, 2012 6:29 p.m.

    Not that gym size matters much, in my opinion. But since some inaccuracies are being thrown around, here is a well-intended fact check:

    The Marriott Center seats well over 20,000. The rest range from 3,104-6,000.

    In the ACC, UNC's arena seats 21,750. The rest range from 8,000-19,722. Seven of them seat over 10,000.

    Cameron (Duke), which is the 9th largest arena in the ACC, would be second only to BYU in seating capacity if they were in the WCC at 9,314.

    And as far as Utah, UNLV, BYU, and Wyoming "not too long ago all had small gyms that they were playing in," - UNLV has been in the Thomas an Mack for 29 years, Wyoming in the Arena Auditorium for 30, BYU in the Marriott Center for 41, and the Utes in the Huntsman Center for 43.

    That means I was in high school, or even born, "not too long ago," and I have more than my share of gray hair!

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Feb. 19, 2012 6:44 p.m.

    Riverton Cougar,

    You said, "I'm guessing you were arguing against this same analysis up until a few years ago. It's so funny how Ute fans can pull a 180 so fast. Evil has now become good."

    I assume you think that when Utah was in the MWC, I argued/believed that the MWC was just as good as the Pac 10, or some of the other BCS conferences. I never made that claim.

    There are often very good, and occasionally great, teams in the MWC and WAC, but the evidence indicates that the intermountain conferences can't compete on a regular basis with the big six conferences.

    Keep two things in mind, my friend:

    -Just because you REALLY believe something, that does not make it true.

    -Just because I am a Utah fan, that does not mean you should immediately dismiss what I say.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 8:11 p.m.

    @Utah'95

    Sagarin says: MWC #6, Pac-12 #8, and WCC #11.

    It's true that the Utes are unfortunately the lowest rate team in the three conferences you mentioned. That shouldn't be surprising since this is the worst Utah season in its history!

    --------

    Just to make sure we are on the same page here, we're talking about basketball, not football. In basketball the conference you are in can help with your strength of schedule, but beyond that, unlike football, you earn your way by your merits. Perhaps you've heard of Butler and VCU.

    Unless someone other than Cal gets lucky and wins the regular season and/or PAC tournament, the PAC will only have 1 team in the tournament. The WCC will have a minimum of 2 teams, and there is a very strong possibility the WCC will have 3. That's how much being the #8 as opposed to the #11 conference will matter.

    Do I wish BYU were in a better conference? Sure. In fact, PLEASE Board of Trustees. But being in one of the "best" conferences doesn't make a team one of the "best" teams anymore than being a water boy makes one a "player."

    Now, as to Utah's glorious history. By local standards, yes it is a glorious history. Not ACC glorious, or UCLA glorious, or Arizona glorious or Kentucky glorious, but local-glorious. Unfortunately, that history is getting further and further into the rearview mirror. Here's hoping Coach Krysko can turn it around.

  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    Feb. 19, 2012 8:51 p.m.

    Okay, I get it. Sagarin has the PAC12 and MWC ranked ahead of the WCC. But the fact remains - WCC will likely get 3 invites, and the PAC12 will likely get 1 invite. To me, this is a better reflection of the strength of the conference. MWC will also likely get 3, and may have a shot at 4. Next year, SDSU is out of the MWC and Wyoming has a year like this once a decade. MWC will return to a 2 bid league next year. MWC offers nothing over WCC going forward. Would the Cougs rather play in Laramie or Malibu?

    It doesn't matter how many seats are in the arenas, it matters how many people are in the seats. PAC12 average attendance 2012 = 7,800. WCC average attendance = 6,900. A lot of empty seats in those big arenas.

    Utah is ranked lower than every WCC team. People who live in glass houses should not throw rocks.

  • sportsfanforlife salt lake city, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 11:02 p.m.

    @cougar blue your joke of a comment was hilarious. you tell him to go watch some basketball then come back and comment, how bout YOU go watch some basketball then come back and comment so you dont look like a fool. go check conference rankings then come back and tell me what conference is better. delusional is the word for cougar fans.

  • Bearsbrother WASHOE VALLEY, NV
    Feb. 19, 2012 11:12 p.m.

    What a disjointed story or column, kinda like thinking out loud. Headline is Cougar-Bulldog matchup and you don't even mention the date until its buried near the end. Sigh.

  • DRay Roy, UT
    Feb. 19, 2012 11:13 p.m.

    What is the "Stephen Hawking" report Dick Harmon speaks of? I do not profess to know much, but have watched college b-ball for most of my 60 years, and it seems to me the officiating does need some systematic reporting, because my beloved Cougars are really getting beat up at times, with few of the fouls called. I wonder if anyone else sees a bias on the part of officials...for example, a BYU player gets 30 points in one game, then is called with 2 quick fouls to start the next one...or Davies gets hammered, no foul, then get called himself for a ticky-tac foul on the defensive end...what would a statistical "Stephen Hawking"-like report show???

  • TrueBlue Orem, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 9:30 a.m.

    ManInTheMiddle

    All this talk from a Utah troll who's just trying to make himself feel better about the sorry state of his own team.

    Playing in the WCC may not be the most ideal situation for BYU, but there are many positives, like easy access for thousands of BYU fans to be able to attend BYU road games; being part of a league that appreciates BYU's faith-based institution; and most importantly, and the main reason BYU left the MWC, escaping the MTN and having almost all of BYU's football and basketballl televised nationwide on ESPN or BYUtv.

    The bottom of the WCC may be weaker than the MWC or PAC 12, but the top of the WCC is every bit as challenging as either of those conferences, and even though BYU may take a bit of a hit in RPI, the NCAA tournament is the vast equalizer in college basketball that makes conference affiliation far less important than in football.

  • Cougs4Life Gilbert, AZ
    Feb. 21, 2012 12:06 p.m.

    Utah fans shouldn't complain about the size of anyone's arena until they have enough people at a basketball game to fill one of those HS sized gyms!

  • Where's Stockton ??? Bowling Green, OH
    Feb. 21, 2012 3:25 p.m.

    Cougarista... in case you haven't noticed...the Pac isn't back...not in Basketball. Right now St Mary's and Gonzaga would fit well and better than anything in the PAC in every major conference outside of the ACC or the Big East... and this young BYU team that has emerged from the injuries that have plagued thier Veteran starters this year are more than anything else proving that they are only going to get better. They may not win a game in the finals if they make it that far...but to lose Collinsworth and Rogers so early in the season to still come this far at 23-6 really tells a story of just how good these 8 freshmen either starting... or coming off the bench are already and the potential that they yet have. And as for the Pac...who would have even thought of Cal, Washington or even a new program like Colorado being the leading teams this year. And for USC to be even worse than Utah...now that is something that most would consider unimaginable.

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Feb. 22, 2012 7:25 p.m.

    NightOwlAmerica,

    You said, "take a look at Wake Forest. Has WCC size enrollment and yes a small gym."

    You are half right:

    -Yes, they have a small enrollment - 4,657.

    -But, their basketball arena holds 14,665. That doesn't qualify as a "small gym."

    2 minutes of internet searching would have allowed you to be 100% accurate.