Eugene Tanner/2012 AP file photoAll-WCC pick Cole Dickerson has stepped up for USF after early-season difficulties found the Dons struggling for an identity and leadership.

USF picked to finish fourth in West Coast Conference

The USF men's basketball team was picked to finish fourth in the West Coast Conference by the league's coaches on Thursday.

The Dons are led by senior forward Cole Dickerson (15.2 points per game, 9.8 rebounds per game) and senior guard Cody Doolin (12.2 ppg, 5.6 apg), who were both named to the preseason All-WCC Team. Dickerson led the WCC in rebounding last season and Doolin has started every game of his collegiate career at USF.

As for the other Bay Area teams in the WCC, St. Mary's was predicted to finish third and even received one first-place vote, while Santa Clara came in eighth in the voting.

Gonzaga was named the favorite to win the WCC title, receiving eight of 10 first-place votes.

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.

This marks the first year Pacific, which was predicted to finish seventh, will be a part of the WCC.

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.

The season tops off Nov. 11 for eight of the 10 WCC teams.

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