The West Coast Conference isn't all about Gonzaga, at least at the moment.
Others are setting the pace while 11th-ranked Gonzaga is struggling somewhat in the improved league, where teams are drawing attention for more than simply being another notch on the Bulldogs' victory belt.
The tiny conference is in a spotlight because new trendsetters impressed in the nonconference season, and even the NCAA tournament selection committee might soon take notice.
One tournament bid surely wouldn't be enough for the WCC if everything holds to form, but stranger things have happened behind closed doors.
Just to play it safe, the WCC's up-and-comers should continue to floor the accelerator as St. Mary's did Saturday night in an 83-66 victory over Loyola Marymount at Gersten Pavilion.
The Gaels pulled away from the Lions in the second half and remained in a first-place tie with Santa Clara, which defeated North Carolina in the Tar Heels' season opener.
St. Mary's (17-5 overall, 4-1 in conference play) appears to be the team setting the pace in the WCC, and that's a sign of changing times.
"The league is a long way from being over, but St. Mary's is in the driver's seat right now," Loyola Coach Steve Aggers said. "Gonzaga already has two losses. It just looks like St. Mary's is the team to beat."
Of course, Gonzaga still plans to finish the season, so St. Mary's and Santa Clara should hold off on the party.
But there's reason for the rest of the WCC to feel good.
"There's a lot of good basketball being played in this conference," said St. Mary's Coach Randy Bennett, whose name is expected to be on many lists for higher-profile jobs after the season.
"You're seeing the results from a lot of hard work. A lot of coaches are doing a good job with their programs."
None better than Bennett in the WCC.
Bennett, a former assistant to Washington Coach Lorenzo Romar at Pepperdine and St. Louis, has quickly revived the Gaels, who won only two games in the 2000-01 season.
St. Mary's had nine victories in Bennett's first season, 15 the second and 19 last season while reaching the title game of the conference tournament.
"I am proud of what our guys have done," Bennett said. "I'm proud of what everyone affiliated with our program has accomplished.
"But we know how hard it's going to be because the conference is getting so much better. You're facing tough teams every night now."
However, Bennett prefers this over the old times.
Gonzaga won the previous four regular-season championships, dominating the other seven schools while reinforcing the perception the WCC was a one-team league. And perceptions don't fade easily, especially when at-large tournament bids are at stake.
The WCC has had two participants in the NCAA tournament only five times in the last 15 years. In recent seasons, the conference has received an at-large bid only when Gonzaga was upset in the WCC tournament, where the winner receives the automatic berth.
But the WCC's eye-opening performance in nonconference play has stirred talk within the conference of multiple at-large bids this season.
There were many impressive victories and quality defeats, with every school contributing to the important list that could carry weight with the selection committee.
Gonzaga, which hasn't been typically sharp in conference, also did its best work against high-profile outsiders.
The Bulldogs defeated Washington at home, Georgia Tech (in a game at Las Vegas) and Oklahoma State (at Oklahoma City).
No other school in the nation had three as impressive nonconference victories, so Gonzaga's rough start in conference is another sign the WCC isn't a one-team show these days.
"Everybody is hungry," Bennett said. "Some of it is the Gonzaga thing; we all had to recruit better and do better because everybody is chasing them. That elevated everyone. It motivated everyone because Gonzaga is up there.
"But there are also a lot of guys taking pride in what they do. That also had a lot to do with what's happening in this conference."