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WCC Men's Basketball Weekly Notes

Jan. 2, 2007

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WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Diamon Simpson, Saint Mary's College
Saint Mary's College sophomore forward Diamon Simpson is this week's WCC Player of the Week for his performance in leading the Gaels to the team championship of the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic. Simpson started the tournament by chipping in 17 points to go along with five rebounds and two blocks in the Gaels' 93-82 win over Western Carolina. The Hayward, CA native then tossed in a career-high 26 and grabbed six boards in SMC's title clinching win over Belmont. For the Week, Simpson averaged 21.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg.

CONFERENCE PLAY BEGINS THIS WEEKEND
After playing grueling non-conference schedules, WCC teams turn their attention to league play beginning this weekend. The WCC adopted a Saturday-Monday conference schedule last season and will continue that trend this season. The conference slate is tipped off with a match-up of the top two teams in the WCC preseason poll as Loyola Marymount travels to Gonzaga on Saturday, January 6th for a 1:00 p.m. (PST) showdown. Later that day, Pepperdine plays at Portland, San Diego travels to San Francisco, and Santa Clara hosts Bay Area rival Saint Mary's.

Tuesday, January 2
Manhattan at Pepperdine - 5:00 PM

Wednesday, January 3
Gonzaga at Virginia - 6:00 PM $

Saturday, January 6
*Loyola Marymount at Gonzaga - 1:00 PM !
*Pepperdine at Portland - 7:00 PM
*Saint Mary's at Santa Clara - 7:00 PM ^
*San Diego at San Francisco - 7:00 PM

Monday, January 8
*Loyola Marymount at Portland - 8:00 PM #
*Pepperdine at Gonzaga - 9:00 PM $

* Denotes Conference game; $ Televised on ESPN2; ! Televised on FSN Northwest; ^ Televised on Comcast SportsNet West; # Televised on ESPNU

AROUND THE WCC

WCC Ranked No. 8 In Latest RPI Listing
The WCC is ranked No. 8 in the latest Collegiate Basketball News RPI listing. The No. 8 ranking marks the third consecutive season that the WCC has been ranked in the top 10, including a conference-best No. 7 ranking to end the 2004-05 season. The WCC's No. 8 RPI ranking is better than some other highly regarded basketball conferences such as the Big 12, the WAC, Conference USA, and the Atlantic 10. The Collegiate Basketball News RPI mimics the NCAA RPI taking into consideration Division I winning percentage, schedule strength, and opponent's schedule strength to generate the RPI rankings.

WCC Owns No. 1 Strength Of Schedule
A large contributing factor in the WCC's No. 8 RPI ranking is the Conference's schedule strength. According to the Collegiate Basketball News RPI report, the WCC has clearly played the toughest schedule in the country. Gonzaga, well known for playing a demanding non-conference schedule, headlines six WCC schools ranked in the top 70 in the country in schedule strength. The Zags (9), are followed by Loyola Marymount (45), Pepperdine (49), Saint Mary's (52), Santa Clara (67), and San Francisco (70). Portland (129) and San Diego (139) rounding out the rest of the WCC schools, making the league the only Division I conference in the country with all of its member institutions in the top 140 in strength of schedule.

Zags Own Nation's Longest Home Court Winning Streak
There's not a more difficult place for visiting teams to play than Gonzaga's McCarthey Athletic Center. The Zags own the nation's longest home court winning streak at 44 consecutive home wins.

Rank - School - Win Streak - Next Home Game (date)
1. - Gonzaga - 45 - Loyola Marymount (1/6)

2. - Connecticut - 30 - South Florida (1/2)
3. - Air Force - 23 - UNLV (1/6)
- BYU - 23 - San Diego State (1/6)
5. - Memphis - 21 - Cincinnati (1/4)

WCC TEAM NOTES

Gonzaga Bulldogs (9-5 / 0-0 WCC)
- Gonzaga suffered an 82-74 setback versus No. 18 Nevada last week.

- The Bulldogs have lost three straight games for the first time since the 2000 season.

- Senior guard Derek Raivio has made 37 straight free throws since missing his final attempt against the University of North Carolina. He shares the Gonzaga record of 41 straight with former Bulldog Geoff Goss.

- The Zags travel to Virginia (1/3) before returning home to host Loyola Marymount (1/6) and Pepperdine (1/8) in their conference opener.

- Gonzaga brings an 8-2 all-time record against the Atlantic Coast Conference into its matchup with Virginia on Wednesday. The Zags had an eight-game winning streak against the ACC snapped by Duke on December 21.

Loyola Marymount Lions (8-8 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Lions ended their non-conference slate with losses at Akron and Monmouth.

- Senior guard Adoyah Miller has led the Lions in scoring in each of the past three games. With the Lions suffering key injuries in the last two weeks, Miller has stepped up to lead the team in scoring with 16.3 ppg over LMU's previous four games.

- Senior forward Matthew Knight , one of the top returning players in the WCC, missed LMU's games versus Akron and Monmouth with a strained knee cap, which he suffered in the Lions' game versus Long Beach State. Knight, who ranks fourth in the WCC in scoring (17.2) and first in rebounding (8.7 rpg), is expected to be ready for conference play.

- The Lions open conference play in the Pacific Northwest as they take on Gonzaga (1/6) and Portland (1/8).

Pepperdine Waves (4-11 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Waves advanced to the championship game of the Comcast Lobo Invitational with a 90-83 win over Binghamton, before falling to host New Mexico, 101-96.

- Senior guards Marvin Lea and Chase Griffin were both named to the all-tournament team. Griffin averaged 19.5 ppg and 3.5 rpg, while Lea added 17.0 ppg and 8.5 rpg in the tournament.

- The Waves lead the conference and rank 16th in the country in scoring with 82.5 ppg. Pepperdine has scored 90 or more points in seven of their 15 games this season.

- Pepperdine enters the week ranked No. 5 in the nation in three-point field goals per game, averaging 10.9 treys per game.

- The Waves host Manhattan (1/2) before traveling to Portland (1/6) and Gonzaga (1/8).

Portland Pilots (4-12 / 0-0 WCC)
- Portland fell to in-state rival Oregon, 76-49, before bouncing back to defeat Lewis & Clark, 74-64.

- In his first career start against Lewis & Clark, freshman guard Taishi Ito notched nine points and a career-high nine assists with just two turnovers.

- Sophomore forward Jamie Jones led the Pilots with 14 points and added 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the season against Lewis & Clark. Jones ranks third in the WCC in overall rebounding with 7.6 rpg and is the WCC's top offensive rebounder with 3.31 offensive boards per game.

- Freshman Parker Emerson notched a career-high 12 points versus Lewis & Clark.

- Portland hosts Pepperdine (1/6) and Loyola Marymount (1/8) to open WCC play.

Saint Mary's Gaels (8-8 / 0-0 WCC)
- Saint Mary's captured the team title of the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic with a 93-82 win over Western Carolina and a 71-60 win over Belmont.

- Sophomore forward Diamon Simpson earned Shamrock Office Solutions Classic MVP honors after posting a career-high 26 points in the title game versus Belmont and 17 points in the Gaels' win over Western Carolina. Simpson has been on a tear, averaging 16.1 ppg to go along with 7.3 rpg over the Gaels' last nine games.

- With 12 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in the tournament, senior Brett Collins joined Simpson on the all-tournament team.

- Saint Mary's opens conference play this weekend at Bay Area rival Santa Clara (1/6) in its lone game of the week.

San Diego Toreros (9-5 / 0-0 WCC)
- San Diego had its seven-game winning streak snapped with a 68-65 setback at Fresno State.

- Senior guard Ross DeRogatis hit six of his 11 three-point attempts to lead the Toreros with 20 points against Fresno State. DeRogatis ranks third in the WCC in three-point field goals made with 40 and enters the week with 170 career treys. DeRogatis needs just 13 more three-pointers to tie the Toreros' career record held by Sean Flannery (1992-97).

- Sophomore forward Gyno Pomare, who notched his third double-double of the season versus Fresno State, is one of just two players in the conference to rank in the top 10 in the WCC in scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots. Pomare ranks ninth in the WCC in scoring (14.3 ppg), second in rebounding (8.1 rpg), and third in blocks (1.79 bpg).

- The Toreros open their conference slate at San Francisco (1/6).

San Francisco Dons (4-11 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Dons' struggles continued as USF fell to Louisville, 76-63, for their seventh straight loss.

- Senior guard Armondo Surratt and sophomore guard Antonio Kellogg lead USF in scoring, both ranking in the top 10 in the WCC with more than 14 points per game. The two also rank in the top 10 in the conference in assists, making them the only backcourt tandem in the conference to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and assists.

- The Dons played 11 of their 15 preseason games on the road, compiling a record of 2-9 away from the friendly confines of War Memorial Gym.

- Senior forward Alan Wiggins, Jr. leads the WCC in field goal percentage with a .571 clip.

- USF looks to turn its season around when it hosts San Diego (1/6) in its WCC opener.

Santa Clara Broncos (10-5 / 0-0 WCC)
- Santa Clara posted a 53-39 win over Colgate in the first round of the Cable Car Classic before dropping a 78-48 decision to No. 23 Air Force.

- The Broncos won their 10th non-conference game of the year against Colgate, setting a new team record for non-league wins during Head Coach Dick Davey's tenure. Under Davey, the team record for non-conference wins was nine, set five times (1994-95, 1995-6, 1997-98, 1999-00 and 2002-03).

- The Broncos own an RPI ranking of 55, according to Collegiate Basketball News.

- Sophomore center John Bryant was named to the Cable Car Classic all-tournament team.

- Santa Clara opens up conference play by hosting Bay Area rival Saint Mary's (1/6).