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WCC Weekly Men's Basketball Notes: Jan. 4, 2011

Jan. 4, 2011

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AROUND THE WCC

West Coast Conference play begins on Thursday night, with four WCC schools hitting the hardwood. All eight WCC schools will compete on Saturday, as The Road to Las Vegas begins.

SMC's McConnell named WCC Player of the Week
Saint Mary's senior guard Mickey McConnell averaged 24.5 points, 10 assists, and three rebounds per game this week, helping the Gaels go 2-0 and improve to 12-2 with wins over Mississippi State and Hartford. He shot 14-for-28 from the floor (.500) and 9-for-20 from 3-point range (.450). In the win over Mississippi State in Las Vegas, he recorded his first double-double of the year, with career-high's in points (28) and assists (13). His 28 points led all scorers that game. Also nominated: Elias Harris, Gonzaga; Nemanja Mitrovic, Portland; Drew Viney, Loyola Marymount

WCC Quick Hits...

  • Seven of eight WCC teams ended pre-conference play with a win or on a winning streak.
  • Three WCC teams begin conference play with a top 50 RPI according to collegerpi.com: Portland (37), Saint Mary's (41), and Gonzaga (44).
  • Saint Mary's and Portland, the two WCC teams that are unbeaten at home this season, open conference play with a pair of road games this week.
  • Last week the WCC earned its first wins over the ACC and SEC, while improving to 4-2 against the Big 12.
  • WCC Live Returns to the "Airwaves"
    The West Coast Conference is proud to announce the return of its weekly Internet radio show, WCC Live. The hour-long show is hosted by Jeff Lampe and features interviews with WCC coaches and student-athletes throughout the basketball season. WCC Live premieres with a new live stream every Wednesday at 8 p.m., with an archive available on-demand and for free download. Listeners can call in to the show as it airs live each week, and can also interact with guests through e-mail and Twitter. The show returns on Wednesday, January 5 and can be found at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/WCCsports.
    Fans can call in and chat live with the host and guests by calling (877) 779-6383 or by e-mailing their questions to radio@westcoast.org .
    On this week's show:

  • LMU head coach Max Good
  • Portland senior forward Luke Sikma
  • Gonzaga head women's coach Kelly Graves
  • Pepperdine radio broadcaster Al Epstein
  • "The Road To Las Vegas" Returns
    The start of WCC play marks the retun of the WCC's "The Road to Las Vegas" weekly web video show, "The Road to Las Vegas." Each Wednesday, a new "Road to Las Vegas" show will premiere on WCCsports.com, leading up to the Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball Championships in March. Join host Ted Robinson and various WCC TV correspondents as they present WCC coaches and student-athletes up-close in a fun setting. New episodes can be found on WCCsports.com each week, and are available for viewing on-demand.
    On this week's show:

  • MyTown, with USD women's point guard Dominique Conners
  • 60 Seconds With Santa Clara's Kevin Foster and Marc Trasolini
  • A New Look
    The West Coast Conference has teamed with CBSSports.com College Network, its web site host and multimedia partner, to re-launch WCCsports.com. Among the new features on the site are front-and-center video content, larger images and graphics, campus updates, fan polls, and integration with other West Coast Conference social media platforms - such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Visitors to WCCsports.com can also find additional features such as a WCC insider blog, and interactive results.

    Rackin' Up the Frequent Flyer Miles
    Already this season, WCC teams haven't been afraid to hop on a plane to face the nation's best. West Coast Conference teams have played games in 18 states this season: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

    Coaches Tab Gonzaga For Top Spot in Preseason Poll
    Gonzaga was selected as the favorite to win the 2010-11 West Coast Conference Championship after receiving six first place votes and 48 of a possible 49 points from conference head coaches in the annual WCC preseason poll. Loyola Marymount, which reached the College Insider.com Tournament last year for its first postseason appearance in 20 years, was picked to finish second. The Lions return 13 players from last year's 18-win team. Saint Mary's, which was picked third, is coming off the first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in school history and the 2010 Zappos.com WCC Men's Basketball Tournament Championship. Santa Clara was picked to finish fourth by the coaches, followed by Portland, San Francisco, Pepperdine and San Diego.

    2010-11 WCC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
    Team - points (first place votes)
    1. Gonzaga - 48 (6)
    2. Loyola Marymount - 42 (1)
    3. Saint Mary's - 39 (1)
    4. Santa Clara - 28
    5. Portland - 25
    6. San Francisco - 18
    7. Pepperdine - 14
    8. San Diego - 10

    2010-11 WCC Preseason All-Conference Team
    The preseason All-WCC team, as selected by the conference's head coaches, features representatives from six of the eight schools. In addition, Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount, Saint Mary's, and Santa Clara each had two preseason all-conference selections apiece.

    2010-11 WCC Men's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team
    Keion Bell, PEP
    Matthew Dellavedova, SMC
    Kevin Foster, SCU
    Steven Gray, GON
    Elias Harris, GON
    Mickey McConnell, SMC
    Jared Stohl, POR
    Vernon Teel, LMU
    Marc Trasolini, SCU
    Drew Viney, LMU

    What'd He Say?
    For the latest scores and news, follow the West Coast Conference on Twitter @WCCSports.

    Did you know that WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich is on Twitter, too? See what The Commish has on his mind. Follow him @WCC_Commish.

    Four WCC Teams See Postseason Action
    For just the second time in conference history, four West Coast Conference men's basketball teams advanced to the postseason following the 2010 WCC campaign. Saint Mary's, the 2010 Zappos.com West Coast Conference Tournament champion, made an appearance in the Sweet 16 after knocking off Richmond and Villanova in the NCAA Tournament.

    Two Named To Wooden Preseason List
    Gonzaga's Steven Gray and Elias Harris are on the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list announced by The Los Angeles Athletic Club. The list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor. Gray, a senior from Irondale, Wash., and Harris, a sophomore from Speyer, Germany, give the Bulldogs 10 nominees in the history of the award. Gray and Harris each started all 34 games for the Bulldogs last season. They are the top two returning scorers for the Bulldogs, Harris averaging 14.9 ppg and Gray 13.6 ppg last season. Harris was the top field goal shooter last year, shooting 54.7 percent from the field (180-for-329), and also paced the Bulldogs in rebounds at 7.1 rpg. Both Bulldogs were named to the All-West Coast Conference first team, and Harris was tabbed the WCC Newcomer of the Year by the conference coaches.

    Zappos.com Named Title Sponsor of the WCC Championships
    The West Coast Conference (WCC) and its multi-media rights partner, IMG College, announced Zappos.com as the official title sponsor of the WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships. The deal represents the WCC's first-ever title sponsorship. In addition, the WCC and Zappos.com have partnered with Soles4Souls to challenge each West Coast Conference campus to collect the most shoes from December to the end of the conference basketball season. The gently used shoes will be distributed internationally through Soles4Souls to individuals in need. Last year's shoe drive resulted in over 5,200 shoes being donated to Soles4Souls by West Coast Conference institutions.

    WCC Tournament to Remain at the Orleans Arena Through 2012
    On July 22, 2009, the WCC and the Orleans Arena announced a three-year contract extension that will keep the WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships in Las Vegas through 2012. The extension comes after the WCC sold out the Orleans Arena for the 2009 WCC Basketball Championships. The 2009 championship, which was the WCC's first-ever at a neutral site, set conference records for both total championship attendance (33,320) and single session championship attendance (7,845). Tickets for the 2010-11 event are available by visiting www.orleansarena.com or calling 1-888-234-2334.

    West Coast Conference to Welcome BYU in 2011-12
    The West Coast Conference announced that Brigham Young University has formally accepted an invitation to join the WCC with competition to begin in the 2011-12 academic year. BYU has been consistently recognized as one of the top-rated academic institutions in the nation and is home to an athletic program that has enjoyed success at both the conference and national levels. BYU, which will become an independent in FBS football, will compete in the West Coast Conference in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball. This is the first time the West Coast Conference has formally invited an institution as a full member since Gonzaga University and the University of San Diego began competing in the WCC in 1979.

    Zappos.com WCC Championships Tickets On-Sale
    Tickets for the 2011 Zappos.com WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships are now on-sale. The 2011 West Coast Conference Basketball Championships will once again be held March 4-7. The 2011 Zappos.com WCC Championships will take place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas for the third consecutive season. The previous two tournaments were sellouts, and tickets for 2011 are going fast. Tickets can be purchased by logging on to www.orleansarena.com or by calling 1-888-234-2334. All-session tickets are $135 - less than $10 per game for the 14-game tournament.

    Shining on the National Stage
    The West Coast Conference will once again be a major player on the national television scene with a 24-game package on the ESPN family of networks. A total of seven non-conference games involving WCC teams will air on an ESPN property. There will be a total of 17 conference games on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU in 2010-11, including the Zappos.com WCC Basketball Championship semifinals on ESPN2 on Sunday, March 6 and the championship game on ESPN on Monday, March 7. The West Coast Conference will once again be a centerpiece to ESPN's Thursday night coverage with weekly time slots on both ESPN2 and ESPNU in January and February.

    Download the complete release (PDF) above to view the full TV schedule.

     


     
    WCC TEAM NOTES

    SCHOOL TEAM NOTES

    Overall Record: 10-5
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • Gonzaga ran its winning streak to six in a row after home wins over Lafayette and Oklahoma State, and a road victory at Wake Forest. Sophomore Elias Harris averaged over 16 points and seven rebounds per game last week, and the OSU victory was No. 300 for GU head coach Mark Few.
  • According to collegerpi.com, Gonzaga has played the nation's 20th-toughest schedule to date, and the Zags have had to go a long way to do it. In non-conference play, Gonzaga has traveled 16,353 miles.
  • In the preseason poll of WCC head coaches, the Bulldogs were picked to win their eleventh straight WCC regular season crown. Gonzaga garnered six of seven possible first place votes.
  • The Bulldogs open West Coast Conference play on Saturday, when they welcome Portland to the Kennel. The game tips at 5:30, and it can be seen on KAYU-TV and FSN Northwest.

  • Overall Record: 7-7
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • Loyola Marymount wrapped up 2010 with an 87-80 victory at UC Irvine on December 30 after an eight day layoff.
  • Redshirt junior forward Drew Viney dropped a double-double (22 points, ten rebounds) in LMU's win at UC Irvine, which was the Lions' first win there since 1984.
  • Viney and senior guard Vernon Teel each rank in the WCC's top five rebounders per game (7.8, 7.1 respectively). As a team, the Lions lead the West Coast Conference, averaging 41.0 rebounds per game.
  • The Lions begin their WCC schedule with a pair of home games this weekend. LMU welcomes Saint Mary's on Thursday night (6 p.m., ESPNU) and San Diego on Saturday (7 p.m., lmulions.com).

  • Overall Record: 6-11
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Waves lost at Alabama and Miami (Fla.) last week, but rebounded to close out non-conference play with a home win over Seattle.
  • Senior forward Mychel Thompson and junior guard Lorne Jackson each posted a double-double -- the first of their careers -- in the win over Seattle. Thompson ranks in the WCC's top ten in steals (1.3) and blocks (1.1) per game.
  • Junior guard Keion Bell remains atop the WCC leaderboard, averaging 20.7 points per game. Bell's 94 free throws made are also tops in the conference.
  • Pepperdine opens WCC play Thursday night at home against San Diego (7 p.m., pepperdinesports.com). The Waves then host Saint Mary's (Prime Ticket/CSN +) on Saturday at 5 p.m.

  • Overall Record: 12-3
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • Portland wrapped up 2010 with an 88-79 victory over Utah on December 31, improving the Pilots' home record to 8-0. Overall, the Pilots enter 2011 having won their last five games.
  • Junior guard Nemanja Mitrovic, last week's WCC Co-Player of the Week, scored 21 points on 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the three-point arc in Portland's win over the Utes.
  • Senior forward Luke Sikma ranks 12th in the country and tops in the WCC in rebounding, averaging 10.7 boards per night.
  • Portland begins its pursuit of a West Coast Conference title on Saturday, when the Pilots head north to Spokane to face Gonzaga. KAYU-TV and FSN Northwest will televise the game live, with tip-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

  • Overall Record: 12-2
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • Saint Mary's ran its winning streak to six consecutive games with victories over Mississippi State (in Las Vegas) and Hartford last week.
  • Senior guard Mickey McConnell was named WCC Player of the Week, after averaging 24.5 points and ten assists in the two Saint Mary's victories last week. McConnell was 14-of-28 from the floor and 9-for-20 from beyond the arc.
  • Saint Mary's ranks in the national top ten in seven statistical categories. The Gaels also feature four players averaging double figures in scoring: McConnell (15.3), Rob Jones (14.5), Matthew Dellavedova (13.6), and Mitchell Young (11.7).
  • The Gaels open WCC play on the road this week, with games at Loyola Marymount on Thursday night (6 p.m., ESPNU) and Pepperdine on Saturday (5 p.m., Prime Ticket/CSN +).

  • Overall Record: 3-11
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • San Diego lost its lone contest last week, falling at North Carolina State in Raleigh. It was USD's fifth game away from home in its last six contests.
  • Junior guard Darian Norris remains the leading scorer on the San Diego team, averaging 10.2 points per game. Sophomore forward Ken Rancifer is the other Torero averaging double figures, at 10.0 per game.
  • Norris is tied for third in the West Coast Conference, with 22 steals over 14 games played so far this season.
  • San Diego makes the short trek north for a pair of WCC contests this week. The Toreros travel to Pepperdine on Thursday (7 p.m., pepperdinesports.com), and Loyola Marymount on Saturday (7 p.m., lmulions.com).

  • Overall Record: 6-9
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • After falling to Colorado State, the Dons rebounded for a quality win over Hampton (RPI: 87) and a victory over Dominican in the Hilltop Challenge last week.
  • Junior Angelo Caloiaro posted a double-double (21 points, ten rebounds) in 23 minutes of action against Dominican last time out. For the season, the junior is averaging 10.7 points and 7.2 boards per contest.
  • Sophomore forward Perris Blackwell ranks second in the WCC in field goal percentage, shooting 60.6% from the floor. He is averaging 10.3 points per game.
  • San Francisco opens West Coast Conference play at Bay Area rival Santa Clara on Saturday night. The game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. tip and will be televised live on CSN California.

  • Overall Record: 9-7
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Broncos split a pair in the Cable Car Classic, falling to Delaware and knocking off Fordham. They opened 2011 with a 30-point white-washing of Bethany.
  • Redshirt sophomore guard Kevin Foster ranks second in the West Coast Conference, averaging 18.4 points per game. The Texan also ranks fifth in the WCC, averaging 3.8 per contest.
  • Freshman guard Evan Roquemore scored eight points and dished out five assists in the win over Bethany. On the season, the Nevada native is averaging 3.3 assists per game.
  • Santa Clara welcomes nearby foe San Francisco to the Leavey Center on Saturday night to get West Coast Conference play underway. Game time is scheduled for 8 p.m., with a live telecast on Comcast SportsNet California.