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WCC Weekly Men's Basketball Notes: Jan. 11, 2011

Jan. 11, 2011

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AROUND THE WCC

West Coast Conference play resumes on Thursday night, with all eight teams in action. All four games will be televised.

SMC's McConnell named WCC Player of the Week again
Saint Mary's senior G Mickey McConnell earned WCC Player of the Week honors for the second straight week. McConnell averaged 16.0 points per game, shooting 12-for-16 from the floor (.750) and 6-for-10 from 3-point range (.600), with 23 assists and just four turnovers. Against LMU, McConnell led all scorers with 21 points, going 8-for-9 from the floor and 3-for-4 from behind the arc, adding 8 assists. At Pepperdine, he posted a double-double with 11 points and a career-best 15 assists.Also nominated: Perris Blackwell, San Francisco; Lorne Jackson, Pepperdine

WCC Quick Hits...

  • Three WCC teams boast a top 50 RPI ranking, in the latest NCAA release: Gonzaga (31), Saint Mary's (39), and Portland (41).
  • Saint Mary's and Portland, the two WCC teams that are unbeaten at home this season, each host a pair of conference home games this week.
  • This season marks the 25th anniversary of the Zappos.com WCC Men's Basketball Championship.
  • The WCC won eight games against BCS schools, including a 4-2 mark against the Big 12.
  • WCC Live is On the Air Each Week
    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 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:

  • Jerry Palm of collegerpi.com
  • USF head coach Rex Walters
  • Saint Mary's senior guard Mickey McConnell
  • LMU women's guard Renahy Young
  • "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:

  • WCC weekly highlights
  • 60 Seconds With LMU's Vernon Teel and Anthony Ireland
  • 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.

    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: 11-5
    WCC Record: 1-0
  • Gonzaga opened West Coast Conference play with a 74-67 victory over visiting Portland on Saturday. The Buldogs have won seven straight.
  • Senior guard Steven Gray scored 19 points in the Zags' victory over Portland. As a team, the Bulldogs forced 20 Portland turnovers.
  • According to collegerpi.com, Gonzaga has played the nation's 12th-toughest schedule to date, and the Zags have had to go a long way to do it. In non-conference play, Gonzaga traveled 16,353 miles.
  • The Bulldogs host Pepperdine on Thursday evening (6 p.m., KHQ/Universal Sports Seattle) and Loyola Marymount on Saturday (5 p.m., KHQ/FSN Northwest).

  • Overall Record: 8-8
    WCC Record: 1-1
  • Loyola Marymount fell 98-75 in its WCC opener at home to Saint Mary's on Thursday night, but rebounded to top San Diego, 67-58, on Saturday.
  • Senior guard Vernon Teel scored 19 to pace the Lions in the Saint Mary's game. Teel added his fifth double-double of the season, 16 points and 12 rebounds, in the win over San Diego.
  • Teel and redshirt junior forward Drew Viney rank second and third, respectively, on the WCC's rebounding leaderboard (7.3, 7.2 per game). As a team, the Lions lead the West Coast Conference, averaging 40.6 rebounds per game.
  • The Lions visit Portland on Thursday night (8 p.m., ESPN2), and then make their way to Spokane to face Gonzaga on Saturday (5 p.m., KHQ-TV/FSN Northwest).

  • Overall Record: 7-12
    WCC Record: 1-1
  • Pepperdine rallied from a seven point first half deficit to top visiting San Diego, 75-55, in the WCC opener in Malibu on Thursday night. On Saturday, Pepperdine fell 85-60 to Saint Mary's.
  • Four Waves scored in double figures against the Gaels on Saturday, led by a 16-point effort from junior forward Taylor Darby. Darby also added nine rebounds.
  • Junior guard Lorne Jackson scored a career-high 26 points in the come-from-behind victory over the Toreros on Thursday. Jackson added 15 against Saint Mary's, including 6-of-8 from the free throw line.
  • Pepperdine travels to Gonzaga on Thursday (6 p.m., KHQ/Universal Sports Seattle) and Portland on Saturday (7 p.m., portlandpilots.com).

  • Overall Record: 12-4
    WCC Record: 0-1
  • Portland had its five-game winning streak snapped, falling 74-67 at Gonzaga on Saturday.
  • The Pilots lead the nation in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on 45% of their attempts as a team.
  • Junior guard Nemanja Mitrovic earned West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Month honors for December. In seven games, Mitrovic averaged 17.4 points per game while shooting 57% from the floor and 88% from the free throw line. He shot an incredible 63% from beyond the three-point arc (30-of-48) for the month.
  • Portland welcomes Loyola Marymount to the Chiles Center on Thursday night (8 p.m., ESPN2), and Pepperdine comes to town on Saturday (7 p.m., portlandpilots.com).

  • Overall Record: 14-2
    WCC Record: 2-0
  • Six players scored in double figures as Saint Mary's opened WCC play with an impressive 98-75 win at Loyola Marymount on Thursday. On Saturday, the Gaels won their eighth straight with a 25-point triumph at Pepperdine.
  • Senior guard Mickey McConnell was named the WCC Player of the Week for the second straight week on Monday. McConnell averaged 16.0 points per game in the two SMC wins, and had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 5.75 for the week (23 assists, 4 turnovers).
  • The Gaels out-scored their two WCC opponents by an average of 24 points. Saint Mary's ranks in the nation's top five in five offensive categories (see page four for more).
  • The Gaels open up their home conference schedule against Bay Area rivals San Francisco (Thurs., 7:30 p.m., CSN +/CSN NW) and Santa Clara (Sat., 8 p.m., CSN Bay Area).

  • Overall Record: 3-13
    WCC Record: 0-2
  • San Diego dropped its WCC opener, falling 75-55 at Pepperdine on Thursday, and the Toreros came up short Saturday at LMU, 67-58. It was USD's seventh game away from home in its last eight contests.
  • Senior forward Matt Dorr paced the Toreros with 16 points at Pepperdine on Thursday, with 13 of those points coming in the first half. Dorr's 16 point effort was a season-best, and two shy of his career high.
  • Junior guard Darian Norris dropped a season high 24 points at Loyola Marymount on Saturday night on 8-of-16 shooting. Norris leads the Toreros in scoring, at 11.3 points per game.
  • San Diego returns to Jenny Craig Pavilion for the first time in exactly one month for a pair of WCC contests this week. The Toreros host Santa Clara on Thursday (7 p.m., 4 SD) before welcoming San Francisco on Saturday night (6 p.m., 4 SD/CSN Bay Area).

  • Overall Record: 7-9
    WCC Record: 1-0
  • Down eleven at halftime, San Francisco rallied for a quality 74-67 road win at Santa Clara on Saturday night. It was the Dons' third straight victory.
  • Sophomore forward Perris Blackwell had a big game in the win at Santa Clara. Blackwell scored 18 points and pulled down 16 rebounds in the win. He ranks second in the WCC in field goal percentage, shooting 59.5% from the floor.
  • Sophomore Michael Williams ranks third in the West Coast Conference in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on 50.6% of his attempts from beyond the arc. Williams is USF's leading scorer at 16.1 points per game.
  • San Francisco continues its road stretch this week, as the Dons visit Saint Mary's on Thursday night (7:30 p.m., CSN +/CSN NW) and then take their road show to San Diego on Saturday (6 p.m., 4 SD/CSN Bay Area).

  • Overall Record: 9-8
    WCC Record: 0-1
  • Santa Clara dropped its West Coast Conference opener, falling 74-67 to visiting San Francisco on Saturday night.
  • Redshirt sophomore guard Kevin Foster scored 26 points, dished out six assists, and had three steals against the Dons. Foster is the WCC's leading scorer, averaging 18.9 points per game.
  • Junior forward Marc Trasolini scored 11 points and pulled down seven boards in the conference opener. Trasolini averages 6.3 boards per game, ranking eighth in the WCC.
  • The Broncos hit the road for a pair this week. Santa Clara travels to San Diego on Thursday (7 p.m., 4 SD) and then returns to the Bay Area to take on Saint Mary's on Saturday. Tip time is scheduled for 8 p.m. from Moraga (CSN Bay Area).