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WCC Weekly Men's Basketball Notes: Jan. 14, 2011

Jan. 14, 2011

Watch this week's episode of The Road to Las Vegas

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West Coast Conference continues with a full slate of games on Saturday evening.

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 right 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 West Coast Conference teams boast a top 50 RPI ranking, according to collegerpi.com: Gonzaga (35), Saint Mary's (42), and Portland (47).
  • Saint Mary's and Portland each moved to 9-0 at home this season with conference wins on Thursday night.
  • After Thursday's action, San Francisco is the only WCC team yet to host a conference home game. The Dons are at San Diego on Saturday, and will return to War Memorial Gym to host Portland next week.
  • "The Road to Las Vegas," the WCC's weekly web video show, is available on-demand. This week's show features game highlights, and LMU's Vernon Teel interviews teammate Anthony Ireland. For more, see page 4.
  • This season marks the 25th anniversary of the Zappos.com WCC Men's Basketball Championship.
  • Santa Clara, one of two WCC teams with a winning road record (along with Portland), visits Saint Mary's Saturday. The Gaels are unblemished at home.
  • 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 .
    Jan. 12 show (available on-demand):

  • 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 Going Fast
    Tickets for the 2011 Zappos.com WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships are on-sale, and are going fast. The 2011 West Coast Conference Basketball Championships will once again be held March 4-7 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas for the third consecutive season. The previous two tournaments were sellouts. 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.




    Overall Record: 12-5
    WCC Record: 2-0
  • Gonzaga improved to 2-0 in WCC play with a 92-75 victory over visiting Pepperdine on Thursday night. It was the Zags' eighth straight win - their longest winning streak of the season to date.
  • Senior guard Steven Gray scored 19 points and dished out nine assists in the Pepperdine win. Redshirt junior center Robert Sacre added 24 points (on 8-for-8 shooting) with three blocks.
  • 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 wrap-up their homestand with an early evening tip against Loyola Marymount on Saturday (5 p.m., KHQ/FSN Northwest).

  • Overall Record: 8-9
    WCC Record: 1-2
  • Loyola Marymount dropped a heartbreaking 79-78 double-overtime decision at Portland on Thursday night.
  • Redshirt junior forward Drew Viney scored 24 points and pulled down seven rebounds in the setback at Portland.
  • Despite struggling from the field on the night, senior guard Vernon Teel was 6-of-8 from the free throw line and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds before fouling out at Portland.
  • The Lions continue their northwest swing, traveling to Spokane on Saturday to face Gonzaga (5 p.m., KHQ-TV/FSN Northwest).

  • Overall Record: 7-13
    WCC Record: 1-2
  • Pepperdine dropped a 92-75 decision at Gonzaga on Thursday night in its first conference road test.
  • Three Waves scored in double figures at Gonzaga on Thursday, led by 18 points from junior guard Lorne Jackson. Jackson was 7-of-11 from the floor on Thursday, and he ranks second in the conference in points per game during WCC play, averaging 19.7.
  • After missing three games due to injury, junior guard Keion Bell returned to the linueup Thursday night. Bell scored nine points, dished out three assists, and pulled down four rebounds in 28 minutes of action. Bell is the leading scorer in the WCC at 19.9 points per game.
  • Pepperdine visits Portland on Saturday (7 p.m., free video on portlandpilots.com).

  • Overall Record: 13-4
    WCC Record: 1-1
  • Portland held off Loyola Marymount, 79-78, in a double overtime game at the Chiles Center on Thursday. It was the Pilots' sixth win in their last seven.
  • Senior forward Luke Sikma posted his conference-leading seventh double-double of the season, scoring 24 points and pulling down ten rebounds against the Lions.
  • Despite shooting just 7-of-22 on Thursday from beyond the arc, the Pilots rank second in the nation in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on 44% of their attempts as a team.
  • Portland hosts Pepperdine on Saturday night (7 p.m., free video on portlandpilots.com).

  • Overall Record: 15-2
    WCC Record: 3-0
  • Saint Mary's won its ninth straight game - the longest win streak for any WCC team this season - with a 71-57 home win over San Francisco.
  • 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, four turnovers). He added 19 points in Thursday's win on 7-of-14 shooting.
  • Redshirt junior forward Rob Jones scored eleven points and pulled down ten rebounds in the win over USF. In conference play, Jones is averaging 13 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
  • The Gaels host South Bay rival Santa Clara on Saturday (8 p.m., Comcast SportsNet Bay Area).

  • Overall Record: 3-14
    WCC Record: 0-3
  • In its first home game since December 13, San Diego fell 61-52 to visiting Santa Clara on Thursday.
  • Senior forward Matt Dorr paced the Toreros with a 12-point effort against the Broncos on Thursday. Dorr is averaging ten points per game during West Coast Conference play.
  • Junior guard Darian Norris scored eight points on 4-of-5 shooting, and dished out six assists in the Santa Clara game Thursday. In conference play, Norris leads the Toreros in scoring, averaging 15.3 points per game.
  • The Toreros host San Francisco on Saturday night (6 p.m., 4 SD/Comcast SportsNet Bay Area).

  • Overall Record: 7-10
    WCC Record: 1-1
  • San Francisco had its three-game winning streak snapped on Thursday night, falling by a 71-57 score at Saint Mary's. The Dons' defense limited the Gaels' potent offensive attack to almost 14 points fewer than their per-game average.
  • Sophomore Michael Williams ranks third in the West Coast Conference in scoring, averaging 17.5 points per game during conference play. He scored 17 against the Gaels on Thursday.
  • Senior center Moustapha Diarra came off the bench to pour in eleven points and pull down six boards on Thursday night in Moraga.
  • San Francisco travels to San Diego on Saturday (6 p.m., 4 SD/Comcast SportsNet Bay Area).

  • Overall Record: 10-8
    WCC Record: 1-1
  • Santa Clara evened its conference mark at 1-1, with a come-from-behind 61-52 victory at San Diego on Thursday night.
  • Senior forward Troy Payne came off the bench to score a season-high ten points in the win over the Toreros. Payne also registered a career-best six steals.
  • Redshirt sophomore guard Kevin Foster, the West Coast Conference's leading scorer in WCC play, dropped a game-high 15 on Thursday night. Foster is averaging 20.5 points per game in conference play.
  • The Broncos travel to Moraga on Saturday to face unbeaten Saint Mary's. Tip time is scheduled for 8 p.m., and the game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.