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WCC Men's Basketball: Monday Morning Storylines

Jan. 26, 2009


Gonzaga Hosts Saint Mary's In First Place Showdown
No. 20 Gonzaga hosts No. 18 Saint Mary's Thursday evening with first place on the line. The game will be televised on ESPN2 at 8:00 PM (PST). The game marks the first contest this season between two ranked conference opponents from a non-BCS conference. The Zags and the Gaels enter the game with unblemished 5-0 WCC records. Saint Mary's will put its national best 15-game winning streak on the line, while Gonzaga enters the game with a six-game winning streak, which is tied for the 18th longest in the country.

Two WCC Teams Ranked In The Top 25; Saint Mary's Earns Fourth Highest Ranking Ever
The WCC remained the only non-BCS conference with two teams ranked in the top 25 as Saint Mary's jumped up to No. 18 in the latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, while Gonzaga entered the coaches poll with a No. 25 listing. The Zags moved up to No. 20 in the latest Associated Press poll, while Saint Mary's entered the AP rankings for the first time this season, debuting at No. 22. The WCC is tied for the fourth most teams ranked in the top 25 and is one of six conferences with multiple teams in the latest coaches rankings. The Big East leads the way with eight teams in the latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, followed by the ACC (4), the Big Ten (4), the WCC (2), the Big 12 (2), and the Pac-10 (2). The Gaels' No. 18 ranking is the fourth highest in school history. Saint Mary's earned a No. 14 ranking in the Associated Press poll on December 9, 1958.

Portland Matches Best WCC Start In School History
The Portland Pilots earned a road sweep of Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine to improve to 4-1 in conference play, matching the best conference-opening start in school history. The Pilots tied the school's 1980 and 1998 squads for the best WCC starts in program history. The Pilots will look to become the first team in school history to open the WCC season with a 5-1 mark when they host San Diego (12-8/4-1) on Thursday evening in a showdown of third place teams.

WCC STANDINGS (As of 1/26)
TEAM WCC RECCORD
PERCENTAGE
GAMES BACK
OVERALL RECORD
No. 18 Saint Mary's 5-0
1.000
-- 18-1
No. 20 Gonzaga 5-0
1.000
-- 14-4
Portland 4-1
.800
1.0 13-7
San Diego 4-1
.800
1.0 12-8
Santa Clara 1-4
.200
4.0 9-13
Pepperdine 1-4
.200
4.0 4-17
San Francisco 0-5
.000
5.0 8-12
Loyola Marymount 0-5
.000
5.0 1-20

Santa Clara's Bryant Leads Nation In Overall Rebounds; Second In Double-Doubles
Santa Clara senior John Bryant scored 20 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in the Broncos' win over Houston Baptist on Sunday. The 21-rebound performance was Bryant's fourth 20+ rebound game of the season, the most in the country, and it marked the fourth time he's had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game. Bryant now leads the nation in overall rebounds with 284, eight more than Oklahoma's Blake Griffin, who is second with 276. The double-double was the San Pablo, CA native's WCC-leading 15th of the season, ranking him second in the nation behind Griffin's 16.