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WCC weekly men's basketball notes, Feb. 4, 2011

Feb. 4, 2011

Watch this week's "The Road to Las Vegas" | Listen to WCC Live on Wednesday night!

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Several Key Showdowns Saturday
Two ESPN games highlight the action on Saturday. At 1 p.m., Gonzaga takes on Memphis in the Ronald McDonald House Charities Classic on ESPN. Later in the afternoon, at 5, Loyola Marymount looks to get back on track against Saint Mary's. A fight for second place comes to a head in the evening when San Francisco hosts Santa Clara at 7:00 (CSN California).

Portland's Tim Douglas and Saint Mary's Mickey McConnell named WCC Co-Players of the Week
Saint Mary's senior guard Mickey McConnell and Portland freshman guard Tim Douglas share WCC Player of the Week honors. McConnell hit the game-winning jumper with 1.2 seconds left at Gonzaga, giving the Gaels their first win in Spokane since 1995. He averaged 29.5 points over two games, including a career-high 32 at Portland Saturday. Meanwhile, Douglas, making his first two starts at point guard, averaged 15 points and five assists per game, while shooting 6-of-8 from beyond the arc in a pair of Pilots victories - including a convincing triumph over previously-unbeaten Saint Mary's.
Also nominated: Sam Dower, Gonzaga; Joshua Lowery, Pepperdine; Marc Trasolini, Santa Clara.

WCC Quick Hits...

  • Following Thursday's action, Saint Mary's is now the lone WCC team to remain unblemished on its home floor. The Gaels are 12-0 at home this season, and have won 18 straight at McKeon Pavilion.
  • Santa Clara has won four straight, including victories over Gonzaga and Portland.
  • San Francisco has five WCC home games remaining, including Saturday's televised tilt vs. Santa Clara. Conversely, Gonzaga, Portland, and Pepperdine each have just two WCC games left at home.
  • Saint Mary's and Loyola Marymount learned their BracketBusters fate on Monday. The Gaels will host No. 21 Utah State, and the Lions will travel to Portland State on Feb. 19. The SMC-USU game will be televised live on ESPN2.
  • The three Bay Area teams occupy the top spots in the WCC standings. The last time a regular season ended with these three teams atop the standings came in 1997.
  • "The Road to Las Vegas," the WCC's weekly web video show, is available on-demand. This week's show features game highlights, and a sit-down interview with Portland sharpshooters Nemanja Mitrovic and Jared Stohl. For more on the show, see below.
  • This season marks the 25th anniversary of the Zappos.com WCC Men's Basketball Championship.

Saint Mary's Loyola Marymount Discover BracketBusters Opponents
Both Saint Mary's and Loyola Marymount learned their BracketBusters fate on Monday. The Gaels will host No. 21 Utah State on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. (ESPN2). Later that night, LMU will visit Portland State. By participating in the BrackBusters event, Saint Mary's will play a return game at Utah State, and Portland State will travel to Loyola Marymount within the next two seasons. Since BracketBusters began in 2003, West Coast Conference teams are 6-2 in the event. For more, visit espnbracketbusters.com.

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 .
Feb. 2 show (available on-demand):

  • ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi
  • Portland senior guard Jared Stohl
  • Pepperdine junior women's guard Jazmine Jackson
  • "The Road To Las Vegas" Returns
    The start of WCC play marked the return 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:

    • West Coast Conference weekly highlights
    • A chat with Portland sharpshooters Nemanja Mitrovic and Jared Stohl
    • 60 Seconds With San Francisco's Bailey Barbour and Ashley Boggs

    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: 15-8
WCC Record: 5-3
  • Gonzaga rallied from a slow start to pull off an important 67-64 victory at Portland on Thursday night. It was the Bulldogs' 16th straight win over Portland at the Chiles Center.
  • Junior center Robert Sacre scored 17 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in Thursday's come-from-behind win at Portland. Sacre is averaging 14.9 points (7th in the WCC) and 6.8 rebounds (5th) against conference opponents.
  • Senior guard Steven Gray added 15 points, including four in the final minute of play, at Portland. Gray ranks fourth in the WCC in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game.
  • The Bulldogs have a quick turnaround, when they face Memphis in the annual Ronald McDonald House Charities Classic at Spokane Arena on Saturday (1 p.m., ESPN).

Overall Record: 8-14
WCC Record: 1-7
  • After an 81-64 home win over Seattle on Monday, Loyola Marymount fell 66-63 at San Diego on Thursday night. LMU's last four losses have come by a grand total of just 14 points.
  • Freshman guard Anthony Ireland scored 12 points and added three assists Thursday night at San Diego.
  • Redshirt junior forward Drew Viney leads the Lions in both scoring (15.5 ppg.) and rebounding (6.5rpg). On Thursday, he had ten points and three boards at USD. As a team, LMU was out-rebounded for just the fourth time this season.
  • The Lions look to get back on track when they visit Saint Mary's on Saturday evening in a nationally-televised game (5 p.m., ESPN2).

Overall Record: 9-16
WCC Record: 3-5
  • Pepperdine hung tough all night, but foul trouble and turnovers ultimately doomed the Waves in a 79-71 setback at Saint Mary's on Thursday night.
  • Junior guard Keion Bell came off the bench to score 24 points for the Waves on Thursday at Saint Mary's. Bell is the WCC's second leading scorer this season, averaging 19.0 points per contest.
  • Junior guard Lorne Jackson scored 16 points before fouling out at Saint Mary's. Jackson is averaging 17.3 points per game during conference play, ranking third in the WCC.
  • The Waves remain on the road, traveling to San Diego on Saturday to face the Toreros (6 p.m., 4 SD).

Overall Record: 16-7
WCC Record: 4-4
  • Portland ran out to a 17-4 lead, but could not hold on in a tough 67-64 loss to rival Gonzaga. The loss ended Portland's 19-game home winning streak (12 straight this season).
  • Freshman guard Tim Douglas was named WCC Co-Player of the Week last week. On Thursday, he added 14 points, four assists, and three steals against Gonzaga.
  • Senior guard Jared Stohl was 4-for-6 from beyond the three-point arc against Gonzaga, scoring 16 points. He ranks among the national leaders, averaging more than three made three's per contest. Over the last two seasons, Stohl has connected on 46.8% of his three-point tries.
  • The Pilots visit Seattle (7 p.m., FSN Northwest) in a non-conference affair on Saturday night.

Overall Record: 19-4
WCC Record: 7-1
  •  The Gaels ran their record to 12-0 at McKeon Pavilion this season with a hard-fought 79-71 triumph over Pepperdine. Over the last two seasons, the Gaels are 26-2 at home.
  • Senior guard Mickey McConnell, a finalist for the Bob Cousy award, was named West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Week last week. He added 26 in Thursday's win over visiting Pepperdine.
  • Redshirt junior forward Rob Jones scored 22 points and grabbed eight boards on Thursday night. During WCC play, Jones ranks among conference leaders, averaging 15 and 9.3.
  • The Gaels host Loyola Marymount on Saturday (5 p.m., ESPN2). The game is sold out.

Overall Record: 5-18
WCC Record: 1-7
  • San Diego won its first WCC game of the season, topping Loyola Marymount by a 66-63 score Thursday night.
  • Sophomore center Chris Gabriel scored a career-high 21 points, grabbing six rebounds, in the triumph over LMU. Gabriel is averaging 13 points per contest over his last four.
  • Sophomore forward Ken Rancifer and senior guard Matt Dorr each added 12 points in the LMU victory on Thursday night.
  • The Toreros look to make it two straight when they take on Pepperdine (6 p.m., 4 SD) Saturday night at Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Overall Record: 11-11
WCC Record: 5-2
  • San Francisco rallied from a 17-point second half deficit to top Loyola Marymount, 61-60, on Thursday. The Dons' four-game winning streak was snapped on Saturday, when they fell 94-88 in a shootout at Pepperdine.
  • Senior center Moustapha Diarra scored a career-high 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting at Pepperdine on Saturday. At LMU, he contributed a 15-point, four-rebound effort in 18 minutes off the bench for the Dons.
  • The Dons lead the West Coast Conference in three-point field goal percentage defense, allowing the opposition to connect on just 32.3% (155-480) of its attempts from beyond the arc.
  • San Francisco has five WCC home games remaining. In their only game this week, the Dons host Bay Area rival Santa Clara on Saturday night (7 p.m., Comcast SportsNet California).

Overall Record: 14-9
WCC Record: 5-2
  • Santa Clara has won four straight and sits in a tie for second place in the WCC standings. The Broncos ran out to a 17-1 lead and never looked back in a 71-59 triumph at Pepperdine on Thursday. Two days later, they won 79-72 at Loyola Marymount.
  • Junior forward Marc Trasolini, an Academic All-District First Team selection, averaged 17 points and shot better than 81% in the Broncos' two road wins last week. In WCC play, Trasolini is averaging 12.3 points per game.

  • Redshirt sophomore guard Kevin Foster was 13-for-13 from the free throw line, scoring 28 points in Santa Clara's victory at Loyola Marymount. Foster is the leading scorer in conference play at 21 points per game.
  • The Broncos host UC Santa Cruz on Tuesday in a non-conference match-up (7 p.m., free video on santaclarabroncos.com). On Saturday, Santa Clara visits USF (7 p.m., CSN California).