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WCC weekly men's basketball notes, Feb. 8, 2011

Feb. 8, 2011

Watch this week's "WCC Weekend Rewind" | Listen to WCC Live on Wednesday night!

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AROUND THE WCC

Two ESPN games highlight Thursday's action
A pair of ESPN games take center stage in the WCC on Thursday night. Gonzaga heads to Los Angeles to take on Loyola Marymount (ESPN2), and Saint Mary's visits Santa Clara (ESPNU). Both games tip at 8 p.m.

San Francisco's Rashad Green named WCC Player of the Week
San Francisco junior guard Rashad Green earned WCC Player of the Week honors. Green lifted San Francisco to a convincing 68-62 win over Bay Area rival Santa Clara Saturday, propelling the Dons to their best league start (6-2) since 1981. Green scored a team-high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field with six rebounds in 33 minutes. In addition, Green played a key defensive role in limiting Kevin Foster, the WCC's leading scorer, to an 0-for-10 night from 3-point range.
Also nominated: Chris Gabriel, San Diego; Rob Jones, Saint Mary's; Mychel Thompson, Pepperdine.

WCC Quick Hits...

  • How's this for parity? All six West Coast Conference games played last week were decided by nine points or fewer.
  • The West Coast Conference is the only Division I conference to boast three of the nation's top ten three-point shooters in terms of field goal percentage. Portland's Nemanja Mitrovic leads the NCAA, shooting 48.3% from beyond the arc. For more, see NCAA leaders in the above PDF file.
  • Check the calendar...in less than one month (March 7, to be exact), the WCC Champion will be crowned. Do you have your tickets?
  • When Pepperdine hosts Gonzaga on Saturday, it marks the Waves' home finale. Pepperdine will become the first WCC team to host its Senior Night, and will then play its final three regular season games on the road.
  • "The Road to Las Vegas," the WCC's weekly web video show, premieres each Wednesday. This week's show features highlights, a look at how Saint Mary's has raised expectations in Moraga, and a chat with San Francisco "hype man" Mikey Williams. For more, see below.
  • This season marks the 25th anniversary of the Zappos.com WCC Men's Basketball Championship.

Saint Mary's Loyola Marymount Discover Sears BracketBusters Opponents
Both Saint Mary's and Loyola Marymount now know their Sears BracketBusters fate. 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 Sears BracketBusters 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. 9 show (available live Wednesday night):

  • Pepperdine senior Mychel Thompson
  • Santa Clara junior Marc Trasolini
  • Saint Mary's radio broadcaster Mike Bouve
  • Saint Mary's women's coach Paul Thomas
  • "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
    • Saint Mary's raises the bar
    • USF "hype man" Mikey Williams

    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.

     


 
WCC TEAM NOTES

SCHOOL TEAM NOTES

Overall Record: 15-9
WCC Record: 5-3
  • Gonzaga rallied from a slow start to pull off an important 67-64 victory at Portland on Thursday night. The Bulldogs fell 62-58 to Memphis in the Ronald McDonald House Charities Classic in Spokane.
  • 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.
  • In West Coast Conference play, Gonzaga boasts the league's top offense, scoring an average of 78.9 points per game while shooting 50% from the floor.
  • The Bulldogs head to Southern California for a pair of games this week. Gonzaga visits Loyola Marymount on Thursday night (8 p.m., ESPN2) and Pepperdine on Saturday (7 p.m., KHQ/Universal Sports Seattle).

Overall Record: 8-15
WCC Record: 1-8
  • Loyola Marymount fell 66-63 at San Diego on Thursday night, and dropped a 79-70 decision at Saint Mary's on Saturday.
  • Freshman guard Anthony Ireland scored 12 points and added three assists at San Diego, while scoring 15 at Saint Mary's. Ireland is second in the WCC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5) during conference play.
  • Playing without leading rebounder Drew Viney on Saturday at Saint Mary's, the Lions were out-rebounded for the second straight game. As a team, LMU has been out-rebounded just five times this season.
  • The Lions host Gonzaga in a nationally-televised game on Thursday night (8 p.m., ESPN2). On Saturday, LMU welcomes Portland to Gersten Pavilion (3 p.m., Fox Sports West).

Overall Record: 10-16
WCC Record: 4-5
  • Pepperdine lost 79-71 at Saint Mary's on Thursday night, but rebounded to top San Diego, 70-63, in overtime on Saturday night. It was the Waves' second road win of the season.
  • Senior forward Mychel Thompson sank a 30-plus foot shot at the buzzer at San Diego, to send the Pepperdine-USD game to overtime. Thompson finished with 25 points (23 after halftime, and 12 of the Waves' 13 in overtime).
  • Junior forward Taylor Darby scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds at San Diego.
  • The Waves take on Portland on Thursday (7 p.m., free video on pepperdinesports.com) and welcome Gonzaga on Saturday night (7 p.m., KHQ/Universal Sports Seattle).

Overall Record: 17-7
WCC Record: 4-4
  • On Thursday, Portland came up on the short end of a 67-64 score to rival Gonzaga, ending UP's 19-game home winning streak. On Saturday, the Pilots rolled to a 71-55 non-conference win at Seattle.
  • Junior guard Nemanja Mitrovic scored a game-high 20 points while sinking four three-pointers in nine attempts in Saturday's win at Seattle. Mitrovic leads the nation in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on over 48% of his attempts.
  • Senior guard Jared Stohl was 4-for-6 from beyond the three-point arc against Gonzaga, scoring 16 points. On Saturday at Seattle, Stohl sank four three's in seven tries, while also finishing with 16 points. For the season, Stohl ranks eighth in the WCC at 14.1 points per night.
  • The Pilots head to Pepperdine on Thursday night (7 p.m., free video on pepperdinesports.com) and take on Loyola Marymount Saturday afternoon (3 p.m., Fox Sports West).

Overall Record: 20-4
WCC Record: 8-1
  •  The Gaels ran their record to 13-0 at McKeon Pavilion this season with a hard-fought 79-71 triumph over Pepperdine on Thursday and a 79-70 win over LMU Saturday. Over the last two seasons, the Gaels are 27-2 at home.
  • Senior guard Mickey McConnell has been named one of ten finalists for the Bob Cousy award, given annually to the nation's top point guard. McConnell ranks in the top 15 nationally in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, and is second nationally in three-point field goal percentage.
  • 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 9.2.
  • Saint Mary's, ranked 23rd in this week's USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, begins a three-game road trip on Thursday, when the Gaels visit Santa Clara (8 p.m., ESPNU). On Saturday, Saint Mary's is at San Francisco (7:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet California).

Overall Record: 5-19
WCC Record: 1-8
  • San Diego won its first WCC game of the season, topping Loyola Marymount by a 66-63 score Thursday night. The Toreros then took Pepperdine to overtime on Saturday, before falling 70-63.
  • Sophomore center Chris Gabriel scored a career-high 21 points, grabbing six rebounds, in the triumph over LMU. He added a double-double, 11 points and 11 boards, against Pepperdine.
  • Senior captain Devin Ginty sank five three pointers en route to a personal-best 23-point effort on Saturday night against the Waves.
  • The Toreros are at San Francisco Thursday night (7:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet California, 4 SD) and at Santa Clara on Saturday (5:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet California, 4 SD).

Overall Record: 12-11
WCC Record: 6-2
  • San Francisco sits alone in second place in the WCC after downing Santa Clara, 68-62, on Saturday. USF is off to its best conference start since 1981.
  • Junior guard Rashad Green scored a game high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting in the Dons' win over Santa Clara, while making a number of key stops against WCC leading scorer Kevin Foster. For his efforts, Green was named the WCC Player of the Week.
  • The Dons lead the West Coast Conference in three-point field goal percentage defense, with the opposition connecting on just 31.6% (158-500) of its attempts from beyond the arc. On Saturday, San Francisco limited Santa Clara to just three makes in 20 attempts.
  • San Francisco hosts San Diego on Thursday (7:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet California, 4 SD) and Saint Mary's on Saturday night (7:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet California).

Overall Record: 15-10
WCC Record: 5-3
  • Santa Clara saw its five-game overall winning streak snapped (four straight in the WCC) with a 68-62 loss at San Francisco on Saturday.
  • Freshman guard Evan Roquemore was 9-for-10 from the free throw line with 16 points at San Francisco.
  • Senior forward Troy Payne scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds at USF on Saturday. Payne is the Broncos' leading rebounder in conference play, ranking fourth in the WCC with 7.5 caroms per contest.
  • The Broncos take on Saint Mary's in a nationally-televised game Thursday night at the Leavey Center (8 p.m., ESPNU) and host San Diego on Saturday evening (5:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet California, 4 SD).