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WCC weekly men's basketball notes, Feb. 11, 2011

Feb. 11, 2011

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

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WCC's Top Two Teams Collide Saturday
Saturday's schedule is highlighted by a big showdown on the Hilltop, where No. 23 Saint Mary's visits San Francisco at 7:30. The game will be televised live on Comcast SportsNet California and Comcast SportsNet Northwest.

San Francisco's Rashad Green named WCC Player of the Week
San Francisco junior guard Rashad Green earned WCC Player of the Week honors on Feb. 7. 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...

  • The top two teams in the West Coast Conference standings collide on Saturday, when No. 23 Saint Mary's visits San Francisco. The Dons are 4-0 at home in WCC play.
  • Of ten West Coast Conference games played over the last week, only two have been decided by ten points or more.
  • Three weeks from now, the 2011 Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball Championships will be underway in Las Vegas. Do you have your tickets?
  • Pepperdine hosts Gonzaga on Saturday in 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 on-demand):

  • 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 Continues as 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: 16-9
WCC Record: 6-3
  • Gonzaga got off to a hot start en route to a ten point victory at Loyola Marymount on Thursday night. The 67-57 road triumph improved Gonzaga's mark to 2-2 in WCC road games.
  • Junior center Robert Sacre scored nine points, grabbed ten boards, and blocked five shots in the win at LMU on Thursday. Sacre is the leading shot-blocker in the West Coast Conference, with 49.
  • Four Bulldogs scored in double figures Thursday night. Steven Gray led the way with 15, while Marquise Carter and David Stockton each poured in eleven. Elias Harris added ten.
  • The Bulldogs visit Pepperdine on Saturday (7 p.m., KHQ/Fox College Sports Central).

Overall Record: 8-16
WCC Record: 1-9
  • Loyola Marymount fell 67-57 to visiting Gonzaga at Gersten Pavilion on Thursday night.
  • Senior guard Vernon Teel paced the Lions with ten points, five rebounds, and four assists Thursday against the Bulldogs. Teel also added one steal in that contest, and he ranks third in the WCC in thefts.
  • Senior guard Larry Davis came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points over 29 minutes in Thursday's game vs. Gonzaga.
  • The Lions welcome Portland to Gersten Pavilion on Saturday afternoon (3 p.m., Fox Sports West).

Overall Record: 11-16
WCC Record: 5-5
  • Pepperdine held off Portland for a thrilling 66-64 win on Thursday night in Malibu. The Waves have won four of their last six.
  • Senior forward Gus Clardy sank a critical free throw in the final seconds in Thursday's victory over Portland. He scored a career high nine points and grabbed a personal best seven boards in 30 minutes off the bench.
  • Junior guard Lorne Jackson finished with 15 points and six assists in Thursday's win. Jackson ranks seventh in the conference in assists, averaging 3.3 helpers per game.
  • The Waves welcome Gonzaga to Firestone Fieldhouse on Saturday night (7 p.m., KHQ/Fox College Sports Central). It is Pepperdine's final home game.

Overall Record: 17-8
WCC Record: 4-5
  • Portland dropped its second straight WCC game on Thursday, losing a 66-64 heartbreaker at Pepperdine.
  • Junior guard Nemanja Mitrovic was 5-for-9 from beyond the three-point arc, scoring 19 points on Thursday at Pepperdine. Mitrovic is second in the nation in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on 48.7% of his attempts.
  • Senior forward Luke Sikma added 19 points and pulled down seven boards at Pepperdine Thursday night. He leads the WCC in rebounding, averaging 10.6 caroms per night.
  • Still in search of their first conference road win, the Pilots wrap up their Southern California swing on Saturday, when they visit Loyola Marymount for an afternoon tilt (3 p.m., Fox Sports West).

Overall Record: 21-4
WCC Record: 9-1
  •  No. 23 Saint Mary's sank 20 free throws in the second half, holding off Santa Clara for a 65-59 road victory at the Leavey Center.
  • Redshirt junior forward Rob Jones continued to be a force during conference play, scoring ten and grabbing 15 boards on Thursday. Jones is averaging 14.5 points and 9.9 rebounds against WCC opposition.
  • Senior guard Mickey McConnell, who scored 25 points on Thursday, is one of ten finalists for the Bob Cousy award, given annually to the nation's top point guard. McConnell ranks in the top 20 nationally in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, and is third in the nation in three-point field goal percentage.
  • Saint Mary's visits second place San Francisco on Saturday night in a pivotal WCC showdown (7:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet California, CSN Northwest).

Overall Record: 5-20
WCC Record: 1-9
  • San Diego dropped a 61-47 decision at second place San Francisco on Thursday.
  • Junior point guard Darian Norris was 9-for-9 from the free throw line, finishing with a game-high 14 points on Thursday at USF. In conference play, Norris has connected on 26 of his 29 free throw attempts (89.7%), ranking third in the WCC.
  • Sophomore center Chris Gabriel just missed his second straight double-double, with ten points and nine rebounds against the Dons on Thursday. Gabriel is averaging 9.3 points and 5.6 boards per contest in West Coast Conference play.
  • The Toreros travel to Santa Clara on Saturday. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m. from the Leavey Center, and the action can be seen live on Comcast SportsNet California and 4 San Diego.

Overall Record: 13-11
WCC Record: 7-2
  • San Francisco ran out to a quick 18-6 lead and never looked back en route to a 61-47 victory over visiting San Diego on Thursday. The Dons are 10-2 at home this season, including a 4-0 mark in West Coast Conference play.
  • Sophomore forward Perris Blackwell posted a double-double in the win, with 12 points and ten boards. Blackwell is third in the WCC on the glass, averaging 8.3 rebounds per game in conference play.
  • Junior guard Rashad Green, the WCC Player of the Week, contributed nine points and six assists in the San Diego victory. Green is sixth in the WCC in scoring during conference play, averaging 14.6 points per night.
  • San Francisco hosts first place Saint Mary's on Saturday night in a match-up of first and second place teams (7:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet California, CSN Northwest).

Overall Record: 15-11
WCC Record: 5-4
  • Santa Clara made a valiant comeback attempt late, but came up on the short end of a 65-59 decision to No. 23 Saint Mary's on Thursday.
  • Redshirt sophomore guard Kevin Foster was 4-for-10 from long range Thursday, as part of a 25-point effort. In the process, Foster broke his own Santa Clara single season record for three-point field goals made. He now has 87.
  • Senior forward Troy Payne grabbed ten boards and had four steals on Thursday night against the Gaels. Payne is fourth in the West Coast Conference, averaging 7.8 rebounds per game in conference play.
  • The Broncos host San Diego on Saturday evening at the Leavey Center (5:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet California, 4 San Diego).