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WCC weekly men's basketball notes, Feb. 17, 2011

Feb. 17, 2011

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

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AROUND THE WCC

Portland Welcomes Santa Clara on ESPNU Thursday
A pair of games grace the WCC slate on Thursday night. In Portland, the Pilots look to run their record to 13-1 at home when they face visiting San Francisco (ESPNU). Meanwhile, in Spokane, Gonzaga tries for its fifth straight conference win as the Zags host Santa Clara (KHQ-TV, Universal Sports Seattle). Both games tip at 6 p.m.

SMC's Mickey McConnell named WCC Player of the Week
Saint Mary's senior guard Mickey McConnell earns WCC Player of the Week honors on Feb. 14. He moved into 20th on the career scoring list at Saint Mary's with 1,113 points after leading the Gaels in scoring in two road wins over the weekend. McConnell averaged 22 points and five assists over the two games, while shooting almost 57% from the floor during the week.
Also nominated: Kevin Foster, Santa Clara.

WCC Quick Hits...

  • San Francisco and Gonzaga can each move to within a game and a half of Saint Mary's atop the WCC standings with a win on Thursday night.
  • With a pair of victories at home this weekend, Portland would become the second WCC team to reach the 20-win plateau.
  • Santa Clara's Kevin Foster trails Mickey McConnell of Saint Mary's for the top spot in the scoring column by 45 points during conference play. The Broncos have played two fewer conference games than the Gaels.
  • Saint Mary's will be making its third Sears BracketBusters appearance on Saturday. In its most recent BracketBusters game, the Gaels downed No. 23 Utah State in 2009. Overall, the West Coast Conference is 6-2 in BracketBusters contests.
  • "The Road to Las Vegas," the WCC's weekly web video show, premieres each Wednesday. This week's show features highlights and a behind-the-scenes look at a WCC telecast on ESPNU. 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 to Compete Sears BracketBusters This Week
Saint Mary's and Loyola Marymount will compete in Sears BracketBusters on Saturday. The Gaels will host No. 24 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
Don't miss the West Coast Conference's weekly Internet radio show, WCC Live. The hour-long show is hosted by Jeff Lampe and features live 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. 16 show (available on-demand):

  • Gonzaga junior Robert Sacre
  • Portland radio broadcaster Bill Johnson
  • San Diego senior women's guard Sam Child
  • Portland junior women's guard Natalie Day

"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
  • Behind-the-scenes of an ESPNU West Coast Conference telecast

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.

 


 
WCC TEAM NOTES

SCHOOL TEAM NOTES

Overall Record: 17-9
WCC Record: 7-3
  • Gonzaga got off to a hot start en route to a 10-point victory at Loyola Marymount on Thursday, and the Bulldogs then won 63-44 at Pepperdine on Saturday, propelling themselves into a second place tie in the WCC.
  • 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.
  • Redshirt junior guard Marquise Carter scored eleven Thursday at LMU, and added eight points, five boards, seven assists, and four steals at Pepperdine making his fifth start of the season.
  • The Bulldogs look to push their WCC win streak to five when they take on Santa Clara Thursday (6 p.m., KHQ/USS). The Zags host San Francisco on Saturday (5 p.m., KHQ/FSN Northwest).

Overall Record: 10-17
WCC Record: 2-10
  • Loyola Marymount put an end to its four-game skid with an 82-79 win over Pepperdine in the Lions' home finale on Wednesday.
  • Freshman guard Anthony Ireland was 4-for-6 from beyond the three-point arc, finishing with 14 points against Pepperdine. Ireland, who also had six assists Wednesday, ranks seventh in the conference, averaging 3.4 helpers against WCC opponents.
  • The Lions shot 54% from the floor and matched a season high with nine three-point field goals in the victory over the Waves on Wednesday.
  • On Saturday, Loyola Marymount visits Portland State in a Sears BracketBusters match-up. Game time is set for 4:05 p.m.

Overall Record: 11-18
WCC Record: 5-7
  • Pepperdine rallied in the second half, erasing a 14-point halftime deficit, but the Waves ultimately came up on the short end of an 82-79 score at LMU on Wednesday.
  • Senior forward Mychel Thompson and junior guard Lorne Jackson combined for 42 second half points (49 total) at LMU. Jackson is fourth in the WCC in scoring during conference play, averaging 16.0 points per game.
  • Junior center Corbin Moore was 8-for-10 shooting, scoring 16 points and pulling down seven boards off the bench Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
  • The Waves close out the regular season next week at Santa Clara on Thursday and at San Francisco on Saturday.

Overall Record: 18-8
WCC Record: 5-5
  • Portland snapped a two-game WCC losing streak with a 71-48 win at LMU on Saturday. Earlier in the week, the Pilots dropped a 66-64 heartbreaker at Pepperdine.
  • Junior guard Nemanja Mitrovic continues to rank second in the nation in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on 48.5% of his attempts. Mitrovic was 9-for-18 from long range in two road games last week.
  • Senior forward Luke Sikma contributed an average of 20 points and ten boards last week. He leads the WCC and ranks tenth in the nation on the glass, averaging 10.7 caroms per night.
  • The Pilots return to the Chiles Center, where they are 12-1, for a pair of WCC games this week. UP hosts San Francisco on Thursday (6 p.m., ESPNU) and Santa Clara on Saturday (5:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet Northwest/CSN Bay Area).

Overall Record: 22-5
WCC Record: 10-2
  •  No. 23 Saint Mary's had its four-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday, falling 74-66 at San Diego.
  • Senior guard Mickey McConnell, the WCC Player of the Week, scored 21 points, had six assists, and came away with four steals at USD. He ranks among national leaders in assists, three-point field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and assist-to-turnover ratio.
  • Sophomore forward Mitchell Young had 24 points and nine rebounds off the bench Wednesday at San Diego. Young connected on 10 of his 14 shot attempts.
  • Saint Mary's returns home Saturday to host No. 24 Utah State in a highly-anticipated Sears BracketBusters match-up (6 p.m., ESPN2). The Gaels remain home for the season's final week, hosting Gonzaga and Portland.

Overall Record: 6-21
WCC Record: 2-10
  • San Diego erased an eight-point halftime deficit, downing No. 23 Saint Mary's by a 74-66 score at Jenny Craig Pavilion on Wednesday.
  • Junior guard Darian Norris had 15 points and came away with three steals in the Saint Mary's victory. He was one of four Toreros to hit for double figures in scoring on the night.
  • Sophomore forward Chris Manresa registered his first double-double, with 17 points and ten rebounds in the win over the Gaels. In the month of February (five games), Manresa is averaging 9.2 boards per night.
  • The Toreros wrap up the regular season with a pair of home games next week against Portland and Gonzaga.

Overall Record: 13-12
WCC Record: 7-3
  • San Francisco topped San Diego, 61-47 on Thursday, before falling 86-68 to No. 23 Saint Mary's on Saturday. The Dons, now 4-1 at home in conference play, are tied for second with Gonzaga in the WCC standings.
  • Sophomore guard Mikey Williams scored 17 points against Saint Mary's on Saturday. Williams is fourth in the West Coast Conference in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on 45.2% of his attempts this season.
  • Junior guard Rashad Green contributed nine points and six assists in the San Diego victory, and added 17 points against the Gaels. Green is seventh in the WCC in scoring during conference play, averaging 14.8 points per night.
  • The Dons visit Portland on Thursday (6 p.m., ESPNU) before meeting Gonzaga on Saturday in a second place showdown (5 p.m., KHQ/FSN Northwest).

Overall Record: 16-11
WCC Record: 6-4
  • Santa Clara came up short against No. 23 Saint Mary's, falling 65-59 on Thursday. Two days later, the Broncos erased a 20-point second half deficit en route to a 60-56 victory over San Diego.
  • Redshirt sophomore guard Kevin Foster scored 21 points in Saturday's dramatic win over USD. Earlier in the week, he scored 25 against Saint Mary's. Foster is the WCC's leading scorer, averaging 19.3 points per game.
  • Senior forward Troy Payne notched his first career double-double against the Toreros (10 points, 10 rebounds). Payne is third in the West Coast Conference, averaging 8.0 rebounds per game in conference play.
  • The Broncos travel to Gonzaga on Thursday night (6 p.m., KHQ/Universal Sports Seattle), and take on Portland Saturday evening (5:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet Bay Area/CSN Northwest).