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WCC weekly men's basketball notes, Dec. 28, 2010

Dec. 28, 2010

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AROUND THE WCC

Mitrovic, Young named WCC Co-Players of the Week
Portland junior G Nemanja Mitrovic and Saint Mary's sophomore forward Mitchell Young earned WCC Co-Player of the Week honors. Mitrovic scored a career-high 22 points on just nine shot attempts in leading the Pilots to a win over Boise State. Mitrovic went 7-for-9 from the field, including 5-of-5 from three-point range. For the season, Mitrovic has connected on over 53% of his three-point tries.

Young scored 20 points, going 10-for-14 from the field, with six rebounds and one steal in just 21 minutes played in a Gaels victory at New Mexico State. It was Young's second straight 20-plus point effort off the bench.

WCC Live Returns to the "Airwaves"
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 returns on Wednesday, January 5 and can be found at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/WCCsports.

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 17 states this season: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Washington. This week, San Diego (N.C. State) and Gonzaga (Wake Forest) both play televised games in North Carolina.

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.

Two Named To Wooden Preseason List
Gonzaga's Steven Gray and Elias Harris are on the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list announced by The Los Angeles Athletic Club. The list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor. Gray, a senior from Irondale, Wash., and Harris, a sophomore from Speyer, Germany, give the Bulldogs 10 nominees in the history of the award. Gray and Harris each started all 34 games for the Bulldogs last season. They are the top two returning scorers for the Bulldogs, Harris averaging 14.9 ppg and Gray 13.6 ppg last season. Harris was the top field goal shooter last year, shooting 54.7 percent from the field (180-for-329), and also paced the Bulldogs in rebounds at 7.1 rpg. Both Bulldogs were named to the All-West Coast Conference first team, and Harris was tabbed the WCC Newcomer of the Year by the conference coaches.

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 On-Sale
Tickets for the 2011 Zappos.com WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships are now on-sale. The 2011 West Coast Conference Basketball Championships will once again be held March 4-7. The 2011 Zappos.com WCC Championships will take place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas for the third consecutive season. The previous two tournaments were sellouts, and tickets for 2011 are going fast. 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: 7-5
WCC Record: 0-0
  • Gonzaga won its third straight game, knocking off Xavier, 64-54, on Wednesday night.
  • Redshirt junior center Robert Sacre scored 24 points, including a 10-for-10 effort from the charity stripe, in the Zags win over Xavier. Sacre leads the Bulldogs and ranks second in the WCC from the free throw line, connecting on 83.1% of his opportunities.
  • Senior guard Steven Gray, the team's leading scorer, sat out the Xavier game due to injury. Gray is averaging 15.5 points per game. His 4.9 assists per contest rank second in the West Coast Conference.
  • Gonzaga welcomes Lafayette College on Wednesday (KHQ) for a 6 p.m. showdown, before continuing its brutal schedule on Friday night, when Oklahoma State visits (ESPN2) for a 7 p.m. tip. Two days later, Gonzaga travels to Wake Forest (FSN).

  • Overall Record: 6-7
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • Loyola Marymount dropped its second straight decision, falling 82-70 at South Dakota on Dec. 22. The Coyotes' victory gave the two teams a season series split, with each team winning on its home floor.
  • Four Lions scored in double figures at DakotaDome, paced by senior guard Vernon Teel's 14 points and ten rebounds. Teel is averaging 13.7 points per game, seventh best in the conference. He is the WCC leader in steals, averaging 2.3 thefts per game.
  • Loyola Marymount is averaging 41.3 rebounds per game, tops in the West Coast Conference. In addition, LMU's 67.3 points per game allowed is the second-lowest clip in the WCC.
  • The Lions will travel to UC Irvine on Thursday, ending an eight-day layoff. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m.

  • Overall Record: 5-9
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Waves dropped a 70-64 decision to Cal Poly on Tuesday night in their only action of the week.
  • Senior forward Mychel Thompson led the Waves with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting in last week's loss to visiting Cal Poly. Thompson is averaging over 13 points per game, second on the team to junior guard Keion Bell. Bell leads the WCC in scoring at 21.8 points per contest.
  • Pepperdine ranks second in the West Coast Conference with 48 shots blocked. Thompson leads the way with 19 rejections, which is tied for the second-most in the WCC.
  • It's a busy week for Pepperdine, which will visit Alabama on Tuesday (CSS/CSN California) and Miami on Thursday. The Waves close out the week with a home game against Seattle on Sunday.

  • Overall Record: 11-3
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • Portland won both of its games last week, knocking off Boise State, 88-79, on Wednesday and Nevada, 66-62, on Monday. The Pilots are now 7-0 at the Chiles Center.
  • Junior guard Nemanja Mitrovic was named WCC Co-Player of the Week after a career-best 22-point night against the Broncos. Mitrovic was 7-9 from the floor, including 5-of-5 from beyond the arc. Mitrovic becomes the fourth Pilot to earn Player of the Week recognition this season, while no other WCC school has multiple honorees.
  • Senior forward Luke Sikma leads the WCC in rebounding, averaging 10.6 boards per contest.
  • Portland closes out the 2010 portion of its schedule with a home matinee against Utah on Friday at 4 p.m.

  • Overall Record: 10-2
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Gaels cruised to a 73-53 win at New Mexico State on Thursday to earn their first true road win of the season.
  • Sophomore forward Mitchell Young was named WCC Co-Player of the Week after his second straight 20-plus point performance. In 21 minutes off the bench at NMSU, Young was 10-for-14 shooting en route to a 20-point night. He also pulled down six rebounds in the win.
  • The Gaels lead the WCC in eleven different statistical categories, including points per game (82.8), points allowed (60.6), scoring margin (+22.3), turnover margin (+0.75), and rebounds allowed (23.1). Complete WCC stats are located in the attached PDF file.
  • Saint Mary's wil take on Mississippi State on Wednesday at 8 p.m. from the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas (ESPNU). On Friday, the Gaels host Hartford at 5 p.m.

  • Overall Record: 3-10
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • After falling to then-#15 Baylor and Mississippi State, the Toreros rebounded to top Utah, 67-64, in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic last week.
  • Freshman guard Jordan Mackie scored a career-high 14 points in the win over the Utes in Honolulu on Saturday. Mackie was 6-of-7 from the floor that morning.
  • Junior guard Darian Norris is the leading scorer on the USD squad, averaging 10.4 points per game. Norris holds that distinction by the smallest of margins, having scored one more point this season than sophomore forward Ken Rancifer (135 to 134).
  • San Diego begins the New Year with a lunchtime tip (Noon Eastern) at North Carolina State on Saturday. The game will be televised on Fox Sports South from Raleigh.

  • Overall Record: 4-8
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Dons hung tough with 7th-ranked San Diego State, before falling 62-56 to the Aztecs in the Jerry Tarkanian Las Vegas Classic. Two days later, USF dropped a last-second 69-68 decision to IUPUI.
  • Sophomore guard Michael Williams scored 17 points, pulled down ten rebounds, and dished out six assists against IUPUI. Williams leads USF and ranks third in the WCC, averaging 16.3 points per game.
  • Sophomore forward Perris Blackwell is the Dons' leading rebounder and ranks fifth in the conference, averaging 6.7 boards per game.
  • San Francisco welcomes Colorado State (Tuesday) and Hampton (Thursday) for the Hilltop Challenge. Both games tip at 7 p.m. from War Memorial Gym. On Saturday, the Dons host Dominican to close out the round robin event.

  • Overall Record: 7-6
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • Santa Clara shot better than 56% from the floor in an impressive 99-79 win at Cal State Northridge on Wednesday. Six Broncos scored in double figures in the win.
  • It had been almost three years since the Broncos scored 90 or more points in a game, but Santa Clara notched its second 90+ point performance in its last three with the 99-point outburst at Northridge last week.
  • Freshman guard Evan Roquemore scored 16 points and doled out six assists in the win.
  • The Broncos return to Leavey Center to host the 44th annual Cable Car Classic this week. SCU will take on Delaware Wednesday evening, and then either American or Fordham on Thursday. The Broncos start 2011 at home vs. Bethany on Monday.