WCC Tourney Preview/Game Tonight

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WCC Tourney Preview/Game Tonight

Post by Stonehouse on Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:48 am

New blog... better late than never, right. Wink

Hey everyone... so are you feeling the West Coast Conference Tournament Fever? Coming down with a case of the WCC Tournament Flu? Got the Black "WCC Tournament" Lung? Well here's my nighttime sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever so you can watch the WCC Tournament in peace medicine: my very own WCC Trouanemt preview. Huzzah!

Yeah... even I don't know what that was all about. But it's Friday and I'm way overdue on posting a blog about this, so you're going to just have to take what I can give at this point.

The Portland Pilots will be playing the Pepperdine Waves tonight at appx. 8 PM. There is no live TV broadcast, but you can watch it live on-line (I think) on the WCC's official site or you watch the stats live here. Normally you can listen to the game live on UP's website, but I'm not seeing a link up right now. Still, I'm sure it will be up before the game.

So how will our little Pilots fare against the Waves? Hopefully much better than the last time we faced them, when Pepperdine somehow stormed back from an 18 point deficit with under 10 minutes to go and washed to shore with a victory at the Chiles Center. (Come on now... you knew I was going to bust out some kind of cheesy wave pun. I can hear the groan, but don't give me that... don't even give me that! - go to the 3:00 mark and you won't be sorry.) So clearly the Pilots owe the Wave some payback, and with the way Portland has been playing defense the past few weeks, I really think they will be able to come away from this game with a win.

Of course, I'm failing to mention some of the other reasons, but I think I'll just let Pepperdine's official release speak for me:

The sixth-seeded Waves are down to nine healthy players, of which only seven are on scholarship. It's the rubber match between the Waves and the seventh-seeded Pilots, who each won on the other's home floor.
One of the injured players is starting point guard Rico Tucker, who burned the Pilots in the game in Portland with 17 points to lead the way for the Waves. Without Rico, Pepperdine will have to turn to his younger brother Tyler Tucker, an undersized freshman who has not played many significant minutes this season. Pepperdine also doesn't have much in the way of big men outside of freshman Malcolm Thomas, so Portland should have a significant edge in the paint. All of this adds up to good advantage for the Pilots.

Still, the Waves tend to shoot a ton of three pointers, so in order to get a big rebounding edge we'll need our guards to be hustling after all those long rebounds. We can't just rely on our size advantage. Also, Pepperdine's freshman phenom Tyrone Shelley has been on fire as of late, netting 28 points in his last game against USF and averaging 22 points over the past three games. So UP will need to get someone in his face at all times.

If Portland does win against Pepperdine, next up will be the host San Diego Torreros at 8:30 PM on Saturday, which I think will be shown live on ESPNU.

As for the rest of the tournament? Here's how I see it shaking down:

First Round:
San Francisco vs. Loyola Marymount
Portland vs. Pepperdine

LMU will be put out of its misery after an awful season, and I think the Waves are just too shorthanded to take home a win. Wins for the Dons and Pilots

Quarterfinals:
San Francisco vs. Santa Clara
Portland vs. San Diego

If Brody Angley is able to recover from his scary injury at Gonzaga from which he is experiencing amnesia (seriously... he doesn't remember being at the game), Santa Clara should be able to handle the Dons. However, USF has shown some signs of life since Vince Polakovic returned, so they won't be a pushover.

As for San Diego... you can accuse me of busting out the Haterade on this one, but I really don't think San Diego is anything special. Yes, they are 11-3 in the WCC. Yes, they beat St. Mary's. But they rely so much on Brandon Johnson... if he struggles, there's no reason why Portland can't hang with them. And really, we already did hang with them - if Johnson doesn't hit a circus three-pointer at the buzzer in the game at Portland, that game goes to OT and who knows what happens from there. Gyno "Sleepy" Pomare still doesn't play like he cares, but he does always put up good numbers. Rob Jones is a super active and athletic player that gives Portland fits. But outside of those three guys, they are thin. I would take UP's bench over theirs any day of the week. Still, playing on their home court... they will be a tough out. I would expect a hard-fought San Diego win.

Semifinals:
San Diego vs. Saint Mary's
Santa Clara vs. Gonzaga

San Diego could make it interesting as they go for win number two against the Gaels, but I think this one is going to play out like it's supposed to... Saint Mary's is too deep and too talented to drop twice to the Toreros. Fool them once, shame on the Toreros. Fool them twice, shame on the Gaels. What? Exactly.

As for Gonzaga... um... they are going to beat Santa Clara. By a lot. The Zags seem to be peaking, despite what you saw in the first 30 minutes against Portland.

Finals:
Saint Mary's vs. Gonzaga

I really hope that this one goes down as an epic. It'll be on ESPN in prime time nationwide (6 PM PDT), and I really do think that both of these teams are pretty evenly matched. Gonzaga is a bit deeper, but Saint Mary's has more of the intangibles going for them. However, it seems like Saint Mary's has lost a bit of the mojo with the losses to Kent State and to Gonzaga, and they really weren't all that impressive in their win over Portland. I hate to say it, but I think they may have had a tinge of overachieving going on earlier in the year, while the Zags had a tinge of underachieving. I wish I could predict that David will slay Goliath, but since this is for posterity... I'll take the Zags in what should be a terrific game. Ugh. I feel sick to my stomach.

http://blog.oregonlive.com/pilots/

Stonehouse
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