Sorry for the one day delay on this edition of Around the WCC. We are in the middle of finals week here at GU, and things have been a little hectic.
LMU (0-9; 0-1): I hate to be the one to say this, but I really don't think that LMU will win a game before 2009. The Lions continue to play awful basketball, and were dominated by UCSB in their one game this week. While the Lions continue to get great play from LaRon Armstead, who scored 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the 81-61 loss. Armstead has been one of the few bright spots for this team, and with no timeline set for the return of Bill Bayno, it seems things are only going to get tougher.(Slipper Still Fits Note: LMU fell to 0-10 with a 59-52 loss to UC Riverside)
Schedule This Week: 12/17 @ UCLA; 12/20 vs. Tulsa
Pepperdine (1-8; 0-1): With the great depths of mediocrity that LMU has reached, some people might not notice just how pathetic Pepperdine has been this year. Don't let their one victory fool you, because that win came against Cal State Monterey Bay. In their match up with a mediocre Pacific team, the Waves were dominated on their home court in the 73-55 loss. Pepperdine continues to get poor play from Mychel Thompson, who scored only 10 points on 4-12 shooting.(Slipper Still Fits Note: Pepperdine fell to 1-9 with a 91-77 loss to USC)
Schedule This Week: 12/16 @ Northern Colorado; 12/20 @ Oregon
St. Mary's (7-1; 1-0): Since their disappointing performance against UTEP in the 76 Classic, St. Mary's has been playing some great basketball. With their 67-64 victory over San Diego St. this week, St. Mary's has now won four straight games. This latest victory might be the most impressive so far, as San Diego St. is a very talented team. Diamon Simpson led the way for the Gaels, as he scored 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the win. One area that concerns me with St. Mary's is the erratic play of Patty Mills. Certainly his 19.8 points per game seem impressive, but he is only shooting 41.4% from the field, and it seems there have been some games where he has jacked up some stupid shots. The Gaels will face a very difficult test this week, as they travel to Carbondale to take on the Salukis of Southern Illinois.
Schedule This Week: 12/17 @ Oregon; 12/20 @ Southern Illinois
San Diego (5-6; 1-2): I would classify USD's first three games without Brandon Johnson as a success. USD was very competitive in their losses to San Jose St. (56-52) and New Mexico (57-54), and was able to go on the road and record a solid victory over Oregon (64-57). Anyone who follows the WCC knows how difficult life will be without Brandon Johnson for this team, but you have to be impressed how hard Billy Grier has this team playing. Gyno Pomare must play consistent basketball for this team to be competitive, and hopefully he can build off his 16 point and 8 rebound performance against Oregon. Despite the loss of BJ, I think this team can still be competitive in the WCC.
San Francisco (7-4; 1-1): The solid and consistent play of USF continues to impress me. In Dior Lowhorn they have one of the best players in the conference, and probably one of the most underrated players in the entire country. However, if Lowhorn struggles, so does this team. This was highlighted in their 66-60 loss to Pacific, when Lowhorn scored only seven points. However, Lowhorn and the Dons rebounded from the loss to Pacific with a 79-76 victory over Boise St. Against the Broncos, Lowhorn returned to his dominant form, as he scored 20 points in the victory. Another player that WCC fans need to keep their eyes on is USF freshman Kwame Vaughn. The 6'3 guard is averaging an impressive 11.2 points per game.
Schedule This Week: None
Santa Clara (5-4; 1-0): After staggering to a 1-4 start in which all four losses were by less than six points, the Santa Clara Broncos have won four consecutive games. In their only game of the week, Santa Clara dominated Notre Dame (CA) in their 67-47 win. John Bryant continues to play at a high level, and he scored 15 points in the victory. Santa Clara can be a very dangerous opponent for Gonzaga and St. Mary's
in the WCC this season if they can get some support for the brilliant John Bryant. We will see just how good Santa Clara can be in the coming weeks, as their opponents for the next three games are UNLV, Pacific, and Stanford (the only undefeated team in the Pac 10....don't sleep on the Cardinal).
Schedule This Week: 12/17 @ UNLV; 12/20 @ Pacific