When Mickey McConnell floated in an epic 15-footer to knock Gonzaga to a 3-3 record in WCC play, I figured that it was time to research the CBI schedule and television agreement to see if I even had the channel the games would be shown on. However, the Portland Pilots gave this Gonzaga team a little glimmer of hope when they knocked the Gaels off in convincing fashion at the Chiles Center. This result left the Zags two games back heading into the second round of WCC play. Therefore, Gonzaga can still look to add another WCC regular season championship with a win at St. Mary's and then hopes of another team somehow knocking off the Gaels. Obviously, with the way that Gonzaga has played throughout the season, the odds of this team somehow putting together a seven-game winning streak in conference play is pretty slim, but lets have some hope at this point in the season.
Now that the coaching staff has figured out that it is good to play a big man that is an excellent shooter and brings some athleticism to the table (at least it only took 2/3 of the season), it seems that this team is finally starting to show the ability on the offensive end that a lot of fans predicted might exist before the start of the season. The issue heading into the Portland game is how will one of the worst three-point defending teams in the country slow down a team like Portland who is one of the top shooting squads in the country. This is the type of the matchup that has plagued Gonzaga teams for years and is the reason why this will be such a stern test in a game that will go a long way in determining whether the NCAA Tournament is something that will be worth watching this season.
In all honesty, I am passed the point of trying to figure out what this team is all about. Trying to predict what the rotation will be has proven to be as big of a challenge as trying to predict who will each game. Since Gonzaga tends to lose when I expect them to win, I am going to play a little reverse mind-trick and say that the Pilots will pull out the 81-76 win.