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Around the WCC: 12/15-12/22 edition


LMU (0-13; 0-4): Things seem to be going from bad to worse in Los Angeles. After going 0-4 this past week, it is nearly a lock that LMU won't win a game before 2009. The most depressing aspect of the Lions performance this past week was the fact that they were not competitive. After a close loss to UC Riverside (59-52), the Lions were blown out by UCLA (75-44), Tulsa (79-45), and Mercer (75-52). While being blown out by UCLA is no surprise, there is no excuse for them to be demolished by a team like Mercer. If LMU doesn't have Vernon Teel back by January 1st for the game against Seattle University, they may enter WCC play winless.

Schedule this week: 12/28 @ New Mexico St.

Pepperdine (1-11; 0-2): It's starting to look like Pepperdine will not have any wins over D1 opponents prior to WCC play. After being destroyed by Cal State-Northridge (99-64) and Georgia Tech (86-58), Pepperdine now has a record of 0-11 against D1 teams. The one positive this past week was the play of Mychal Thompson. I believe that Thompson has been one of the biggest disappointments in the conference this season, but he scored 20 points against Georgia Tech in the defeat. It's safe to say that I am officially counting down the days until January 10th when the Waves and Lions meet to open WCC play.

Schedule this week: 12/28 @ Buffalo

Portland (6-5: 1-2):  What a tough week this was for Eric Reveno and the Portland Pilots. After opening the week with a tough 76-73 loss to Northern Colorado, Portland had a chance to get a signature victory against Oregon. After rallying from a 14 point deficit in the 2nd half to send the game to overtime, the Pilots fell 79-76. This would have been a huge victory for Portland, as it would have given them a 2-0 record against the Pac-10 this season. Portland was able to rebound with a dominant 98-73 victory over Howard, but that doesn't make up for two very tough losses.

Schedule this week: 12/27 vs Air Force

St. Mary's (9-1; 2-0): I'm starting to wonder what it will take for this team to be ranked. The Gaels have now won six straight games, and put together two terrific performances in wins over Oregon and Southern Illinois this week. I can't tell you how impressed I am by the fact that the Gaels were able to go into Carbondale and defeat the Salukis. The most impressive fact of the 65-52 victory was the tremendous defense that St. Mary's played. While Patty Mills is the most notable player on the team, it is the tandem of Diamon Simpson and Omar Samhan that makes this team great. Both are averaging double-doubles, and could provide a real challenge for Gonzaga in the WCC.

Schedule this week: 12/23 @ Pacific; 12/27 vs San Jose St.

San Diego (6-7; 1-1): I still can't figure out if this USD team can have any amount of success without Brandon Johnson. In their first game of the week, the Toreros eased past the Academy of Art by a score of 79-49. However, USD was unable to build on the momentum, and they fell to Boise State 75-72. The Toreros continue to get terrific play from Gyno Pomare and Rob Jones, but they will need consistently good play from Trumaine Johnson and Matt Dorr to be competitive. 

Schedule this week: No games

San Francisco (7-5; 0-1): I would like to introduce USF to Adrian Oliver. Oliver, who transferred from UW to San Jose St. last season, scored 31 points in his second game of being eligible for the Spartans. USF had no answer for the explosive Oliver, and despite 20 points from Dior Lowhorn, they fell 82-76. This is not a bad loss for USF, as I expect San Jose St. to compete for the WAC championship. If the Dons continue to get great play from Lowhorn and explosive freshman Kwave Vaughn, they can compete for 3rd place in the WCC.

Schedule this week: 12/27 @ Holy Cross

Santa Clara (5-6; 0-2): So much for Santa Clara being able to compete with Gonzaga and St. Mary's. With a great opportunity to add some impressive wins to their resume, Santa Clara lost both their games this week. Despite 14 points and 15 rebounds from John Bryant, they could not overcome a terrific UNLV team, and fell 78-66. However, it was the 63-57 loss to Pacific that will frustrate Santa Clara fans. The inconsistency of the Santa Clara guards continues to hurt this team, and I see no reason why it will improve the rest of the season. The one positive from the loss to Pacific was the fact that Decensae White made his debut. White is an explosive scorer from the small forward position, and will make a huge impact on the WCC before his career over.

Schedule this week: 12/23 vs. Stanford