LMU (1-15; 1-1): I am pleased to report that all that talk of a winless season can finally be put to rest. After opening the season with 15 straight losses, including a 49-39 loss to Seattle University on January 1st, the LMU Lions were able to secure their opening victory of the season against Cal State Bakersfield. I'll be honest, after the loss to Seattle University, I was utterly convinced that LMU would go winless. However, a 39 point performance from Jerod Dubois against Cal State Bakersfield changed that. Dubois has been terrific from LMU during this dismal season, and it appears that the freshman is poised to do big things during his time at LMU.
Schedule This Week: 1/10 @ Pepperdine
Pepperdine (3-13; 2-1): Just like their Southern California brethren, Pepperdine was able to secure their first victory against a DI opponent. After losing the opening round game of the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, the Waves were able to bounce back and defeat Coppin St. In a thrilling (cough, cough) 58-56 victory over Coppin St., Lorne Jackson hit the game winning shot with six seconds remaining. In the 5th place game of the tournament, Pepperdine was unable to build on their momentum, and fell 78-70 to Hawaii. The Waves concluded the week hosting Western Oregon University. Behind 21 points from Mychal Thompson, Pepperdine was able to secure the 77-67 victory.
Schedule This Week: 1/10 vs. Pepperdine
Portland (9-6; 2-0): Despite being inexperienced and inconsistent, the Portland Pilots continue to find ways to win. I'd be stunned to find any Portland fan that isn't ecstatic with the way Eric Reveno has his team playing. Behind 33 points from Nik Raivio, the Pilots were able to hold off Cal State Bakersfield 79-76. Bakersfield sent the game to overtime with a game-tying three with 44 seconds to go, but nine points from Nik raivio in the extra period was enough for the Pilots to earn the great victory. In their second game of the week, Portland earned a hard fought win over Seattle U. Robin Smeulders led the way with 22 points and seven rebounds in the 71-67 victory. I'm so impressed with the way this team continues to win, and I really hope they can sustain their solid play in the WCC.
Schedule This Week: 1/10 @ Gonzaga
St. Mary's (13-1; 1-0): Is it just me, or has Cal State Bakersfield played 75% of the teams in the WCC. Bakersfield played host to the Gaels on January 2nd, and came surprisingly close to ending the Gaels 10 game winning streak. In a game that few expected to be close, St. Mary's allowed Cal State Bakersfield to hang around, but eventually pulled away for a 80-74 win. Patty Mills led the way with 21 points, and Omar Samhan added 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Gaels. It's fair to say that the Gaels are the favorite to win the WCC at this point, and I'd be stunned if they're not ranked next week.
Schedule This Week: 1/9 vs. Santa Clara; 1/11 @ USF
San Diego (8-7; 2-0): Billy Grier is proving himself to be one of the finest coaches on the West Coast. Despite losing Brandon Johnson to a season-ending injury earlier this season, Grier continues to have the Toreros playing hard and smart basketball. The Toreros opened the week with a terrific 64-61 victory at Mississippi State. USD was led by Trumaine Johnson who scored 17 points in the overtime thriller. The Toreros returned home to face Marshall on January 2nd, and were able to jump out to a 39-17 halftime lead on the Thundering Herd. Although Marshall was able to cut into the huge halftime deficit, USD hung on for the 80-70 win. All five starters scored in double-digits for USD, and it's starting to look like they can still challenge for a top 3 finish in the conference.
Schedule This Week: 1/9 @ USF; 1/11 @ Santa Clara
San Francisco (8-7; 1-1): It's such a shame to see a great player like Dior Lowhorn wasted with this team. The Dons began the week by finishing their East Coast road trip with a game against Boston College. Although Lowhorn contributed his typical 18 points, the Dons were not competitive in the 84-62 loss (Slipper Still Fits note: This doesn't look like a bad loss after BC beat North Carolina today). USF concluded the week by hosting Cal State East Bay. USF was impressive in the 80-40 victory, but it's starting to seem like this is the type of team that beats up on the small teams, and then gets dominated when it take a step up in competition. I don't expect much from this team during WCC play, mainly for the fact that they don't have enough talent surrounding Lowhorn.
Schedule This Week: 1/9 vs. USD; 1/11 vs. St. Mary's
Santa Clara (7-9; 2-2): Despite the lackluster record, I'm still convinced that this team will put it together by the end of the season. The Broncos opened the week with consecutive victories over Belmont (83-80) and UTEP (89-88), but then ended the week with back-to-back losses to Hartford (73-68) and New Hampshire (58-54). I don't understand how a team can beat a solid team like UTEP, and then get swept by two members of the American East conference. John Bryant continues to be one of the most dominant big men in the country, as he scored 33 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the fantastic victory over UTEP. I really hope WCC fans realize how terrific of a player John Bryant is, as he is proving himself to be the best player in the conference.
Schedule This Week: 1/9 @ St. Mary's; 1/11 vs. USD