As the college basketball landscape continues to be altered by the seemingly endless amount of upsets, Gonzaga finds itself with the rare opportunity to improve its NCAA Tournament seeding by just taking care of business. The Zags open this week of WCC play by hosting the LMU Lions. It's not an exageration when I say that this LMU team might be one of the worst in WCC history. The Lions enter this game with a 2-24 record, with their two victories coming over Cal State Bakersfield and USD. This is the type of the opponent that the Zags should run off the court in the first 5 minutes, but it should be interesting to see if this Gonzaga team has the mindset to truly dominate an opponent from start to finish.
This has obviously been a season to forget for the LMU Lions. Everything seemed to indicate that this was a program on the rise, as they head a terrific head coach in BIll Bayno and a very respected 2009 recruiting class lined up. However, Bayno resigned due to "medical issues" and highly-ranked SF Terrell Vinson de-committed. The turmoil throughout the program has obviously had an impact on the performance of the team, as the Lions started the season 0-15 and did not record their first WCC victory until last week.
Despite the obivous struggles of this team, the Lions have a very talented backcourt, led by Vernon Teel and Jarred Dubois. Teel, who transferred into the LMU program this season, missed much of the season with a broken ankle, but has been a tremendous talent when healthy. Teel is averaging 16.2 points and 6.5 rebounds this season and almost single-handily led his team to the win over USD. Jarred Dubois teams up in the backcourt with Teel, and has to be considered one of the top freshman in the WCC. Dubois is averaging 13.3 points per game, and is coming off a 28 point performance against Santa Clara.
There is nothing about this LMU team that should worry Gonzaga fans. This game should provide the Zags with an opportunity to gain some much needed confidence and work out any kinks in the offense and defense. I'm really hoping to see a dominant performance from this team, similar to what Memphis does on a nightly basis in Conference USA. In what should be a dominante performance, I expect the Zags to dominate in a 94-58 victory.