The Gonzaga Bulldogs take their final road trip of the season with a swing through Pacific on Thursday.
The Bulldogs are coming off of a resounding win over Loyola Marymount and a less than resounding win over Pepperdine. Pangos scored 19 points in the win against Pepperdine, which saw the Bulldogs struggling again for a half before pulling away.
Things haven't been so kind for Pacific in WCC play this season. The Tigers have lost seven-straight games by an average of 16.2 points. Last time against Gonzaga, Pacific was held to 33.3 percent shooting in the game and five different Gonzaga players scored in double figures.
Meet the opponent
Pacific Tigers, 10-16, KenPom #258
I hate to be brutally honest, but Pacific has lost seven-straight because they just aren't a very good team. The defense is one of the worst in the league and the offense isn't much better.
The Tigers bring a slightly balanced scoring attack to the table. Sophomore guard T.J. Wallace leads the team with 13.4 points per game, junior guard Dulani Robinson averages 9.5 points and forwards Gabriel Aguirre and Eric Thompson each chip in around eight points per game.
None of this comes very efficiently, however, and this is where the Tigers easily lose games. Pacific is on the slower end of the spectrum when it comes to NCAA basketball tempo. The Tigers average 20 seconds per possession, compared to Gonzaga at 17.4 seconds. The major issue with that slow pace is that the Tigers don't make the few shot opportunities they get.
As a team, Pacific shoots 42 percent from the floor. As a result of all of those misses, the Tigers do get their fair share of offensive rebounds and rank No. 60 in the nation in that regard. They draw a lot of fouls, but also can't hit their free throws. In short, there is a reason this team is at the bottom of the WCC standings.
The four factors
All stats come courtesy of Ken Pomeroy
What to watch out for
We are almost on our way to better games.
Which is also to mean, don't sleep on this one Gonzaga players! On paper, this game shouldn't be close whatsoever no way no how go to bed early it'll all be over soon. Fact of the matter is that this is a game in a road arena and all the players and their fans care about is Gonzaga going home with as much egg on its face as possible. The *big* game against Saint Mary's is coming up this weekend, and, although the national media types might make that game the more important one, the fact of the matter is that every game is of the utmost importance as Gonzaga chases a No. 1 seed.
Hopefully, Eric McClellan sees the court ... a lot.
The last time around was one of those games where the Bulldog starters saw limited minutes and the bench players saw some solid minutes. Eric McClellan hasn't seen too much time as he has recovered from his injury, but he saw a season-high 12 minutes against Pacific earlier this season. It would be nice to see McClellan see as many minutes as possible, because the number of chances of figuring out what he provides to the team before March Madness starts are starting to dwindle.
Last time against Pacific, Connor Griffin finally threw it down in a way that would have Bill Walton charging the court. WE WANT AN ENCORE.
Time: 8 p.m. PT
TV: SWX/ROOT Sports
Radio: AM 1510 KGA (Spokane), AM 880 KIXI (Seattle), AM 1360 KUIK (Portland)