It is critically important for teams to get wins now. The league race is starting to take shape and a bunch of scenarios are in place.
San Diego nearly beat Gonzaga then came back and beat BYU. Do they have enough left in the tank to beat Saint Mary’s as well? Or will the Gaels continue their run and go into their date with Gonzaga on Valentine’s Day with a chance for first place?
USF has had a bunch of close calls in league play, ending up on the wrong end of many of them. BYU floundered in San Diego. Can the Dons take advantage?
We’ll find out today:
Pepperdine (10-13, 2-8) at Portland (9-16, 2-8), TWCSN, CSNCA, ROOT Sports, 1 p.m.
Pepperdine might be 2-8 but they have played much better than their record indicates. They are a young team and are still learning how to do this winning thing. Portland pulled even with the Waves by beating LMU and shot a season-high 56 percent in the process. It now incredibly important for both these teams to pick up wins and stay out of the first round game with the nine-seed. Both teams rebound well behind Stacy Davis and Ryan Nicholas respectively. It will come down to whose guards come to play. Jordan Baker has been fairly consistent in WCC play but Tanner Riley came alive on Thursday.
Predicted winner: Portland
Loyola Marymount (8-15, 1-9) at Gonzaga (22-2, 9-0), ROOT Sports, TWC SN, 5 p.m.
Gonzaga continues to roll along and did not let Pepperdine hang around as long as they did in the last matchup. The Bulldogs forced 20 turnovers and took full advantage. LMU now sits in ninth place all by themselves. That is not something anyone would have thought when the season began. It is no longer just the offense that has been a problem but the defense. The Lions allowed Portland to shoot 56 percent from the field. They are last in the league in shooting percentage and opponents field goal percentage. That combination won’t win many games.
Predicted winner: Gonzaga
San Francisco (10-13, 3-7) at BYU (18-7, 8-3), BYUtv, 6 p.m.
San Francisco nearly had BYU at War Memorial Gym but fell short. BYU came up short against San Diego on Thursday and likely is not happy. I’m going to go with the team coming off a less than impressive performance. BYU shot 41 percent from the field and a mere 50 percent from the free throw line. Matt Carlino had five turnovers, his most since Jan. 16. Don’t expect those numbers to continue. Although, USF has started to show a better ability to close out games recently and are 3-2 since starting league play 0-5. Cole Dickerson has gotten back into a rhythm and they are getting big contributions from Avry Holmes off the bench.
Predicted winner: BYU
Saint Mary’s (20-4, 9-1) at San Diego (13-12, 6-4), ESPNU, 8 p.m.
Jenny Craig Pavilion has been the site for some major upsets by the Toreros and the latest one came on Thursday night when they beat BYU. Do they have the momentum to also take down Saint Mary’s or will they have a letdown after that win? Saint Mary’s is coming in having beat rival Santa Clara by 21 and continue to win without Matthew Dellavedova scoring a ton of points. San Diego’s good news came when Johnny Dee was able to play after a sprained left ankle on Monday and he rose to the occasion. Dee had 19 points on 6-for-10 from the field.
Predicted winner: Saint Mary’s