Around the West Coast Conference

Down goes a starting Gonzaga G/F for the season

Watching Yale-GU now, close game late 1st half, Yale was up early, GU responded and now tied.

Frosh Dusty Stromer started in place of Venters and hit a 3 earlier.
1st year Jun Seok Yeo from S. Korea pressed in to duty off the bench as Stromer’s back-up. He doesn’t appear to be timid, just entered the game and has already put up a few shots. He’s was probably going to be a limited, spot duty rotation guy, may have to play much more now.
Stromer was probably going to also backup Hickman at the 2 - SG. Now Nembhard and Hickman are going to have to play heavy minutes. Frosh Luka Krajnovic is the only other scholarship guard, he’ll probably play a little bit but hasn’t entered the game yet with 4mins left in the 1st half.

And now Anton Watson has slid over to the 3 spot along side posts Braden Huff and Ben Gregg. Venters injury is going to lead to some different lineups that that wouldn’t have otherwise used.

The Zags beat Yale handily after a close first half.

The other game of the night was Pacific surprising Cal with the upset in Haas. Pacific shot 50% from three (reminiscent of SCU’s loss to Pacific last year). I think that those hoping for an immediate turnaround in Berkeley will be disappointed, though hopefully the Bears float on well enough for it to be a decent win for the Broncos in December.

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GU:
Yes, they got it rolling in the 2nd half, up 20ish at one point. In the WCC Preview thread I mentioned that GU’s Braden Huff would surprise people…well, he played 20mins off the bench and put up 19pts and 9 reb, knocked down two 3pointers and went 3/3 from the FT line.

Ca/Pacific: Outcome probably says more about Cal than Pacific. Precisely why I questioned the top 100 ranking for Cal. Again, they have been terrible for several years, their NET or Torvik rank gets a natural but unjustified boost from being in power conference but they really aren’t good.
Maybe new coach Mark Madsen will turn things around, he did bring in some decent transfers…but there were high hopes for Mark Fox as well and we saw how that turned out.

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Two games stand out to me in conference today.

USF @ Boise State – 1pm PST. I know it is very early in the season but this is close to a must win for the Dons if they want to have any chance of earning an at-large bid. Dons 6.5 underdogs.

Also, a good Yale team plays @ LMU. Lions only favored by 1.5 .

Bad loss by SMC, up 14 with 12 min to go and got out scored 26-8 to end the game with a loss to Weber State

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Not a great night for the WCC, USF and LMU also lost.
Pepp did beat Lafayette and Portland beat UCRiverside.

Highlighting a few interesting WCC games tonight through Monday.

Tonight:

  • GCU vs. USF, 6pm on CBSSportsNet in Glendale, AZ part of Arizona Tip-off. The on Sunday USF plays the winner/loser of DePaul - South Carolina.
  • St. Mary’s vs. San Diego St., 6:30 on ESPN+, in Vegas for Continental Tire tourney. Then SMC plays the winner/loser of Xavier or Washington on Monday.
  • UNLV @ Pepperdine, 7pm on ESPN+

Saturday:

  • Portland @ Nevada, 7pm

Monday:

  • #2 Purdue vs. Gonzaga @ the Maui Invitational, 2pm on ESPN2. The GU plays the winner/loser of Tennessee-Syracuse.
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USF is a 2.5 point underdog! Is GCU that good?

Neutral site game but still in GCU’s backyard. I suspect USF would be favored by 2 to 4 if the game was in SF.

GCU has been solid for awhile, would be an upper middle pack program in the WCC.

St. Mary’s is 1.5 point favorite vs. SDSU. I’m a bit shocked by that line as well.

Pilots are 13-point underdogs on the road in Reno.

At least Leavey ain’t this bad:

Pacific had 15 points at halftime vs Nevada - game was a few days ago (Wed). Blown out by 49!

UOP beat Cal at Haas.

Nevada’s Kenan Blackshear will tear Portland apart.

Looks like there may be a major facility upgrade on the horizon, suites might have bat phones:

SMC getting smoked by SDSU, down 77-51 with under 2mins left.

USF loses narrowly to Grand Canyon as well. The WCC is good this year. But this is a pretty awful start nonetheless.

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Pepp lost at home to UNLV. Not a good night for the WCC.

Pepperdine has been without arguably their most talented and most important player in 6-11 Jevan Porter. Despite that, they are 3-2, though they haven’t beaten anyone of significance. Not sure what’s up with Porter, presumably injured but not sure how bad.

6-7 JC transfer wing Michael Ajayi has partly covered for Porter’s absence and is averaging a double-double: 17pts, 11rebs plus 6/10 from 3. He put up 31 & 12 vs. UNLV. If and when Porter returns, Pepp will have a strong 3 of Porter, Ajayi and Houston Mallete (leading them in scoring at 20pts/game). They could be dangerous and challenge some teams in the WCC. Working against them is Romar is their coach…nice guy but rarely gets the most out of the talent he has.

Ill have to start paying more attention to Pepperdine. Frankly, not a single team should ever be taken for granted. Face each one as if you are at the NCAA Finals and the title is on the line.

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