A Deeper Look: West Coast Conference Hoops
by Strike Point Sports - 12/06/2006
A look at the West Coast Conference, one of the true unknowns on the college basketball scene. By now you know of Gonzaga's legitimacy as a top D-I program throughout the country. This weekly following will give you a better sense of the other top teams and players hoopin' on the West Coast.
WCC Weekly Review
Hot Team - Santa Clara
The Broncos have won three of their last four games after starting out the year 2-2. All three victories came at home with wins over Hawaii, San Jose State and Alabama State. The team's 5-3 record this year is good for third in the conference, despite not having played in WCC games. Through its first eight games Santa Clara only has one scorer in double figures. Sean Denison is averaging 12 per game while Danny Pariseau is scoring nine and Josh Higgins just over eight.
Struggling Team - Portland
It has been a rough start to the '06 season for the Pilots. They are currently amidst a five-game losing streak and are 2-8 through the first month of the season. The problem is on offense, as they are scoring only 56 points per game and shooting less than 40 percent from the field. Defensively they are just fine but when you can't score you won't win much. And to make matters worse they have covered just one of their first nine spreads this year.
Oddsmaker Mistake (recently) - Weber State at Portland (-2.5)
The Pilots' struggles were well evident before Tuesday's game against Weber State. Portland State came into this game at 2-7 but was still listed as a small favorite. Shortly enough the oddsmakers were disproved and the Wildcats left town with a convincing 16-point victory. In the loss Portland shot less than 40 percent from the field, including 3-of-16 from beyond three-point range with 19 turnovers.
Hot Player - Derek Raivio | G, Gonzaga
Gonzaga's point guard has been sensational this year, especially as of late. The 6'3'' senior is averaging 20 points, four rebounds and two assists per game. He has poured in at least 20 in his last six outings, including a 27-point performance in a win last weekend over ranked Texas. He is having his best year shooting the ball, making a 46 percent clip overall as well as from beyond the arc.
Difference Maker - Brandon Worthy | G, Loyola Marymount
The Lions' top player continues to carry the load and is the main reason for the team's 6-3 start. So far he has averaged nearly 19 points an outing while pulling down five rebounds and dishing out three assists. Two of his best games include a 28-point effort as well as a 32-point night in wins over New Mexico State and Pacific, respectively. Loyola Marymount has won five of its last seven games.
Big Upcoming Game
Washington at Gonzaga Saturday 12/9 12 pm
Gonzaga passed its first test by knocking off Texas last weekend. This Saturday they get another firm challenge in the form of the Washington Huskies. Both come in ranked in the top 20, however it was UW that came away with the victory at home last year. This time in Spokane, the Bulldogs are looking for a little revenge.
This is a game you can expect to be very physical. Gonzaga is coming off a tough loss on the road to Washington State while Washington has yet to lose this year at 7-0. Guard play will trigger the victory one way or another. Derek Raivio and Jeremy Pargo are played solid ball for the Zags, as are sharpshooter Ryan Appleby and sophomore point guard Justin Dentmon.
Line Prediction: Gonzaga -2.5