A Deeper Look: West Coast Conference Hoops
by Strike Point Sports - 12/13/2006
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 - San Diego
The Toreros have opened up the month of December 4-0 and now are 6-4 on the year. Of those wins the most impressive were on the road against Central Michigan and especially at California last weekend. San Diego is home for three of their next four and it's conceivable to hit the double digit win mark the way they are playing within the next two weeks. Up next for the Toreros is a home meeting with Campbell, a team they knocked off by nine last year.
Struggling Team - Portland
And it continues to get worse for the Pilots. Portland is 0-3 this month and is still on their losing streak, now at six games. They are 0-4 ATS at home and just 1-9 against the number all season. And SU they have yet to produce a win on the road. It's safe to say their inability to score is hampering them. Averaging just 57 points per game, Portland ranks 320th in the country.
Oddsmaker Mistake (recently) - San Diego at Cal (-15)
Either the oddsmakers thought Cal was really tough at home or San Diego lacked the talent to win on the road. Regardless, the Toreros were getting 15 points in Berkeley but came away with the five point outright victory. San Diego was on the right side despite shooting just 4-of-18 from three-point range. Brandon Johnson and Gyno Jackson combined for 44 points of their team's 72 points.
Hot Player - Diamon Simpson | F, St. Mary's
While the Gaels have yet to build consistency in 2006, their star forward is playing exceptional basketball. Simpson has scored at least 15 points in each of his last four games, including a 19-point, 10-rebound effort in win over Cal State - Bakersfield last Saturday. On the year Simpson is averaging 13 points, 7.5 rebounds along with 29 blocks for his 6-4 Gaels.
Difference Maker - Brandon Johnson | G, San Diego
The recent success of San Diego can be attributed to the play of the team's starting point guard. The 6'0'' guard from Houston, Texas has turned in some performances that have really boosted his team. In the Toreros' last two wins Johnson has combined for 35 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. His best game during the team's win streak was his 12-point, 10 assist, five rebound output in a home win over Eastern Michigan.
Big Upcoming Game
Gonzaga at Georgia, Saturday 12/16 2 p.m.
Again the Zags continue to pass their early season tests, most recently getting it done at home against top 10 Washington, 97-77. This weekend the SEC's Georgia Bulldogs will challenge them out of conference. Georgia is 6-1 this year, including a 5-1 mark at home. They rank in the top three in points scored, dropping 91 a night so far this season, not to mention both third as well in field goal percentage and three-point percentage.
Gonzaga has been a non-conference killer this year, knocking off the likes of North Carolina and Texas. And they have further chances to add teams to the list. After they get done playing Georgia this Saturday they have games against Duke, Nevada and Virginia. But this week they will have their hands full with the three-head monster backcourt of Georgia's Mike Mercer, Levi Stukes and Billy Humphrey, all of whom are averaging double figures.
Line Prediction: Georgia -3