West Coast Conference Basketball Picks For Jan. 20th
Saturday, January 20th slate of WCC Hoops action
Is St. Mary’s entering a trap game in Stockton against Pacific?
This past Thursday night in the West Coast Conference reshaped the title chase as the Gaels won on the road in The Kennel against nationally ranked Gonzaga. St. Mary’s now has two road wins against both the Zags and BYU. SMC is clearly in the driver seat to take home the regular season title and they finally earned that signature win to strengthen their NCAA Tournament resumé.
Saturday’s slate of games poses a potential trap for Jock Landale and his Gaels as they make the short trip to Stockton to take on the WCC’s new feel-good story in the Pacific Tigers. Winners in five of their last six games, second-year head coach Damon Stoudamire has the Tigers playing an old-school brand of tough, physical basketball that doesn’t involve many field goal attempts behind the arc.
Let’s take a look at the West Coast Conference slate for Saturday, January 20th, 2018.
St. Mary’s at Pacific (10 p.m. ET, TV: TheW.tv)
The Gaels cruised to an easy win earlier in the month over Pacific in Moraga winning by 18 points. This one won’t be as easy as Jahlil Tripp and the Tigers keep it close for about 35 minutes minute and in typical SMC fashion, the Gaels pull away in the last five minutes.
Prediction: St. Mary’s 75, Pacific 66
Gonzaga at Santa Clara (8 p.m. ET, TV: ATT Rocky Mountain, TheW.tv)
It has been nearly four years since the Zags lost to a WCC team not named BYU or St. Mary’s, a 69-66 road loss at San Diego on February 22nd, 2014. Santa Clara has been a flop this season and the Zags are going to be angry after coming up short against the Gaels.
Prediction: Gonzaga 84, Santa Clara 59
San Diego at BYU (9 p.m. ET, TV: BYUtv)
BYU currently sits at 16-4 overall, 5-2 in WCC play. They didn’t receive any favors with St. Mary’s knocking off the Zags in Spokane. The Cougars if they want to win the regular season title for the first time since joining the league in 2012, will likely need to win out to have a chance at the crown. San Diego is one of the best defensive teams in the country so expect BYU’s torrid offensive output to slow down a touch against USD, but BYU finds a way to get a solid home win in their survive and advance mode they are currently in.
Prediction: BYU 68, San Diego 60
Pepperdine at San Francisco (10 p.m. ET, TV: TheW.tv)
Both teams desperately looking for a win in this one. USF losers of three straight had a surprising defeat on the Hilltop against Santa Clara on Thursday night, but the perfect remedy for many teams in the WCC this year has been the Pepperdine Waves, who haven’t won a game since December 5th. The Dons have won eight of their last nine in this series and they can count on making it nine of 10 after Saturday night.
Prediction: USF 69, Pepperdine 60
Portland at Loyola Marymount (10 p.m. ET, TV: ATT Rocky Mountain, TheW.tv)
The Pilots pulled off a shocker on Thursday night taking down San Diego in Jenny Craig Pavillion. Entering that game, Portland only had three wins against Division-1 teams and the Toreros were one of the surprises in the WCC through non-conference season. Can the Pilots get two-in-a-row? Not likely. Look for LMU’s James Batemon to continue doing his best Anthony Ireland impressions en route to a Lions victory.
Prediction: LMU 75, Portland 62