NBE Basketball Report
Raphielle Johnson, Teams

MONDAY (11/12/2012) WEST COAST HOOPS PREVIEW: GONZAGA/WVU TIPS AT MIDNIGHT AS PART OF HOOPS MARATHON

November 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Raphielle Johnson

 

The college hoops schedule for west coast leagues is a bit light, with just eight games on the slate. But what it lacks for quantity is made up for in quality, as three of the games are part of ESPN’s 24-hour College Hoops Marathon with two of those games being match-ups of 2012 NCAA tournament participants. The game that kicks things off is actually a rematch from last year’s tournament, as Gonzaga (1-0) hosts West Virginia (0-0) at midnight.

 

Their meeting in Pittsburgh last season got out of hand quickly, as the Bulldogs raced out to a 40-22 halftime lead and won by the final score of 77-54. While the Mountaineers are without Truck Bryant and Kevin Jones, both of whom have graduated, there’s plenty of motivation for Bob Huggins’ team to repay the favor. But that’s going to be far easier said than done in one of the toughest environments for visiting teams to win in, as the Bulldogs have lost at the new McCarthey Athletic Center just seven times since it was opened in 2004.

 

Gonzaga has a game under its belt, a 103-65 win over Southern Utah on Friday night with freshman big man Przemek Karnowski contributing 22 points off the bench in his debut. But he and the other Bulldog big men will encounter far more resistance tonight, as the Mountaineers return Deniz Kilicli and add talented La Salle transfer Aaric Murray inside. Joining those two and wing Keaton Miles in the starting lineup will be sophomore Jabarie Hinds and another Atlantic 10 transfer, former Dayton point guard Juwan Staten.

 

Why did the Mountaineers struggle in that last meeting? Frankly they couldn’t shoot, making just 32.7% of their shots from the field (23.1% in the first half). Don’t expect that to happen in the rematch, meaning that players such as Elias Harris and Kevin Pangos will need to be at their best offensively. With Robert Sacre the lone starter gone from last year’s team, Gonzaga has more than enough firepower to make the Mountaineers work defensively, and both Gary Bell Jr. and Guy Landri Edi should be even better in their second season in the program. West Virginia will put up a fight and the game should be competitive, but the home court advantage and Gonzaga’s many scorers could prove to be too much.

 

Pick: Gonzaga

 

Here’s the remainder of Monday/Tuesday morning’s schedule:

 

Big Sky

9:30 PM Portland State at Oregon (Pac-12 Networks)

10 PM Northern Arizona at UNLV

10:05 PM Eastern Washington at Cal State Northridge

The Eagles are looking to rebound from a disappointing effort in Pullman on Saturday night, where they trailed by as many as 33 before falling to Washington State 88-69. Collin Chiverton is dealing with the passing of his mother so how much Jim Hayford can expect from his senior wing is up in the air. Justin Crosgile led the way with 28 points but needed 24 shots to do so; if EWU is to be a top half of the Big Sky team they’ll need him to be more efficient offensively. Northridge came back from 13 down to beat Pepperdine on Friday night, with Donovan Johnson leading the way with 19 points off the bench. Bobby Braswell has a deep team that took its lumps last season, and the Matadors could be equipped to factor into the middle of the Big West. But look for the Eagles to bounce back in what should be a close contest.

 

Big West

8 PM UCSB at Illinois State

10:05 PM Eastern Washington at Cal State Northridge

11:30 PM Cal State Fullerton at Stanford (Pac-12 Networks)

4 AM Houston Baptist at Hawaii

Both teams enter this contest with 2-0 records, and the Warriors have played well without the services of the injured Vander Joaquim. Hauns Brereton and Christian Standhardinger have led the way offensively for Hawaii, while Isaac Fotu is averaging a team-best 9.0 rebounds per game. But the Huskies, like Hawaii, have won both of their games by double figures as well with Marcus Davis and Art Bernardi being the focal points of their attack. The question for Houston Baptist is whether or not they have enough size to combat what Hawaii brings to the table inside without Joaquim, and that could prove to be an issue for the Huskies tonight.

 

Mountain West

10 PM Northern Arizona at No. 18 UNLV

2 AM Davidson at New Mexico (ESPN)

This game will be outstanding, and while the Lobos are without the services of Jamal Fenton they’re loaded on the perimeter. Kendall Williams and Tony Snell will lead the way for Steve Alford’s bunch, but keep an eye on senior Demetrius Williams. He finished last season in very good form, and the athletic wing could be poised to take off in 2012-13. But they’ll run into a Davidson squad expected to repeat as SoCon champs, led by forwards Jake Cohen and De’Mon Brooks. Brooks was SoCon Player of the Year last season, but with Cohen that award could move down a couple lockers this season. New Mexico may have lost Drew Gordon, but there’s still plenty of talent and that crowd at The Pit will be juiced for the season opener.

 

Pac-12

9:30 PM Portland State at Oregon (Pac-12 Networks)

Dre Winston Jr. led three Vikings in double figures in their win over Pacific University (Oregon), but this is an entirely different animal for Portland State. The Ducks are still waiting for a decision on the status of Rice transfer Arsalan Kazemi, but with teammate Omar Oraby cleared at USC it’s likely only a matter of time before Oregon receives some good news. But it’s unlikely that will happen in time for tonight’s game, meaning that PSU will see a lot of Tony Woods and Waverly Austin inside. And the perimeter play, featuring Damyean Dotson, E.J. Singler and Dominic Artis was solid in the Ducks’ win over Northern Arizona over the weekend. Oregon’s depth could prove problematic for Portland State, and with this being the Vikings’ first game against a Division I opponent it’s difficult to see them pulling off the upset.

 

11:30 PM Cal State Fullerton at Stanford (Pac-12 Networks)

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