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ZagNative
03-06-2008, 11:54 PM
Jim Meehan's Blog (http://www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/sportslink/archive/?postID=7338) combines the Women's and men's writeups this time. I bolded some stuff for emphasis.

And now the men's tourney preview...

By Jim Meehan
Staff writer

SAN DIEGO – The West Coast Conference made headlines during the regular season for mid-year coaching changes at San Francisco and Pepperdine. Strange, on both fronts.

And for its first meeting of ranked teams –a Gonzaga win over Saint Mary’s last Saturday that propelled the Bulldogs to their eighth straight WCC title. Historical, on both fronts.

What’s next? How about the possibility of three teams making the NCAA Tournament? That would be strange and historical, and it’s not entirely out of the question. Of course, for that to happen somebody would have to knock off top-seeded Gonzaga and No. 2 Saint Mary’s at the WCC Tournament. The remaining six teams managed to do so just once during the regular season.

The tournament convenes Friday at the Jenny Craig Pavilion with No. 5 San Francisco meeting No. 8 Loyola Marymount and No. 6 Pepperdine facing No. 7 Portland. On Saturday, No. 4 Santa Clara awaits the USF-LMU winner and No. 3 San Diego takes on the Pepperdine-Portland winner.

Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s have byes into Sunday’s semifinals. The winner of Monday’s championship game gets an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

“Certainly Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga have established themselves as not needing to win this tournament to get into the NCAA Tournament,” Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating said.

“I see (Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga) as locks,” San Diego coach Bill Grier said. “If someone outside of those two were fortunate enough to win it, then we’d have three.”

Those are comforting words for Gaels coach Randy Bennett, who is trying really hard to believe them. “Everybody that puts together one of those mock brackets seems to think we’d be in good shape,” he said, “but I know I’d sleep a lot better if we won that conference tournament.”

Gonzaga typically sleeps soundly on the Saturday night before Selection Sunday because it has won the WCC Tournament the last four years and eight of the last nine. The interruption came in 2003 when the host Toreros beat Gonzaga in the championship game, but the Bulldogs still received an NCAA invitation.

It was a rewarding regular season for 22nd-ranked Gonzaga, which dealt with injuries early and seems to be playing its best basketball at an opportune time.

“Their ability to adapt to injuries and survive, and once we got everyone on the same page, to really grow,” Bulldogs coach Mark Few said. “They’ve been on a rapid learning curve and improvement curve and it’s no coincidence that it’s happening since we got everybody whole.”

Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s split during the regular season. San Diego was 6-1 in WCC home games _ falling to the Bulldogs, but defeating the Gaels.

“I felt we took care of business in games maybe we should have and we were able to sneak one out against Saint Mary’s,” said Grier, the former GU assistant coach who is in his first year at San Diego. “I hope we can take advantage (of the home court) and play with a lot of energy and have a good following in our games. I probably shouldn’t say games, I should say game. Who knows what’s going to happen in our first game.”

Portland coach Eric Reveno said there isn’t a clear-cut favorite, but “Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s have established themselves as a cut above.

“Gonzaga has a team and a staff that knows how to win and win big games. I would never count them out,” he said. “Saint Mary’s is tough, physical, strong-minded, balanced, really good athleticism. They know their roles and they have a very good point guard, so they’re capable.”

Bennett said center Omar Samhan, who has played despite recent shoulder separations in each arm, was 80 percent last week and should improve with a week of rest.

“It would have been nice to win the regular season, but we didn’t,” Bennett said. “We gave good effort, but we have to move on.”

Posted by Jim
at 6:53 PM on 6 Mar
Did you notice this? "It was a rewarding regular season for 22nd-ranked Gonzaga, which dealt with injuries early and seems to be playing its best basketball at an opportune time."

I agree we're playing our best basketball at an opportune time, but "rewarding regular season?" That regular season drove me nuts. I guess it's intrinsically rewarding when you come away with the regular season title, but that season was one maddening s.o.b., IMO, with players taking turns disappearing for stretches.

Don't those coaches sound like an entirely reasonable bunch? Wish more of them would win more often (against opponents beside us, of course), so we could count on them sticking around for a while.

Click here (http://www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/sportslink/archive/?postID=7338) to read the whole blog in it's original environment and give Jimmy a hit.

I've got to see if I can find a photo to tart up this thread.

ZagNative
03-07-2008, 12:23 AM
Spirits of tournament games past, including the game championship game against St. Mary's at Leavey Center in Santa Clara March 7, 2005. Zags won 80-67.

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/zags/slideshows/030705/14.jpg
Ronny


http://www.spokesmanreview.com/zags/slideshows/030705/11.jpg
Ronny and Adam

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/zags/slideshows/030705/10.jpg
Sean and Errol

Spokesman-Review Game Photo Album (http://www.spokesmanreview.com/zags/slideshows/030705/photo1.asp)

MedZag
03-07-2008, 12:35 AM
Ghosts of tournament games past, including the game championship game against St. Mary's at Leavey Center in Santa Clara March 7, 2005. Zags won 80-67.

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/zags/slideshows/030705/14.jpg
Ronny


http://www.spokesmanreview.com/zags/slideshows/030705/11.jpg
Ronny and Adam

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/zags/slideshows/030705/10.jpg
Sean and Errol

Thanks for these. Strange to think things from 2 years ago are already "ghosts."

ZagNative
03-07-2008, 12:54 AM
Thanks for these. Strange to think things from 2 years ago are already "ghosts."Actually 3 years ago, but still - so near and yet so far away ... Those guys are all part of Gonzaga lore now ... Maybe "ghosts" was a bad choice of words. In fact it was. I'm going to fix that right now.

Rangerzag
03-07-2008, 02:13 AM
I've got to see if I can find a photo to jazz this thread up.

Personally, I like it better when you keep a more positive spin on things ;)...;)...;)



..

ZagNative
03-07-2008, 02:24 AM
You're right, ranger. "jazz" is decidedly the wrong word there ... who hid my danged thesaurus? Let's see ... not "punch," (too many pugnacious types around here ... not "spice," too many pepper-intolerant folks in the neighborhood ... Oh, I know, my fave ... Back in a flash. Lay down a round of covering fire, Ranger - I'm going back to the scene of the crime to do some vocabulary repair.

Edited to add: Phew! That was a close one. I got in and out of there without anyone even noticing.

Rangerzag
03-07-2008, 02:44 AM
I've got to see if I can find a photo to tart up this thread.


Sweet :)

ZagNative
03-07-2008, 03:11 AM
Here's a pair to draw to, Dan Dickau and Blake Stepp as time runs out during Gonzaga's 82-64 win over Loyola Marymount in the first round of the West Coast Conference Tournament March 2, 2002, in San Diego.


http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff232/ZagNative/NBA/Blake/2002-03-05SteppandDickauWCCtourney.jpg

According to the Seattle-Times story FuMan posted earlier (http://www.guboards.spokesmanreview.com/showthread.php?t=10555), it was after this tournament that Few "made a bristling plea to the league to change the format, arguing that more games against lower-Ratings-Percentage-Index clubs endangered the chances of league teams getting an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.

That resulted in the system now in place, vastly favoring the teams that performed best in the regular season."

ZagNative
03-07-2008, 03:15 AM
And should this, from LaRev (http://larev.blogspot.com/), go into my little tournament kit bag?


http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff232/ZagNative/Junk/Misc/wccbmp.jpg