30 second game guide
Bring’em Out: No. 19 Gonzaga (11-3, 0-0 WCC) vs. Portland (9-5, 0-0 WCC) at the Chiles Center on ESPNU at 7 p.m.
Watch for: How seriously the Zags take their first West Coast Conference opponent. The Pilots are touted as one of the top teams in the conference, which might help GU play to its own potential. It’s going to be a test to see if the Bulldogs can fight through the non-conference hangover, despite the number of freshmen who’ve yet to play a WCC game.
Fear: Robert Sacre (he says he prefers to be called Bob). He’s been through conference play the past three seasons, but only healthy enough to play in one of them. He’s an athletic, skilled seven-footer. Saint Mary’s Omar Samhan is the only comparable big man in the WCC. Look for Bob to score points in the paint at will, including several dunks if he’s utilized.
Respect: The Pilots’ perimeter shooting. Portland traditionally hoists up a handful of three-balls, especially when playing Gonzaga. The concern is, the Pilots are knocking down triples at a 40% clip. If the Zags don’t contest these shots and UP gets hot, we could see a repeat of 2003 when the Bulldogs lost the match-up in the old Kennel, 72-68.
Random Stuff: Gonzaga has won 26 of the last 27 meetings with Portland (the one loss in 2003). The Pilots were slated to finish 2nd in the WCC preseason poll, picking up two of the eight first place votes. Portland won its first five games, but is 4-5 since and maintains a 6-1 home record.