Posted on February 4, 2010 at 3:05 AM
Wednesday, Feb 17 at 5:38 PM
30 second game guide
Bring’em Out: No. 17/13 (AP/Coaches polls) Gonzaga (17-4, 6-1 WCC) vs. Portland (14-7, 5-2 WCC) at the McCarthey Athletic Center on ESPN2 at 8 p.m.
Watch for: How the Zags bounce back from their first WCC loss in 23 games. Mark Few insists his team isn’t worthy of all the praise the media and fans have been giving it, and he’s not surprised GU was bested by a conference opponent on the road. He has a point, considering how young and inexperienced this year’s crop is, but Gonzaga’s performance so far is why those expectations are what they are. Look for the re-focused, humbled version of the Bulldogs Thursday.
Fear: Portland. It’s not going to be a walk-in-the-park for the Zags to beat the Pilots just because they’re coming off a loss. Gonzaga was only able to come away with an 81-78 win in the Rose City back in January and expect the same type of battle in Thursday’s contest if GU fails to bury the Pilots early. Portland’s average win-margin over the last four WCC games is 24 points, so don’t expect the Pilots to be intimidated by GU.
Respect: Gonzaga’s ability to rebound from a loss. It’s only happened four times in 21 games this season, but the previous three defeats the Bulldogs endured, they’ve stormed back to win by an average margin of 38 points. Thursday’s game can go one of two ways, the Zags win by 20+, or keep it close, and the outcome will be decided in the final minutes/seconds…again.
Random Stuff: Gonzaga hasn’t lost consecutive conference games in nine seasons and has just 11 WCC losses since the start of the ’00-’01 season. The Bulldogs have won 27 of the last 28 meetings with Portland (the one loss came in 2003). The Pilots were slated to finish 2nd in the WCC preseason poll, picking up two of the eight first place votes. Portland is riding a four-game winning streak and is just one game back of GU in the WCC standings.