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Status quo was the name of the game as league leader Gonzaga won both its games this week and back-of-the-pack Portland lost its two matches; the other six WCC squads had splits for the week. The result? No change from last week in the projected WCC tournament seedings.
Gonzaga did move up a game on San Diego and needs only to beat Portland on Wednesday to assure that the Zags will at least share the conference championship and receive an automatic berth in the WCC tournament semi-finals. Santa Clara, thought by many to be dead in the water, pulled off the upset of the week by defeating Pepperdine on Sunday afternoon.
There are too many critical games on the schedule to choose just one as the WCC Game of the Week. Thursday night will feature two key matches as San Diego travels to Moraga to take on St. Mary's and USF plays host to Santa Clara--the same Santa Clara that has won 6 of its last 7 games at USF. Saturday features San Diego at San Francisco. Some interesting possibilities exist. For example, if San Diego loses both Bay Area road games, San Francisco loses to Santa Clara, and St. Mary's wins its games against San Diego and Santa Clara, then there will be a statistical 3-way tie for second place with matching 7-5 league records. Based on today's WCC standings, this is how the conference tournament pairings project:
1. Gonzaga (10-1) =
2. San Diego (7-3) =
3. San Francisco (6-4) =
4. St. Mary's (5-5) =
5. Pepperdine (5-6) =
6. Loyola-Marymount (4-7) =
7. Santa Clara (3-7) =
8. Portland (2-9) =
Key: = holding steady; ^ improved from last week; - falling from last week.
Round One Matchups:
Game 1: #5 Pepperdine v. #8 Portland
Game 2: #6 Loyola Marymount v. #7 Santa Clara
Round Two Matchups:
Game 3: #3 San Francisco v. Loyola Marymount/Santa Clara winner
Game 4: #4 St. Mary's v. Pepperdine/Portland winner
Game 5: #2 San Diego v. winner of San Francisco v. Pepperdine/Portland winner
Game 6: #1 Gonzaga v. St. Mary's v. Loyola Marymount/Santa Clara winner
Note: One of the WCC semi-final games will be an ESPN game.
Semi-final winners play on Monday night on ESPN for the WCC tournament championship and resulting automatic NCAA bid.