Pepperdine vs #25 Gonzaga Hoops Preview
Pepperdine Waves (7-6) vs #25 Gonzaga Bulldogs (11-2)
Thursday January 5
McCarthey Athletic Center - Spokane, WA
Moneyline: none currently listed
Spread: Gonzaga -22.5
The Pepperdine Waves have gotten off to a 1-1 start to their West Coast Conference season. This is pretty indicative of the state of the program. They are in the middle tier and generally not considered a threat to Gonzaga, St. Mary’s or BYU at the top. One good thing is that they have proven they can win on the road, but this trip to Spokane will be their most challenging yet. Gonzaga doesn’t lose often in conference, especially at home.
Pepperdine’s big problem is that they struggle to score points - they have the worst scoring offense in the WCC. They have only two scorers in double figures and their offense can really bog down at times. They guy with the most potential is senior forward Taylor Darby, who has increased his production with more playing time this season. For the Waves to have a chance they will have to play the kind of defense that has them ranked currently second in the conference, hit some threes...and pray that Gonzaga has an off night.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are enjoying another typically strong season, hovering in the bottom portion of the top 25. They have just two losses, to Big Ten team Michigan State and Illinois, and were recently very impressive with a win at Xavier on New Year’s eve. This is just their second conference game and they are likely to build a perfect conference record at home leading up to a nice clash with St. Mary’s next week. It will be games like that that will determine who will win the conference in a top heavy year for the WCC.
The WCC may no longer be a one horse conference but the Bulldogs still have the best collection of talent in the league. Freshman guard Kevin Pangos has been terrific leading the attack and in Robert Sacre and Elias Harris they have the bodies and talent to dominate in the paint. Speaking of Harris, he seems to be getting back to the form that had so many excited after his freshman season. Also, the Zags have one of the best best backup bigs in left Sam Dower. He just happens to be coming off his best game of the season against Xavier with 20-10. He is a born scorer.
Spread Pick: Pepperdine +22.5
O/U Pick: Over
Score Prediction: Gonzaga 74 - Pepperdine 60