I am in Las Vegas for the next week covering the WCC, WAC and Mountain West conference tournaments along with several NetScouts Basketball domestic scouts. Here’s some observations on the WCC tournament.
- The atmosphere at the Orleans Arena is a great one for the WCC. It seemed sold out for the semi-finals last night (about 8,000) with lots of Gonzaga and BYU fans. Both those schools travel very well.
- There weren’t very many surprise game results as the top two seeds, St. Mary’s and Gonzaga, have advanced to tomorrow night’s finals. San Francisco put up a nice effort and pulled off the only upset, defeating LMU 67-60 in the quarterfinals and then played St. Mary’s tough in a 83-78 loss last night.
- We talked with LMU Head Coach Max Good who was very complimentary towards his point guard Anthony Ireland. Ireland is only 5’10 but is very crafty and really knows how to run an offense. Unfortunately he didn’t have his best game against USF. LMU had two close wins over USF during the season, one in overtime. This time USF executed much better and make the key plays to pull out the win.
- After a close 73-68 win over San Diego, BYU was no match for Gonzaga last nite and were pounded 77-58. BYU is now 25-8 and most of the prognosticators have them in the NCAA tourney. But they had a very poor showing at the event and their non-conference schedule was very mediocre. Their best non-conference wins were over Nevada, Oregon and UCSB, not much there. They had losses to Utah State (bad), Wisconsin (by 17) and Baylor (by 3). They are now 1-4 against Gonzaga and St. Mary’s. I think they should be right on the bubble and wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t get in.
- There aren’t many NBA level prospects here. Juniors Elias Harris of Gonzaga and Brandon Davies are on top of the List. I actually like Davies better than Harris. Harris knows how to rebound, but at 6’7 he’d have trouble at the PF spot and he doesn’t have enough perimeter skill to play a SF. Davies is bigger (6’9, 235), longer, has some nice post footwork, is athletic, can move and block shots. We’ll see how both those players evolve.
- Freshman Kevin Pangos had the game of the tournament last night in the Zags win over BYU. The Canadian PG canned 5-of-9 three’s, three on catch and shoot setups from the corner and two off the dribble on top. He scored 30, with four assists and only one turnover.
It should be an exciting final tomorrow evening.