Loyola Marymount (10-6, 2-2) at San Diego (9-7, 0-3)
Date: Thursday, January 9th, 2014
Location: Jenny Craig Pavilion
Time: 7:00 p.m. PST
Radio: LMU– KXLU 99.8 FM
San Diego – ESPN 1700 AM
Last Season: San Diego won both meetings.
Two popular picks to finish in the top 5 of the WCC – who have endured recent struggles in conference play – will rematch in America’s Finest City with both teams hoping to get back on track.
The San Diego Toreros have mightily struggled during conference play and have not won a single game. The Toreros faced also winless BYU on Saturday but were crushed by 34 points. A good reason for San Diego’s struggles during WCC play is the performance of its backcourt. Christopher Anderson, Johnny Dee and Duda Sanadze have only shot 37.6 percent from the field in conference play.
Although not as severe as USD, Loyola Marymount has struggled as of late. After starting WCC play with wins against BYU and San Diego, the Lions have dropped two straight to fall to 2-2 and 5th in the WCC.
Keys to the Game
Gabe Levin: After a quick start, Levin’s average points per game has steadily declined. If Levin can harness some of that elite low post scoring ability that he showed in the early stages of the season, this game will go much easier for the Lions.
The Toreros have struggled to find a consistent post scorer aside Dennis Kramer all season. With San Diego’s backcourts recent struggles, adding Levin to the scoring charge along with the tremendous scoring backcourt of Anthony Ireland and Evan Payne would be too much for the Toreros to handle.
Christopher Anderson: From a point guard standpoint, Christopher Anderson has had a fantastic WCC season thus far. The junior guard is averaging 7 assists and only 1 turnover so far in conference play.
Despite that, Anderson is hurting this squad considerably from a scoring standpoint, part of the reason why the Toreros are in the rut they are in.
Anderson is only averaging 5.7 points in conference play, a sharp drop-off from the 11.3 points he averaged during non-conference play. On top of that, Anderson is shooting 18.5 percent from the field and 0 percent from beyond the arc.
Anderson is not an offensive threat on this team at the moment, which is allowing defenses to spread out to shooters and sag down in the post. Anderson needs to find his offensive groove in order for the Toreros to save their season.
Matchup of the Game
Point guard play will be enormous in this matchup. Anderson (San Diego) and Ireland (LMU) have been fantastic in conference play with distributing the ball, as well as taking care of it. Anderson has an astounding assist-to-turnover ratio of 7.0 to 1, while Ireland is averaging 19 points with a respectable assist-to-turnover of 2.0 to 1.
It is going to be an absolute treat to see these two butt heads for possibly the last time ever.
Sometimes it is necessary to make a prediction with your gut, where records, statistics, etc. do not support your pick. This is exactly what I am doing here, even though I don’t have the evidence to back it up.
I believe that the Toreros get back on track after playing three straight road game prior. The home crowd will energize the Toreros and boost them to a close victory. San Diego 68, Loyola Marymount 65.