WCC Game Preview: Gonzaga at Portland


Gonzaga Bulldogs (14-2, 4-0) at Portland Pilots (9-7, 1-3)

Date: Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Location: Chiles Center, Portland, Ore.

Time: 8:00 p.m. PST

TV: ESPN

Radio: Gonzaga – gozags.com

Portland – 1080 AM or portlandpilots.com

LiveStats: http://www.statbroadcast.com/events/statmonitr.php?gid=port

Last Season: The Zags won both matchups by a combined 51 points.

PROJECTED STARTERS

Gonzaga

David Stockton

Kevin Pangos

Kyle Dranginis

Sam Dower

Przemek Karnowski

Portland

Alec Wintering

Bryce Pressley

Kevin Bailey

Ryan Nicholas

Thomas van der Mars

 

The Gonzaga Bulldogs (14-2, 4-0) will travel away for the McCarthy Athletic Center for the first time in conference play when they take on the Portland Pilots (9-7, 1-3) tonight at the Chiles Center.

 

Keys to the Game

 

Gonzaga

Neutralize Van der Mars and Nicholas: Portland is at its best when its two big men – Ryan Nicholas and Thomas van der Mars – are getting plenty of looks on the block and later finding shooters on the outside.

It is imperative that the Bulldogs shut these two down. Thankfully for Gonzaga, Przemek Karnowski is playing some of his best defense of the season. In the Bulldogs win versus Saint Mary’s – who, like Portland, are at their best when they are pounding the ball inside to its big’s – Karonwski held Brad Waldow to 5 points on 1-8 shooting, his worst shooting performance of the season.

With the big 7-footer on their side, Gonzaga has a much better chance of defeating the Pilots.

 

Portland

Physicality: The type of teams that give Gonzaga fits are teams that play with physicality. Kansas State and Dayton were able to overpower the Bulldogs and pull out victories.

Portland will need to do the same if they want to defeat the Bulldogs for the first time in over a decade. Players such as Ryan Nicholas, Thomas van der Mars and Kevin Bailey are going to need to play physical, particularly on the defensive end, in order for the Pilots to have a chance to win.

 

Prediction

Gonzaga has been on a roll lately. Offensively, the Bulldogs have been solid all season, but at this point in the season they are turning into a good defensive team as well.

While I think the Pilots will challenge the Bulldogs behind their home crowd, but in the end Gonzaga has too much depth and talent. Gonzaga 85, Portalnd 68. 

Tags: Basketball College Basketball Gonzaga Gonzaga Bulldogs Portland Portland Pilots WCC West Coast Conference