Nov 18, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Denzel Valentine (45) dribbles the ball around Portland Pilots guard Kevin Bailey (00) during the second half at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Michigan State won 82-67. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Pepperdine Tries to Rebound Against Portland


Pepperdine Waves (11-8, 4-3) vs. Portland Pilots  (11-7, 3-3)

Date: Saturday, January 18, 2014

Location: Firestone Fieldhouse, Malibu CA

Time: 5:00 PM PST

TV: None

Video: WaveCasts/PepperdineSports.com

LiveStats:  http://www.pepperdinesports.com/gametracker/launch/gt_mbaskbl.html?event=1287540&school=pepp&sport=mbaskbl&camefrom=&startschool=&

Last Season: Pepperdine won both matchups.  They beat the Pilots 54-47 in Malibu and 72-68 in overtime in Portland.

PROJECTED STARTERS

Pepperdine

Jeremy Major, 11.2 PPG, 4.3 APG

Amadi Udenyi, 5.8 PPG

Malcolm Brooks, 9.6 PPG

Stacy Davis, 15.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG

Brendan Lane, 14.6 PPG, 8.0 RPG

Portland

Alec Wintering, 8.1 PPG, 4.1 APG

Bryce Pressley, 7.7 PPG, 3.7 APG

Kevin Bailey, 16.6 PPG

Ryan Nicholas, 12.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG

Thomas van der Mars, 12.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG

 

KEYS TO THE GAME

Pepperdine

Lane and Davis must match Portland’s frontcourt efficiency:  Portland has (in my opinion) the deepest frontcourt rotation in the West Coast Conference.  Portland’s 4 big men shoot a combined 52% from the field, and Pepperdine will need similar production not only from Lane and Davis (who both struggled against Gonzaga), but also guys coming off the bench such as Jett Raines.

Portland

Guards must take care of the ball: Portland’s two primary ball-handlers are relatively inexperienced (although Bryce Pressley has about a season’s worth of starting experience at this point), and with that comes the potential to turn the ball over.  Alec Wintering needs to get the ball down low to van der Mars and Nicholas, who are money around the basket.

 

KEY MATCHUP

Stacy Davis vs. Ryan Nicholas: Two physical, big, hard-nosed power forwards who have very similar skill-sets.   It will be a fascinating matchup to see the two of them compete against each other, and the player who performs better will have a good chance of leading his team to victory.

 

PREDICTION

Portland is one of the hottest teams in the WCC after victories vs. Gonzaga and at LMU, while Pepperdine played very poorly in a blowout loss to Gonzaga. Momentum is on the side of the Pilots, and they will win this game 73-64.

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Tags: Basketball College Basketball Pepperdine Pepperdine Waves Portland Portland Pilots WCC West Coast Conference