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