Portland Pilots at Gonzaga Bulldogs
Date: Wednesday, February 5th, 2014
Location: McCarthy Athletic Center, Spokane, Wash.
Time: 8:00 PM PST
TV: ROOT NW
Last Season: Gonzaga was upset by Portland 82-73 in the Chiles Center
Thomas van der Mars
LIVESTREAM (Subject to blackout) *video courtesy of thew.tv:
After giving Gonzaga their only conference loss back on January 9th, the Portland Pilots (13-10, 5-6) will look to do the unthinkable: sweep the Gonzaga Bulldogs (20-3, 10-1). The last time a team was able to completely shutout the Bulldogs in the regular season was in 1997, when the San Diego Toreros knocked off the Zags’ in Spokane and in San Diego.
This unbelievable streak could possibly come to an end on Wednesday night. However, with the Bulldogs in the friendly confines of the McCarthy Athletic Center, this will be a challenging feat for the Pilots to accomplish.
Keys to the Game
Focus on the task at hand: The Bulldogs have a massive matchup on Saturday against the Memphis Tigers. ESPN’s College Gameday will be there, and the Zags will play their first team ranked in the AP top 25.
However, Gonzaga cannot get ahead of themselves. Portland poses a decent threat to the Bulldogs, and Mark Few’s bunch needs to make sure they take care of business against the Pilots before they travel down to Memphis.
Riley Barker: The Canadian big man has been a bright spot in the Pilots last three games. Against San Diego, Barker started to show his potential by dropping 10 points and grabbing 8 boards in 22 minutes of action. Barker scored in double-digits and 20-plus minutes for the second straight game in the Pilots loss to San Francisco last Wednesday. The sophomore forward simply did not get enough minutes to make a significant impact against Santa Clara with only 10 minutes of action, but he did make 2 out of his last 3 shots.
With Gonzaga’s depth and talent, the Pilots will need someone other than a starter to step-up and produce. Another breakout performance from Barker could just do the trick.
Unfortunately for the Pilots, based on what transpired down in Portland, I do not think that they have what it takes to defeat the Bulldogs in consecutive occasions. However, I do think it will be a little closer than some might expect. Gonzaga 80, Portland 74.