I apologize for not writing last week. The holiday threw me off, things got busy, and I’m using those as a cop out. Then when it came to my reactions, I wrote something up, but my frustrations got the best of me, and had I ran with it, I would have needed to issue an apology so I decided against it. But really that’s neither here nor there, back to the Pilots.
This has really been a crazy up and down year for sure. Just when this team seems to hit their stride, they falter in a winnable game. With losses to San Diego and BYU, added with a San Diego upset over Gonzaga, Portland now is down to their last resort to secure a top 6 seed before the tournament in Las Vegas next week. San Diego holds the tie-breaker over Portland so the Pilots will need to finish at least one game up on the Toreros in order to outpace them. Portland has plays Saint Mary’s in some high school gym in Moraga, CA tonight, followed by a first WCC trip to Stockton to play Pacific. San Diego hosts BYU on Saturday. This should be fun, and by fun I mean stressful.
To make matters worse, rumor is that Alec Wintering and Kevin Bailey will both be out this week. This means that everyone will need to be ready to play. I’m expecting to see a lot of minutes out Tanner Riley and maybe some Xubi. I wouldn’t even be surprised if we see some creative lineups (Pressley, Sharp with the final spots being made up from a combination of Nicholas, Voldy, Barker, and van der Mars).
Never the less for the Pilots to compete, they need to feed Thomas early and often. Also, Pressley needs to be aggressive, and either Sharp or Riley needs to have an impact. Defensively is where I really think this team will need some help. As great as Bobby has been this season, he can be a liability on defense. I guess we’re just going to have to wait and see.
Where we came From
Overall Record: (15-13, 7-9) 6thin the WCC standings,
Last week: 0-2 with a 59-61 Loss at San Diego and a 72-89 Loss at BYU.
Portland missed Kevin Bailey in the San Diego game. I think having him in the lineup would have propelled the Pilots to the win. Look at the final minute: game was tied at 56. Duda Sanadze drove right and elevated over Bobby Sharp to make a jumper. It was a tough shot and Bobby did a good job to stay in front, probably one of his better defensive stands in the game, but Sanadze was able to easily elevate over Sharp. Having a lineup with Wintering, Pressley, and Bailey may have made that shot tougher.
Where we are headed
Portland finishes up the season by traveling to Saint Mary’s tonight, Pacific on Saturday
Bottom line is Portland needs to win. BYU can help them out a little by beating San Diego on Saturday, but that shouldn’t even be a thought in the Pilots mind. Portland needs to take it to Saint Mary’s tonight, and play themselves into a top 6 finish.
WCC Championship Belt update: BYU stole the belt on February 15 with a big 60-57 win over the reigning champion Saint Mary’s Gaels. They then defended the title against Gonzaga and my Portland Pilots. That means that not only does the BYU/San Diego game on Saturday have big seeding implications, but more importantly, it’s for the WCC Championship Belt!