WCC Quarterfinal Preview: #4 Saint Mary’s vs. #5 Pepperdine


#4 Saint Mary’s Gaels (21-10, 11-7) vs. #5 Pepperdine Waves (15-15, 8-10)

Date: Saturday, March 8, 2014

Location: The Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Time: 8:00 PM PST

TV: ESPN2

Video: http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index

LiveStats: http://www.wccsports.com/gametracker/launch/gt_mbaskbl.html?event=1269909&school=west&sport=mbaskbl&camefrom=&startschool=&

This Season: Saint Mary’s won both matchups.  They defeated the Waves 80-74 at McKeon Pavilion and 69-67 in overtime at Firestone Fieldhouse.

PROJECTED STARTERS 

Saint Mary’s

Jordan Giusti, 3.2 PPG

Stephen Holt, 15.0 PPG, 4.2 APG

James Walker III, 9.5 PPG

Beau Levesque, 9.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG

Brad Waldow, 15.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG

Pepperdine

Jeremy Major, 9.1 PPG, 4.5 APG

Amadi Udenyi, 5.5 PPG, 2.8 APG

Malcolm Brooks, 10.3 PPG

Stacy Davis, 15.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG

Brendan Lane, 13.2 PPG, 7.4 RPG

Keys to the Game

Saint Mary’s

Scoring outside of Waldow/Holt: Levesque, Walker, and Carter are all in shooting slumps, which makes the Gaels very predictable on offense.  It’s either Stephen Holt driving to the basket or Brad Waldow posting up.  If any of those 3 players can regain their stroke, the Gaels will be almost impossible to defend against in Vegas.

Pepperdine

Utilize the Davis vs. Levesque matchup:   Gonzaga did this against Saint Mary’s last year with Elias Harris being guarded by Levesque.  Ideally Levesque would play the 3 but he has to play an undersized 4 in college.  Therefore, he is often at a weight advantage defensively against bigger players such as Stacy Davis.  If Davis aggressively posts up, he should have a field day against Levesque.

Key Matchup

Malcolm Brooks vs. James Walker III: Two players whose shooting opens up so much more for their team.  Brooks has played very well since the start of conference play while Walker has done the opposite.  But both are very good shooters and can free up other players just by being a presence on offense.

Prediction

This has been the most disappointing season for the Gaels since 2006-07 (The year before the influx of Australians began).  Stephen Holt knows he is being compared to Matthew Dellavedova, Mickey McConnell, and Patty Mills.  But all of those players led a team to the NCAA tournament as a starting point guard.  While that might not happen for Holt, he will lead the Gaels to a strong postseason performance.  Saint Mary’s 77, Pepperdine 67.

 

Tags: 2014 WCC Tournament Basketball College Basketball Pepperdine Pepperdine Waves Saint Mary's Saint Mary's Gaels WCC West Coast Conference