Portland Pilots vs. Pepperdine Waves Preview


It’s getting to that point in the season where every game matters, and anything can happen. Just look at Pepperdine last week for an example. After finishing the sweep of BYU last Thursday and taking control of third place in the conference, the Waves came out flat against San Diego and all of a sudden put themselves back in a dog fight with the Cougars for a top 3 finish. Pepperdine has a tough week this week traveling to Portland and Spokane, but luckily they finish their season at home against teams currently ranked seventh, eighth, and ninth in the conference.

Nov 18, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Portland Pilots guard Alec Wintering (2) shoots the ball against the Michigan State Spartans during the first half at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Portland comes into the game following their first road trip sweep since 2010. The Pilots took care of business in a way that we really haven’t seen thus far in conference play. Before last week, Portland had three conference wins, two of which came on Alec Wintering three-pointers at the buzzer. Against San Francisco and Santa Clara last week, Portland controlled the final few minutes of both games to secure the victories. Portland now sits alone in sixth place in the conference, tied in the win column with Santa Clara, but the Pilots hold the tie-breaker sweeping the Broncos this season. Portland finishing playing four of six at home. In those six games, Kenpom.com has Portland as an overwhelming favorite in one (vs. LMU), Portland as a big underdog in one (@ Saint Mary’s), the Pilots as a slight favorite in three (vs. Pepperdine, @ Pacific, vs. San Diego), and Portland as a slight underdog in one (vs. BYU). What this means is that Portland has the opportunity to win some games, and be challenged in the next six games. Things are heating up and it should be an exciting few final weeks before everyone meets in Sin City next month.

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As for the game nautical themed matchup, it’s the same old story for Portland. The Pilots need to limit turnovers, make open shots, and control the glass while limiting three’s and easy lay-ups. Pepperdine has played solid defense all season, and if the Pilots can’t hit their open shots, it’s going to be a long and frustrating night for Portland. Luckily for the Pilots, Kevin Bailey and Bryce Pressley have been rounding into form on the offensive end of the floor and Thomas van der Mars has been a beast on the glass.

Tonight’s game, just like each game left on the schedule should be exciting. This league is more competitive throughout than it has been in a long time and each team can pull an upset. It’s always fun to watch these teams compete the second time around. Bottom line is this should be fun.

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