WCC Tournament Team Preview: Pepperdine


#4 Pepperdine Waves

Record: 17-12, 10-8

Postseason Prediction: CBI Tournament

WCC Tournament – Quarterfinals:

  • Saturday, March 7, 2015
  • Time: 2:00 PM Pacific
  • Opponent: #5 San Diego (15-15, 8-10)

Stats Leaders:

  • Points: Stacy Davis (15.8 PPG)
  • Rebounds: Stacy Davis (7.9 RPG)
  • Assists: Jeremy Major (3.7 APG)


The Waves struggled through the second half of conference play right after they seemed to have hit the pinnacle of their season. After consecutive upset wins over Saint Mary’s and BYU, they sputtered to the finish line losing four of their final six games. They continued to put up impressive offense as only one opponent was able to break 70 points against them during that span, but their offense sputtered providing no support. They did win two of their final three during their homestand to finish the season, but there were no notable wins and a bad loss to a struggling San Francisco team.

How the Waves Can Win it All

They must find their midseason form, and fast. The current team can be beaten by anyone, and they open with a very tough game against red hot San Diego who blew the Waves out in Malibu to start their slide downward back in February. The defense remains solid, but the issues of lack of offense leading into sluggish starts to games will be a killer in Vegas where you can’t afford any mistakes in a single elimination tournament.

The Waves at their best was on full display in their upset back-to-back wins over Saint Mary’s and BYU. In both games, the Waves took limited three pointers in the second half while shooting over 60% from field goal range. As you can probably guess, much of that success came from high percentage shots inside as they fed Stacy Davis and Jett Raines plenty of opportunities. It was extremely obvious in the tale of two halves during the BYU upset. The Waves erased a double-digit halftime deficit by shooting 64% from field goal range in the second half as Davis finished with 22 points and Raines 14 points.

When Davis and Raines are doing well, the Waves do have enough offense to back up their stout defense. The goal in Vegas will be to trust that defense by playing slow, methodical offense. Don’t force up too many long range shots as they will not go in, and continue to feed the post players. Even if they fall behind, stick to that strategy. It can and will bring them back just like it did against the Cougars. When the Waves play their game, they are excellent. If they can stick to the gameplan, they have shot to do some real damage.

Predicted Finish

The Waves at their best have a real shot. They match up well against San Diego in their first game, and they would actually have a fighting shot against Gonzaga. They pushed the Bulldogs to the limit in Malibu, and the Zags are struggling right now after a poor last month of play. That would also be the first tough game Gonzaga will have since their upset to BYU in Spokane as their opening game against the #8 or #9 seed shouldn’t give them much trouble. If the Waves shock Gonzaga, they have already shown they can handle both Saint Mary’s and BYU and won’t be intimidated facing either in the finals.

Unfortunately, the opening game is one the Waves aren’t in a position to get past right now. Even when they were rolling after their upset wins, the even hotter Toreros went into Malibu and ran them off the floor. San Diego has a stellar defense of their own, but much better shooting to back it up. In a battle of two great defenses, the Toreros have much more firepower to surive a low-scoring game even if Davis and Raines play well.  They will and the Waves will win the battle inside, but the new depth in the backcourt the Toreros have been showing off lately will allow them to shoot their way to victory.

The Waves will have a short trip to Vegas and be done after one game as the Toreros stay hot and blow past them.