The St. Mary’s Gaels wrap up their 2010-2011 West Coast Conference regular season campaign as they host the Portland Pilots at McKeon Pavilion. The Gaels will be looking to avenge an 85-70 loss in late January at Portland. If Saint Mary’s wins they secure the number one seed in next week’s WCC tournament. Gonzaga can still claim a share of the WCC title with a win at San Diego, but St. Mary’s holds the tiebreaker for the tournament. After head-to-head (they split), the next tiebreaker is record against WCC opponents in descending order. San Francisco is locked into third place and St. Mary’s swept the Dons, while Gonzaga split with USF.
Of course, this seeding aspect really makes little difference given that the WCC tournament will be on a neutral floor. The tournament will be held at the Orleans Arena at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The top two seeds receive a bye and since there is no issue of home court advantage, it’s really just an aesthetic difference. Tonight’s game with Portland is still significant since St. Mary’s cannot afford to lose this game if they want to retain any hope of an at-large bid. The Gaels have lost three straight and are firmly on the bubble if they can’t win the WCC tournament next week.
The Gaels will look to contain the three-headed monster that is Nemanja Mitrovic, Jared Stohl, and Luke Sikma. They are averaging 13.8, 13.4 and 13.4 points per game respectively. Sikma is also averaging 10.7 rebounds per game and will be the inside presence St. Mary’s will be battling all night. If they can contain Sikma, the rest of the game should fall into place.