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WCC Thursday Primer

After BYU's triumphant road win over Virginia Tech last night (the dance party is ongoing in the comments section, if you want to join it), the rest of the West Coast Conference is in action tonight. Here's what's on tap:

#20 SAINT MARY'S (19-2, 8-0) @ LOYOLA MARYMOUNT (12-8, 5-2)
Gersten Pavilion - Los Angeles CA | 8:00 pm MT

Saint Mary's looks to continue its tear through the WCC. What has spurred it? Stellar play from star players. Over the last five games, Matthew Dellavedova has shot 36-66 (.545) from the field (including 48% from behind the arc) while carrying an awesome 6:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. At the same time, Rob Jones is averaging 12 points and 11 rebounds per game.

Loyola Marymount has easily distinguished itself as the one team to challenge the WCC aristocracy. Its 5-2 record is made up of a 5-0 road record (with the 0-2 home mark against Gonzaga and BYU). The Gonzaga loss was by four points, the BYU loss by single digits. Anthony Ireland averaged 26 PPG last week to garner WCC player of the week honors, which has both he and Drew Viney averaging 16 PPG on the year. Can LMU stay hot and lash another strike into the WCC upper tier?

Vegas Line: Saint Mary's by 8
Upset Watch: Possible

SAN FRANCISCO (13-9, 3-5) @ SANTA CLARA (8-11, 0-6)
Leavey Center - Santa Clara CA | 8:00 pm MT | CSN California

Santa Clara didn't feel like a bad team earlier in the year, but results are results, and the results say that the Broncos' are 0-6 by an average loss of 15 points. San Francisco has dug out of its early hole by destroying Portland and Pepperdine, then squeaking by Portland again. The Dons can cement themselves firmly in the middle of the pack with a win. The Broncos will surely be hungry for a win and are at home. But will it matter?

Vegas Line: San Francisco by 3
Upset Watch: Possible

GONZAGA (16-3, 6-1) @ PORTLAND (5-15, 2-5)
Chiles Center - Portland OR | 9:00 pm MT | ESPN2

With one loss to Saint Mary's, Gonzaga is kind of off the radar. Maybe they like it that way. The Bulldogs only won eight straight before that loss and three straight after. Elias Harris and Kevin Pangos have provided a steady hand, and Robert Sacre has started to make his presence felt. Portland has lost four straight and is not doing well; one of those losses was by 20 to San Diego at home.

Vegas Line: Gonzaga by 15
Upset Watch: Not likely

PEPPERDINE (7-12, 1-7) @ SAN DIEGO (7-12, 2-5)
Jenny Craig Pavilion - San Diego CA | 8:00 pm MT

Pepperdine has lost seven straight. San Diego just had a major publication release a report on a possible point-shaving scandal. Bad times for both.

Vegas Line: San Diego by 4
Upset Watch: N/A