Top Seed Zags Put No. 1 Ranking On Line In WCC Tourney
LAS VEGAS - Gonzaga University's men's basketball team, the regular-season champion at 16-0 and No. 1 seed into the Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball Championship, will play its semifinal game Saturday at 6 p.m. at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
The Bulldogs, the top seed for the 13th time and seeded into the semifinals, will face No. 9 Loyola Marymount University, No. 5 University of San Francisco or No. 4 Santa Clara University in its semifinal matchup to be televised on ESPN2 and aired on the Bulldog Basketball Radio Network including flagship station 1510 KGA in Spokane. LMU defeated No. 8 University of Portland 65-54 in Wednesday's opening round. The Lions will face USF Thursday for the right to face SCU in Friday's quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs became the first team to go 16-0 in the WCC in the two years of the 16-game format. The Zags earned their fourth undefeated WCC campaign, going unscathed in 2004, 2006 and 2009 when the conference played a 14-game schedule prior to BYU joining the conference last season.
Gonzaga, which won the regular-season title for the 12th time in the last 13 years, will also be trying to claim its 12th WCC Tournament crown since 1995 and reclaim the title Saint Mary's College took from the Bulldogs last season with a 78-74 overtime win. Gonzaga has been in the WCC Tournament championship game a WCC record 18 times, including 15 straight. The last time Gonzaga didn't play for the title was 1997 when No. 2 Saint Mary's downed No. 3 USF 66-59 at Loyola Marymount University. This is the fifth straight season the tournament has been held at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
On the other side of the bracket, No. 6 University of San Diego faces No. 7 Pepperdine University Thursday with that winner taking on No. 3 BYU Friday for the right to meet No. 2 SMC in Saturday's other semifinal.
The tournament takes Sunday off with the title game Monday at 6 p.m.