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West Coast Conference basketball: Gonzaga is tournament favorite

Bulldogs are heavy favorites in both the men's and women's tournaments. In men's play, Loyola Marymount opens on Thursday, Pepperdine on Saturday.

March 05, 2014|By Mike Hiserman
  • Gonzaga's Sam Dower celebrates after making a basket in a win over Santa Clara on Jan. 29. The Bulldogs are favored to win this season's West Coast Conference tournament in Las Vegas.
Gonzaga's Sam Dower celebrates after making a basket in a win over… (Tony Avelar / Associated…)

The rallying cry in West Coast Conference basketball?

Same as usual: Break up Gonzaga.

Gonzaga men's and women's teams swept the conference regular-season championships and are heavy favorites to repeat in the WCC postseason tournament as it begins Thursday at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

The Bulldogs men are 25-6 overall and finished 15-3 in WCC play to win the regular-season title for the 13th time in 14 years. The Bulldogs women's team is 26-4 overall, 16-2 in conference play.

In the men's tournament, Loyola Marymount (12-18, 4-14) will meet Portland (15-15, 7-11) in a first-round game Thursday at 6 p.m., followed by Santa Clara (13-18, 6-12) playing Pacific (15-14, 6-12). Loyola Marymount is paced by senior guard Anthony Ireland, who is the only active player in Division I who has career totals of more than 2,000 points and 500 assists.

Pepperdine (15-15, 8-10), which is paced by senior forward Brendan Lane, opens the tournament in a quarterfinal on Saturday at 8 p.m. against St. Mary's (21-10, 11-7). The semifinals are on Monday and the championship game on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

In the women's tournament, both Los Angeles-area teams are in action in Thursday's opening round. Pepperdine (5-24, 1-17) meets Santa Clara (10-19, 6-12) at noon, and Loyola Marymount (9-20, 6-12) plays San Francisco (11-18, 6-12) at 2 p.m. The quarterfinals are on Friday, semifinals on Monday and the title game on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

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