Nevada at San Diego
Jenny Craig Pavilion - San Diego, CA
10:00 PM EST
The Western Athletic and West Coast took completely different paths last season -- the WAC, a perennial multi-bid league despite its allocation of most of its resources to football, languished in the 20's of the RPI scale and squeezed out a champion after that Boise State-New Mexico State final. The WCC grew up fast, going from Gonzaga to gazonga
! Three bids later, and even the most casual fans can name multiple teams.
The tourney champion, and the owner of the WCC's deepest NCAA run, is San Diego. The Toreros return just about everyone from the team that shocked UConn out of a No. 13 seed, including last year's second-leading scorer, senior guard Brandon Johnson
. He scored 14 points in USD's tough season-opening 65-60 loss to UNLV
, but it was his 3-for-14 line that was mildly concerning. Taking a hiatus is the top point-producer from 2007-08, all-WCC big man Gyno Pomare, who was suspended by head coach Bill Grier for a team-rules violation
Suspensions are also a big part of the story for the Wolf Pack, which have three players in limbo
-- Brandon Fields, London Giles and Ahyaro Phillips, who were cited with petty larceny back in October. But this game will be a great opportunity to see new Wolf Luke Babbitt
in action. The 6-9 freshman dropped 20 points on Montana State in his college debut, and added 12 rebounds just to make it more memorable. Can the Wolf Pack make it back to the Dance in 2009? He'll be a big part of the reason why if they do.Basketball State Preview/Box
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