San Francisco (13-15) at San Diego (13-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 28, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jenny Craig Pavilion (5,100) -- San Diego, California. Television: FSN-SD, CSN-CA. Home Record: USF 8-7, USD 9-5. Away Record: USF 5-5, USD 4-9. Neutral Record: USF 0-3, USD 0-2. Conference Record: USF 6-9, USD 6-8. Series Record: San Francisco leads, 35-34.
GAME NOTES: A pair of West Coast Conference teams trending in opposite directions square off at Jenny Craig Pavilion on Thursday night, as the San Diego Toreros play host to the San Francisco Dons.
San Francisco has won back-to-back games, topping Loyola Marymount (61-59) and Pepperdine (64-58) to improve to 13-15 overall and 6-9 in the WCC. While their record is lackluster to say the least, the Dons have played much better of late, going 6-4 over their last 10 games after opening league play 0-5.
On the other hand, San Diego started its WCC slate with four straight wins only to plummet in the standings with losses in eight of its next 10, including the last four. The Toreros went winless on their recent three-game road trip, culminating in an 81-50 loss at nationally-ranked Gonzaga last Saturday, but the good news is that they return home where they have gone a solid 9-5 this season.
USF holds a slight lead in the all-time series with San Diego, 35-34, although the Toreros closed the gap with a 70-66 win on the road back on Jan. 10.
The Dons shot less than 40 percent from the field in their latest matchup, but they were still able to hold on for the six-point victory by forcing Pepperdine to shoot a mere 36.7 percent from the floor. Mark Tollefsen led the way with 18 points, while Cody Doolin and Cole Dickerson chipped in with 13 and 11 points, respectively. On the season, USF has a strong scoring offense, netting 69.5 ppg, but its inconsistent ways have come mostly thanks to a scoring defense that allows nearly as many points to its foes (69.4 ppg). The team is also plagued by negative margins in the rebounding (-2.9) and turnover (-0.4) battles. Dickerson has not only been the team's top scorer with 14.5 ppg, but he is able to bring strong contributions both in the paint (9.3 rpg) and out on the perimeter (41 3-pointers). Doolin is one of the top floor generals in the conference with 12.4 ppg and 5.6 apg, while De'End Parker adds 11.9 ppg to the mix.
San Diego was no match for the mighty Zags over the weekend, as it was outshot from the floor, 54.5 percent to 35.7 percent, and outrebounded, 38-22, on its way to the 31-point defeat. Chris Manresa was the only player to score in double figures for the Toreros with 19 points, doing so with a strong showing both from the field (5-of-6) and the foul line (9-of-11). USD is typically one of the weaker scoring teams in the conference, pouring in just 64.4 ppg on 43.3 percent field goal shooting, but it is able to keep most of its contests close thanks to a solid scoring defense (65.9 ppg). Johnny Dee paces the squad with 14.6 ppg and he is an outstanding free-throw shooter (.899), while Ken Rancifer nets 10.0 ppg. The two are both threats from the outside, as they have combined to make 106 3-pointers at a 37.9 percent clip. Chris Anderson (9.1 ppg, 2.2 spg) and Manresa (9.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg) are also consistent contributors.
This is a pivotal matchup in terms of the WCC standings with the conference tournament taking place next week, so both teams will be sure to leave it all out on the court. In the end however, the Toreros will reign supreme thanks to their impressive play at Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Diego 70, San Francisco 67
02/28 10:36:37 ET