Saint Mary's-CA (28-6) vs. Memphis (30-4)
Thursday, March 21, 2:45 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Palace of Auburn Hills (13,409) -- Auburn Hills,
Michigan. Television: CBS. NCAA Tournament Record: Saint Mary's 4-7, Memphis
32-24. Series Record: Memphis leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Saint Mary's Gaels hope to keep their national championship
hopes alive as they tangle with the sixth-seeded Memphis Tigers in the second
round of the NCAA Tournament at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
This will be just the second meeting in history between these schools. Memphis
won the first meeting in 2004 to build a slight series edge. The winner will
advance to take on the victor of the Michigan State/Valparaiso tilt in the
Midwest Region's next round.
Saint Mary's advanced to the round of 64 as it coasted to a 67-54 decision
over Middle Tennessee in the first round in Dayton on Tuesday. SMC is the only
other West Coast Conference school other than Gonzaga in this year's field.
The Gaels lost in the conference tournament championship game to the Zags to
mark their third loss to the Bulldogs of the season, but they did manage to
win all 15 of their other WCC games. Coach Randy Bennett's squad managed to
take down NCAA Tournament qualifying programs Creighton, Harvard and Pacific
during the regular season. The Gaels are led by senior point guard Matthew
Dellavedova, who was the WCC Player of the Year a season ago and scored 22
points versus the Blue Raiders.
SMC may be a man down after junior guard Jorden Page left the WCC Championship
game with a knee injury and missed the NCAA opener versus Middle Tennessee.
Dellavedova, who is the school's all-time leader in scoring, assists,
3-pointers and games played, still has plenty of help. Gathering in their
share of dishes from Dellavedova are Stephen Holt (11.8 ppg) and Beau Levesque
(10.7 ppg), the latter being a huge spark off the bench who has knocked down
47.6 percent of his 3-point tries. In the paint, the Gaels lean heavily on
Brad Waldow (10.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Mitchell Young (7.6 ppg 5.5 rpg), who are
very good at demanding attention to free up the lane for the team's star point
Chris Crawford showed he can be a difference-maker for the Tigers in the C-USA
Tournament as he poured in 53 total points in the final two games to help the
team clinch the league tourney title. Crawford drilled 13 3-pointers over the
past two games to help the Tigers clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament field.
Memphis was able to survive its overtime thriller against USM in the title
game as Adonis Thomas tallied 19 points and Joe Jackson filled it up with 22
points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Memphis has only lost one game since Dec. 15, and that setback came at the
Cintas Center to a tough Xavier Musketeers unit. Joe Jackson (13.8 ppg, 4.9
apg) is clearly the leader of the Tigers this season , but Memphis has plenty
of scoring options down the line. Thomas (11.9 ppg) was once projected to be
an NBA lottery pick. Although his numbers aren't overwhelming, he is
definitely returning to favor with scouts due to his athleticism and scoring
ability. Thomas is not the only capable forward for the Tigers, as Tarik
Black, Goodwin and D.J. Stephens are all solid role players. The Tigers are
forcing their foes to turn the ball over 15.6 times per contest. Memphis was
expected to make a run last season before it was bounced in the second round
by Saint Louis.
The Gaels are a smart and well-crafted team, but Memphis is a very explosive
squad due to its deep array of scorers. SMC will need to sustain a Tigers' run
or two to keep their goal of advancing alive.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Memphis 74, Saint Mary's 67
03/21 10:34:49 ET
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