The St. Mary’s basketball season tips off the 2013-14 season tonight at McKeon Pavillion at 8:30 p.m.
Perhaps the biggest hype is how the Gaels will be without Matthew Dellavedova? Dely, who now plays with Cleveland Cavaliers, will certainly be missed. Tonight we will see how much.
The Gaels are coming off an impressive season of 28-7 overall and 14-2 in the West Coast Conference. They are only one of four teams with 25-plus wins in each of the last six years. One key factor to St. Mary’s success this year is Stephen Holt.
Holt, who takes over the point guard position, will play a pivotal role this year. Junior Brad Waldow looks to be poised for another impressive season. Waldow will be the big man inside and tough to beat on the boards. James Walker, as a senior, could see increased action this year.Also returning as a senior is Beau Levesque.
When asked about the Gaels strengths this year, Levesque said, “One of the biggest strengths of this team is depth. We have a lot of talent from the top down. Every day in practice it’s a battle to win every drill and this level of competitiveness is making our team better. Iron sharpens iron, as we like to say”.
From the Aussie connection, if senior Matt Hodgson can overcome injury, he too could be a factor for the Gaels tonight and into the season. The Gaels picked up freshman Dane Pineau. At 6-foot-9, he potentially could see action tonight. Another rookie for the Gaels is Calvin Hermanson. Hermanson, Oregon player of the year, should get some playing time tonight.
Coach Randy Bennett focused a great deal on defensive strategies last year. If he can start the season off with a strong defense performance tonight, this once again could be the year of the Gael.
Louisiana Tech finished last year a strong 27-7 and were 16-2 in the Western Athletic Conference, but are moving to Conference-USA this season. Most of their postseason NIT team returns this year. They are predicted to win their conference as well.
They beat Florida State in the NIT last year and are expected to be tough competitors tonight against St. Mary’s.
Leading the way for Bulldogs is junior Raheem Appleby. He was the fifth-leading scorer in the WAC last year at 14.9 points per game. Cordarius Johnson and Kenneth Smith also return, averaging 7.0 and 6.8 points respectively. The Bulldogs are hoping for strong offensive performance tonight. They will certainly need it if they are going to get past St. Mary’s The action starts at 8:30 p.m. (Pacific) tonight.