The USF Dons have been a surprise in the West Coast Conference this season. While it’s still Gonzaga’s world and everyone else in the league is just along for the ride—the Bulldogs improved to 11-1 in league play Wednesday night with a win over Portland, the Dons are 7-4 in the WCC, tied with BYU for second place.
The Dons (14-9) overall visit San Diego (13-11) Thursday night looking to keep pace with the Cougars, who host Santa Clara. The Toreros are in the bottom half of the conference race at 4-7, but absolutely shut down Saint Mary’s at the Jenny Craig Center a week ago, holding the Gaels to a season-low 43 points.
USF will be going for the sweep of San Diego after posting a 64-62 win at War Memorial Gym on Jan. 18, winning on a buzzer-beating jumper by Avry Holmes. That gave the Dons a 36-35 edge in the all-time series and they’ve won four straight on the Toreros’ home floor, including an 83-70 victory on Feb. 28. USF’s last loss in San Diego was a 73-63 decision on Feb. 7, 2009, and the Dons have won eight of the last nine meetings between the teams overall.
The action tips off at 7 p.m.
Elsewhere on The Docket for Thursday:
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Cal State Northridge Matadors (11-12) at UC Davis Aggies (7-15), 7 p.m.
The Aggies are back home after a Southland split last week, a win at Cal Poly on Thursday and a loss at UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. The Matadors are 3-5 in the Big West and will be looking to complete a sweep of UC Davis, which is tied with UC Riverside for last place in the conference at 2-5. Cal State Northridge beat the Aggies in Northridge 89-77 in the conference opener on Jan. 9.
The Matadors lead the all-time series 13-6 and their win last month snapped a three-game winning streak in the series for UC Davis, which has beaten Northridge four straight times at the Pavilion, including a 73-61 win on Feb. 16.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Pacific Tigers (12-9) at Pepperdine Waves (13-10), 7 p.m.
The Tigers climbed out of the WCC basement with a win at San Diego on Saturday to improve to 3-7 in the league while the Waves have been a bit of a surprise at 6-5 in WCC play. The Tigers beat the Waves in Stockton on Jan. 25, 76-66, and will try to lock up a sweep of the season series in Malibu.
Pacific leads the all-time series 29-21 and has won the last two times they visited Pepperdine, including a double-overtime 67-64 win in their last trip there on Nov. 13, 2009.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (9-12) at Sacramento State Hornets (8-11), 7:05 p.m.
The Hornets, 4-6 in the Big Sky Conference, return to the court for the first time since their stunning overtime win over Weber State on Saturday, the one decided by a three-quarter court bomb by Dylan Garrity.
Sacramento State lost at Flagstaff 75-65 on Jan. 9, but will be looking for its third straight win after beating Idaho State and Weber State at The Nest last week. The Lumberjacks, who are 6-4 in league play, lead the all-time series 33-10 and have won the last three meetings overall, including a 62-61 win in Sacramento on Feb. 4, 2013.
NBA: Chicago Bulls (24-24) at Golden State Warriors (29-20), 7:30 p.m.
The Warriors are coming off the latest in a run of disappointing losses as they were hammered by the Bobcats at home on Tuesday night to fall to 14-9 at home, tied for eighth-best in the Western Conference. The Bulls, meanwhile, won at Phoenix on Tuesday a night after being humiliated at Sacramento, so consistency isn’t really Chicago’s thing, either.
It’s the first of two meetings this month between the Warriors and the Bulls and Golden State will be looking to get a win after being swept by Chicago a season ago. That sweep included the Bulls posting a 113-95 win at Oracle Arena on March 15.
Since moving to Oakland in 1971, the Warriors are 26-27 at home against the Bulls, but had beaten Chicago three straight times at Oracle prior to last spring’s loss.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Saint Mary’s Gaels (16-7) at Loyola Marymount Lions (11-12), 8 p.m.
The Gaels look to get back on track after dropping to 6-4 in WCC play with losses at San Diego and BYU last week. The Lions, at 3-8 in the conference, are just trying to escape the basement.
Saint Mary’s beat Loyola Marymount in Moraga on Jan. 25, 89-61, and is aiming for its fourth straight win over the Lions overall and their seventh in a row in Los Angeles. Loyola Marymount hasn’t beaten the Gaels on its home floor since a 78-70 win on Jan. 23, 2006, and Saint Mary’s took last year’s meeting 61-50 on Feb. 16.
The Gaels lead the all-time series 74-55.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Santa Clara Broncos (10-14) at BYU Cougars (15-9), 8 p.m.
Things have gone awry for the Broncos, who have lost six straight and are tied with LMU for last in the WCC at 3-8. BYU, meanwhile, shares second place in the league with USF at 7-4 and won at the Leavey Center 91-81 on Jan. 18.
BYU leads the all-time series 20-5 and has a four-game home-court winning streak over the Broncos that dates back awhile. The last time Santa Clara won in Provo was a 66-64 win on Dec. 2, 1972, and the Cougars have won nine straight over the Broncos overall, a streak that started Dec. 30, 1986.
Kings at Boston, 4:30 p.m.
Columbus at Sharks, 7:30 p.m.
Stanford at Washington State, 6 p.m.
Cal at Washington, 8 p.m.