Pepperdine basketball Coach Jim Harrick, whose team finished seventh in the West Coast Athletic Conference, says he feels "very fortunate" to have reached the semifinals in the conference's first postseason tournament at the University of San Francisco.
Coach Hank Egan, whose University of San Diego team was the WCAC's regular-season champion, doesn't feel quite so lucky. San Diego (24-4 overall), which finished with a 13-1 conference record and has already defeated Pepperdine twice, will play the Waves (11-17, 5-9) again at 6:30 tonight in the first semifinal game.
St. Mary's (17-12, 7-7), the conference's third-place team, will play Santa Clara (16-13, 6-8) in the second game.
Winners will meet in the championship game at 7:35 p.m. Saturday. The conference tournament champion will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Egan's team would have won that bid automatically were it not for the conference tournament and he would prefer that the regular-season champion get the bid. "But I don't think it is unfair," he said. "Our school felt that the league champion should go, based on the performance of the league."
Even if the Toreros don't win the WCAC tournament, Harrick said that Egan's team probably will get a bid to the NCAA tournament. Egan said he hopes Harrick is right.
WCAC Notes WCAC Commissioner Michael Giller announced that 7-foot San Diego center Scott Thompson had been selected player of the year by conference coaches. Hank Egan of San Diego was named coach of the year and Portland guard Greg Anthony freshman of the year. . . . All-conference first-team selections from Southern California schools were Thompson and San Diego forward Nils Madden, Pepperdine forwards Eric White and Levy Middlebrooks and forward Mike Yoest of Loyola Marymount. Rounding out the first team were Dale Haaland and Jim McPhee of Gonzaga, Anthony of Portland, Robert Haugen of St. Mary's and Mark McCathrion of USF.