The USF men’s basketball team, which started West Coast Conference play by dropping its first four games, goes into this week’s games with a realistic chance to get back to .500 and back into the WCC race.
USF (13-9, 3-5 WCC) split its two road games last weekend with a win at Portland and a loss at Gonzaga. This week, the Dons face South Bay rival Santa Clara today and follow it up by hosting San Diego on Saturday.
Michael Williams looked like he might have been coming out of his season-long funk before the start of the Dons’ three-game road trip, but has continued to struggle.
Williams had nine points on 4-for-12 shooting in the game against Gonzaga and went 1-for-11 against Portland two days later.
But the Dons have done well against Santa Clara (8-11, 0-6) recently.
USF won both regular-season matchups last season before losing in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament to the Broncos.
All three games were decided by fewer than 10 points.
Santa Clara has yet to win a conference game, but could be dangerous with guard Evan Roquemore.
The Broncos’ Kevin Foster, who was didn’t play in Monday’s game against Loyola Marymount, has been suspended indefinitely and will not return to play until the school’s judicial process has worked itself out. Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating said Monday there was a good chance Foster would play against USF tonight, but now his situation is up in the air.
"We respect the Santa Clara student judicial process and we will work with Kevin to help him through this," Keating said.
The San Jose Mercury News reported Foster, who recently passed Steve Nash for fourth on the school’s all-time scoring list, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence over the weekend.
San Diego (7-12, 2-5) won’t be a pushover for USF this weekend. The Toreros are a year removed from winning just six games all season, but with a scoring boost from freshman guard Johnny Dee, they are looking much better.
Dee is fourth in the WCC in scoring, averaging 14.7 per game and shooting a league-high 43 percent from 3-point range.
Upset city: The USF women’s team (4-17, 2-6) pulled off the upset of the WCC year by knocking off St. Mary’s (15-6, 6-2), who had been receiving votes in the AP poll, 66-64 Monday night.
The win over St. Mary’s equals the Dons’ season win total and has already exceeded its conference win total from a year ago.
USF limited its mistakes with just 10 turnovers and turned 19 St. Mary’s turnovers into 27 points.
USF will be home for its next three games with two games against teams lower than the Dons in the standings, including Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara.
The Dons face another stiff test with San Diego (13-5, 4-2) today.
Thursday’s WCC games
St. Mary’s at Loyola Marymount, 7 p.m.
Pepperdine at San Diego, 7 p.m.
USF at Santa Clara, 7 p.m.
Gonzaga at Portland, 8 p.m.
Loyola Marymount at Gonzaga, 6 p.m.
Santa Clara at St. Mary’s, 7 p.m.
- San Diego at USF, 7 p.m.