Time to preview some of the sporting events this weekend that will struggle to get attention but will have a big impact in a few months. Even better, we have our first ever men’s volleyball shout out of the year. Welcome to the Obscurity Report.
The West Coast Conference has been having another great year with over half the league in the RPI top 120. Gonzaga (No. 23) and BYU (No. 40) are the two leaders and they meet at Gonzaga Saturday night on ESPN2. It will be an opportunity to show off the league as nine of the 10 teams are above .500. Santa Clara is 10-11 and that’s nothing to be upset about.
Gonzaga has non-conference wins over RPI top-100 teams in West Virginia, Arkansas, and New Mexico State thanks to its efficient offense. The Bulldogs are No. 2 in the nation in field goal percentage hitting over half their shots. They simply never miss as they scored over 70 points in 16 of its 19 games. Gonzaga comes in with a superior 17-3 record compared with BYU’s 13-8.
BYU’s offense has been even more explosive scoring over 80 points 16 of its 19 games. A tougher schedule has given BYU more losses but wins over Texas and Stanford have made up for it in the RPI.
I give the edge to Gonzaga at home but be sure to stay up late to watch this one. One, maybe both, will end up in the sweet sixteen.
St. Francis Brooklyn at Bryant, Saturday. 1:00 p.m. EST
With 12-8 records these two have the best seasons in the Northeast Conference. Unless 10-10 Robert Morris comes along, one of these two schools with get the automatic bid. Round one of this battle for a tourney spot is Saturday at Bryant.
St. Francis did score an upset at Miami to start the season so it does have a win against a top 100 team. Bryant’s best win came against average Vermont but it does play at home Saturday. Look for St. Francis to play hard and get the win after losing Thursday night to Fairleigh Dickinson.
Men’s Volleyball: No. 1 Pepperdine at No. 5 Long Beach State, Friday 10 p.m. EST
The men’s volleyball season is still warming up but we have a top-five match-up tonight when Pepperdine travels to Long Beach State. Pepperdine is a surprising No. 1 since it went 14-12 a year ago. The Waves went 4-10 on the road too and I seriously doubt those road woes can be fixed in one season. I expect Long Beach State to convert on this upset attempt at home.