Tag:St. Mary's
Posted on: March 24, 2010 12:27 pm

Omar-Mania is sweeping the nation


The Gaels of St. Mary's pulled off upsets in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament and are on their way to Houston for the Sweet 16.  As St. Mary's writes its Cinderella story, Omar Samhan is writing his own as that once little-known big man that is winning over college basketball fans across the country.

While most are just now finding out about the most unheard of, dominant big man in the country, I can proudly say that I have been a fan for two years now (I credit insomnia, a gambling addiction, and 1am WCC games on ESPNU.)  I have always admired the big man's play.  He's big (obviously), has good post moves (in slow motion), and is fundamentally sound.  He's like the YMCA lunch break league version of Tim Duncan.  But now that he is getting the national attention, I'm starting to like a side of Omar Samhan that ESPNU never showed in between the Nutrisystem infomercials - his personality.

For instance, take a look at some of Omar's Villanova quotes in the New York Times:

"Hey, you impressed me tonight,” Samhan said to Stokes. “Did I impress you?” Stokes could only muster a smirk, which prompted Samhan to say, “I’ll take your silence as a yes.”

“I get it,” he said. “I’m a slow white guy, and I’m overweight. So maybe you don’t respect me because I have good numbers. But after I kill you the first half, what are you waiting for. I don’t know what he wanted. Did he want me to have 40?”

"We’re so old school,” Samhan said. “I’m in low tops. Our star point guard is named Mickey. Enough said.”

"It’s not a good-feeling story, we should be here.”

"You’re supposed to be diplomatic with questions like this,” he said, smiling. “No. 1. Best win ever. Quote it, Omar Samhan said best win ever.”

I mean, how can you not like him with quotes like that?

He also has an increasingly popular Twitter account where he takes a jab at Georgia Tech's cell phone policy and harasses Bill Simmons for an interview. 

If that's not enough media for you, you can always check out Omar's YouTube channel where fans can watch his dog Cooper bark at credit card commercials or get behind the scenes clips of life in the tournament:

Go Gaels.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: St. Mary's
Posted on: March 8, 2010 11:48 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:32 pm

St. Mary's: It's Australian for 'Blowout'

Thomas Beisner

11:00 PM

On a night when superstar Omar Samhan and his C cups only went for nine points, St. Mary's got 70 points from their sextet of Australians en route to an 81-62 beatdown of the nation's #14 team and the West Coast Conference's #1 seed, Gonzaga. 

Magic Mickey McConnell doubled his season average with 26 points (and 6 assists) and Bedhead Ben Allen threw in 20 points and 9 rebounds as the pair combined to go 8-13 from downtown.  Jorden Page chipped in 11 off the bench and freshman Matthew Dellavedova added 7 points, 6 assists and one hell of a Charlie impression.  The other Australian guys contributed the other stats.

After taking only a two-point lead into the half, the Gaels came out firing like it was the Black War, outscoring the Zags 51-34 in the second period.  It was a made-for-the-big-screen run so inspiring, the only thing missing was a halftime change to the Team Australia onesies.  And the Aussie Emilio Estevez.

For Gonzaga, playing for their 10th conference tournament title under Mark Few, it was disappointment for the second time in three years and the type of emphatic beating that is going to hurt their seeding.  In case you hadn't heard, teams now have to pass an "eye" test too.  Gonzaga failed this miserably tonight.

But, on this night, it wasn't about Gonzaga.  It was all about the Gaels and all about the land down under.  Somewhere Chris Antsey and Mel Gibson are scrumming and celebrating with a Yahoo Serious movie marathon.  Somewhere else, Adam Morrison is crying alone and watching Yahoo Serious movies. 

St. Mary's is going dancing! 

St. Mary's advances to tourney by dethroning Gonzaga
Posted on: March 8, 2010 5:10 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:33 pm

WCC Final: Place Your Bets!

Thomas Beisner

5:00P PM

The West Coast Conference Tournament wraps up tonight when a couple of usual suspects battle it out in Vegas’ Orleans Arena. Gonzaga makes an appearance in the final for the thirteenth straight year and will battle St. Mary’s, a team they seem to play about 25 times a year.  More importantly, though, it’s your last night in Vegas and while I applaud you for not crashing yet, it’s time to hit it big. So, go take out that tax return and hit the sports book. These are five locks for tonight’s West Coast Final.

1. These two teams are dancing – At this point, Gonzaga is essentially a lock for the tournament every year. They’ve put together a pretty impressive non-conference schedule and their tournament spot is as guaranteed as charges after a night out with Ben Roethlisberger. St. Mary’s, on the other hand, finds itself on the “in” side of the bubble right now and, depending on some other conference tournaments, could go either way in the next six days. I’ll go out on a limb, though, and guarantee a spot for St. Mary’s. And that confidence means only one thing. This contest is more about the seed than Michelle Duggar.

2. Omar Samhan will roll an ankle – In all my years of watching college basketball (thousands of years), I’ve never seen a guy wear low-top basketball shoes (that’s what the kids call them, right?). That is, of course, until St. Mary’s star Omar Samhan. Samhan is a towering six feet-eleven inches tall and his shoes measure about three inches high, a move not heard of since people half-way started taking basketball seriously in about the 4th or 5th grade. No word yet on whether or not Samhan wore jeans to Little League practice or not.

3. “Bedhead” Ben Allen determines St. Mary’s fate – The former Indiana Hoosier has made the most of his playing time this year, which has increased from nine to twenty-seven minutes per game. When the Australian disappears from time to time on his walkabout, the Gaels suffer. In their last 13 games, St. Mary’s has won 10 games and Bedhead has averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds on 55% shooting in those wins. In their three losses (two to Gonzaga), he’s contributing only 4 and 4 on 36% shooting. Gaels fans better hope Caesar’s Palace serves Vegemite.

4. Robert Sacre has a chaperon – I won’t pretend to be extremely familiar with Gonzaga. After all, I don’t smoke weed or listen to jam bands. But, I do feel fairly confident after reading this profile in the student paper that Bulldog big man Robert “Sacretes” Sacre has been assigned a chaperon for Vegas and is to operate only under the buddy (and ankle bracelet) system. What we learned from this profile is that he only goes to Tuesday classes because the girls are hot, the louder the music, the better, he sleeps during his Christian Leadership course and is “quick sand” in a group setting. If anyone is stealing Tyson’s tigers, it’s Sacretes.

5. Mark Few will rise to the top – Just like cream (and ironically, unlike Cream), Mark Few is set to rise to the top tonight. In another Beisner guarantee, I’m promising a Zags victory, making Few the all-time winningest coach in Bulldog history. His 291st in will put him ahead of the late Hank Anderson, who took about a decade longer to reach his number. It also means that Few will cut down the WCC nets for the 8th time. And, with his alma mater boasting an open job in Eugene, it might be the last time he’ll be able to say the Slipper Still Fits.

Gonzaga vs. St. Mary’s (9:00 PM)
Posted on: March 7, 2010 7:33 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2010 7:42 pm

Four things to know for tonight's WCC semifinals

Thomas Beisner

7:30 PM

The WCC Semifinals get underway tonight in Vegas and, if you want to continue to pass yourself off as the West Coast's #1 fan (you're doing a good job so far), there are a couple of things you need to know about each school.  Other sites might bombard you with tons of information.  Here at CBS, we know you roll with the type of crowd that is impressed with you knowing only one fact.  We roll with those types of dudes too.  Now study up.

1. Nepotism rules at Gonzaga - Most people don’t learn the cruel reality that some people get places in life only because of their parents until they’re out of school. At Gonzaga, it’s obvious in the program every night. David Stockton, whose dad was an NBA player or something, is a 5’10”, 150 pound Bulldog walk-on who carrying on a proud, rarely on-the-court tradition previously traveled by Josh Maravich at LSU and Johnnie West at WVU (briefly).  Don't get too attached to David Stockton yet.  He's only a freshman and you're going to hear his story in every single game of his Gonzaga career.  To his credit, though, David Stockton did not ignite a uniform war over refusing to wear long shorts in favor of his father's nut-huggers.  Not that any other NBA legend's son would do that, right?

2. What is a Gael and who is the robot? - While commonly mistaken for its homophone meaning horrible mother-in-law, St. Mary’s mascot just refers to a group of Irish robots. And, true to his mascot, Coach Randy Bennett has five Australians on his team.

3. Wally Pilot is back!! - For some reason or another, Portland forced mascot Wally Pilot out the door back in 2004, siding instead with the "school spirit sucks" movement.  After some soul-searching and some world traveling, the riverboat captain is back and ready to accept our emails or be your Facebook friend.  Dr. Drew really can help anyone.  Welcome back, Wally. 

4. Loyola Marymount is Spanish for “star power” - You wouldn’t expect much from a school of less than 4,000 people in terms of notable alumni, but Loyola Marymount carries the swagger of a much larger school that produces unfunny people and irritating lawyers. Gilligan, Carson Daly and Holly Madison can all call themselves Lions, as well as OJ lawyers Johnnie Cochran and Robert Shapiro and Mark Geragos, lawyer to the stars. Now you know why they brag about Hank Gathers so much.

Tonight's Games

#5  Loyola Marymount vs. #1  Gonzaga (8:30 pm)

#3  Portland vs.  #2 Saint Mary's  (10:30 pm)
Posted on: March 6, 2010 10:57 am
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:38 pm

West Coastin'

Thomas Beisner

11:00 AM

In the past 11 years, Gonzaga has claimed the West Coast Conference Tournament title in impressive nine times.  It started with Dan Monson on the sidelines and Matt Santangelo leading the charge and has given the world names like Dan Dickau, Casey Calvary, Ronny Turiaf, Adam Morrison, Derek Raivio and last year's MVP, Micah Downs.  So, you can't blame if-it-happened-before-the-internet-
then-it-didn't-happen-at-all America if Gonzaga is the West Coast Conference to them.  That's pretty much all they've ever known.

However, this year could change that.

The most obvious challenger to the Gonzaga dynasty is a familiar one.  Behind Patrick Mills, St. Mary's made a national name for themselves the past two seasons, flirting with the top-25 and, at one time, owning the nation's longest winning streak.  With Mills gone, the nation was ready to turn their eyes to the next mid-major darling.  But, believe it or not, it's possible this team is even better - and more balanced with five players averaging double figures. 

Big man Omar Samhan is a double-double machine (18this year), averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds per game and went off for 31 and 12 against the Zags earlier in the year.  It's the balanced perimeter attack, though, that allows Samhan to do work down low.  Thanks to junior Mickey McConnell (13 ppg and 5 apg), senior Wayne Hunter (11 ppg) and Autstralian freshman Matthew Dellavedova (13 ppg and 5 apg), St. Mary's boasts what some consider the most potent perimeter attack in the WCC.  A run to the finals should land them in the Big Dance, but if they want to win the WCC and make it a guarantee, they are going to need their three guards to play well and open up the paint for Samhan.

But, despite the obvious appeal of St. Mary's as Gonzaga's big threat, it might not be the most serious.  The third seed in the WCC tournament, Portland is a team that gave the Zags a run for their money in Portland on January 9th, finally falling 81-78.  But, less than a month later, they took a trip to Spokane and went down hard, 76-49, and leaving folks to wonder if they were actually a legitimate threat to the Zags.  Of their four conference losses, three were to the Zags and St. Mary's, leaving them as the only team that can claim to be a contender with a straight face - if they show up.

If the Pilots are to end the Zags' WCC title hopes in the finals, it will have to do so without a face that's familiar to the Zags.  Portland's leading scorer, senior guard Nik Raivio (14 ppg and 6 rpg), is the brother of 2007 WCC Tournament MVP and former Gonzaga Bulldog Derek Raivio, and will miss the entire tournament with an achilles injury that has sidelined him the second half of the season.  In his place, the Pilots will use the balance (that seems to be a theme in the WCC) of guards TJ Campbell (13 ppg) and Jared Stohl (12 ppg) and big men Robin Smeulders (13 ppg and 7 rpg) and Son of Sikma (8 ppg and 8 rpg) inside.  With no shot of an at-large bid, Portland needs to hopefully avoid feeling pressure and get back to the nothing to lose attitude they had in a pre-season run of wins over Oregon, UCLA and Minnesota.

Having said all this, make no mistake.  Gonzaga is the favorite in this tournament.  The Zags again won the regular season crown, but dropped road games to a pair of 7-7 WCC teams, San Francisco and Loyola Marymount, inspiring post-season hope in their conference peers.  Much like the Mark Few teams of the past, the Zags count on balance, relying on Matt Bouldin (16 ppg) and Steven Gray (13.5 ppg) on the perimeter and the duo of 7-foot sophomore Robert Sacre (10 and 5) and German freshman Elias Harris (15 and 7).  They've been down this road before and the smart money would be on them throwing the "W" up in Vegas after Monday's title game. 

Even if the Zags do take the WCC crown this weekend, the "others" in the conference can still claim victory.  The whole world might not be watching their games in the middle of the night, but it's probably more than the Pac-10.  And there's nothing mid-major about that.

Mark Few's battle rap

I got an interesting email this morning from a reader who said that Mark Few is so hurt by his conference not getting the respect it deserves, has resorted to his West Coast roots and released a battle rap.  Few enlisted West Coast rappers NWA and internet star Daniel Solzman to help him write his diss track.  What resulted is arguably one of the most horrible raps in the history of the world.....but it's set to NWA's "F--- the Police", so it's not all bad.

F*** tha Pac-10
Comin straight from the Evergreen
Hatin’ on my program cuz it’s clean.
Your sorry conference is more whack than a pager
Still you b****es call the West Coast a mid-major.

Screw that crap, cuz I ain’t tha one
To let a couple washed up retread coaches poke fun.
Tradition and talent? Really? B***h, please.
Even at UCLA, the only guarantee is the herpes.

Battling each other for a number 12 seed,
While Gonzaga and St. Mary’s spots are guaranteed.
Third seed Portland would hand you a killing.
Even the Pac-10 gives the women top billing

The West Coast’s repping dudes like Matt Bouldin,
Pac-10’s just hoping to avoid NCAA scolding.
Don’t forget about Samhan,
St. Mary’s center is the west’s best big man.
Freakin’ dudes everyway like MJ
Wrong song but you get the point anyway.

It’s about time we got our respect
Step to Mark Few and your face will get wrecked.
The West Coast Conference tourney starts tonight under lights
In Vegas making news like Tyson’s title fights
Up and coming conference on a warpath
And when we finish, there’ll be a blood bath.

Yo NCAA, I got somethin to say

F** tha Pac-10! 

Conference Scedule:

Friday, March 5  

#5 Loyola Marymount vs. #8 Pepperdine - In the first WCC Tournament game, fans were treated to a high-scoring affair as Loyola Marymount ruined Pepperdine's second round hopes and outlasted the 43 combined points of Keion Bell and Taylor Darby.  Four Lions scored in double figures, with Vernon Teel leading the way with 27.  They will now take on the Fighting Bill Russells of San Francisco on Saturday as long as Doug Christie's wife gives them permission. 

#6 San Diego vs. #7 Santa Clara - Friday's nightcap offered the sexiest Vegas show since Siegfried and Roy performed at Peep Show as a pair of teams that went 3-11 in their conference squared off.  San Diego earned the right to lose to Portland on Saturday, 61-59, behind 14 points, 12 rebounds and 7 blocks from Robert Mafra.  After the game, Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating declared that "Steve Nash is not walking through that door," adding that, "Even if he did, it would only be to ask for us to take his jersey out of the rafters.  You guys suck."

Saturday, March 6

#5 Loyola Marymount vs. #4 San Francisco 

#6 San Diego vs.  #3 Portland

Sunday, March 7

LMU/USF vs. Gonzaga

Portland/USD vs St. Mary's

Monday, March 8


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com