WCC Game Preview: Portland vs. Santa Clara

Nov 18, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Portland Pilots forward Ryan Nicholas (32) and Michigan State Spartans center Adreian Payne (5) battle for position during the second half at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Michigan State won 82-67. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Pilots (8-5) vs. Santa Clara Broncos (7-7)

Date: Monday, December 30, 2013

Location: Chiles Center, Portland, OR

Time: 3:00 PM PST

TV: None

Video: TheW.tv

Last Season: Santa Clara won both games.  They defeated the Pilots 70-46 in Santa Clara, and 75-63 in Portland.

PROJECTED STARTERS

Portland

Alec Wintering, 8.5 PPG, 4.3 APG

Bryce Pressley, 7.8 PPG, 3.4 APG

Kevin Bailey, 17.6 PPG

Ryan Nicholas, 12.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG

Thomas van der Mars, 12.2 PPG, 6.4 APG

Santa Clara

Evan Roquemore, 11.3 PPG, 3.8 APG

Brandon Clark, 16.3 PPG, 3.5 APG

Jared Brownridge, 14.5 PPG

Jerry Brown, 9.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG

John McArthur, 4.2 PPG

KEYS TO THE GAME

Portland

Get Ryan Nicholas going early:  Ryan Nicholas works so hard on defense and is one of the best rebounders in the WCC, but his offense has struggled recently.  He is an excellent low post option who can also step out and shoot.  If he can make Jerry Brown work on defense, it will limit Brown’s impact on the other end of the floor and make Santa Clara very one-dimensional.

Santa Clara

Evan Roquemore’s floor leadership:  The 7 turnovers he had against Gonzaga were unacceptable.  He’s seen the highs and the lows of this program over the past 4 years.  He’s won two postseason tournaments and also gone 0-16 in league play in his first three seasons. It’s okay if he is not shooting well, but he needs to take better care of the ball.

PREDICTION

Portland has scoring options on both the inside and outside and two excellent ball distributors in Bryce Pressley and Alec Wintering.  Santa Clara scores nearly entirely on the perimeter, and Ryan Nicholas and Thomas van der Mars will exploit the Broncos inside.  I predict a 72-65 victory for the Pilots at home.

Topics: Basketball, College Basketball, Portland, Portland Pilots, Santa Clara, Santa Clara Broncos, WCC, West Coast Conference

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