San Diego Toreros (1-4, 10-8) at Santa Clara Broncos (10-9, 3-3)
Date: Thursday, January 16, 2014
Location: Leavey Center, Santa Clara, Calif.
Time: 7:00 PM PST
Last Season: Santa Clara had the edge in both meetups
Santa Clara could not follow up its exciting buzzer beating victory against Saint Mary’s with another win. The Broncos lost to Pacific last Saturday by 12 points, losing some of their momentum that they gathered in their win against the Gales in Moraga.
San Diego is in the same boat. After recording their first WCC victory of the season by defeating LMU by a score of 74-67 last Thursday, the Toreros fell once again to Pepperdine.
Keys to the game
Johnny Dee is in a slump? Let’s keep it that way: The Toreros star guard Johnny Dee has hit a miserable shooting slump the past three games, where Dee is only scoring 7.3 points per game and only shooting 33.3 percent from the field.
If there is only person that can get the Toreros out of their rut, it’s Johnny Buckets. It’s imperative that the Broncos don’t let Dee find his shot again against them. The Santa Clara guards – Brandon Clark, Jared Brownridge, Evan Roquemore and Jalen Richard mostly – need to make sure they have an idea where Dee is on the court at all times and do not give Dee any wide open lanes or jumpers.
No freshman allowed: In conference games where Santa Clara freshman guard Jared Brownridge scores 20 or more points the Broncos are 3-0. In conference games where Brownridge scores less than 20 points the Broncos are 0-3.
It is fairly clear whose scoring is most important to victory for the Broncos. Similarly to what the Broncos need to do with Toreros guard Dee, San Diego cannot let Brownridge leave there sights. If they do, it will end up being an unhappy night for the Toreros.
Matchup of the Game
Jito Kok vs. Santa Clara Big’s
Although Jito Kok is having a down season by his standards, Kok is still one of the best shot blockers in the conference (1.56 BPG, 4th in WCC).
On the other side of things, the Santa Clara bigs are not world-beaters. However, they can do one thing very well that not a lot of team’s forwards can do; shoot. Nate Kratch and John McArthur both have terrific mid-range jumpers and can knock down 3-pointers as well.
Kratch and McArthur have the ability to force Kok to travel away from the paint to cover them on the perimeter, which will allow guards like Brandon Clark and Evan Roquemore to drive in the lane and not have to face Kok head on.
Santa Clara and San Diego are two squads that rely heavily on their guards. The game will likely come down to which backcourt plays better and I pick the Broncos’ (being at home does not hurt either). Santa Clara 66, San Diego 62.