Dec 28, 2013; Spokane, WA, USA; Santa Clara Broncos guard Brandon Clark (3) fights for the rebound against Gonzaga Bulldogs center Przemek Karnowski (24) and Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Gary Bell Jr. (5) during the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzaga Throws Down With Struggling Santa Clara


Gonzaga Bulldogs at Santa Clara Broncos

Date: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Location: Leavey Center, Santa Clara, Calif.

Time: 8:00 PM PST

TV: CSN Bay Area/California

Video: TheW.tv

LiveStats: http://www.statbroadcast.com/events/statbroadcast.php?gid=scu&theme=santaclara

Last Matchup: Gonzaga defeated Santa Clara 74-60 at home on December 28th. Brandon Clark led all scorers with 22. David Stockton led the Bulldogs with 21.  

PROJECTED STARTERS 

Santa Clara

Evan Roquemore

Brandon Clark

Jared Brownridge

Jerry Brown

John McArthur

Gonzaga

David Stockton

Gary Bell Jr.

Kevin Pangos

Sam Dower

Przemek Karnowski

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The last time the Santa Clara Broncos (10-12, 3-6) and the Gonzaga Bulldogs (18-3, 8-1) met up, the Broncos gave the Zag’s a decent scare.

Santa Clara stuck with Gonzaga for a decent part of the second half, but David Stockton and Kevin Pangos scored 7 points apiece in a 21-10 that trounced the Broncos chances for an upset in the Kennel.

However, Santa Clara gets the host the Zags’ this time and will look to do what they could not do in Spokane in front of their home crowd.

 

Keys to the Game

 

Santa Clara

Create Penetration: When the Gonzaga posts are in foul trouble, they play much more passive and are not as much of a factor. Gonzaga relies heavily on Dower, Karnowski and Barham (as a stretch 4) at the forward positions, and Ryan Edwards, Luke Meikle and Angel Nunez are unproven players for the Bulldogs.

Getting Karnowski, Dower or Barham in early foul trouble would subsequently put head coach Mark Few out of his comfort zone, as he would be forced to hand the aforementioned players a significant amount more playing time.

Because the Broncos possess no real low-post threat, the guards must force the issue and challenge the Gonzaga bigs’. Brandon Clark is possibly someone that could do this; he is very good at driving in the lane and finishing through traffic.

 

Gonzaga

Perimeter Defense: In the Zags’ game against Santa Clara on December 28th, David Stockton marked Evan Roquemore, Kevin Pangos marked Jared Brownridge and Gary Bell Jr./Kyle Dranginis took on Brandon Clark. While they did switch a lot, this is how the Zags’ defended the Santa Clara backcourt initially on every possession.

Gonzaga will likely replicate this approach when they travel down to Santa Clara. The Bulldog guards absolutely cannot let one of the Santa Clara guards to find their shot tonight. That is the recipe for an upset.

 

Matchup of the Game

Kyle Dranginis/Gary Bell Jr. v. Brandon Clark

Gonzaga’s most lanky defender on the perimeter as well as its best overall perimeter defender will likely matchup with Santa Clara smallest player on the perimeter. Although this seems backwards, Clark is easily the Broncos quickest guard on the perimeter, and can torch a defense if not properly accounted for.

In the last matchup, Clark went for 22 on 8-15 shooting. Clark will need to replicate this performance and then some in order to pull off the upset. For Gonzaga, it is Dranginis and Bell’s job to make sure this does not happen.

 

Prediction

It is tough to bet against the Bulldogs the way they are playing at the moment. Not to mention, Santa Clara is on a four game losing streak.

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Tags: Basketball College Basketball Gonzaga Gonzaga Bulldogs Santa Clara Santa Clara Broncos WCC West Coast Conference