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
Gary Bell Jr.
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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
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.
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.
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.