San Francisco vs. San Diego Preview


USF Dons (7-7) vs. USD Toreros (7-7)

Date and Time: Thursday, January 1, 2015 at 7:00 PST

Location: War Memorial Gym, USF Campus, San Francisco, CA



Meet the Teams


With the discouraging loss at Saint Mary’s Monday night after keeping pace with the Gaels in the first half of that game, the Dons are now 1-1 in conference play. USF won against Pacific and has demonstrated it can stay with better opponents, most recently Cal Poly and Eastern Washington. The team also showed that it can win (University of Hawaii).

Hopefully USF have regrouped from the Saint Mary’s game and are ready to attack the San Diego in earnest. Winning against a solid team like San Diego would be a huge boost for USF. If Kruize Pinkins, Mark Tollefsen and Tim Derksen are collected and firing on all cylinders, the Toreros will find it difficult to contain the Dons.

Both teams have a 7-7 overall record, so both teams will want this W badly. Historically, USF have won the 10 of the last 11 games against the San Diego so the sports book odds are in the Dons favor.

Stat Leaders and Players to Watch

Kruize Pinkins averages15 points per game, 6 rebounds.

Mark Tollefsen averages 15 points per game, 5 rebounds.

Tim Derksen averages 12 points per game, 4 rebounds.

Matt Christiansen lands 61% of his field goals.

Matt Glover lands 42% of his 3 point shots.

Devin Watson lands 41% of his field goals.

San Diego

It’s been a rough start to WCC play for San Diego. They let Portland go on a 9-0 run to finish the game on Saturday after leading by 6 points with under 3 minutes left, and they never got very close in a loss to Gonzaga on Monday. This will be their first conference road game, and it might not get any easier against a very good San Francisco team that will match up very well against the smaller Toreros.

Lots of attention will be on Johnny Dee who should break the school’s career scoring record in this game. He needs just 7 points to reach the record, and considering he averages 18.9 per game that shouldn’t be a problem on Thursday. It will be exciting but disappointing that Dee will break the record on the road after a slow couple of games before the Gonzaga game resulting in falling off the pace to do it at home. Dee remains the only consist high-scoring threat the Toreros have, and he will be the focus of San Francisco’s attention.

The real matchup to watch however will be in the frontcourt. Thomas Jacobs has been a revelation this year as he replaces the departed Dennis Kramer. He has been a very reliable source of rebounds and points playing alongside defensive stalwart Jito Kok who is once again leading the WCC in blocks per game. How they fare against Kruize Pinkins and Mark Tollefsen will likely decide how this game goes.

If Dee and Chris Anderson have strong nights shooting, the Toreros will be in this game. But the strong inside play of the Dons may be too much for the Toreros to handle. Combine that with San Diego’s recent struggles and the tough time they have playing on The Hilltop, the Toreros will have to play very well to have a chance to get their first conference win of the season. If the outside shooting of San Francisco exceeds the strong guard play of the Toreros as well, this game might not even be close.

Stat Leaders and Players to Watch

Johnny Dee averages 18 points per game and 4 rebounds.

Chris Anderson averages 8 points per game and 3 rebounds.

Thomas Jacobs averages 7 points and 5 rebounds per game as well as connecting with 55% of his field goals.

Chris Sarbaugh connects with 56% of his field goals and 75% of his 3 point shots.

Kahli Bedart-Ghani though he averages only 9 minutes per game, they are pretty darned productive with 66% of his field goals going through the net.