Bay area rivals Santa Clara and San Francisco will meet in the Leavey Center with each team looking to get back on track after early conference struggles.
San Francisco Dons (8-2, 2-4) @ Santa Clara Broncos (8-10, 2-4)
Date: Thursday, January 17, 2015
Location: Leavey Center, Santa Clara, California
Time: 3:00 PM PST
TV: Comcast California
Both teams are having a tough season, with both the Broncos and the Dons boasting identical 8-10 (2-4 WCC) records. The Broncos are still undergoing a rebuilding process from when they won the CBI in 2012-2013 and lost a bevy of seniors, while the Dons were expected to be a competitor in the WCC this season with Kruize Pinkins, Mark Tollefsen and Matt Glover among others returning.
Both teams stand at 2-4, which is tied for fifth in the conference, and could really use a win to build momentum and get their season on track. The Dons are fresh off a victory over the Portland Pilots last Saturday, a solid victory in which they can build momentum off of for the remainder of conference season. Santa Clara has a victory over San Diego. Both teams have wins at Pacific.
Matchup wise, the Dons should have the advantage. While the Broncos feature a dynamic guard pairing in Brandon Clark and Jared Brownridge, Santa Clara’s frontline has been overwhelmed on numerous occasions. While Matt Hubbard has been an impressive freshman and Nate Kratch is adept at stretching the floor, Mark Tollefsen and Kruize Pinkins can bully the two down in the paint.
Guard play will be crucial for the Broncos, who need Brownrdige and Clark to be on their A-game on Saturday to produce a win. Playing against freshman point guard Devin Watson, who has been solid in his first season in the WCC, could be something to exploit. The Broncos can look to fluster Watson and force turnovers through him, although that might not be the easiest task as the freshman has only turned the ball over five times in the last three games.
As mentioned above, matchups will be hard to overcome for the Broncos and I think the game takes on a similar tone. Behind big days from Pinkins and Tollefsen, the Dons win 75-65 over their WCC travel partner.