#535 University of California, Davis Aggiesvs.#536 Santa Clara University Broncos
Written by Ricky Dimon
NCAAB: Saturday, November 12, 2016 at 9:00 p.m. EST
The Line: OFF. Total: OFF.
The UC Davis Aggies and the Santa Clara Broncos will contest their second games of the season on Saturday when they collide in the Cable Car Classic hosted by Santa Clara at the Leavey Center. UC Davis is coming off a 2015-16 campaign in which it went 11-19 overall and 6-10 in the Big West Conference. The Broncos, who went 11-20 last season and 7-11 in the West Coast Conference, are now under the guidance of head coach Herb Sendek.
UC Davis head coach Jim Les says this is “by far” the most athletic team he has had since taking over the program five seasons ago. It is also one of his most experienced, with three returning starters and eight others who played or redshirted last season. Two years ago, the Aggies went 25-7 overall (14-0 at home) and won the Big West regular-season title. As for the 2016-17 campaign, power forward J.T. Adenrele and point guard Darius Graham are in their sixth and fifth seasons, respectively, after being sidelined because of knee injuries.
“Looking at our team and the experience and the veteran leadership we have, I’m going to be surprised and disappointed if we are not competing for our second title in the last three years,” Les commented. “So that’s our goal.
“Darius, defensively, is one of the better on-ball defenders on the West Coast,” Les added. “He makes the other four guys around him better defenders. But now I’m also seeing more confidence in him as an offensive player. He’s shooting the ball at a high level.”
Sendek hoped to start his tenure at Santa Clara with an up-tempo, aesthetically pleasing offense. That may not be the case, at least in the early stages of the season. The Broncos will be without starting point guard K.J. Feagin at least until next month because of a broken foot that he incurred in the team’s third preseason practice. Fellow guard Evan Wardlow had offseason knee surgery and then hurt his hamstring, so he is also on the shelf until December. Forward Matt Hubbard has been rehabbing from offseason ankle surgery but could be able to play this weekend.
“We took a real punch to the gut when we lost K.J.,” Sendek lamented. “There are no easy answers or responses when you lose key guys.”
The UC Davis Aggies are:
The Santa Clara Broncos are:
The Broncos have a plethora of injuries to deal with, but they still boast two-time All-West Coast Conference guard Jared Brownridge, who is coming off a junior season in which he led the conference in scoring at 20.6 points per game. Without Feagin and Wardlow, however, they may have problems against an athletic UC Davis squad. A big backcourt advantage, thanks to Adenrele and Graham, should go to UCD. The Aggies are 5-1 ATS in their last six overall and 4-1 ATS in their last five on the road. Santa Clara is 1-4 ATS in its last five at home and 6-21 ATS in its last 27 against the Big West Conference. Look for those trends to continue.
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A 2006 graduate of Davidson College, Ricky is a freelance sports writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. He has previously worked with various websites in the sports handicapping industry and is generally a fan of going with the hot hand while in most cases showing a willingness to take favorites and give the points. Beyond the four major sports, Ricky is an avid tennis fan—and writer—and covers the ATP Tour on a daily basis.