Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#4843 Santa Clara vs.
#4844 Pacific
Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 5:00pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala

It’s a matchup of West Coast Conference teams on the parquet floor between a pair of programs from the Golden State. The Santa Clara Broncos are on the road as they make the trip to face the Pacific Tigers Thursday afternoon. Santa Clara edged Saint Mary’s 66-64 on the road in their previous contest on Saturday. Pacific hasn’t been in action for more than three weeks as their last contest was a 92-64 road victory over Westmont on December 20. The Broncos own a 62-32 advantage in the all-time series between the teams, though the Tigers claimed the most recent meeting 87-74 at home on February 22, 2020.

Santa Clara Broncos Seeking Second Straight Win

Santa Clara started the year 6-0, lost two straight contests and then got back in the win column by taking down Saint Mary’s in their conference opener. That ran the Broncos’ record to 7-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play after picking up the triumph. Santa Clara was involved in a tight, back-and-forth game the whole way with Saint Mary’s as neither side led by more than seven in the game. The Broncos were up seven in the first half but saw their edge trimmed to one at intermission. In the second half, Santa Clara was down four midway through the second half and trailed by two in the final minute before Keshawn Justice hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 17.4 seconds to play. The Broncos shot 46.9 percent from the field, including six of 12 from three-point range, and held the Gaels to 39 percent shooting. Justice led Santa Clara with 23 points in the victory.

The Broncos put up an average of 67.1 points per game on the season, putting them 276th in the nation in scoring offense. Santa Clara collects 40.9 rebounds per contest while dishing out 12.4 assists a night on the year. The Broncos are slightly below average on the defensive end, ranking 36th in the nation by allowing 63.3 points per contest this season. Josip Vrankic leads the team with 15.6 points plus 8.3 rebounds per contest on the season. Keshawn Justice (10.3 points, 6.1 rebounds) is the only other player scoring in double figures this season for the Broncos. Christian Carlyle, Jalen Williams, Jalen Bediako, Guglielmo Caruso, Miguel Tomley, Giordan Williams and DJ Mitchell are critical pieces of Herb Sendek’s rotation. Santa Clara is hitting 41.5 percent of their shots from the field on the year. The Broncos are drilling 4.6 threes a night but the team has connected on just 25.8 percent of their long range attempts. Santa Clara has been struggling at the free throw line as they stand at 64.9 percent shooting at the charity stripe so far this year.

Pacific Tigers Ready to Return to Action

Pacific hasn’t played since December 20 as they’ve had five games canceled and four others postponed due to health and safety protocols related to COVID-19. The Tigers are 3-1 on the season overall and open up conference play in this contest. Pacific had little trouble taking down Westmont in their previous game. The Tigers were up 13 at the half and built on their advantage from there to earn the victory. Pacific shot 47.8 percent from the field, including six of 18 from three-point range, and dominated the glass by a 57-29 margin to control the contest. Broc Finsteun led the Tigers with 16 points and eight rebounds in the victory.

The Tigers put up an average of 72.5 points per game on the season coming into this one, putting them 179th in scoring offense. Pacific grabs 41.3 boards a night while dishing out 13.5 assists per contest. The Tigers are excellent so far this season defensively as they rank 85th in scoring defense by allowing 66 points a night. Jeremiah Bailey leads the team with 14.8 points plus 8.5 rebounds per contest on the year. Daniss Jenkins (14.3 points) and Broc Finsteun (12.5 points, eight rebounds) each average in double figures on the year. Jordan Bell, Jalen Brown, Justin Moore, Pierre Crockrell II, Nigel Shadd, Jahbril Price-Noel, Jonathan Salazar and Jervay Green are all part of a deep Pacific rotation this season. Pacific shoots 39.6 percent from the field as a team this season. The Tigers are draining 5.3 triples a night while hitting 28 percent from beyond the arc. Pacific is sputtering at the charity stripe, cashing in only 65.6 percent of their attempts this season.

Best Bets for this Game

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Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

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Both teams have pretty deep rotations this season, which is going to be an important factor in this topsy-turvy season. With that said, Santa Clara is playing extremely tough defense on the year and they have been able to take the floor nine times this season. That’s something that Pacific has been unable to do this year as they’ve suited up only four times this season. The Tigers haven’t taken the floor in more than three weeks in a game situation, which will prove critical as it will take time to get things going. That won’t cut it against a Santa Clara team that has talent and good defense. Take the Broncos on the road in this contest.

Prediction: Santa Clara Broncos 'Em

Full-Game Total Pick

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Rating:

Both teams have been pretty sound on the defensive end of the floor so far this season, ranking well above average when it comes to giving up points. The Broncos are eighth in the nation in effective field goal percentage defense (42.1 percent) and fourth in two-point field goal percentage defense (40.5 percent), which helps offset the fact that they are 319th in effective field goal percentage offensively (43.8 percent) this season. Santa Clara isn’t afraid to run, ranking 72nd in the nation in tempo with 71.3 possessions a night. Pacific is just 318th in tempo with 65.8 possessions per game while they are 344th in average possession time (20.3 seconds) this season. With both teams playing decent defense and Santa Clara’s struggles from the perimeter, this one ends up falling short of the total.

Prediction: Under 129
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

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