Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#735 Santa Clara -2.5 vs.
#736 San Diego 144.5
Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 6:00pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala

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#735 Santa Clara University
#736 University of San Diego
16-5
8-13
9-10
7-11-1
12-7
9-10
77
67
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71

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A pair of teams from the West Coast Conference take the floor in search of a win down in southern California. The Santa Clara Broncos are on the road as they make the trip to face the San Diego Toreros Saturday evening. Santa Clara comes in off a 90-86 overtime loss to Pepperdine at home on Thursday night in their last contest. San Diego earned a 77-67 home win over Portland in their previous contest last Saturday. The Broncos own a 47-37 edge in the all-time series between the teams, including an 80-63 home win in the first matchup this season on January 4.

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Santa Clara Broncos Seek Season Sweep

Santa Clara has been a very good team this season under coach Herb Sendek, who has seen the team turn the corner. The Broncos come into this contest 16-5 on the year and stand 3-3 in WCC action on the year. Santa Clara won their first three games before losing to Stanford but followed that up with five straight wins. The Broncos were trounced at Nevada, then reeled off six straight victories. Since then, Santa Clara has dropped three of their last five games as they have alternated wins and losses in that stretch. The Broncos do have a road win over Saint Mary’s in that stretch, giving them a solid marquee win on the ledger.

The Broncos put up an average of 77.9 points per game on the season, putting them 40th in the nation in scoring offense. Santa Clara collects 35.1 rebounds per contest while dishing out 16.1 assists a night on the year. The Broncos are slightly below average on the defensive end, ranking 211th in the nation by allowing 70.2 points per contest. Trey Wertz leads the team with 13 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game on the year. Josip Vrankic (11.7 points, five rebounds), Guglielmo Caruso (11.6 points, 5.5 boards) and DJ Mitchell (10.5 points, 5.3 rebounds) are averaging in double figures. Keshawn Justice, Tahj Eaddy, Jalen Williams and Jaden Bediako each average at least five points a night this season. Santa Clara is hitting 47.2 percent of their shots from the field on the year. The Broncos are drilling 7.7 threes a night but the team has connected on 34.8 percent of their long range attempts. Santa Clara has been very good as they stand at 75.2 percent shooting at the charity stripe so far this year. Caruso is out indefinitely with a leg injury that he sustained on December 29.

KenPom’s numbers show that Santa Clara might be playing better than their metrics this season. The Broncos are 140th in the nation in offensive efficiency and 159th in defensive efficiency on the year. Santa Clara is 49th in effective field goal percentage defense (52.8 percent), including 34th in two-point field goal percentage (52.9 percent), but they struggle on the offensive glass. The Broncos are only 306th in offensive rebounding percentage as they collect boards on just 23.5 percent of their misses. Santa Clara is a mix defensively as they are 37th in two-point field goal percentage defense (44 percent) but they get scorched on the perimeter (37.7 percent) this season.

San Diego Toreros Trying to Earn Home Victory

San Diego has had a tough time this season as the team has had trouble against some tough competition this season. Sam Scholl’s club is 8-13 overall on the year and stand just 1-5 in WCC action on the year. The Toreros split their first four games before dropping five of their next six games to drop to 3-7 on the year. San Diego earned three straight wins and took four of five to climb to 7-8 on the season before the roof fell in. The Toreros had dropped five straight contests before upending Portland in their last contest to get their first conference win. San Diego’s best win on the ledger was an overtime home win over Fresno State back in mid-November.

The Toreros are putting up an average of 67.2 points per game so far this season, leaving them 285th in the nation in scoring offense. San Diego pulls down an average of 34.2 rebounds a game while dishing out 13.1 assists a night. The Toreros have been slightly below average defensively as they enter the contest ranked 236th in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 71.2 points a night. Joey Calcaterra is second on the Toreros with 12.7 points per game. Braun Hartfield (team-high 13.4 points, 5.9 rebounds) is the only other player scoring in double figures on the year. Marion Humphrey, Yauhen Massalski, James Jean-Marie, Alex Floresca, Jared Rodriguez and Finn Sullivan are other guys that the team looks to for contributions. San Diego shoots 42.1 percent from the field as a team this season. The Toreros knock down seven triples a night while sinking 33 percent from beyond the arc. San Diego is shooting 67.4 percent from the charity stripe as a team.

The Toreros have some major problems on the offensive end of the floor, which has put pressure on the defense according to KenPom’s numbers. San Diego is 281st in offensive efficiency, which is drowning their defense, which stands 131st in defensive efficiency. The Toreros are just 257th in effective field goal percentage (47.3 percent), 276th in turnover percentage (20.8 percent) and 259th in offensive rebound percentage (25.3 percent) this season. San Diego plays at a fast pace but it hasn’t paid dividends as they are 88th in the nation in tempo with 70 possessions per game.

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The Toreros have had to try and hang in games based on their defensive work because the offense doesn’t do the job. Outside of Calcaterra and Hartfield, there’s not someone that you can consistently rely on offensively this season. Santa Clara is clicking offensively and they are putting together a solid resume. The Broncos are getting balanced production in their rotation to the point where Eaddy, who led the team in scoring last season, is well down the food chain this year. Sendek has his team ready to go after taking a tough OT loss in their last contest. Look for Santa Clara to prevail here and sweep the season series.

Prediction: Santa Clara Broncos -2.5

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Santa Clara is going to test the San Diego defense as they are an efficient offensive unit. The Broncos are 32nd in field goal percentage and they rank 51st in free throw shooting this season. San Diego is 246th in field goal percentage defense (44.1 percent) and 165th in three-point field goal percentage defense (32.6 percent) this season. The Toreros are just 261st in field goal percentage on the offensive end of the floor and the fact that they average less than a point per possession is cause for concern. With that said, Santa Clara has the ability to pick up the slack and pushes this one over the total thanks to their prolific weapons.

Prediction: Over 144
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.