Predicting San Jose State Basketball’s 2019-20 Non-Conference Record
Predicting San Jose State’s non-conference win-loss record
Can the Spartans nab a few wins before Mountain West play begins?
San Jose State is coming off of a pretty dismal season in which they only won one conference game. But even before that, things were already trending in the wrong direction. The Spartans were just 3-9 before the Mountain West season started. It wasn’t all terrible – they played pretty admirably in road games against Stanford and Cal – but it also wasn’t a very formidable slate.
This season, the Spartans will take on an even tougher group of teams from outside the MWC, including four Pac-12 teams. So how will they fare in the non-conference season?
NOV. 6: at Hofstra
LOSS: Starting the year off with a trip to the other side of the country is a tough way to kick things off. The Spartans will take on the Pride in the first game of the post-Justin Wright-Foreman era. But Hofstra still has a very solid backcourt, led by Eli Pemberton, Desure Buie, and Tareq Coburn.
Nov. 10: Portland
WIN: In their first home game of the year, San Jose State hosts one of the west coast’s most troubled programs in recent years. Terry Porter has struggled over the past few seasons to put any success together and will have to handle a slew of transfers. There’s some talent here, especially in JoJo Walker.
Nov. 14: at Arizona
LOSS: It’s hard to imagine Jean Prioleau’s team pulling off this upset as they head down to Tucson to try to stop what should be something of a buzzsaw this season. The Wildcats will be looking for early contributions from freshmen (and McDonald’s All-Americans) Nico Mannion and Josh Green, along with their returning cast.
Nov. 17: Simpson Univ. (NAIA)
WIN: This is a bit of a gimme game – a near-guaranteed win for a program that could use some confidence and momentum heading into the middle of their non-conference season. But watch out, non-Division I schools did pull of six wins over D1 schools last season. Could SJSU be the next victim? Likely not, but you never know.
Nov. 20: Grambling
LOSS: Yes, Grambling is a SWAC team – but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some serious skill on Donte Jackson’s roster. Chief among those talents is senior Ivy Smith Jr., fresh off an all-conference selection in 2019. The Tigers return nearly everyone from last season’s 17-win team and will match up well with San Jose State in size and skill.
Nov. 23: Portland State
WIN: The Vikings return arguably one of the top five players in the Big Sky in junior point guard Holland Woods. In addition, big man Sal Nuhu comes back and should be a force. But I think this could be a game where Richard Washington goes off as PSU is a little short on standout wing defenders.
Nov. 27: Oregon State (Las Vegas, NV)
LOSS: Even though it’s a neutral site game, neither team is really going all that far. Perhaps if Tres Tinkle and Ethan Thompson had kept their names in the NBA Draft, SJSU would’ve had a shot here. But they didn’t. The Beavers should probably roll in this one, especially with shot-swatter Kylor Kelley guarding the rim.
Dec. 1: at UCLA
LOSS: The third of the Spartans’ four Pac-12 opponents in the non-conference slate, the Bruins are going to be another tough game. New head coach Mick Cronin will have the services of returning players Moses Brown, Prince Ali, and Jules Bernard – not to mention a Top 50 recruit in Jaime Jaquez. It’ll be especially hard to contain Brown.
Dec. 14: Stanford
LOSS: The last of the Pac-12 opponents, Stanford is coming off a pretty disappointing season in which they finished 8th in the league. The Cardinal will need some continued improvement from players like Daejon Davis and Oscar Da Silva, as well as for freshman Tyrell Terry to contribute immediately. Not sure that the Spartans can hang here.
Dec. 18: at Santa Clara
LOSS: Herb Sendek’s squad was pretty mediocre last season, finishing fifth in the WCC and just one game over .500 overall. But they were quite young, with only one regular starter graduating from the squad. Look for the Broncos to take a step forward in 2020 behind the play of Tahj Eaddy, Josip Vrankic, and Trey Wertz.
Dec. 22: UC Riverside
WIN: The Highlanders have some interesting pieces on their squad, including Dikymbe Martin, who led the team in scoring and assists as a junior. Joining the squad this year is Daniel Mading, who has had a long, winding path that included some stops at high-major programs, but various issues have kept him off the court. Still, I think SJSU has the talent advantage overall.
Dec. 28: Pepperdine
LOSS: The Waves bring back star player Colbey Ross, who is one of the best players in the West Coast Conference heading into the 2019-20 season. Forward Kameron Edwards was also a big piece for Lorenzo Romar, but injuries limited him last year. If Ross and Edwards are both on the court, I think the Spartans will be in trouble.
Final Non-Conference Record: 4-8
Stacking the non-conference schedule with four Pac-12 teams certainly won’t help the Spartans in the win column, though getting that experience against top talent could prove helpful down the line. Aside from those games, they’ve got three WCC opponents, but may only grab one win.
All in all, San Jose State looks like they’ll have a difficult slate before heading into the new year. It’s shaping up to be another long year from Jean Prioleau and company.
Andrew Dieckhoff covers basketball for Mountain West Wire. He also contributes to Busting Brackets of the FanSided Network and runs the Dieckhoff Power Index, a website for college basketball analytics and bracketology. Andrew is a current USBWA member.