The Spartans play Santa Clara in Santa Cruz!
Lyle was seen in a boot during the New Mexico Football Game on Saturday
We have a MW vs WCC battle on Friday!
THE GAME: Santa Clara vs. San Jose State at Santa Cruz Kaiser Permanente Arena
TIME: 6:00 PST
STREAM: Mountain West Digital Network
RADIO: San Jose State via TuneIn
ODDS: Santa Clara favorited by eight on KenPom
Due to restrictions in Santa Clara County, where Santa Clara and San Jose State both reside, the game has been moved to nearby Santa Cruz for the game on Friday.
Herb Sendek’s Broncos are 6-0 this season, but haven’t defeated anybody of note, and rank 117th in KenPom, which is pretty notable. 6’9 senior Josip Vrankic leads the Broncos in scoring with 18.2 PPG, 8.8 RPG, but is shooting only 43% from the field, some of which is partly due to his struggles from deep shooting 4-17 from three. The Spartans will have their hands full trying to defend Vrankic, as Hugo Clarkin/Ralph Agee hasn’t looked up-to-snuff on defense, and SJSU’s post defense has been problematic. The biggest issue is for Santa Clara is the shooting has been horrid. The Broncos are shooting 23.5% from three as a team that ranks in the bottom 20 in the country. All of the big-minutes guys are shooting below 30% from three this season, but two guys getting bench minutes, Giordan Williams and Miguel Tomley have shown some shooting-punch.
For Santa Clara to win this ballgame, they need to FEED Josip Vrankic all-day, and when SJSU inevitably beings to double Vrankic, he has to pass-out to shooter, and hope they hit it.
The Spartans lost a nail bitter to Cal Poly earlier this week, after getting slaughtered last week against Saint Mary’s. The defense has been the biggest issue for the Spartans, but also can’t score inside, shooting under 40% from two-point range. Jean Prioleau’s team like normal plays a rampant tempo ranking 17th in adjusted tempo on KenPom but struggle scoring a lot.
Most of the offensive production San Jose State has gotten have come from senior G/Wing Richard Washington Jr. The senior scorer is averaging a staggering 26.4 PPG, and is shooting 36.7% from three on 30 attempts. Last season’s go-to guy, Seneca Knight has struggled early-on this season the athletic guard needs to bounce-back in this contest for the Spartans to win.
Keys to the win for San Jose State:
The Spartans need post defense from Clarkin and Ralph Agee. Against SMC, Mattias Taas, Dan Fotu had their way against whichever big-man, Coach Prioleau threw at him. With how good Vrankic is on the block the Spartans need to find a way to stop him or he will be off for 30.
Find a way to score inside, if you can’t score in the paint, and continually miss easy shots you’ll continue to lose games. You can’t rely on three’s when you only shoot those at 33% also. Shoot 60% or above from 2pt range in this game, and you have a good chance to win.
Force Santa Clara to work on the perimeter. Pressure the Broncos, and don’t let them in the paint they haven’t shown the ability to shoot the ball at a good rate, so make them prove they can shoot in this contest.
Key Player: Seneca Knight
Knight can score from mid-range and at the basket using his athleticism extremely well but has struggled this season. It’s possible you can attribute some of SJSU’s two-point range struggles, to Seneca Knight struggling. Knight can fill-it-up and has to get on the right track.
Santa Clara: 84
San Jose State: 74