San Jose State hosts Santa Clara
Matchup: Santa Clara (9-5) San Jose State (6-4)
Spread: Santa Clara -5.5
Can the Spartans continue their unbeaten home record?
The Spartans of San Jose State aim to continue the flawless record inside Provident Credit Union Center. They’ll face their toughest home test against Herb Sendek’s Santa Clara Broncos!
The Broncos began their season 5-0 before star forward Josip Vrankic missed a few weeks of game action. In those games, Santa Clara went 4-4 in the games sans Vrankic. Before Vrankic missed game-action, the idea of seeing Santa Clara contending for an NCAA Tournament bid looked feasible — but with five losses, that’s out of the question. That doesn’t mean the Broncos aren’t a dangerous squad when healthy.
Santa Clara players to know:
Jalen Williams: The Phoenix, Arizona native leads the team with 18.7 points and 3.9 assists. Williams has scored 20 or more points six different times this season.
Josip Vrankic: I mentioned earlier how Vrankic missed eight games. He’s scored over 1,500 points in his college career and his final season of eligibility. Vrankic scored 20 points in his third game back against Montana last week. That could be a tough matchup for SJSU center Ibrahima Diallo.
Keshawn Justice: The 6-foot-7 forward is shooting 44 percent from three on 86 attempts this season, ranking first among Santa Clara players.
Santa Clara is incredibly efficient on the offensive end, shooting 55 percent from two-point range. Defending two-points shots is an area where SJSU’s struggled this season.
San Jose State: I’m not sure it’s possible for the Spartans to have made a bigger splash when looking for their next head coach. Adding an experienced coach like Tim Miles has paid dividends, currently posting a 6-4 record in the first ten games. Those six wins already surpass the five wins San Jose State won last season. Entering play on Tuesday, Coach Miles
Junior Point guard Omari Moore is in the middle of a massive breakout campaign. The 6-foot-6 guard leads the team in nearly every category imaginable, including scoring, rebounding, assists, and steals. It’s not crazy to envision Moore finding his way onto the All-Mountain West first-team if the Spartans continue their success.
Aside from Moore, many of the teams’ contributors came to the program via the transfer portal. Trey Anderson (South Carolina) and Tibet Gorener (Arizona) are the best shooters on the roster on a team, making 41 percent of three-point attempts.
Santa Clara 80
San Jose State 75
I see the game staying competitive throughout, but the experience between Vrankic and Parker Braun as versatile forwards stifles a less-experienced Spartans squad. This will be a big litmus test to see how competitive the Spartans could be entering league play. San Jose State is a three-point relient at the moment. That comes with pros & cons — if the shots fall, you’ll stay competitive in most games. On the other side, if the threes aren’t going down, it could be a long night.