Game 1: Eastern Washington

Tipoff: Monday, 7pm @ Toso
TV: WCCNetwork
Line: Broncos -12, 85% win probability on Torvik

Eastern WA: The Eagles were 18-16 last season, 11-9 in the Big Sky. Three returning starters for the Eagles:

  • Steele Venters - 6-7 wing, 16.7 pts/game, 4 rebs, 43% from 3 (preseason All-Big Sky)
  • Angelo Allegri - 6-7 forward, 12pts/game, 6.6 rebs, 37% from 3
  • Ethan Price - 6-10 center, 10pts, 5 rebs
  • They also have 6-6 wing Tyrese Davis a transfer from Jacksonville
    Venters appears to be the key player to stop, made nearly three 3’s per game and shot a high % from 3. Perimeter D will be important for the Broncos as the Eagles relied heavily on 3’s last season with nearly 9 made 3’s per game compared to the Broncos 7.

For the Broncos…Monday’s starters will apparently be Bediako, Braun, Justice, Podziemski and Stewart. Expect to see plenty of Carlos Marshall and Brenton Knapper as backcourt backups off the bench. Holt, Tongue and maybe Tilly will be battling for the backup minutes in the frontcourt…will be interesting to see how the PT shakes out amongst those guys.

The sort of dark horse question mark for me is 6-5 freshman wing Kosy Akametu. Appears to be an excellent athlete, already has a strong, ready for D1 build and sounds like he played decent in Europe. Appears to be a slasher type, good in transition and can finish at the rim. Will be interesting to see if he gets much PT.

I suspect we’ll see some growing pains as the Broncos adjust to playing without Jalen and Vrankic but there’s plenty of talent and depth on this squad for the Broncos to compete and fare well this season.

Prediction: Broncos with the win 78-71.

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92 Bronc…I think that I speak for most on this board in that your in game analysis for each game during the season is both detailed and appreciated. I know that it takes time to do this.

Thank you!
Go Broncos!

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What Pistol’ said— Thanks indeed!

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The beginning of the season is finally here. And often the best part of the season is the period between Day 1 and Santa Clara’s first loss, when all of our wildest hopes for the program remain alive in theory.

For those who, like me, just need to spend today consuming content to speculate on the season to come, here are some quick hits:

  • Jordan Majewski of Staring at the Floorboards has written, probably, the best free WCC preview of this year with a relatively rosy prediction for SCU.
  • The former title holders for best free internet conference previews (Three Man Weave) have joined their talents with several other outlets and personalities, including Jeff Goodman, to create The Almanac–their answer to Lindy’s and Blue Ribbon. But you can hear them discuss the WCC in podcast form here. They, like me, are Portland skeptics.
  • Zack Farmer has continued with his Unofficial WCC Hoops Podcast and gives his season predictions for the conference in his latest episode.
  • Mid-Major Madness did a WCC Preview with interviews with new USF coach Gerlufson and Portland coach Legans. They also discuss the WCC with frequent WCC commentator, Rocco Miller, who is much more positive about SCU than most of the preseason prognostications.
  • Gonzaga guy Dan Dickau has been previewing each WCC team for Sports Illustrated. The preview is very much for Gonzaga fans who have only mild awareness of the WCC, so not much to be learned here. But he’s also pretty positive about the Broncos going into the season.
  • Gonzaga podcaster, Tuck Clarry, gives his WCC Power Rankings going into the season. He, like Zack Farmer, has Portland above BYU (which is bonkers in my opinion) but does an admirable job highlighting a few key preseason stats and players for each squad.
  • My favorite of the WCC pundits, Will Maupin, grades each squad’s non-conference schedule. He speaks favorably about SCU’s, saying it is one of only 4 schedules that, if the Broncos perform very well (but short of undefeated), would be good enough for an NCAA/NIT bid.

As for my predictions, I expect the Broncos to maybe start a bit slow as they shake off the rust. The Fullerton game to open last season was much closer than it should have been, especially given how good SCU was through its first several games. I know that defense was a focus in the off-season, so I’ll hope that shows.

Give me 77-69 Broncos with Keshawn getting his first of 14 double-doubles this season and Podz going for 18 in his debut.

Go Broncos!

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Looking forward to seeing this team. They may get off to a slow start because of all the new pieces, but I think they have a lot of upside in the long run. Hopefully they can kick off the year with a win. Broncos 75-68.

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Tonight will definitely be the most “curious” I have been in a long time when watching a Santa Clara game. There are so many new pieces and it is always fun to see who makes the big Freshman to Sophomore jump. Jordan Majewski’s write up was really well done. Supposedly Defense was the focal point of the off-season so I am hoping our guys can show much needed improvement on that end.

If Portland finishes above BYU, I will be astounded.

Best wishes for another strong season for the Broncos. I think we all envision a brighter day for SCU hoops, with growing crowds and lots of happy memories - that’s built season after season of success. We had a good one last year. I hope we can continue the trend.

It would take a lot to win 20 again with this team, but here’s to hoping - there are enough unknowns that some good breaks could make it happen. Go Broncos.

1st half: 1st 13minutes was pretty ragged both offensively and defensively. Carlos Marshall off the bench helped turn things around both attacking the basket and hitting some 3’s. Podz came on strong late the half.
Tongue with multiple 3’s (a bit of a revelation) and rebounds (not a surprise) were big off the bench as well.

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Tongue looks like he’s ready to be a big contributor! Happy to see his growth

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Playing our version of the twin towers with Bediako and 7footer Tillie on the court at the same time w/ Tilly effectively the 4.

Podz looked out of sync the 1st 15mins, maybe pressing and too excited in his 1st game??? But after that he’s just been scoring in bunches, you can see how and why he led them in scoring all of the games in Europe.

Going out on a limb here…I think we might have a decent one in Podziemski.

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Still some work to do on defense but this is a talented and deep Bronco team.

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Some early hiccups, but an encouraging start. Pods and Stewart look like a solid backcourt. Tongue and Braun showed up and we seem deep and athletic…

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Definitely some work to do on defense and a little more offensive control. But man, they scored 84 on 37% shooting with Keshawn going 1-10 and only 6 points.

Podziemski not only with 30 points but also tied with Braun for leading rebounder and five steals?! Carlos Stewart with 20 of his own, no less.

Jordan Majewski, in the preview linked above, pointed out that last season SCU averaged 1.1 points per possession with Williams and Vrankic both on the floor. Tonight SCU went for 1.091 PPP without either of those guys and a pretty poor night for our all-WCC selection. Too early to tell, but we might have an offense in striking distance of last year’s squad.

Just need that defense to catch up.

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The impressive thing about Podz is how shifty he was on the court. I envisioned him more as a spot up shooter but he was getting to his spots off the dribble and even made some nice passes. Marshall Jr. and Tongue were great in the first half and kept the game close when no one else could make a shot (even though we were getting good looks all night). Braun was very active and I think he will continue to fill up the stat sheet like that all season. Stewart is still get used to playing PG but he definitely took over the game for a long stretch in the second half.

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Agree on Podz. He’s certainly aggressive, always looking to score one way or another; and seems to have supreme confidence and a bit of chip on his shoulder. And the 9 rebounds for a guard and diving on the floor for loose balls 3 or 4 times displays a level of toughness.

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Some other random thoughts on the game:

  • I mentioned in the ‘Roster/Depth Chart’ thread that the ‘Closing’ lineup was is as important as the starting lineup. Worth noting the closing lineup last night was the smaller lineup of 5-Braun, 4-Justice, 3-Marshall, 2-Podz, 1-Stewart.

  • The defensive struggles weren’t for lack of effort. Hustle, energy, etc. was fine. But seemed we were a bit disorganized, guys getting caught up in traffic getting through screens, running in to our own teammates, some bad switches that created unfavorable match-ups and so on. A bunch of small things to get cleaned up.

  • I suspect the overall playing rotation, roles, and PT will be unsettled for awhile. We played 10 guys, 11 if you count Akametu’s brief stint at the end of the 1st half. That’s more than Sendek typically plays. Justice, Stewart and Podz will get their ~30ish minutes, Braun ~25mins, Marshall 18-20 mins if not 25 (all barring foul trouble) but beyond that I think minutes are more or less up for grabs. Tongue was the early winner out of the gate IMO in terms of potentially earning more PT but things are bound to evolve and I don’t see PT and roles really being settled until mid/late December as we approach WCC play.

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I agree that Tongue showed remarkable improvement with his shooting. He may be modeling his role on Justice. Podz was an absolute portal steal. Stewart looks way more comfortable and will alone be worth the price of admission.

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I was able to attend the Eastern Washington game and it was really great to be back enjoying our team. A few things I noticed that we may want to keep an eye out for as the season progresses.

As 92Bronc mentioned it was interesting to see Herb go 10 deep in his rotation including experimentations with a “small” and “big” line-up .I’m sure the rotation will settle as the regular season approaches but as a fan it was fun to see the variety and new guys log some minutes. Those minutes for the bench may be helpful as the season progresses with keeping the defense fresh and/or dealing with injuries.

In the second half, there was a long stretch where Carlos Marshall Jr. wasn’t even on the SCU bench. He played the whole game with a pretty substantial brace on his left shoulder, so we may need to keep an eye on his health. When he turned it on in the first half he was super exciting to watch.

It looks like Jake Ensminger might be slated to red shirt this year. He wasn’t suited up nor participated in the shoot around.

It was nice to see the student section full and the “Bronco Jacks” seemed to effect the EWU free throws as they just made just 6 of 12 in the second half.

Go Broncos!

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This may not change your observation of the defensive efficiency, but in the pregame chalk talk, the coaching walked through the EW “staggered” (their term I recall) perimeter offense and said they coached the guys to break through screens however they saw fit. Sort of the “fastest way from point A to point B.” So, it the D was chaotic and maybe also carried over from the offensive end–or the two fed off each other. It was one of the most crazy first 10 minutes of a game I have seen in a long time.