Game 11: vs. Pacific

Tip-off: Thurs., 7pm @ Leavey
Line: Torvik- Broncos -19, 94% win probability; ESPN- Broncos -17.5, 98% win prob.
Rankings: Broncos (108 - NET / 129 Torvik); Pacific ( 354 / 337 )

Tigers are 6-20, 0-11 in the WCC.
Top players:
6-7 wing Judson Martindale (10.1 pts, 42% from 3)
6-5 wing Donovan Williams ( 9.2 pts, 4.6 rebs, 26% from 3)
6-1 pt guard Moe Odum (8.9pts, 4.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 30% from 3)
6-7 forward Cam Denson (8.7pts, 4.8 rebs)

The Tigers continue to struggle. They played USD relatively close last Saturday but still lost at home; and USD was missing talented freshman Kevin Patton Jr.

Pacific doesn’t do anything well. The risk in situations like this is if Pacific’s guys start going off from 3. Martindale is a capable shooter, others like Odum and Williams are not efficient at all but there’s always the possibility of them having a better than normal shooting night.

The Broncos have a significant size advantage in the frontcourt. The Broncos simply need to do the basics well…rebound at both ends of the floor and NOT turn the ball over 20 times. Put the size advantage to use and get some post touches for Tilly, maybe some pic and roll opportunities for O’Neil and Tongue working towards the hoop.

We’ll see if Bal plays. If not, the Broncos still have plenty of firepower and played fine and put the ball in the hoop vs. USF even without Bal.

Prediction: Broncos in a cakewalk, 83-64.


I hope that HS leaves Bal on the bench, primarily to give him a few additional days of rest on his injury, but also to see if the ball movement we saw in the USF game can continue. We should not have much problem with the Tigers team, though they have played some good teams closely.

Tigers are looking like they could pull a KK-like 0-fer in conference play. Things look dark in Stockton.

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With the loss of BK, I am sure Bal will not be on the bench. I agree, it would have been nice to see if the ball movement stays the same with him - as it was quite remarkable without him.

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The game notes indicate Bryan, Marshall, and Ensminger as the starting backcourt for tonight, though I realize that might not be accurate. No injury report on the site regarding Knapper, or Bal’s status, other than Bal is noted as day-to-dsy.

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Thanks G-man.
I suspect that starting lineup may be accurate. Ensminger and Bryan haven’t been regular starters so someone had to make the effort and conscious choice to note that change in the Game Notes, whereas much of the other content is cut/paste over and over from prior Game Notes.

With several of our ballhandlers out, you could see Pacific try to press and pressure us. Our backcourt rotation will be interesting tonight. Assuming Bal doesn’t play (I see no reason to risk injury if he’s less than 99%), Hammond will likely need to step up and provide some minutes. May also see O’Neil slide down to the 3 spot some. And Cam may see pretty good minutes tonight for a number of reasons: 1) Ensminger will likely be playing in the backcourt instead of backing up at the 4 and 2) with Pacific’s small front court, Cam is a good fit to backup at the 5 and less Caffaro.

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Bal is out again tonight & Hammond will be getting the start at PG
Heard good news about BK’s knee. Nothing torn just a strain and most likely will be back for the WCC tourney


I don’t want to over-interpret a half against Pacific. But the ball movement remains a lot better, the rebounding is excellent, the turnovers are minimal. The shooting is meh. With shooting closer to average, SCU would be on the way past the century mark.


Echo Patty Mac…really good ball movement, and thought Broncos did a great job on Martindale in first half.

Cam has been great off the bench. Balanced scoring and they owned the glass. Looked a little tentative offensively at times when UOP went zone. Hammond has done a nice job in his first start.


Not to give myself too much credit, but since my basketball analytical successes are few and far between…I’ll take a small victory lap on Ensminger needing to play more in the backcourt. He is finding ways to use his IQ, patience, and size to hold the offensive flow together and hit the boards and is playing pretty good defense to boot.


Oof, O’Neil with a horrible screen, he leaned sideways right into the defender.

EDIT TO ADD: Portland is smashing USD at the moment, 46-33

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This is some ugly basketball. But I guess I’d rather start the second half slowly than the first half like we’ve done in so many recent games.

The good: played admirable defense, nice continuous motion offense, rebounded exceptionally well, low turnover count, and did well at the free throw line
The bad: shooting percentage was ugly
Notables: Ensminger was stellar; Cam was so close to a double-double; Caffaro quite possibly had his best game tonight as a Bronco
Overall, it was a B- performance against an inferior opponent. If we want to beat SMC and GU, we’ll need to put it together on both offense and defense.

Oh, and as a final comment: the Toreros were getting pounded (down as much as 13 or more early in the second half) but came back to beat the Pilots by 3. I hope that our Broncos are not taking USD lightly. I’ll be attending that game, I hope that we don’t get outcoached again by Lavin.


I’m here to echo that the last two games the ball movement has been much better. More exciting to watch a group offense than 1 on 5 isolation ball. I really hope the coaches pick up on this and get Bal to learn to pass and move around more on offense.


+1 on ball movement but also hoping Bal is back Saturday!


I want to see continued ball movement AND Bal movement without the ball. (Sorry, couldn’t resist the layup pun)


I played around with Torvik a little:

If you sort for only SCU’s 11 conference games, the best players per Torvik’s efficiency metrics are Bal, O’Neil, Ensminger, Tilly, and Bryan, in that order. That’s not a foolproof method for determining what works, of course. But that’s a pretty natural starting five right there. And all are eligible to play next year, so it’s a future investment.

Sort for Top-100 competition, and Bal leaps out as the clear best player (he plays up to competition when needed). Tongue also jumps into the mix with Tongue and Ensminger having the highest offensive ratings on the whole team.

Here’s my thought: Make Ensminger your primary initiator on offense. Bal is your 2-guard and should basically never take more than 4 dribbles at a time. Either he’s driving downhill, shooting, or passing. Tilly looks better when he spaces the floor a bit more as he often struggles to effectively pin his defender down low. He just doesn’t quite have the toughness or strength yet, but he looks pretty good with in motion. Cam is the first guy off the bench and can either move O’Neil up to the 3 or be a small ball 5.

CMJ has really dropped off in conference play but comes back for a brilliant game or two, especially against bad defensive teams–basically figure out early on which kind of game it is for him and rotate accordingly. Caffaro is solid but has specific uses and limitations. Hammond and McEldon need more reps to really get a feel.

Until BK is back, something akin to the above is what I would like to see from these Broncos.


PM, I like it - especially the guardrails on Bal. I think our turnovers would go way down. CMJ comes in off the bench with the green light to fire away but is put on similar dribble restrictions.


Yes. Move Bal to a 2 and put restrictions on him and he becomes a way more efficient player. Concur with other observations too.


Not to be a Debbie Downer but how in the heck did Tilly only have 1 rebound last night?

Bal…this shouldn’t be that hard, he needs to play the way the TEAM needs him to play (no hero ball) or take a seat on the bench. A great mind somewhere said, ‘the bench is a great motivator’. He doesn’t contribute enough in other ways (defense, rebounding) to allow the negative impact of the stagnant offense.