Game 13 - Florida A&M

Tip-off: Friday - 6PM @ Leavey

TV: WCCNetwork

Line: Torvik: Broncos -18, 95% win probability ; ESPN - 96% Win probability

Florida A&M:
In short, they aren’t good…from the SWAC, ranked #300 on Torvik, 2-7 on the season but no wins vs. D1 competition. Best player by a long shot is 6-4 wing MJ Randolph (18 pts, 6 rebounds, 2.7 steals per game). As a team they are OK defensively and force a lot of turnovers; I imagine they pressure the ball and overplay passing lanes. Offensively, they are terrible, 350ish on Torvik, very inefficient shooting team.

For the Broncos, they absolutely need to get back on track. Whatever excitement and hope created by starting 5-0 is pretty much gone. Even if we win out in the final 3 non-conference games that puts us at 10-5, IMO at the low end of expectations. The following games are Montana and San Jose St…should beat them both but nothing feels like a given the way we’ve played of late.
Need Pipes to get his shooting/scoring mojo back. And some how, some way the poor rebounding must improve.
Tongue had a solid game vs. Boise St. I hope he continues get a solid 10+ minutes a game off the bench; he’s rough around the edges but brings a lot of energy as well as a combination of athleticism, strength and explosiveness that most of our frontcourt players lack.

Prediction: Broncos prevail 76-60.


Just hope Sendek uses this one to experiment a bit. Get some of those guys who are playing very limited minutes a chance to show what they can do… perhaps they can contribute this season. Otherwise, there’s little value in a game like this.

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Line on ESPN is Broncos -18.5.

I’m not much of bettor anyhow but not sure I’d touch this game given our inconsistent play of late…if our early season offensive prowess returns we could beat them by 30+, play so/so and beat them by 15 or if we turn the ball over a ton as we did vs. Boise and our rebounding troubles continue it could be a somewhat narrow win.

I guess we better take whatever we can get at this point. Unfortunately, the season is very likely to see tons of cancelled games, schedule changes, or total stoppages coming very soon. I’d put the current odds of having a complete WCC season this year at 30%… likely that the teams play in empty arenas once again if they are lucky enough to keep playing. SCU might make it through non conference play without a hitch, but I doubt there will be much basketball come the first week of the new year.

We are down by 11 halfway through the first half and FAM has 28 points already. I am at a loss as to what has happened after our very good 5-0 start. Now 2-5 and losing to a 2-7 team. It’s early in the game but this does not look good or bode well for the season. Something is wrong.

Pathetic first half… Lets hope the second half is drastically different.

Why don’t we get the ball out of MJ Randolph’s hands? Florida A&M does not have 5 capable offensive players. Send a trap at him, change the look…anything.

There will be some games that Stewart has to be more selective with his attacking the basket but this is a game where he can get to the rim every single time if he wants to.

I don’t like watching two teams play each other both in dark jerseys

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Getting good production from Giordan and Stewart off the bench.

Vrankic clearly still working his way back into form with all these turnovers. Looks sluggish after coming back from mono. Understandable.

Better second half… but that same old non-contact D has gotta go.


Definitely good to see a couple of very nice buckets by Giordon. And that thunderous dunk by Stewart out of the half court offense pumped up the whole team. Last time I saw that at Leavey was DJ Mitchell vs Cal, but Mitchell was 6-7.

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Stewart is special. I really hope he sticks around. My spidey-senses tell me that he is a risk to enter the transfer portal.

More of Stewart, less of Pipes. Would not have said that early on, but Pipes doesn’t look the same as he did the first few games and Stewart is the future. We are way better when we body up on D and create some havoc, especially around the perimeter. We did that more after the 10 minute mark, and Stewart was a part of that.

In order to be balanced, I think it only fair to share positives in addition to the critiques.

The good:

  1. in second half, the team did a much better job on Randolph, always having an off-ball defender shading toward him in addition to Randolph’s primary defender.
  2. motion was better in half court sets.
  3. transition offense looked more like what I saw in the first 5 games. we might be better off overplaying on defense a bit to force turnovers in order to increase the number of transition opportunities.

Agree on Stewart vs. Pipes. And it doesn’t have to be one or the other, could simply keep Pipes minutes in the high 20’s instead of 35ish we saw in many early season games. Stewart makes me nervous as heck at times with some of the out of control, ill-advised drives in to traffic and big men in the lane…but the best way to learn is by doing and I’m hopeful he’ll adjust to the reality of D1 ball with bigger, more athletic defenders. I still want him to be aggressive, he just needs to chose his spots more wisely, learn to play with a little more control, use change of speeds and hesitation to his advantage rather than always peddle to the medal.

And related note…Giordan also seems to have settled down and is playing like the guy we saw late last season. Provides a good mix of 3pt shooting and solid drives to the hoop and finishes strong (you just don’t want him dribbling in traffic or forced to play a pt guard role…not his strength). Giordan is also a solid defender, probably a bit ahead of Stewart right now in this regard, a little more fundamentally sound, taller and D1 experience helps. Stewart plays with a lot of energy, creates havoc out there but he still gets beat in 1-on-1 situations at times; he has the physical tools and mentality to be a great defender but needs to shore up some fundamentals/technique plus work trough the ‘Adjusting to D1’ issue…more PT will help with that.

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Agree on the transition topic…we’re way better when we get out and run; virtually everyone in our rotation is better in open court, transition situations, Vrankic might be the only exception.
Even in ‘even’, 3v3 transition situations it is advantageous for us, especially for guys like Jalen and Stewart and even Pipes, Giordan and Justice as there are fewer defenders potentially clogging the lane or in help defense position plus the opposing big men (shot blockers) often haven’t made it back on D yet. We’ve also seen Braun run the floor well and beat his man back and get easy dunks in transition.

That said, you need both good D and defensive rebounding to create more transition opportunities. Most of the year our D has just been so-so. We need to play with more of the energy we showed in the 2nd half. And of course, the defensive rebounding is still a work in progress…was terrible early 1st half, allowed a bunch of 2nd chance points but was better thereafter.

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Yep, with you fully on Giordan. While we need Stewart for his energy and athleticism (same thing we saw with Cal and Alijiki because he shifts the mentality for other players on the floor), Giordan gets other players to get after it too. When he buckles down on D and has some swagger out there, he changes the game and the intensity of play. We’re already small, but I like Giordan, Jalen and Stewart on the perimeter. Our D feeds the offense when it’s going right, and those guys can get after it.

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