Game 14: Cal

Tip-off: Sunday, 2pm @ Leavey
TV: WCCNetwork
Line: Torvik- Broncos -13.5, 92% win probability; ESPN- 81% win probability.

The Bears are 0-11 on the season, coming off a 24pt loss to Butler, and a Net Ranking of 350. Looking at advance metrics, they are below average on defense and really bad on offense, ranked in 300’s in many offensive categories including both 2pt and 3pt shooting %.
Their better players:

  • 6-3 guard Devin Askew (18pts, 31% from 3, their best 3pt threat; transfer from Texas)
  • 7-1 center Lars Thiemann (12.4pts, 6.7rebounds)

The Broncos can not play down to their opponent and need to maintain the energy and aggressive mindset offensively displayed in the Irvine game.
Also hoping to see the steady play we saw from the bench vs. Irvine carry forward with at least the same or more PT for the bench. It would be nice to actually blow someone out, keep all the starter’s minutes under 30 and see more PT for the bench.

Prediction: Broncos 82-63.


It’s a trap!

  • Admiral Akbar
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It definitely is. Afternoon game against a team desperate for a D1 win. Potential for Cal fans to outnumber home fans (though not as likely given their woes). Did I mention that Cal hasn’t had a game in a week and has just been running SCU sets in practice that whole time?

I’m guessing Cal will give a good first half surge and keep it competitive. Then SCU just needs to settle in and send them away. Cal will have to look elsewhere for its first W.

80-66 SCU. Podz fires back with 27 pts. Tongue gets more play and has 11 pts of his own, including a 3 ball.


I hope you’re right about the win. We have played down to the competition. Would hope for more than a 1,000 fans given its Cal and Niners are not playing. I know it’s Christmas break but you would think the local students would show up sometime. They should come to games more often than just Gonzaga. The team deserves support and I don’t know what the Athletic Department is doing to energize the students to go to games. It’s been pathetic for years. More bench play will help us in the long run. Stewart looks good and if Justice can get going consistently we could be tough on the trip tier in league.

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Justice…I think he’s over his early season shooting woes (knock on wood). First 4 games he averaged 4pts and was 1/19 from 3 (5%). Since then, over the last 9 games, he’s averaging 16.7pts and shooting 43% from 3. 3pt shooting is one of the least consistent aspects of the game so Justice is bound to have a bad 3point shooting night once every 3 to 5 games but I expect him to be ~15 pt/game type scorer the rest of the way.

And on that note of 3pt shooting being inconsistent…I hope Justice and Stewart don’t fall in love too much with jacking up a ton of 3’s. If they’re falling and they’re hot then fine. But I hope Stewart still looks to attack the basket with regularity and Justice mixes in some back downs and/or occasionally posts up especially when he has a size mismatch. Take what the D gives you…

They need to present Bediako, Braun, Tongue, and Holt as scoring threats in every game to open up the inside-out game. The front court was awesome in the good wins so far and anemic in the losses and close wins against lesser squads. Bediako, most of all, seems like the bellwether for the whole team: if he’s playing well, the team is rolling. If not, struggles abound.

The last 7 minutes of game time has been horrific offensively. Yikes!

Very similar to the first half of Irvine. I have no idea what we are trying to accomplish on offense. So many wasted possessions. If we miss an open 3 then I can live with that. If we take an early long 2 then I want to pull my hair out.

Exactly. Outscored 7-0 and haven’t scored in over 5 minutes. We better have a strong second half with some adjustments and a lot better shooting.

Much better. This group of Podz, Braun, Akametu, and Tongue is bringing the energy and pace.


3 combined points by the two teams in the first 4 minutes of the second half. yikes.

There were definitely some very rough stretches for us tonight. That being said, Parker Braun was awesome all game. Podz was flawless running the offense in the last two minutes. Tongue and Holt really battled on the boards , and Justice finally caught fire in the second half.


Closer than it should have been, some long stretches with no offensive production but we weathered Bediako’s foul trouble, got some good minutes from the bench as we’ve been hoping for and Justice, Podz and Braun made some clutch plays in the 2nd half.


The two great feeds from Podz to Braun for dunks. Good things happen when we get Braun running to the rim.


We’d be wise to have at least a couple of ways to get the ball Braun and Tongue on rim runs and lobs a half dozen times a game. Off standard pick/rolls, maybe off a guard back screen set, etc.

I particularly like the pick/roll Podz and Braun had on the right wing resulting in one of the dunks. That side was cleared out with just those two on the right side and running it from that flat angle from the wing reduces the number of other defenders in position to help on the roll…if Braun (or Tongue’s) defender plays drop coverage and hangs back then easy open jumper for Podz or if they switch then both guys have mismatches.


Obviously I am thrilled that we are using our bench a little more! It is nice to be able to let our starting line up get some much needed “load-time” in a game and it allows SCU to keep the fast pace going. Sitting in the stands last night, we have decided we need to come up with a “Mean Parker” poster - think guy in military garb ready for combat. We want to see MORE of Mean Parker every game.

Really did not enjoy the officiating and hope the WCC does better with the product they offer by means of officiating.

Finally - really happy for Cam to be able to show what I knew already (DEFENSE wins games) - and have made it clear to make FREE THROWS a part of his additional practice he attends with Coach Ludwig after every team practice.

Some “inside” updates: Marshall will be ready in January to return to the floor. Jake Ensminger is ready and has been suited up. I guess his injury has set him back from getting some play time - I am interested to see what a 6ft 8in guard can offer by way of seeing the floor more easily.


I am glad your son’s minutes increased versus Cal. He played well and hope that pattern continues with both Cam and the entire bench as their minutes need to be stretched collectively, as it will only benefit the squad once conference play begins.


I’m excited for Cam. I think he’s a key piece to the puzzle. Defense may win games, but free throws win close games.


FACTS! Cams were awful and we have been as a whole this year. He went to the gym today (and some of his teammates) to put up 200 Free Throws.


Tell him that if he doesn’t get his FT% up to 75% you’re gonna require him to shoot them underhand ala Rick Berry in the 70s! :rofl: