WCC Game 1: @ LMU

Tip-off: Thurs, 8pm, Gersten Pavilion
Line: ESPN- LMU -1.5, 58% win probability; Torvik- LMU -1, 54% win prob.

The Lions are 7-7 and coming off a loss last week at home vs. Tarleton St. Current rankings are 186th on NET, 152nd on Torvik. UNLV is their best win but they also have a lot of losses to mediocre teams like Tarelton.
Top Players:

  • 6-3 junior guard Dom Harris (14.5pts, 4rebs, 44% from 3, leads league in made 3’s) - Gonzaga transfer.
  • 6-2 senior guard Justin Wright (11.4pts, 3.3rebs, 31% from 3)
  • 6-8 senior forward Alex Merkviladze (10.6 pts, 5.7 rebs, 31% from 3)
  • 6-6 senior forward Keli Leaupepe (8.9pts, 4.5rebs, 28% from 3)
  • 7-1 senior center Rick Issanza (2.1pts, 4.5rebs, 1.1 blocks
  • 6-3 junior guard Will Johnston (9.4pts, 2.8assists, 38% from 3).

Point guard Justice Hill leads them in assists but has been out the past few games and supposedly won’t play vs. the Broncos. 7-1 Cal transfer Lars Thiemann was starting but was replaced recently by Issanza; Thiemann is a better scorer but not as athletic and not the shot blocker that Issanza is. They provide a tall center duo that can match up with Tilly and Caffaro.

LMU has juggled their starting lineup frequently, Wright and Merkviladze have been their most consistent starters. Though leading them in scoring, Harris did not enter the starting lineup until a few games ago. Leaupepe has struggled mightily, his #‘s are down across the board.
They have shot the 3 well as a team but that’s mostly due to Harris’ high % on high volume, outside of Harris the team is only shooting 33%. LMU doesn’t force many turnovers (323rd on Torvik) so hopefully the Broncos can play clean and keep their turnovers low.

It’s really important that the Broncos come out of the gate strong in the first week against mediocre (LMU) and below average (Pepperdine) teams because week 2 vs. GU and SMC gets tougher.

Prediction: Broncos prevail 77-72.


My hope is that the Broncos’ tough schedule has prepared them for LMU (but k hoped for the same against the likes of SJSU–foolish me). I think that SCU has the talent to win this game handily but the execution only shows up 40% of the time.

I’m still a believer in Knapper at point and wouldn’t mind Hammond running a bit as well as long as both are looking to set up the other players. I want the guards to actually utilize the pick and roll as was mentioned in the other thread, especially with Tilly, Tongue, and O’Neil who all have good enough hands to receive the pass. Fewer iso drives by Bal and CMJ which often lead to turnovers.

Give me a hopeful 75-68 SCU with O’Neil continuing to stay hot with 14 and 9. Bal resumes his good offensive performances and leads all scorers with 23.


Surprised that Jake Ensminger has not been tried out at point. That is what he has played his entire career and he has the height to pass over people guarding him. Just a thought.
Go Broncos!


Like much of the WCC, 2 disappointing teams to this point in LMU and SCU. Hopefully Sendek can get out of the way so this team can be successful. Broncos have way more talent than the Lions but with Herb at the helm that might not matter.

Need to win these first 2 easy roadies in SoCal just to get some confidence brewing.


I expect the LMU defense to focus on Bal and Marshall, like Yale did so effectively. Those 2 generally look to score, so we’ll see if they can also be facilitators. If so, we win by 12!


Haven’t posted in awhile as I haven’t been able to catch as many games as I’d hoped (travel and weird times/networks).

That being said, I think (and desperately hope) we start to turn it around. We have absolutely gotten in our own way with turnovers and fts and a couple injuries.

We have lost like 2-3 over the last 2 years to teams we “shouldn’t” lose to in conference. I hope we set the tone that that stays the same this year.

I find it very hard to believe that we’re the underdog in this matchup.

One last note on Herb… when you browse other talkboards - 9/10s of the league consider him the best coach in the league. The grass is always greener I guess.


Defense is good so far, and LMU’s offense is just jacking up threes. But TOs will decide this game. Santa Clara can win by a dozen if they have fewer than 12 TOs. But they have 4 so far.

Hey, they used Tilly on a pick and roll. Nice.


YEP! Imagine that! lol

Herb is substituting.

But WHY is Cam playing the FIVE!!!


Terrible shooting from both teams so far (Broncos 31%, LMU 20%)…first team to 50 wins.


Knapper has played well this first half.


Knapper (who has been great so far) hits the pick and roll with Cam. Sometimes, we on this board are right about things in our rank fandom and armchair coaching.

Re: shooting – I sincerely think that SCU has been playing good defense to force LMU to take bad shots. SCU just missed a bunch of theirs. SCU’s percentage is starting to climb, hopefully for good.


Bal goes backwards (away from the basket) or sideways with wild uncontrolled dribbling like 80% of the time he touches the rock. Is Sendek teaching anything? If so, what? He’s super athletic (Bal), but so missing the basic principles and fundamentals that he looks lost on the floor the majority of the time… and that’s all on Sendek.


Benjamin with 7mins and 4ps so far. Digging his way out of the doghouse.
One of Knapper or Benjamim have been on the floor at all times. Less Bal at point guard. Appears Sendek has decided the Broncos need a real PG on the court at all times…finally.


Cam is a FOUR, he plays back up as a 5.
Ensminger is a GUARD, he plays the 4.
Bal is a shooting guard, he plays the PG.
Bryan is a GUARD, he plays Small Forward.

Definitely has me scratching my head.


Those 20 mins were just horrendous. Both teams were hard to watch. Was that really D1 basketball???
I’ve had more than my fill of Herb’s no touch man D.


Pretty Ugly.
Hard to know what we’re trying to run on offense. Everyone is just running around without a clue. How do you not run sets for Bal, Marshall, and Tilly low in the paint not 15’ away from it.
Again our defensive rebounding is a problem. Granted some long caroms but 7 OR’s in the first half alone….

ALL THREE pick and rolls so far tonight have resulted in either a basket or a visit to the line. Just saying.


This is much better, even taking away Bal’s heat check there. The defense has been solid, the pick and roll is working, and the TOs are mercifully low. Knapper is carving out his role. Might give a fool like me hope yet again.


Knapper should have MVP. Nice to see pick and roll being utilized. Nothing else nice to say, so will leave it at that. Let’s just say, this won’t turn out the same against Gonzaga, St Mary’s, USF, and even a couple other WCC teams.


Video of this game won’t be sent to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Rather ugly game IMO but given the state of affairs we’ll take the win and move on.
Bal and to a lesser degree Marshall and Tilly warmed up in the 2nd half offensively. Fewer turnovers for the Broncos but as noted LMU doesn’t force many turnovers. Though shots were falling in the 2nd, the offense mostly continued to be a lot of 1on1 action from Bal and Tongue with the exception of a couple of pic & rolls.

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