WCC Game 2 - Gonzaga

The defense is just plain bad. The UOP game foreshadowed today’s result. Yes, against the bottom half of the league we can just outscore our opponents, but against quality opposition we are gonna get beat, especially against those who can rebound.

Zags shot nearly 59% from the field, and just under 50% from 3-pt land (12-26).

This was a spanking, through-and-through. Makes me long for the days of Danny Pariseau, who left it all out on the court to try to slay the Zag-dragon.


The zags were so smart: get Josip in foul trouble (he could get Timme in foul trouble and then score some and also pass and stabilize things) immediately and then our offense is broken. Jalen and Keshawn could get their 35-40, no harm. I thought the guys made a great effort until the very end. Jacob has some game, and Carlos is slowly learning how to use all that talent. Braun is quietly doing a heck of a job. Love this team. I think we can beat everyone else in the league.


I agree with the “love this team” sentiment on the offensive side of the ball, but the defense has been mediocre at best. I can’t really discern whether it is defensive strategy from the sidelines that isn’t working, or the execution by the young men on the court. Either way, I doubt that we will breakthrough unless that D tightens up.

I guess if getting trounced by 30 @ home is your thing then yeah, heck of an afternoon.

With Sendek’s one size fits all play there’s no chance for SCU to finish in the top 3 of the WCC.
Guess you’ll be elated with the CBI invite at the end of the year too? 6 years removed from that clown KK here we are looking at repeating his faux post-season triumphs.

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Agree on the defensive woes.
My take on why…it’s both scheme and players.
On the scheme side…agree with BroncoBob above, zero reason not to mix up defenses against GU (or any team we’re either overmatched against or who is very proficient offensively). Disrupt their rhythm by giving them different looks (both zone and man), vary the pick/roll overages, double the post some, etc. Force them slow down and spend time identifying the D. Throw the kitchen sink at them…no reason not to. This and all the games where we were overmatched in the post (LA Tech’s Lofton, Boise St., etc.) were all good opportunities to play zone at least some of the time. But I’ve more or less given up hope that Sendek is willing to adjust and do that.

On the player side…
Jalen is our only + defender in the starting 5.
Our frontcourt isn’t great defensively. Mostly due to athleticism in the case of Vrankic and Justice. In Braun’s case, he’s simply very light for a 5/center and is playing out of position, he’s better off and more fitting of a 4; he’s a good athlete and decent shot blocker particularly in help side D but he gets pushed around in the paint and when defending the post because of his lack of mass. Vrankic is neither a great athlete, nor very strong, he’s never been a rim protector, gets pushed around and not quick enough when he gets switched off on wings or guards. Justice is fundamentally sound, plays hard, reasonably strong with good size for a 3/SF but he isn’t very quick nor a leaper/rim protector…he doesn’t kill us on D but he’s not a lock down defender who’s going to shut down anyone decent for an entire game. All those weaknesses are just one of several reasons why you’re better off mixing up your D including playing some zone; best way to hide or compensate for your weaknesses. The more you do the same thing over and over the more likely your weaknesses with be exposed.

Pipes is an OK defender at the point but not elite. There’s a drop off there from Carlyle last season. Carlyle was big (6-5) and strong for a pt guard and fairly athletic; he did a good job of walling up on his man and preventing dribble penetration, had the length the contest shots and was also a great help defender and drew a ton of charges. Last year’s team was our best defensive team over the past several years and I think Carlyle was the biggest difference maker in that regard. Obviously Jalen is great on D but that’s been a constant for 3 years…it’s the play at the other 4 spots that has varied and has often been deficient.


Thanks 92…agree on your assessments, with the exception of Jalen being a great defender. I’d say he’s a good defender, at best. Maybe my bar is just too high, but Troy Payne was a GREAT defender. Truly, a lock-down defender who you could stick on the best outside opponent and noticeably reduce that player’s impact.

I like your thoughts on players perhaps being out of position. If we had a true big man in the middle, then Braun could play the 4 and Vrankic could be a very effective 3. Justice could be a 2/3 flex.

And I’ve long ago abandoned hope that our coaches will mix up defenses. Last time I can remember that happening was KK in the CBI or CIT, when he magically “discovered” that he could win ball games with a zone-D…even referring to SCU as the Syracuse of the West (queue up the vomit reflex).

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Have to agree with Betterer on this one. Our softball program opened their facility a few years ago and results have been the same. Our local competition (USF, St Mary’s) play in arenas much below Leavey in my opinion
Unless an extreme difference like SJSU playing at Independence High School where competition tells recruits “do you really want to play in a HS gym?” good facilities keep you even so you must convince recruits to attend for other reasons.

There were things I was impressed by: Holt’s tough play, the fight of the starters even after the game was well-decided, Camaron Tongue’s dive in the last minute or so to recover a loose ball.

My concern, other than all of the above, is that SCU only got .92 PPP. So even though it looks like the offense was doing pretty well, SCU was really getting pretty stifled by the Zags defense throughout. There were just so many possessions that a high score was (almost) inevitable. I think we’ve seen the version of this game where the SCU offense is much worse, leading to a 50 point shellacking, so there’s undoubted improvement at the offensive end. And I thought the flow and spacing were often there. But there was an easy 12 points or so left on the table with missed layups and free throws.

Pepperdine, BYU, and SCU have all tilted against the Zags and come out with basically the same final score. So the other bright spot is that this probably isn’t that helpful of a data point for how the Broncos line up against other WCC teams. That Saint Mary’s game will be very telling, though, and I still think there’s plenty of reasons for optimism.


The kids on the court make me optomistic. Unfortunately, the bald guy on the bench bottles up those optomistic thoughts.

That was painful, but if we can continue to score 83 - 85 points per game then we should be very competitive against other WCC opponents. Good to see Hult make progress. I thought his block against Timme was clean.

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I think Jalen has that lockdown ability in him and has shown it at times, but he’s being asked to a lot on the offensive side. Takes a little out of you. Payne’s usage rate not very high on the offensive end.

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