Tip-off: Saturday, 4pm @ Leavey
Line: Torvik- Gaels -4, 68% win probability; ESPN- -6.5, 68% win prob.
The Gaels are 12-6 overall, 3-0 in the WCC and coming off a 95-52 shellacking of Portland. The modest paced Gaels put up a big point total I wouldn’t make much of that as Portland’s defense is horrible. The Gaels are currently ranked 39th on NET and 24th on Torvik.
- 6-3 guard Aidan Mahaney (14.1pts, 2.9assists, 34% from 3)
- 6-4 PG Augustus Marciulionis (11.3pts, 4.1assists, 1.4steals, 33% from 3).
- 6-10 center Mitchell Saxen (11.2pts, 8.2rebs, 1.4 blocks)
- 6-8 forward Joshua Jefferson (9.3pts, 6.8rebs)
- 6-7 wing Alex Ducas (8.9pts, 4.9rebs, 35% from 3)
As with the SMC squads for the past several years, the Gaels aren’t overly talented but they play outstanding defense (#11 on Torvik) and rebound well. IMO, the graduation of Logan Johnson was huge for them and part of the reason they have struggled a bit. Johnson was their leader in both assists and scoring while also being elite on D (WCC Def POY). And they haven’t been able to truly replace him.
Mahaney has received a lot of hype, probably more than deserved IMO. He is skilled and a good shooter and scorer but doesn’t positively impact the game in any other way. He doesn’t defend well (certainly not at Johnson’s level), doesn’t rebound and is just an OK athlete. He runs the point some but less than full time, with Marciulionis handling those duties often and leading the team in assists. And Mahaney’s shooting has been pedestrian, 34% from 3, 39% overall.
Marciulionis has stepped up his game and in particular has improved his shooting efficiency.
Ducas has had a down year with a drop in scoring and shooting %.
Saxen is very good in the post and the Gaels can match the Broncos size in the post with 7-1 backup center Harry Wessels who is also reasonably skilled with good touch around the rim.
The Gaels are physical, a great defensive team and strong on the glass. Rebounding will be critical, Tilly and Caffaro in particular are going to have to put a body on Saxen who is one of the better offensive rebounders in the country and tops in the league.
This would be a great time for the Broncos team offense to execute with more proficiency to get easier and better looks and for the Broncos to solve their TO woes. If we play sloppy and cough up the ball it just plays in to SMC’s hands.
There is great risk of an emotional let down after the GU win but the Broncos really need to turn the page, focus and take advantage of this opportunity to really make some noise in the WCC…there hasn’t been an opportunity like this in a long time.
Prediction: A pro-Bronco crowd powers them to a 74-70 win and 1st place outright.
Because I did so well jinxing us last game… 68-62 gaels
Mahaney pushes off 24/7
We need to play hands up defense. Extra passes inside not good- if your in the paint- shoot the ball. Please stop with the one handed passes
Mahaney’s shooting has been mediocre this season but he’s dangerous and a capable scorer who can get hot and go off on you.
I’d love see us take him out of game and force others to beat us…deny him the ball, double/trap him when he’s in pic/rolls to force him to pass and so on. He can’t score if doesn’t have the ball.
And with Ducas having a down year there’s really no other dynamic shooter/scorer. Marciulionis is strong and does a good job of getting to
the rim but he’s mediocre from 3pt territory and not likely to put up 20+ pts on you. Saxen is decent in the post but gets a lot of his pts off offensive rebound put backs, so make sure to put a body on him to keep him off the boards and his scoring opportunities are reduced.
Will be interesting to see who gets the defensive assignments on Mahaney and Marciulionis between Bal and Knapper. Knapper is giving up 3 inches to Mahaney. While recent results have shown that we’re better off with a true pt guard like Knapper on the floor, this may be a game where we again see more of with our big perimeter unit of Bryan/Bal/Marshall all on the floor for some stretches to better match up with and defend Mahaney and Marciulionis…we’ll see.
It’s interesting that the board gets quiet in the lead up to this game… still hungover from celebrating the Gonzaga, or now nerves that the smc game means even more now?
Either way, it could just be the weird Saturday evening start time as well.
It has to be latter…Broncos don’t need 48hrs to recover from hangovers.
I love this comment. Though I may need 36 hrs personally.
I hope that Herb’s sober mindedness is an asset here. He is famously reticent to assign greater value to any one particular game, at least with his public facing persona. I trust him to mitigate the emotional hangover of the big win with the players.
Can the fans turn out, though? I’ve theorized for years that SCU fans needed a spark like beating Gonzaga at home to buy in. Whenever I talk to other alums, I’m always impressed (and a little surprised) by how much they know about the team even if they never watch games. There are tons of alums that are just sort of waiting for Santa Clara to feel like it has really turned a corner to start getting invested. The last two years of Jalen, Podz, and the NIT have moved a bunch of people off the fence. Thursday night should hopefully move a bunch more. But do they show up? Or have I been wrong this whole time about what beating the Zags might mean for student and alum engagement?
I’m hoping and predicting that it’s a good crowd again for this one. Not a sell out, but plenty to make it a real fun home court environment. Give me 68-62 Santa Clara with SCU being just slightly more efficient than the Gaels in their usual swampy style of play. CMJ is back to form and goes 6-8 from three.
KSCU has your call just before the top of the hour if you want to listen to us!
This could be a long game…wake up guys
Gaels play with such discipline both offensively and defensively. They just don’t beat themselves.
6 points in 10 minutes. Embarrassing.
Giving up 24 in those same 10 minutes – even more embarrassing.
wow. just wow.
St Mary’s 30 Santa Clara 6 7:53 H1, a mugging on all accounts
Ouch!!! This hurts. Obviously we did not come to play and the turnover problem which SMC will expose is killing us. SO sad to see and I hope the Broncos show some pride and wake up soon. Horrendous……… Take the lid off the basket.
@TD_24 please tell someone in the athletic department that we SHOULD NEVER SCHEDULE AFTERNOON games. I’d swear our historic record is horrible in afternoon games (significantly lower than our overall historic winning percentage), especially at home.
I can’t blame a letdown from the Gonzaga game. We are basically a team that shoots it pretty well from 3 but almost always loses the turnover battle. There is a reason we have a losing record in Quad 3 games.
Geez this is ugly…looks like the JV team scrimmaging the varsity.
Hopefully we can make a run to at least get it closer to 10…if not, it mostly negates whatever we gained from the GU game and allows for the narrative that we simply got lucky vs. GU.
My gosh, Bennett has his Gaels squad passing the ball beautifully.
As ugly as the offense was, the Broncos defense forced ZERO turnovers in the first half.
That’s been a problem all season…our defensive TO% is even worse than our offensive TO’s, adding to the typical TO differential.
Most of our guys are not great on-ball defenders and can’t defend guys tight…so we’re either giving up wide open looks or scrambling to help and recover because someone got beat 1on1.
I’ll get in Renee’s ear for 7pm starts. Whether that amounts to anything… hahahha