San Diego Toreros at Santa Clara Broncos – NCAAM February 18

San Diego (2-7, 1-4) at Santa Clara (9-5, 3-3)

  • Time: 6PM PST | 8PM CST | 9PM EST
  • Location: Leavy Center, Santa Clara, CA
  • TV: WCC Network

Opening Tip

Both programs have had a tough year with COVID as USD has been paused three times and the Toreros have not played since Jan. 28. Santa Clara returned on Tuesday after a 24-day stretch between games. The Broncos have had 14 games either cancelled or postponed this season.

San Diego has lost four out of five and the Toreros are 2-4 on the road this season. The Broncos are 3-3 over their last six games and have lost five out of their last eight games.

Santa Clara won the earlier meeting on Jan. 17 as the Broncos took a 69-63 win. Josip Vrankic had 15 points and 12 rebounds while USD’s Vladmir Pinchuk lead all scorers with 19 points and 11 boards.

The Broncos carry a 51-38 lead in the all-time series as they have won five out of the last six and 12 out of the last 17 outings.

Vs. The Spread

San Diego:

  • The Toreros are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 9 of San Diego’s last 13 games
  • USD is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games against the Broncos

Santa Clara:

  • The OVER has been the play in 6 of SCU’s last 8 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Santa Clara’s last 6 games
  • The Broncos are 5-1 SU at home in their last 6 games vs. the Toreros

Last Time Out

The Toreros fell to No. 1 Gonzaga, 90-62, back on Jan. 28 as the bulldogs took the lead for good at 20-19 with 8:07 remaining in the first half as they hit a 15-0 run and were never threatened. Finn Sullivan led the Toreros with 16 points.

Santa Clara lost to Loyola Marymount, 76-73, on Tuesday night. Jalen Williams led the Broncos with 18 points and DJ Mitchell popped in 16.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
San Diego +6.5 (-105) +230 O 137.5 (-115)
Santa Clara -6.5 (-115) -275 U 137.5 (-105)

Advantage, San Diego

The season is not a clear snapshot of the tough job on the rebuild that coach Sam Scholl has had during COVID as conference coaches have lauded the play and discipline of the Toreros after games. It’s once again a fresh start for USD as the Toreros restart for the second time. Dialing up defense and rebounding is a must as the Toreros have been outrebounded by 6.1 per game and then opponents have shot 46.1 percent and a paltry 40.6 percent from three.

Key Toreros Stat:

Joey Calcaterra leads the San Diego attack as he scores 12.9 points per game and Josh Parrish pops in 11.3 per contest. This is not a team with much offensive firepower so playing a deliberate tempo against the faster Broncos – who are 18th in the nation in using just 15.4 seconds per possession – is a must.

X-Factor:

The Toreros defensively pick up 7.2 steals per game and being able to turnover the Broncos will be important in trying to find offense.

Advantage, Santa Clara

The Broncos sport three double figures scorers in Josip Vrankic (13.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg), Jalen Williams (10.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg), and Keshawn Justice (10.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg) which looks like a tough matchup for the Toreros. The overall size and physicality inside is will be a problem for the Toreros’ bigs as Santa Clara averages 4.5 blocks per game (36th/NCAA) and 29.1 defensive rebounds (10th/NCAA).

Williams has emerged in scoring 16.5 points and shooting 50 percent from the floor in the last four games. He has gone 6-for-11 from behind the 3-point line in the his last four games after he was only 3-of-26 in prior outings. Justice is questionable as he was in concussion protocol and did not play Tuesday.

Key Broncos Stat:

It’s interesting that the Broncos have such a fast possession length as we noted above, but they average only 66.1 points per game. Much of that comes from a defense that drives teams deep into possessions with a length of 18.5 seconds.

X-Factor:

The glass will be a major storyline in this game as Santa Clara outrebounds it’s opponents at a (+6.3) margin and the Toreros are (-6.1). The physicality of the bigger Broncos will likely allow them to pound the ball inside where they will try to pound the ball with the 6-11 Vrankic vs. USD’s 6-11 Pinchuk.

Winner: Santa Clara (-6.5) 73, San Diego 63

The Bets
Santa Clara -6.5
-115
Santa Clara Broncos
-275
UNDER 137.5
-105
Sub Categories:
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.