Friday, December 21, 2007

Preview: Santa Clara at Minnesota

When the Santa Clara Broncos come to Williams Arena Saturday night, I'll be watching one specific matchup.

The Broncos, off to a non-descript 7-4 start, are led by John Bryant, a rather thick 6'10, 305 pound junior center. Bryant is averaging nearly a double-double with 19.7 points per game and almost 9 reboudns per game. I would suspect Bryant will be a handful for Spencer Tollackson, our version of the immobile, lumbering center.

Tollackson has been up-and-down this season. His hustle has been admirable, but many have noticed he looks almost pained when he jumps and he hasn't been quite the force on the glass most of us would like.

The Broncos also have a capable senior point guard in Brody Angley, who has given the Broncos a nice blend of offensive (10+ per) and floor leadership (52 assists, 33 turnovers). These aren't jaw dropping numbers, but the Gophers struggled against South Dakota State, in part, because the Jackrabbit guards were able to effectively handle the press. If Angley and his backcourt mates can do the same the Broncos can certainly make it a ballgame. Angley also has the potential to frustrate Al Nolen, Kevin Payton or Lawrence McKenzie. Angley leads SCU in steals.

There is a Minnesota connection with the Broncos. Senior forward Mitch Henke is from Minnetonka. Henke starts for the Broncos and is averaging 10.5 per game.

The Broncos are led by first-year coach Keary Keating. This will be the Gophers and Santa Clara's third meeting. The Gophers won the previous two matchups, the last coming in 1992.

Prediction: Gophers should move to 8-1, but the SDSU game (feels like that game was months ago) should have taught us that nothing is a gimme. And if we needed another reminder, all we had to do was watch Purdue lost the other night to Wofford.


Mark said...

I was at this game and while Spencer still had his problems, John Bryant looked like a total oaf, almost like a white Tractor Traylor.

There were plenty of struggles on offense but you gotta love 18 steals!

hoopraker said...

The Gophers keep winning the games they should be winning. No trip ups yet and yesterday could've been one. Defense has been the key all season and entering Conference play where most of the league is in young, tough Gopher defense will determine if they win 20 games and play in late March. But first, it's time to knock off UNLV.