Santa Clara is sitting in an interesting position against an interesting opponent.
The Broncos (15-6, 3-3 West Coast Conference) have won their last two conference games after staring league play 1-3 and play a team (San Diego) who has won its first four and now has dropped the last two.
San Diego (11-10, 4-2) started league play 4-0 with wins over San Francisco, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, and Portland but have been crushed in back-to-back games by BYU and Saint Mary’s. Let’s face it, that’s about where San Diego stands. Right in the middle.
Santa Clara was also blown out by BYU but hung with Gonzaga for most of that game.
In essence, the Santa Clara-San Diego game is a battle for the middle. It could also put the winner in the driver’s seat for one of the two first round byes in the WCC Tournament.
San Diego’s offense has been stymied the last two games, only scoring 105 points in that span, while shooting 36 percent from the floor. The Torero shooters will likely wake up from this cold patch.
Johnny Dee is shooting better than 40 percent from three this season and is 7-for-13 in his last two games.
Much like Santa Clara, San Diego will need the role players to step up.
While his numbers may not be impressive, Chris Manresa has been instrumental in San Diego’s fast start to league. Manresa leads the team in rebounding with 6.9 per game.
For Santa Clara, it will be critical to get Kevin Foster going early because when Foster scores big, the team rides that momentum. He is averaging more than 23 points in WCC play while shooting 43 percent from the field.
The Broncos have four players averaging double figure points in league play.
The game begins at 1 p.m. at Jenny Craig Pavilion in San Diego and can be seen on CSN California or Time Warner Cable Sportsnet.