Portland at Santa Clara
With all of the Games on the board in college hoops on any given Saturday, it’s tough to single out just one to use for Our play of the day write up. We’ll go to a Game that’s going to be played later tonight here, but keep in mind, there are several solid play son the board today.
For today’s play we are going to go out west where Portland will be taking on Santa Clara on the road in a Game that starts at 10pm est. Portland is 4-2 and in 3rd place in the West Coast Conference, behind Gonzaga and St Mary’s and really can’t afford to slip up from here on out. They still hold hopes of an NCAA bid, first by winning the Conference and 2nd by hoping the WCC is a 3 bid conference.
Portland opened some eyes earlier in the year by wiping the floor with UCLA, 74-47. They also have wins over Minnesota and Oregon, played West Virginia tight most of the way and have gone toe to toe with Conference leaders Gonzaga and St Mary’s. In other words, Portland is a solid, scrappy team that is very capable and still has high hoped for their season.
Santa Clara on the other hand, is just playing the season out. They are 1-5 in Conference and 9-14 on the year with no quality wins and a Schedule that’s about 5 points weaker than Portland’s. To their credit they gave Gonzaga all they could handle a couple of days ago, leading at the half but eventually going down, 71-64. While we credit them for that, it may work against them here as that Game likely took some punch out of them.
It’s worth noting that Portland is still without leading scorer Nik Raivio. Losing a leading scorer will obviously hurt any team, but when you have a kid like Jared Stohl stepping in to pick up the slack, it’s a big help. Stohl had Four 3 pointers in a 4 minute span the other night to increase the margin against San Fran and is just three 3 pointers away from tying a school record for most 3’s in a career. When the kid stepping in for your high scorer, becomes your high scorer, that always helps.
The number here is small enough, at -6 for us to have some interest. There’s a talent gap here between these two. Portland is a veteran team that needs big wins from here on out and this is the type of Game they should win going away. With a 3 point sharp shooter like Stohl, they can widen a small margin in a hurry. Let’s call this one Portland 72-58. Portland -6