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Adversary Analysis -- The University of San Diego Toreros

Tomorrow, Kentucky takes on the University of San Diego Toreros.  San Diego is a member of the West Coast Conference, which includes  Gonzaga, Pepperdine, Saint Mary's, Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara, Portland and San Francisco.  The Toreros are currently 6-8.  Their best win to date has been over UC Irvine on the road.  Sand Diego is coached by Bill Grier, who is in his first year at San Diego and was formerly an assistant coach under Mark Few at Gonzaga.

Starters

Probable starters and/or players to watch:

NAME GM  MIN PTS REB  AST TO A/T STL BLK PF FG% FT% 3P% PPS
Brandon Johnson 14 33.4 16.1 3.2 3.4 3.2 1/1 2.0 0.1 2.5 .428 .717 .370 1.16
Gyno Pomare 14 26.6 14.8 6.9 0.8 1.7 1/2.2 0.4 0.9 2.1 .583 .736 .000 1.57
Rob Jones 13 23.4 6.8 4.9 1.2 2.2 1/1.9 0.9 0.5 2.8 .494 .524 .000 1.13
Chris Lewis 14 20.2 5.9 4.2 1.0 1.6 1/1.6 0.4 0.3 1.8 .386 .742 .231 1.19
Ray Murdock 14 22.9 5.9 3.1 1.4 1.5 1/1.1 0.4 0.5 2.2 .333 .857 .293 1.05
De'Jon Jackson 14 29.0 5.1 2.9 2.3 1.5 1.5/1 0.6 0.1 2.2 .483 .583 .200 1.24


Key reserves:

NAME GM  MIN PTS REB  AST TO A/T STL BLK PF FG% FT% 3P% PPS
Trumaine Johnson 13 18.1 3.4 0.9 2.2 2.2 1/1 1.0 0.0 1.5 .346 .600 .222 0.85
Danny Brown 13 11.2 2.8 0.8 0.5 0.8 1/1.4 0.5 0.0 0.8 .317 .500 .290 0.88
Nathan Lozeau 12 8.7 1.8 1.4 0.2 0.7 1/4 0.2 0.1 0.9 .409 .500 .000 0.95
Clinton Houston 12 9.2 1.2 2.1 0.1 0.4 1/5 0.0 0.2 0.8 .417 1.000 .000 1.17


Offense

Link:  Pomeroy statistics for San Diego.

San Diego plays more of a half-court offense similar to that played by Gonzaga.  San Diego is a very young team with no seniors, 5 juniors and the rest underclassmen.  They have played at a much more deliberate pace this year than they did last year, and their offensive efficiency is a relatively anemic 97.4.  As a team, the Toreros are shooting a very poor 28.2% from 3-point range, but a respectable 48% from 2.  Obviously, San Diego doesn't take a lot of threes, averaging only 26% 3-point attempts per field goal attempt.

Their main scoring threats are point guard Brandon Johnson, who is a do-everything player for the Toreros.  Johnson is the leading 3-point shooter on the team at 37%, averaging 16 points and 3.4 assists/game.  His counterpart in the post is Gyno Pomare, who is a capable low-post scorer and strong rebounder.

San Diego is kind of like Kentucky in that it has suffered through some very long droughts offensively against teams this year.  They try to stay in games with scrappy defense and toughness.

The Wildcats out-size and out-talent the Toreros, who have only one player over 6'8" tall, and he is a freshman who doesn't see much action.  Gyno Pomare, though, is a big guy at 6'8"/240#, but he is really about all they have size-wise.

Defense

Defensively, the Toreros aren't that bad, having the 92nd best defensive efficiency in the land at the moment.  Grier is known as a defensive coach, was the defensive guru at Gonzaga and got a lot of the credit for getting the Zags known for their defense.  San Diego plays tough defense and will compete with UK on every possession.

Intangibles

The intangibles favor Kentucky, playing at home and possibly getting Derrick Jasper back, if even for a few minutes.  The Wildcat Faithful desperately want to cheer for this year's tough-luck squad, and they should have plenty of opportunities on Saturday.

Overall

Kentucky, as bad as they currently are, is better in every aspect of the game than San Diego so far this season.  This should be a mismatch.


5 Reasons Why Kentucky Will Win

  1. Patrick Patterson will dominate the inside.
  2. Kentucky is bigger and stronger at almost every position.
  3. The Rupp Arena crowd is looking for a reason to cheer.
  4. The return of Jasper and/or Meeks
  5. More talent at every position.

5 Reasons Why Kentucky Will Lose

  1. Gardner-Webb.
  2. 20+ turnovers.
  3. Cold shooting from the perimeter.
  4. UK's offensive efficiency below 100.
  5. Patterson in foul trouble.

Conclusion

This should be a game Kentucky wins by a large margin.  San Diego is, like Kentucky, struggling to integrate a new system.  Unfortunately for them, they have far less talent than Kentucky does, even in a year where the Cats are hardly loaded and suffering from many injuries which continue to linger.

This team is even worse than Gardner-Webb at the moment, and if the Cats lose this one, it will be the biggest upset in Rupp Arena history.  This team is nearly as weak as Tennessee Tech, so there are no excuses available for a poor performance Saturday.