South Florida (8-3) vs. Santa Clara (6-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 23, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Orleans Arena (7,471) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: USF 6-2, Santa Clara 5-2. Away Record: USF 2-0, Santa Clara 1-3. Neutral Record: USF 0-1, Santa Clara 0-1. Conference Record: USF 0-0, Santa Clara 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: In a consolation game of the Las Vegas Classic, the South Florida Bulls tangle with the Santa Clara Broncos at Orleans Arena on Monday night.
After posting wins over Florida Gulf Coast (68-66 2OT) and Florida A&M (73-70) in regional play last week, the Bulls battled Mississippi State in Monday's third round. USF came up short in that contest, falling 71-66. The loss ended an overall four-game win streak for the Bulls, who get back to action on Saturday against Bradley.
Santa Clara found its way to this consolation contest by way of a 92-71 loss to UNLV on Sunday. The setback ended a three-game win streak for the Broncos, who have fallen back to .500 overall (6-6). They will have an even greater challenge on Saturday at nationally-ranked Gonzaga.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between the Bulls and Broncos on the hardwood.
In the loss to the Bulldogs, USF turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 20 points for their opponent. The Bulls' mistakes cost them as they outshot Mississippi State, 46.2 percent to 45.5 percent.
Victor Rudd (15.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg) led the way once again on Sunday for USF. He netted 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for his third straight double-double. Corey Allen Jr (13.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.1 apg) is also scoring in double figures for the Bulls, while providing strong efforts on the glass and in distributing the ball. Getting his teammates involved in the action is still largely the role of Anthony Collins (6.9 ppg, 5.9 apg), as he has a real eye for finding the open man. The Bulls are more sturdy defensively than offensively, holding foes to 67.8 points per game on 40.5 percent shooting from the floor.
Jared Brownridge scored a game-high 22 points for Santa Clara on Sunday, but it was not enough for the Broncos to knock off UNLV. As a team, they netted just 39 percent of their attempts from the floor while assisting on only eight field goals.
Brownridge (15.1 ppg) is part of a trio of players scoring in double figures for the Broncos, with Brandon Clark (16.2 ppg) the top option of the three. Both Clark and Brownridge excel as shooters from 3-point distance, with each netting better than 40 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. Evan Roquemore (11.7 ppg, 3.8 apg) is also a reliable scorer as well as the team's leader in assists. Jerry Brown (9.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg) does the heavy lifting on the glass but doesn't get much help, with the Broncos only tallying 34.5 rebounds per game. They are also scoring 74.3 points per game, netting 43.8 percent of their attempts from the floor.
Strong defense and effective play from Rudd and Allen Jr. have been enough most nights for USF. Expect the same to be true on Monday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Florida 66, Santa Clara 63
12/23 10:33:45 ET