The season is nearly a month over and Santa Clara has not lost a game. That didn’t seem likely after how the Broncos finished last season.
Santa Clara is off to a 5-0 start, its best start since 1968, and much of that success can be pinned on the return of senior starters Kevin Foster and Marc Trasolini. But shouldn’t there be more to this team than two guys?
“Is that enough?” Santa Clara head coach Kerry Keating asked jokingly.
The pairing of Foster and Trasolini is averaging more than 40 points per game and has been incredibly important for a team that had not won a game in 2012 prior to November.
“Helps to have 40 points back in the lineup,” Keating said. “Just having those guys around has just been a huge plus on the floor in uniform. Can’t understate [it].”
Keating, though, said the rest of the team came into the season ready and had not rested on the laurels of the team’s dynamic duo.
“I think more so what the rest of the team did in this offseason to prepare themselves for those guys returning was probably more important,” Keating said. “Everybody got better, stronger, bigger. Everybody improved, took the challenge… To those guys credit, to our coaching staff’s credit, no one ever just assumed okay everything’s going to be fine because we’re returning those guys.”
But what is 5-0 in November, really? Santa Clara was in a similar position a year ago and came out of the 76 Classic (now DirecTV Classic) with wins against New Mexico and Villanova, and a strong performance versus Oklahoma. This was all without Trasolini and prior to Foster being withheld from competition for the remainder of the season.
This year’s 5-0 start also has its highlights and none bigger than a 74-62 win at Saint Louis on Nov. 14. Saint Louis was in the NCAA Tournament a year ago and is expected to be good again.
“I think our guys always felt that way,” Keating said about the Broncos being competitive with good teams. “It was just getting the opportunities. Playing a true road game against a team that only lost one game at home last year and is expected to have a good season this year, it certainly can be a confidence booster but it can also be a telling sign of where you are at, good, bad or indifferent.”
For Santa Clara, it is a good start but the players and coaches are well aware there is no time to rest and put too much stock in an undefeated start in November.
“It is certainly something we can build on,” he said. “It was a good win, good team win. Obviously, it is the type of game you need to have and you need to execute in to get to the next level.”
Two more tough tests are coming the Broncos’ way this week with Utah State on Wednesday and UC Santa Barbara on Saturday and the question is can this team sustain it? It seems with both Trasolini and Foster, they should be able to.
Follow Zack Farmer on Twitter: @Zack_Farmer