He's watched the film six times and each time he's come away with the same scary conclusion:
There isn't much separating No. 2 Merced from No. 7 Grace Davis.
"They're a lot like us," Merced boys basketball coach Marcus Knott said with a nervous laugh. "They're very similar to us in a lot of ways.
"They like to pressure up on the perimeter and create havoc out there. And even though their post guys aren't very big, they count on them to deliver points.
Never miss a local story.
"We're looking forward to an exciting game."
Or a stalemate.
How do you beat an opponent hardwired to play just like you?
You start by eliminating the silly mistakes.
Turnovers haven't dogged Merced this season, but Grace Davis will feed on any extra chances it gets in today's Sac-Joaquin Section Division I quarterfinal at the University of the Pacific.
The game is scheduled to tip at 7:30 p.m.
Grace Davis (24-4) is the Modesto Metro Conference champion and the beholder of a 19-game winning streak.
Merced (24-4) is the four-time Central California Conference champion and the beholder of a 13-game winning streak.
Something will give tonight, and it'll likely come down to efficiency -- who plays a cleaner game.
Merced has been the area's most unselfish team this season, but its assist-to-turnover ratio is less than 1-to-1 (434-497). The goofs haven't cost them, but then again, the stakes have never been higher.
"We'll make our jobs easier if we don't turn the ball over and allow them easy baskets," said Knott. "Our guys have been playing unselfishly all year. I'm not worried about anyone coming out and not doing their job. It's just a matter of handling their pressure."
UOP is the site of all four Division I quarterfinal games: No. 3 Burbank vs. No. 6 Sheldon, 4 p.m.; No. 4 Turlock vs. No. 5 Rodriguez, 5:30; and the nightcap, No. 1 Franklin vs. No. 9 Pleasant Grove, 9.
The winners not only scoot into the semifinal round on Thursday at Arco Arena, but clinch a berth in the NorCal tournament.
To get there, Merced will need to beat its carbon-copy; its twin.
Grace Davis features a balanced attack, anchored by its undersized frontcourt and pressure defense.
Kory Johnson, a 6-foot, 1-inch forward, leads three players in double figures with 17.8 points.
Donte Walker is averaging 12 points and Lance Castaneda 10.6.
The three took turns punishing Oak Ridge in a come-from-behind first-round victory last Friday evening.
But they'll need to make an adjustment to handle Merced's uptempo style of play, which differs drastically from that of the taller Oak Ridge.
"We're smaller and faster, where Oak Ridge is taller and more methodical," Knott said. "The matchup is a lot different for them from the first round to the next, than it is with us."
And in Knott's eyes, that's about the only difference between the two programs.
"We just have to play," he finally conceded.
James Burns is managing editor/sports editor of the Sun-Star. He can be reached at email@example.com.