– Cal doesn’t need to shoot 60 percent from the 3PT line to win, but the Bears cannot go 2-for-18, either. This is a team, for better or worse, that relies on the perimeter shot. Until eight days ago, Ben Howland would have rather had a root canal than play a zone defense, but the Bruins’ zone kept the Bears off balance all night. Never a rhythm. Jerome Randle looked out of sorts all night shooting from the perimeter, and he didn’t do enough to set up others with penetration. If I’m an opposing coach, I’m playing zone against the Bears until they demonstrate it’s a bad idea.
– UCLA’s multiple screens made the Cal defense dizzy. The Bruins missed shots in the first half, but as soon as Michael Roll and Nikola Dragovic each made one in the second half, you could sense more was coming. Cal could not stay in their face and they made six in a row between them.
– Without Gutierrez to light a fire, the Bears showed a disturbing lack of fight. Even Monty was scratching his head over this. "Soemtimes I don’t understand how we cannot treat a UCLA game as a big, big game in erms of coming out full of fire. We didn’t seem to have that," he said. Montgomery noted the Bears never got into a 1-and-1 at the FT line in the second half, which translates to a lack of offensive aggressiveness. "You’re settling for jump shots, you’re not getting to the glass, and you’re not aggressive enough," he said.
– UCLA took away Cal’s transition game. The Bears aren’t a traditional fastbreak team, but they rely on oportunities to score quickly before the opponent sets its defense. There are those moments in every game where Randle either blasts coast-to-coast for a layup or pulls up to shoot a 3-pointer in rhythm or passes ahead to Christopher for a dunk. How often did that happen Thursday? Not often enough.
– The rest of the Pac-10 cannot be happy that the Bears may have just given UCLA what it needs most — some confidence. The Bruins are young and erratic, but Cal let them hang around, and with the game on the line they made plays. Freshman Reeves Nelson can’t make a free throw, but he was tough and clever inside. Freshman Tyler Honeycutt, in his first start, had 10 rebounds. Sophomore PG Jerime Anderson turned the ball over four times, but hit a huge 3-pointer late. And Howland can coach. This UCLA team will get better, not worse.
After the jump Cal makes an appearance on the FailBlog, JO answers plenty of questions about what may happen in the offseason, JO reviews the wide receivers, and Bay Area media outlets try to figure out how Cal basketball could play so badly. Don't forget that Randle will be answering questions in a livechat tomorrow at 11am PST.
- Cal made an appearance on the FailBlog today.
- royrules22 obtained plenty of information from JO during today's livechat: Sweeney will remain at #2 on the depth chart heading into spring, and Mansion is looking forward to the opportunity to compete with him; it sounds like competition could be fierce for the starting cornerback spots among Hill, Nnabufie, Hagan, and Williams; LB Chris Martin and WRs Tevin Carter and Josh Harper are among the recruits who will most likely see first-year playing time; figuring out who will start at each of the LB positions will be a challenge this spring; Tad Smith still hasn't decided if he's going to petition for a medical redshirt, which would grant him a sixth year of eligibility; despite being chastised for a lack of effort DeAndre Coleman made strides towards the end of the season and could see playing time next year; Chris Martin may convince Ferguson to attend Cal; and Tedford remains open about how to deal with replacing Alamar: he may move current staff around to fill the role of ST or TE coach or he might hire a ST coach while moving a current staff member to TE coach, and so on.
- JO reviews the wide receivers, who improved over last season, but still have work to do when it comes to breaking free from DBs and getting yards-after-catch.
- Faraudo's live thread traces the events that led to last night's bizarre loss to UCLA. He recaps the game in this morning's CCTimes. Howland admits that UCLA got a lucky bounce their way on the deflected ball that went into Michael Roll's hands. Monty was disappointed with Cal's lack of aggression and the inability to make shots.
- Wilner has a positive take on the loss, saying that despite the 2-18 three-point shooting, it still took an improbable, last second shot for UCLA to win.
- Randle will be answering questions in tomorrow's livechat at 11am PST.