Be prepared for the vitriol. Pac-10 teams are going to hate playing us this year, and Pac-10 fans are going to hate watching us. And we're going to have struggle through it.
The California Golden Bears aren't good enough to compete with the majority of top-tier teams like the Kansas Jayhawks, but they're nasty enough that they can get into the opponent's heads. Jorge Gutierrez is the typical Mike Montgomery-player: A hard-nosed street fighter that won't take crap from anyone, a bit of an instigator, and someone who would probably thrive in a post-apocalyptic environment. Ditto Harper Kamp, who is tough as anyone to play on the defensive block and helped get Marcus Morris ejected with an errant elbow. Markhuri Sanders-Frison will irritate everyone with his best Kendrick Perkins mad-face impersonations. And the fouls, all the fouls--45 tonight, fairly low for this team. This team loves contact, embraces contact, and ensures a forty minute college basketball contest takes a hundred minutes longer to complete.
Unfortunately for them, there's that whole "not being good enough". Cal trots out their three man troupe of Markhuri Sanders-Frison, Gutierrez, and Harper Kamp night in, night out. Without contributions elsewhere though, that's simply not enough to succeed. Gary Franklin shot 3 for 10, 2 for 9 from downtown, 0-2 from the line. Nigel Carter was 1 for 8 from the field, 1 for 3 from the line. Allen Crabbe was a little better with 11 points and 6 boards, but needed 12 shots to get there. In all, Cal shot 35% from the field, 18% from three point land, missed fourteen free throws, and had an assist to turnover ratio hovering around 0.7.
The script went as expected: Cal played Kansas hard for much of the game, before falling apart due to depth and experience issues. Markieff Morris made up for his brother's absence by dominating in the low block, and Tyrel Reed nailed a few big shots. This will be a familiar script for defeat for our young team this season.
In the meantime, time to embrace the hate Cal fans. Are you ready to be hated like a Mike Montgomery Furd-coached team was? Because it's coming.
norcalnick will have your extended recap tomorrow.