We've got the Bluest of all the Blue Jays, Creighton. What to expect when expecting Blue Jays?
4. Look ahead to Creighton. What are the keys to victory, are you more or less confident than you were going into the game, and what players need to step up the most?
LEastCoastBears: Kreklow. I hope we get Kreklow back for that game as we need the depth. I'm not sure if we can continue to shoot 50+% as a team, but we should also have Crabbe for the entire first half.
The UNLV game was a big opportunity missed. It's not everyday that you get a ranked team on the rope. It definitely helped that the Bears knocked Moser, UNLV's most established player, out of the game.
NorcalNick: By pretty much any measure Creighton is the best team Cal has played this year, which means that it's entirely possible that the Bears give their best effort and still fall short. It's going to be tough. The good news is that Creighton hasn't been forcing a ton of turnovers and they aren't very active on the offensive glass, so they might not exploit two issues that plagued Cal at various times against Wisconsin and UNLV.
Easily the biggest concern is defending Doug McDermott. Dude's a nightmare matchup against just about anybody, let alone Cal. He touches the ball more than basically any big man in the country, and when he gets it he knows what to do with it. He shoots 50% from 3, he draws a ton of fouls, he's a load on the block . . . Richard Solomon and David Kravish are both going to have to have brilliant defensive games, and his teammates are going to have to provide great, disciplined help defense as much as possible.
Avinash: However, we'll have the same problems with Doug McDermott and Gregory Echenique inside, so it'll be essential to hold the guards down and try to win those matchups. Creighton has one of the best offenses in the country and we have to be committed defensively to get rebounds and hold them to one shot.
I feel we'd win if Kreklow played. Without him, it's a toss-up. We are trying hard and giving it our all, and I feel getting this win would be a huge relief for everyone so they can relax going into Pac-12 plays (their last three games should be games Cal wins comfortably with or without Kreklow).
TwistNHook: How healthy is Kreklow?
Cal hoops coach Mike Montgomery reports soph G Ricky Kreklow (foot) not closer to being healthy. "Kid's very discouraged," Monty said.— Jeff Faraudo (@CalBearsBANG) December 11, 2012
VincentS: In a way, I'm more confident after the Wisconsin game. In the past few years, UNLV - long, athletic, rangy, and fast - was exactly the type of team that would blow Cal out. Even with Kreklow out, we were able to run with them - a couple of made free throws here, a phantom call ignored there, a better box-out here, a non-airball there, and that game is ours.
I haven't watched Creighton at all this season, but if what I'm hearing is correct, they're based around one outstanding player. In the past, that would be Jorge's job, and he would usually execute incredibly well (see: Damian Lilliard (sp), James Harden, etc.). This year, we have no Jorge, but defense is still the key. I think is a prediction that will also stick with the football team for next year, but if our defense steps up, our offense will be enough to carry us (again, no duh, right?).
boomtho: Looking ahead, I'm more confident than after the Wisconsin game. We showed up and played a great game against a solid OOC opponent. I think our bigs will need to step up, especially Solo. He's critical to our team's success and I'd love to see him continue what he showed in the first half against the UNLV. We'll also need to get more out of Smith. Having another credible scorer in the back court will really help alleviate pressure on Cobbs/Crabbe.
The keys to victory are to get easy baskets when we can (I haven't watch Creighton this year - but when I have in the past, they've been quite good defensively in the half court) and stay disciplined on defense. I think we can do it. GO BEARS!