Cal Men's Basketball vs. Prairie View A&M Preview

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

It might not have been the most dominating performance, but at least the Bears dispatched the visiting UC SantaBarbara Gauchos for a much needed win. Next up on the holiday redemption tour, here come to Prairie View A&M Panthers (4-5).

As with UCSB, the Panthers' #171 RPI and projected #303 strength of schedule won't do any wonders for our post-season prospects.

However, it's another opportunity to get better on both ends and to continue to develop our younger players.

Prairie View recently visited UCLA and was absolutely blown out, 95-53, by a short-handed and arguably schizophrenic Bruins squad.

The Panthers aren't a very good shooting team overall, and have only one regular player shooting more than 28% from deep. They do rebound the ball well, and will get after it on the offensive glass. With a relatively experienced and deep roster, they also like a quicker tempo and average almost 10 steals per game.

Without the equalizers of three-point shooting or a glacial pace, this is the type of team that usually gets blown out when it tries to run with a more talented and athletic opponent. Let them hang around, however, and they've already stolen two wins at the buzzer. Good thing we don't know anything about that.

Starters:

F Josh Eleby(Jr), 6'10, 255 lbs, 7.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg
F Jules Montgomery(Jr), 6'10, 220 lbs, 7.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg
G Jourdan DeMuynck(Sr), 6'6, 205 lbs, 13.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg
G Carl Blair Jr(Sr), 6'2, 205 lbs, 9.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.7 apg
G Ryan Gesiakowski(Sr), 6'4 195 lbs, 9.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg


Bench:

G Ronald Wright(Sr), 6'1, 190 lbs, 3.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg
F Rasi Jenkins(Jr), 6'8, 215 lbs, 3.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg
F Demondre Chapman(Jr), 6'7, 220 lbs, 6.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg
G Montrael Scott(So), 6'3, 195 lbs, 4.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg

Jourdan DeMuynck is their leading scorer from the wing. He's got a bit of an inside/outside game, but is really more of a volume shooter than anything else. He has almost thirty more shot attempts than anyone else on the roster. Carl Blair is probably their best player. He prefers to slash to the basket and either get himself to the line or set up teammates. He doesn't shoot often from deep, but when he does...he usually misses. (20%) Jules Montgomery is their best rebounder, but doesn't have much touch around the basket. Josh Eleby, on the other hand, is their best low-post scorer, but isn't a particularly physical presence on the boards. Ryan Gesiakowski is the one guy on their roster who can hurt you from the three point line. (35%) He hardly ever takes a shot inside the arc, however. Paying attention to the scouting report plus good defensive discipline _should_ limit his impact.

The Panthers use several players off the bench to sustain their tempo. Of these, Demondre Chapman is the most productive.

Keys to the Game:

1) Be better players and the better team instead of just being superior athletes.

As fun as it is to see the Thurminator skying for put-backs, I'd rather see us get our baskets off of crisply run sets or breaks. On defense, let's be fundamentally sound with good effort. This game is a huge mis-match. A good team would come out and put their foot on the visitors' necks from tip to buzzer. No sloppiness. No complacency.

2) Develop a low-post presence.

At some point, I'd like to think that either Solo or Kravish are just going to explode with a confidence building double-double that elevates their game for the rest of the year. My dark horse would be to see Behrens give us solid rebounding and defense with opportunistic scoring.

3) Stocking stuffers.

Also on my wish list:

Get Crabbe out of his shooting slump
Let Tyrone Wallace continue to thrive and earn more time
Lock Ricky Krekow in a hyberbaric chamber and shoot him full of platelet-rich plasma until his foot heals.

Go Bears!

Game Time: Saturday, 12/22, 2pm(PST)
TV: Pac-12 Network
Radio: 910AM

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