Cal Men's Basketball: Thoughts from the split with the Washingtons

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What encouraged and discouraged you the most about Cal's performance against UW and WSU?

Kodiak: I was extremely discouraged by how we were pushed around and out-worked by UW. It wasn't so much that we were outplayed. They just gave better effort. To have that happen at home is shameful. Conversely, I was encouraged by the immediate turnaround in intensity that we displayed against WSU. It was still pretty ugly offensively, but there are worse things in the world than becoming a gritty, defensive-minded squad. If we can make defense and rebounding our calling card, I think the offense will eventually come around. I also like how Tyrone Wallace, Jeff Powers, and Bak Bak(!) are learning how to contribute.

LEastCoastBears: I actually missed most of the Wazzu game given the local bar stop carrying Pac-12 networks, so I had to watch it on my phone. There is a bit of a story here about the bar not having the game: The Pac-12 conference had supposedly paid for Dish networks for several "Pac-12 bars" on the East coast. Apparently the conference has stopped paying for the Pac-12 network package since the football season.

From the little of the game that I did see, I was impressed by how Bak Bak managed to be a positive contribution to give us depth. Tyrone Wallace, of course, had a breakout game. Whether he can continue playing at this level will determine how well the Bears can do this year.

Of course, Wazzu is not that good and we struggled in putting them away.

Vincent S: The bench appears to be stepping up. In particular, Bak Bak appears to no longer be a net negative on the floor, delivering some rebounding, defense, and even an occasional jumpshot when needed. When (if?) Smith and Kreklow return from injury, the experience the bench is gaining will be invaluable in terms of Monty's trust.

Justin Cobbs's play discourages me, though I don't think I mean it the same way most people do. Justin's vacillations from a primary scoring guard to a pass-first point guard, and everything in between, suggest to me that he's still finding his ideal role as a leader and initiator of our offense. During the few sparks of brilliance, we see how he can improve the play of everyone on the floor with his beautiful entry passes and timely shot creation. During the struggles, our offense can completely shut down (see: UW, middle-to-end of first half). I hope he figures it out soon; Monty places trust in him, and I think he can deliver.

NorCalNick: I was most encouraged with Cal's defense against Brock Motum in particular and Washington State generally. I don't think anybody would mistake Wazzu for an elite offense, but Motum seemed like exactly the type of player that would go off against Cal - a sort of poor man's Doug McDermott. But the Bears executed the gameplan and handled him as well as anybody has this season. It's the type of effort we'll need to see on defense the rest of the year.

I think I covered everything discouraging I had to say about the Washington game in my recap, but suffice to say that Cal's inability to deal with UW's ball pressure on defense was disconcerting. Only a few teams seem to be able to duplicate that level of effort and execution against Cal on defense - but when they do it seems to get Cal all out of sorts.

Boomtho: What discouraged me most: our lack of fight against Washington. Losing on your home floor always sucks, but it's especially painful when you look as listless as we did. Washington appeared to have an athletic/motor advantage at every position, as they relentlessly pounded us on the offensive glass. We had enough trouble defending them for one shot... so defending them for 2+ per possession turned out to be nearly impossible. A secondary 'discouragement' was the limited production from Crabbe. We know that this team is going to go as Crabbe/Cobbs go offensively for the most part, and Crabbe has a disturbing tendency to produce poorly in our biggest games.

What encouraged me most: our rebound against WSU. Now, obviously, WSU is not as good as Washington, though they did push them to a pretty good game. I still liked how we bounced back to salvage a split at home. Crabbe still didn't play well offensively, but props to the team for shutting down Brock Motum (5-14 shooting) and out-rebounding the Cougs.

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