USA TODAY Sports
The emergence of Allen Crabbe as an aggressive force for Cal basketball has been huge, particularly with the injury struggles of Ricky Kreklow.
What encouraged and discouraged you the most about Cal's performance in LA?
LeonPowe: From UCLA I was discourage by the lack of offense from anyone not named Crabbe or Cobbs. Our bigs seemed lost and even with the soft UCLA interior defense we were unable to finish. Also we always seemed to lose Mohammed in transition, who was only their best player. I was encouraged by Cobbs attacking the basket and really trying to will us to the win, alas, it wasn't to be. Also discouraging was Kreklow's injury.
From USC, I was encouraged by the showing from the bench - Bak Bak and Thurman and Powers gave us productive minutes and a lift! Unexpected, but if we can get 5-10 minutes from Bak and Powers and 15 from Thurman that will be a boon towards getting us to the postseason. I was discouraged by us not putting a pretty terrible USC team away - but honestly, that's just nit-picky - we're at the point in the season where we just need wins wins wins.
LEastCoastBears: For the UCLA game, the most encouraging aspect was that the team did not give up after the early UCLA run in the second half, epitome of Joe Kapp's "The Bear will not quit, the Bear will not die." Crabbe with a big 2nd half scoring-wise.
On the discouraging side, it's not that surprising that Kreklow attempted to tough it out and provide some quality minutes for the Bears. However, the way he went down probably means that we won't see him for a few weeks. Cal was again not able to execute down the stretch in a tight game this season.
Cal coach Mike Montgomery says he doesn't expect either G Brandon Smith or G Ricky Kreklow to play Wednesday night vs. Washington at Haas.— Jeff Faraudo (@CalBearsBANG) January 8, 2013
For USC, it was encouraging that the Bears finally remembered how to make 3 pointers! Quality contributions from Bak Bak and Jeff Powers (who broke the 3 point drought). Very efficient scoring outing by Crabbe, particularly in the second half. Bears executed great (Wallace making big 3's, Cobbs' momentum changing block) down the stretch.
Discouraging: Points allowed in the paint. Off fast break or even when all the guys do get back, the Bears' defense looked quite confused at times. The defense just parted way quite a few times to allow for easy baskets to the opponent.
Vincent S: What discouraged me: Offensive struggles. Teams are really honing in on Allen and Justin. Allen basically runs 50 to 100 meters through a multitude of screens every offensive possession, but opponents have been instructed to be extremely physical; the result is that Allen either isn't open when he comes off the screens, or is open but off from his ideal spot due to being bumped off his line.
What encouraged me about this: Instead of curling off a screen and taking a jumper, Allen started receiving the pass in motion to the basket and driving. His drives were very efficient against USC, and I believe he has finally established himself as a threat to both bomb away from deep, and drive it in to score. The next step for him will be to find an open man when defenses start collapsing on his drive.
What are you looking for from Cal this week against the Washington schools?
LeonPowe: I'm looking for two wins at home and for the students to come back and loud! These are two beatable teams - even if UW is talented - we can beat them if we hit our shots and play smart.
LEastCoastBears: Both of the games this week against the Washington schools are winnable. If the Bears want to keep the hope of returning to the NCAA tournament alive, we can't afford to drop either of these games. I hope Brandon Smith is finally back to provide some depth at guard. I also wonder if Justin Cobbs' shooting struggle would end once Smitty is back to distribute the ball at times.
Vincent S: I want to see further refinement to Crabbe's game against the Washington schools. I think we might start seeing Crabbe and Powers on the floor simultaneously more; if Crabbe is being blanketed off screens and can't free himself up for jumpers, Powers's presence outside (and more demonstrated three-point capability while outside) should open the lane up a bit more for Crabb's drives. He also might prove, assuming good spacing, an open target should Powers's defender commit to doubling Crabbe.