Cal Men's Basketball vs. Oakland Grizzlies Preview

USA TODAY Sports

It's an ursine battle royale in Haas Pavilion as the visiting Oakland Grizzlies bring their fast-paced attack to Haas Pavilion. If you like scoring and appreciate freebies, this is the game to see; there's a decent chance that our sturdy Golden Bears will put up their highest point total of the year.


In stark contrast to our previous opponent, the Grizzlies have the green light from their coach to run and attack on every possession. Surprisingly, they don't tend to turn the ball over much and will get their share of offensive boards as they love to crash the glass. They also seem to take a page from the Don Nelson school of defense...the faster they let other teams score, the faster they can back to shooting the rock. It's an entertaining approach, but was only good for a 16-17 record last year along with the worst 2P% defensive ranking in the country. If you can find yourself some action with over/under for Jabari Bird dunks, bet heavily on the over.

Projected Starters:

F Tommie McCune(So), 6'8, 205 lbs
F Corey Petros(Jr), 6'10, 260 lbs, 12.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg
G Travis Bader(Sr), 6'5, 190 lbs, 22.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg
G Duke Mondy(Sr), 6'4, 205 lbs, 12.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.1 apg
G Kahlil Felder(Fr), 5'9, 180 lbs

Bench:

F Dante Williams
F Lloyd Neely II
G Mitch Baenziger
F Joey Asbury

Petros is their leading rebounder and was especially proficient on the offensive glass last year at 3.2 ORB/game. He must run pretty well for a big guy in order to keep up with the guards. Bader and Mondy are their two headliners. Both are athletic, skilled, and don't have much of a conscience about putting it up. Mondy has the better all-around game while Bader is primarily a scorer. Bader has garnered some pre-season honors consideration and is a threat to score from anywhere. Especially in his own mind.

Keys to the Game:

1) Get back on defense.

Oakland is going to push and run at every opportunity. Our guys need to be disciplined about hustling back. In particular, let's not get caught by a quick up-court pass after they take the ball out of the net.

2) Protect the glass.

Along with pushing and putting it up from anywhere, the Grizzlies like to crash the boards with reckless abandon. In the pass, we've struggled with keeping smaller, athletic guys off the glass. This is all about focus and intensity; we can't let them out-work us to get to the loose balls.

3) Stay out of foul trouble.

In an up and down, helter-skelter game, there's a tendency for players to reach if they're out of position. We'll need our veteran bigs to play smart and our young guys to realize that moving their feet is more important that swiping at the ball.

4) Poise and shot selection.

It'll be tempting for our guys to shoot early because there's a high likelihood that they're going to be open. Be patient enough to get yourself or a teammate a higher percentage shot instead of settling.

There are some early season match-ups that scream "trap game." Let's just politely say that this isn't one of them.

Go Bears!

Tip-off: 8pm
TV: Pac-12 Network
Radio: http://www.calbears.com/mediaPortal/player.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=30100&type=live

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