Cal defeated Southern Utah, 75 to 47. This is more or less what was expected to happen, although Cal probably played a bit better than one might expect before letting off the gas as the starters got plenty of rest. Nobody played more than 22 minutes in what was a glorified exhibition before the Bears face their first true test in Maui.
This is a tough game to glean much insight out of, mostly because SUU simply isn't a very good team at the moment. I wasn't able to watch the game live until early in the 2nd half. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts as I watched the 1st half knowing more or less what would happen:
19:30 - Of course the game starts with a Jabari Bird 3. I love having players that might be one-and-done, mostly because if they are actually one and done it means they're really good for that one year.
17:45 - Then Bird comes over from the weak side to swat a shot. So athletic.
16:00 - Solo goes up strongly and decisively, and draws a foul. That's good but not particularly noteworthy . . . except he finishes with a pretty little flip and then hits the and-1. That's what we didn't see until later last year. I'm still accepting members in the Official Richard Solomon Fan Club. Sign up before space runs out!
15:45 - Is Brad Sorensen really the 2nd most famous SUU alum? On a different note, the Thunderbirds still haven't scored, and they haven't been particularly close.
14:49 - Jabari Bird just destroyed some dude with an epic block in transition, but the new rules say that it's a foul. I don't care, because this game isn't in doubt and the play matters way more than the result. Wow. The ball doesn't lie, and SUU misses both free throws badly.
13:45 - It will be really interesting to see if this team can bother better opposition the way they bother mid-majors. All of the starters other than perhaps Cobbs are so long, and I can't recall a Monty team with more athleticism. Maybe that's just the weak competition shading my judgment, but this team did play great defense to close out the conference slate last year.
12:15 - Kreklow three! If his shot gets better with consistent health and playing time, that's a big addition to the offense.
10:00 - We're 25% into the game and SUU has made two field goals. One was a put back on an offensive rebound, and the other was a fadeaway 19 footer. And it's not like they've been missing shots that you would expect them to make.
7:00 - Nine SUU turnovers. I wish I could say that Cal forced most of them, but that 's not really the case. Lots of passes to nowhere.
5:30 - I enjoy these games where Justin just hangs out and lets everybody else take charge, and when the shot clock is running out he'll nail a 3 just to remind you that he's almost certainly Cal's best player.
2:30 - If SUU had shot poorly from three (they finished 7-17) the final score would have been even uglier.
0:00 - And the half ends 39-20, which didn't really even reflect how dominant Cal was.
And the 2nd half, which I did mostly see in real time? More of the same, except with a lot more Rooks, Moute a Bidias and Singer, amongst other bench contributors.
So, what if any insights did you gather from this win? I don't think this game should change any opinion you already had, whether that opinion was an optimistic or pessimistic one. But I'm willing to hear arguments otherwise. Or are you just biding your time until Cal tips off against Arkansas?