If you were a top opponent and examining Cal's early performances against non-conference opponents, what would you look to exploit?
Nick Kranz: Right now, Cal's defense is ahead of the offense. The best formula for beating Cal is to deny Cal the same inside looks that the Bears have been denying on defense. Jabari Bird's 6-8 game nonwithstanding, there are still question marks about Cal's jump shooting. If you have a good defense, it's possible to keep Cal out of the paint and off the offensive glass. And if you can force some turnovers from Cal's younger players and get out in transition before Solomon is patrolling in the paint, all the better.
The only obvious aspect of Cal's defense to be exploited is from behind the arc. Right now, Cal would rather give you an open three than an open two. Even then, teams haven't been able to find enough (and hit them enough) to punish Cal for that choice. A faster team with crisper passing could find frequent opportunities for their shooters.
Montgomery on Arkansas "They will press for 40 minutes and they'll come at you with good depth, quick athletes and try to wear you down."— Cal Men's Basketball (@CalMensBBall) November 22, 2013
Ruey Yen: This one is pretty easy: the lack of front court depth. If either of Richard Solomon or David Kravish is in foul trouble, then the Bears either has to rely on the very raw freshman Kameron Rooks or switch to a small lineup with only one big. Against teams with good size in the middle, the Bears might not have the answer defensively if their bigs are in foul trouble. So I would expect opponents to challenge our bigs, who would hopefully be experienced enough now to avoid picking up any silly fouls.
Montgomery on talent in Maui "I know the returners will be able to adjust to it, they've played against it...none of the freshmen have."— Cal Men's Basketball (@CalMensBBall) November 21, 2013
Another point of concern (but that may not be explicitly exploited by the opponent) is the Bears' lack of reliability from the charity stripes. While I doubt any team is going to go "hack-a-Bear", they would no doubt harbor greater hope of being able to comeback against Cal even if they are trailing late.
Scott Chong: Cal has no depth in the post. Get one of our bigs in foul trouble and we're forced to scramble a bit with playing a wing out of position at the four spot. Cal also had trouble executing against a well-played zone, especially a 1-3-1.
Solomon "I want to play hard, I want to be efficient. I just want to get better, individually and collectively."— Cal Men's Basketball (@CalMensBBall) November 19, 2013
atomsareenough: Cal seems to be prone to being streaky, and doesn't always execute very sharply. They have the tendency to lose focus at times. I'd try to be as patient as possible and wait for the Bears to have a defensive lapse or take an ill-advised shot on offense. Cal also doesn't defend the perimeter very well, so if you can screen for your shooters, you should be able to get pretty decent open looks.