Cal basketball: Maui Invitational leftovers

I'll be back. - Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

How much did we learn from Maui? Other than how vital Richard Solomon is to everything!

The what if game. How do you think Cal performs at the tourney with Richard Solomon in action the last two games?

Avinash Kunnath: If Cal loses to Syracuse we probably still have trouble with Dayton. It's just a bad matchup in terms of depth and size. Too many bigs would have just gotten Richard in foul trouble and we'd still have lost in most scenarios.

But I double our chances of beating Syracuse because the Orange would have had a difficult time driving to the rim and wouldn't have gotten so many easy point-blank looks at the rim. Both the offense and defense just ran out of steam at the 30 minute mark. Hard to say if we'd have beaten Baylor; I figure the three games in three nights would've taken its tool. I'd have given us a fighting chance.

I feel 2-1 is the most likely scenario. That second marquee win would have come in handy in the spring.

Ruey Yen: The Syracuse game got out of hand for Cal at the 10 minutes left mark when David Kravish picked up his 4th foul. Had Richard Solomon been available for that game and replicate something close to his career best 22 points and 14 rebound performance against Syracuse in the NCAA tournament 3rd round game last season, you have got to like the Bears' chances in winning that game or at least force it to be kind of a coin flip situation at the end of the game.

The 32 minutes to Solomon would also mean less minutes for the short Cal rotation. While that may still not be enough against Dayton in day 3, Bears would have had more help to Justin Cobbs against either Dayton or Baylor in the 3rd day.

After watching the tournament, what impressed you the most about the Bears, and what are the things they have to work on the most?

Avinash Kunnath: Most impressive: David Kravish showed he could hold his own as a scorer, and raised his level of play with each game. Kravish looked really good in five of six halves and did his best to hold his own with Solomon. He was hustling for loose balls, had quick instincts around the basket to grab live balls, and just really

Most disappointing: Tyrone Wallace regressed. Once his outside shot stopped falling he pressed a little bit more and was just all over the place. Final tally from Maui: 7-19 shooting, 21 points, 13 turnovers. He did provide some decent relief as a secondary ball-handler and was still generally good defensively, but after that things fell apart.

Also slightly alarming was Jabari Bird's defensive struggles, but we've seen those the past few weeks and we know it'll take him awhile to learn how to play within a zone. To see Wallace struggle that much against marquee competition is not a good sign for games against Creighton and UCSB.

Ruey Yen: Jordan Matthews has really emerged to be a rotation player in Maui. While he only played 8 minute in the Arkansas game, but had a memorable play on a key steal, Matthews played 22 and 20 minutes in the Syracuse and Dayton games, respectively. When Richard Solomon is back, we can probably still expect Matthews to be that 7th guy in the rotation behind the starting 5 and Ricky Kreklow.

Like Avi said, David Kravish's performance was also very encouraging. It is great to see him maintain his dominance against the physically bigger major conference schools. I would also have to give kudos to the Bears' 3 point shooting. Jabari Bird and Ricky Kreklow both have been shooting fairly consistently from outside the arc.

I wouldn't necessarily say that Tyrone Wallace has regressed in Maui as oppose to how he still have some work to do to make more of a consistent impact. While Wallce's free throw shooting has appeared to have improved over the offseason, his inconsistence from the line was a liability in Maui.


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