Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Cal handled the struggling Utah Utes with a 26-2 run that spanned halftime.
Isn't it nice when a basketball game goes exactly how you expect it to go? This was probably Cal's most favorable conference match-up of the year, and after a rough early start the game went exactly how everybody expected it to. Utah couldn't score, Cal's offense mostly did whatever they wanted, and Cal climbed up just a bit higher in the Pac-12. Mission accomplished.
There is one downside of a completely routine win; there's nothing very interesting for me to say about it. Allen Crabbe led Cal in scoring but wasn't especially spectacular in doing so. Justin Cobbs ran the offense with precision but didn't do much scoring. Richard Solomon and David Kravish were both better than their Utah counterparts, but neither were asked to do a whole ton.
It was just a very strong team effort to beat another not-so-good team convincingly at home. A spectacular effort from any one player just wasn't required. The 18 point margin of victory is Cal's biggest in Pac-12 play, and boy was it nice watching a second half with zero nerves involved.
I'm trying to decide how impressed I should be by Cal's defensive performance. Utah has had the worst offense in the conference by a significant margin. On the other hand, they have still managed to get to the half century mark in every game this year (they only scored 49 in regulation against ASU in an OT game) and seemed significantly more impotent than usual. Utah's starters shot a combined 7-33, and if it weren't for Jordan Loveridge's activity on the offensive glass I don't think Utah would've gotten particularly close to the 40 point mark. Utah is bad, but Cal made them look baaaaaaaad. That's worth something.
As I'm typing this, Oregon State is winning by nine in Eugene (WHAT THAT WAS A BLOCK NOT A CHARGE ARGH). I spent two hours watching the Cal men and the Cal women both win, and various other games around the country went right for them at the same time. Everything is coming up Cal right now, and that's kinda weirding me out. But it feels wonderful. Cal is going to the NCAA tournament, they're the hottest team in the conference, and they are two games away from what almost feels like a probable Pac-12 title. I hope you've enjoyed the last few weeks, and I hope you enjoy the next few even more.