Is Cal Men's Basketball Loaded for Buffalo?

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Don't look now, but the rampaging Buffaloes are making another late-season surge. If Cal is the league's hottest team, Colorado is no slouch having quietly won five of its last six including upsets over Oregon and Zona. Colorado's coach, Tad Boyle, has my grudging respect. By which I mean I intensely dislike playing against him. He does two things which are particularly annoying; he develops his young talent, and he gets his team to play stifling defense. The latter means that Buffaloes tend to hang around in every game, and the former means that they're a much tougher out towards the end of the year. It's been heartbreak in the past, but perhaps this season will be different. Our team seems to be peaking at the right time and we should have a raucous Haas Pavilion to energize our guys. Be sure to come out and cheer on your resurgent Bears as they continue their comeback drive to the Big Dance. (And if that's not enough, the Food Trucks will be there along with several Kid's Day activities and free rally towels.)


Starters:
F Andre Roberson(Jr), 6'7, 210 lbs, 10.3ppg, 11.8rpg
F Josh Scott(Fr), 6'10, 215 lbs, 11.4ppg, 5.0rpg
F Xavier Johnson(Fr), 6'6, 220 lbs, 8.2ppg, 4.7rpg
G Askia Booker(So), 6'1, 170 lbs, 13.4ppg, 3.7rpg
G Spencer Dinwiddie(So), 6'5, 190 lbs, 15.3ppg, 3.0apg


Bench:
G Sabatino Chen(Sr), 6'4, 190 lbs
G Jeremy Adams(Jr), 6'5, 220 lbs
C Shane Harris-Tunks(Jr), 6'11, 250 lbs
G Xavier Talton(Fr), 6'1, 180 lbs

Our last preview can be found here:

The cast of characters for the Buffaloes has been essentially the same all year. Andre Roberson leads the nation in rebounding. He's a quick leaper with a relentless motor and great timing. His offensive game is still raw, but he seems to get hot against us. Josh Scott is also tough on the glass and has a diverse array of post-up moves. (Although he's been out with a concession, does anyone really doubt that he'll be back against us?) Xavier Johnson is ultra-athletic and has steadily increased his production throughout the year. Askia Booker hasn't met a shot he doesn't like. He actually shoots a higher percentage from three than from inside the arc. Spencer Dinwiddie has been their best player down the stretch. He's deadly from deep as well as off the bounce. Sixth man Sabatino Chen is their version of Brandon Smith. He's not as athletic as his teammates, but he's quite capable of providing a spark.


Match-ups:

Cal's Defense vs. the Colorado Offense:

Colorado's offense has been a bit inconsistent. They don't tend to play at a fast tempo unless you give them an easy opportunity with a turnover. Cal has to be aware that the Buffaloes like to attack the basket and draw fouls. They're one of the league leaders in points from the line and Dinwiddie is 2nd in the Pac-12 in free throw attempts. I'd expect to see Monty lean on our 3-2 zone to deny dribble penetration. Besides Dinwiddie, Booker and perhaps Chen are their only real threats from deep. It'll be important for the Bear defenders to stay on the ground while closing out. Frustrating Dinwiddie will go a long way towards stalling Colorado. He likes to shoot the three or take it all the way. If you can force him to rely on his mid-range game, he's less dangerous. It should go without saying at this point that we really need to avoid giving them easy offense in transition or off put-backs. Oregon's Khazemi almost single-handedly out-rebounded us. As tough as that guy was, Roberson is better and Scott is more athletic.

Cal's Offense vs. the Colorado Defense:

Brace yourself because this has the potential to look ugly. Colorado is very, very good at taking away your first option on offense. Last year, Cal's bread and butter set was to bring Jorge off a baseline screen, curl to receive the ball at the elbow, then finish in the lane or dish to a cutter when the defense rotated. The Buffaloes took that out with a quick hedge and were disciplined enough with their rotations that Jorge either had to take a tough shot, or turned it over when trying to force it inside. I'd expect Colorado to jump out when we do our dribble weave to disrupt our timing and rely on their athletic bigs rotating in time stop easy dump-offs down low. Our bigs need to be ready to catch and finish when they get the opportunity. Justin Cobbs will have to be patient and pick his spots because Dinwiddie is a fantastic defender. We'll need Allen Crabbe to bounce back and stay involved even if the Buffaloes try to take him out of the game.

Go Bears!

Game Time: Saturday, March 2nd, 2pm(PST)
TV: ESPNU
Radio: 910AM

Per Calbears.com, there are plenty of pre-game festivities scheduled for this Saturday:

There are several exciting events associated with Saturday's contest. Before the game, fans are invited to attend the hospitality area just outside of Haas Pavilion beginning at 12:30 p.m. The famous Bay Area food trucks will hold their "Three-Point Truck Stop" on Spieker Plaza prior to the game as well. For more information on the food trucks click here .

Saturday is also Cal Kids Day with several activities planned on Spieker Plaza before the game, including a bouncy house, poster creations, temporary face tattoos and much more.

The first 1,500 people in attendance at Saturday's game will receive "BerkeleyRepresent" rally towels.

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