Previewing UW: Can Cal Men's Basketball Tame the Huskies?

USA TODAY Sports

In a battle of schizophrenic teams, whose alter-ego will reign supreme?

When last we met, our sturdy Golden Bears soundly routed the Dawgs as part of a 5-0 start to conference play. It was a dominant performance on both ends that had many Cal fans excited about this team's future.

It's been uneven sledding ever since as the Bears have stumbled their way into losing four of their last six games.

Before this week's home stand, UW had lost three in a row on the road, including getting Coug'd in Pullman, spanked in Utah, and blown out in Boulder.

At 14-11, 6-6, Washington is teetering on the edge of the conference cellar...but for the difference of one conference game, so are we.

It's pretty clear that the Huskies are playing for pride and milk bones this season. For Cal, this is one of a series of must-win games if we have any post-season aspirations beyond our recliners.

The stats put Washington near the bottom of the conference with regards to offensive efficiency(10th), eFG%(9th), defensive efficiency(9th), and rebounding.(11th)

CJ Wilcox is one of the conference's best scorers and Nigel Williams-Goss is one of the more impressive freshmen. But their interior defense is extremely poor. Coach Lorenzo Romar tried to jumpstart the team by starting their glue guy, Desmond Simmons, for poor-shooting Mike Anderson...and the result was a twenty-six point shellacking by Colorado. Maybe the glue just needed a little extra drying time, because they pulled it together and managed a tight win over the same Furd squad which just knocked around Cal at Haas.

This is a game that we should be able to win decisively. However, UW is 12-2 at home and we simply do not know which Cal team is going to make the trip to Seattle. If it's the same squad which struggled to put away a bad Cougar team this past Wednesday, then brace yourself for some ugly basketball.


Projected Starters:

F Perris Blackwell(Sr), 6'9, 275 lbs, 10.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg
F Desmond Simmons(Jr), 6'7, 225 lbs, 4.4 ppg

G CJ Wilcox(Sr) 6'5, 195 lbs, 19.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg

G Andrew Andrews(So), 6'2, 195 lbs, 12 ppg, 3.4 rpg

G Nigel Williams-Goss(Fr), 6'3, 185 lbs, 13.2 ppg, 4.0 apg


F Shawn Kemp Jr.(Jr), 6'9, 250 lbs, 4.2 ppg,

G Darin Johnson(Fr), 6'5, 200 lbs, 6.3 ppg

F Mike Anderson(Jr), 6'4, 195 lbs, 6.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg

From our last preview:


"Perris Blackwell is a transfer from USF. He's a load inside at 275+lbs, but moves well for a big guy. As expected, he's their designated monster on the boards and low post scoring specialist.

Mike Anderson is a JuCo transfer. Although he's only listed at 6'4, he reportedly plays bigger due to long arms and hops. He's a solid all-around player who does a bit of everything. Although he's still finding his groove this year, last year, he shot 44% from three.

The creatively named Andrew Andrews came on at the end of last year. He's more effective as a slasher, but will often fall in love with his three point shot. (31%)

McDonald's All-American Nigel Williams-Goss was the star of Romar's last recruiting class. He's not a great shooter from deep yet, but is athletic enough to break down defenders. For a true frosh, he does a good job taking care of the ball and shows a knack for setting up his teammates on the break.

C.J. Wilcox is their senior leader and best all-around player. He was in the conversation with Allen Crabbe last year if you were picking the best pure shooter in the conference. He's still dangerous from three (42%), but is also getting himself to the line this year. (89% FT)


Shawn "Drizzle Boy" Kemp, Jr. backs up at center, but hasn't developed into a consistent post presence the way they had hoped.

Darin Johnson was a 4* recruit and the poster-child for the perfect Romar recruit; long and ridiculously athletic.

Desmond Simmons is the quintessential "glue guy" who brings hustle and defense off the bench."


Keys:

1) Be the alphas.

Step off the plane and right onto their throats. UW has not been playing good basketball. Set the tone early and don't give them any reason to think that they can hang with us.

2) Nothing easy.

Along with Key #1, this means getting back on defense and not making careless turnovers on offense. We're capable of better, fundamental basketball than Romar's undisciplined athletes. Prove it.

3) Dominate inside.

The match-ups say that Solomon and Kravish should both log double-doubles. If we can't take advantage of arguably the worst interior defense in the conference, we're in trouble.

4) Wake up on the wing.

Someone has to step up and become that reliable scorer on the wing. At different times this year, it's been Wallace, Mathews, and Bird. At some point, our young players can't afford to play young any more.

Go Bears!


Tip-Off: Saturday, Feb 15th, 12pm
Television: Pac-12 Network
Radio: KGO 810 AM

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