There were some stretches of today's game at ASU where Cal was playing just about as poorly as I've seen them play all year. Right up there with the games at Missouri and UCLA, as well as the first half of the home game vs. Stanford. They couldn't get anything going on offense, their 3-point shots weren't falling, and there was a palpable lack of energy on defense. Yeah, ASU shot well, but way WAY too many of those shots were wide open. A sampling of comments from the Open Thread:
"SOMEBODY GUARD HIM!"
"DON'T LEAVE THE 3 OPEN"
"That white dude's been open all day"
My thoughts exactly.
When Cal started ratcheting up the defensive pressure, they managed to force some turnovers and some easy buckets, but it was an energy level that they simply were unable to sustain. It also came way too late (middle of the second half, down by about 20) to really change the outcome of this game. ASU was in firm control of this game for about the last 30 minutes, and much of Cal's effort was really an attempt to keep this game close (they failed, losing 83-66).
One can't put all the blame on Cal, though. Much of the credit has to go to the Sun Devils, who not only ran a very efficient offense all day, but were able to really botherer the Bears on defense, forcing way too many long range shots and a whole lot of nothin' on the inside. Cal never looked comfortable on offense, and while they didn't shoot well even when they had open looks, ASU didn't give them nearly enough of those, and basically nothing easy inside.
So, yeah. A disappointing effort by our Bears, but overall a successful conference season, and hopefully Cal can shake off this lackluster effort in time for next week's tournament. The last three weeks, Cal has played well on Thursday only to fall flat on Saturday, hardly a recipe for tournament success. The Bears haven't had a weekend sweep since beating the Washington schools at home a month ago, and if they can't put two solid games together in a row, they've got no hope of advancing in the postseason, regardless of their draw.
Anyway, next week is a new season: the post-season. Let's forget about this game and get a fresh start on Thursday. Go Bears!!