To say the least, this is a sweep the Bears must have. After losing to UCLA, Cal can't afford any more home losses to middling Pac-10 squads. They either need to take both of these games or face oblivion, because a brutal four game road trip to the southern schools awaits, where it's very likely Cal will drop a few.
We tip it off tonight with an Oregon team that is in stumbling mode, and a discontent Duck fanbase that is more than willing to express their displeasure. One fan BURNED HIS SEASON TICKETS ON YOUTUBE. That's some high-level angst Cal fans can appreciate.
Guard Garrett Sim, who made three of his four shots in Pac-10 play but has gone 1-for-18 since, said he finds himself shutting down the laptop to avoid the negative press and the fan venting.
"You're around the campus every day, you're around your peers, and they know how the basketball team did," Sim said. "It's tough, but you've got to stay together."
Sheesh, sounds like Haas is a great environment for another painful upset for us, doesn't it? I almost would've rather played this one in Macarthur. We look at the matchups statistically.
Team matchups (stats courtesy of Pomeroy)
|Oregon||107.4 (77)||99.7 (161)||69.0 (139)||49.8 (126)||18.3 (57)||39.1 (24)||34.7 (237)|
|Cal||118.6 (6)||94.6 (78)||71.1 (52)||52.6 (50)||18.0 (43)||36.4 (63)||35.6 (213)|
The Bears are a more efficient team on both sides of the ball than the Ducks. Shocking, I know. Cal runs at a faster pace and shoots better. Both hang onto the ball alright, neither team gets to the line enough, and Oregon has a slight advantage pounding the boards.
If you were looking at this you'd have to imagine Oregon's strategy would be to attack the offensive glass and get extra shots. Considering they like to go at a slower pace those extra boards could really help keep the Ducks in it.
Individual matchups, Batman style
Batman: Michael Dunigan (6'10, 255)--Offensive rating: 116, 25.3% of possessions, 10.7 offensive rebound rate, 23.5 defensive rebound rate, 15.3 turnover rate, 8.1 block percentage, 8 fouls drawn per 40 minutes
Defensive matchup: MSF and Max Zhang
Oregon could also try to get Dunigan to take over on MSF and Max--Cal has a similar vulnerability to Washington in that they don't have any skilled post defenders, and Dunigan could get things rolling down there. This is a huge test for Sanders-Frison; can he man up against the Pac-10's most talented and athletic big and keep him from crashing the boards after missed shots from Oregon perimeter players?
In general, Porter is an inferior player to Randle--he can have his moments like he did against Washington, but for the most part he drives Ducks fans nuts. He isn't a very efficient player and only has an eFG% of 49% (compare that to Jerome, who is around 56.9%), he doesn't dish ball as well as Armstead (16.1 assist rate compared to Randle's 26.7 assist rate). Of course he'll end up exploding for 20 and 10 tonight and have me tearing my hair out.
Commissioner Gordon: Malcolm Armstead (5'10, 185)--74.5% of minutes, 51.8% eFG%, 27.2 asst rate, 3.9 steal %
Defensive matchup: Patrick Christopher at the start, probably some Randle or Nikola Knezevic mixed in
Armstead is the primary distributor and will probably get Nikola treatment for parts of the game if Christopher can't stay in front of him and the Ducks stay small with Porter and Armstead. He's also pretty good at cutting off passing lanes, which he'll probably get plenty of chances to do if Randle and Porter are going one-on-one and Jerome has to pass on angles or through traffic.
Sucker cops who Batman has to bail out:
Teondre Williams (2.5 fouls called per 40 minutes--that is literally the only thing he's ranked for, so I guess we'll see him at the end of games; also 50% eFG%). Theo should have a chance to make some noise tonight.
LeKendric Longmire (10.6 offensive rebound percentage, 11.0 turnover rate, 3.7 steal rate). Amoke will probably be battling him, so it should be two of the best board-crashers in the Pac-10 going against each other.
Garrett Sim (111.6 offensive rating, 40% 3 point shooter). Jorge could end up battling him if he's healthy.
Jamil Wilson (9.0 offensive rebound percentage, 3.6 block percentage) & E.J. Singler (17.1 defensive rebound percentage). Guessing these are Boykin's main assignments. Looks like he could be the sleeper tonight if he can get the jumper going.
Batgirl: Taylor Lilley (but that's the Cal women's team problem)
On a record-setting night for Oregon guard Taylor Lilley, the Oregon women’s basketball team opened the Pac-10 season with an 82-71 victory over Washington on Friday evening at McArthur Court.
"Taylor Lilley had an exceptional game, and it took that kind of game to beat us," Huskies coach Tia Jackson said. "She was on fire."
That she was. The 5-foot-6 senior set career bests with eight three-point baskets, matching the UO school record held by Chelsea Wagner and Jessica Schutt, and 33 points.
Along the way, she broke the school record for career three-point baskets, moving to 190 for her career, surpassing Missy Croshaw’s record of 189.
And almost by the way, Lilley also became the 21st player in the history of the UO women’s program to score more than 1,000 points in her career; she’s now at 1,026, and the Ducks are counting on more.
"She’s a delightful young lady," Oregon coach Paul Westhead said. "She’s worked very, very hard her four years. I’m the recipient of a terrific player. I take no credit for her achievements other than keeping her out on the court as long as I can."
Friday, Lilley was out on the court for 35 minutes. She was 11-of-17 overall, 8-of-13 from three-point range and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line.
Alfred: Ernie Kent (although Batman fans would never ever want to fire Alfred)