Despite being alone in first place after 12 Pac-10 games, the Cal men have only swept a weekend series once all season long. But beating the Oregon schools at home is as close to a gimme as a weekend sweep gets. Based on the two team's trajectories, Cal seems poised to collect their 2nd sweep of the season. Washington St. has lost four of five and just suffered an extremely painful loss to Stanford - blowing an 18 point lead in the process. Meanwhile, Cal has won two in a row, moved to alone atop the standings, and avenged their two worst performances in the first half of the conference schedule.
To add to the rosy outlook, Cal has played quite well against Washington St. recently. Jerome Randle's virtuoso performance earlier this year stands on its own, but last year Cal swept the Cougars by scores of 57-50 and 71-63. So what's going against Cal? Well, despite a relatively comfortable lead for most of the game against Washington, Cal's seniors had to play pretty heavy minutes in an intense, fast-paced game. Theo Robertson played 38, Patrick Christopher played 35 and Randle played 39. Now that Washington St. has abandoned the slow style of Tony Bennett for a more up-tempo style preferred by new coach Ken Bone, fatigue could be an issue for the Bears - particularly if Omondi Amoke is unable to contribute after injuring his shoulder on Thursday.
Hit the jump and we'll take a look at the numbers.
Here's the four factors from Cal's victory in Pullman
That was a spectacular offensive performance the Bears produced against the Cougs - they outperformed WSU in every category but offensive rebounding, although perhaps that won't be surprising when we look at the Ken Pomoroy numbers: Washington St. has the worst defense in the Pac-10.
|Oeff||Deff||Tempo||eFG||Opp. eFG||ORB||Opp. ORB||TOV||Opp. TOV||FT/FGA||Opp. FT/FGA|
|Cal||119.0 (6)||94.1 (77)||70.6 (52)||52.8 (39)||47.7 (124)||35.0 (95)||29.9 (52)||18.1 (51)||18.9 (266)||35.0 (242)||
|WSU||110.0 (55)||101.3 (183)||68.2 (147)||51.4 (76)||50.5 (251)||35.4 (81)||32.6 (170)||19.9 (129)||19.7 (223)||47.6 (17)||35.2 (124)|
That's a chart that's pretty solidly in Cal's favor. WSU is marginally better at offensive rebounding and forcing turnovers, but Cal counters by being better at preventing offensive rebounds and holding onto the ball. WSU's only sizable advantage is the free throw battle - the Cougs know how to get to the line. Paradoxically, Cal drew more fouls and shot more free throws than WSU last time, but that was probably a function of WSU fouling at the end in a comeback attempt. If Cal shoots more FTs again they'll stand an excellent chance of extending their win streak to three.
Alpha Dog: Sophomore Klay Thompson. Thompson memorably started the season red-hot and has cooled down a bit since then, but he still plays the most minutes and takes the most shots for WSU. Cal did a reasonable job on Thompson the first time out, but the Cougs are not a one man show.
Other threats: Freshman Reggie Moore and Senior Nikola Koprivica both had excellent offensive nights in Pullman. Moore in particular has come on strong in conference play and Cal would make their night much less stressful if they do a better job on Moore this time around. Having not seen the previous game, I can't tell you who guards who, although it's safe to say that Jorge will probably see time against Thompson. Randle would be the hypothetical matchup against Moore, but considering he scored 25 points against Cal last time I wonder if Christopher might get the assignment.
So what are you predictions and keys to victory?
This poll is closed
Cal wins by double digits
Cal wins by single digits
Washington St. wins by single digits
Washington St. wins by double digits