As bad as Cal's loss to Oregon St. was, losing to Oregon would have been worse. Oregon is clearly the worst team in the Pac-10, they probably have a lame duck head coach (no pun intended, I swear) and after watching the game I get the sense that the team may have given up on the season as well. Cal avoided a disastrous loss, watched USC go down in Pullman, and has arrived at the most important weekend of the season in 1st place with their destiny in their own hands. I'm sure we'll all spend the next week analyzing the last two weeks of the season in every way possible, but in the end only one thing matters: If Cal sweeps Arizona and Arizona St. in Berkeley and knocks off Stanford in Palo Alto the Pac-10 is theirs.
Saturday's victory was unspectacular and workmanlike. Cal didn't particularly excel in any area in the box score, no Bear scored more than 16 points, and were it not for an entertaining, 5 minute cameo from Max Zhang nothing about this game would be remarkable. I would like to commend Cal's defense. Oregon scored 49 points on 34% shooting, and by my count 16 of those points came off of offensive rebound put-backs. Obviously controlling the boards is a part of the defensive effort, but Cal only allowed 33 points on Oregon's first shot. Cal's halfcourt defense very rarely gave Oregon high percentage looks, and the Ducks were only successful when offensive boards gave them put-back opportunities. Also worth noting: The Ducks only recorded one assist. Maybe these stats tell us more about Oregon's struggles than Cal's success, but I think we can all appreciate a strong defensive effort, no matter the opponent.
Here's your stat chart:
Not much to it: Cal didn't play particularly well but they still outperformed Oregon in every phase except free throw shooting. According to stat sheet the game wasn't 100% over until Cal went up 13 with 1:25 left. Realistically, it was over as soon as Cal started hitting the open shots they missed in the 1st half. Sure, Oregon closed the deficit to 5 at one point. Did anybody ever feel nervous?
Player of the game: I'll give it to Theo for another solid performance contributing across the board, and for hitting the three with four minutes left that ended any doubt about the eventual outcome of the game.
Comment starters: Could Oregon in 2010-11 be like Cal 2008-09? Who scares you more - Arizona or Arizona St.? Who are you rooting for when they take each other on this afternoon at 2:30 PST? Do you have your tickets for next week's games yet?
Player of the game?
This poll is closed
Theo Robertson - 16 points & 5 rebounds
Jerome Randle - 16 points
Jamal Boykin - 10 rebounds
Monty only played him 5 minutes? That won't stop me from voting for Max!