In front of a national TV audience and a (nearly) packed house, Cal played perhaps their best game of the season. Admittedly, the 24 point margin of victory is smaller than previous victories over non-conference mid-majors, Stanford (26 points) and Oregon (32). But Arizona is, well...good. Those other teams are most certainly not. While Cal was busy running away from the Wildcats, Arizona St. came back against Stanford and USC lost the ability to score points against Oregon, perfectly setting up what is essentially a championship game. I hope Cal fans saved some voice, because they need to bring everything they brought against Arizona and more.
It's tough to know where to start for Thursday's superlatives. Cal fans have been dreaming about a game with each Senior starter on top of his game. Most of the time that's not going to happen, if only because there just aren't enough shots to go around. But that wasn't the case Thursday night. Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson and Jamal Boykin collectively shot 27-48 from the field with an eFG% of 66%! They combined for 76 points, enough to beat the Wildcats on their own. It's not senior night yet, but that was a hell of a warm-up! Meanwhile Jorge was busy shutting down Nic Wise (1 point in the first half), Boykin and Amoke limited Derrick Williams, and only a goofy hot stretch from Brendon Lavender kept this game from getting completely out of hand before halftime.
Now, on to the fun charts of joyous victory!
Everything that the Bears didn't do in Tucson they did tonight. They outrebounded Arizona on both ends of the court. They did a better job taking care of the
job ball. They drew fouls and hit from the line. And most importantly they shot extremely well. To get an even better idea of Cal's across the board domination, check out this pretty collection of bars:
The only line that's bigger for Arizona? Turnovers. Ouch! Heck, Cal even got more blocks than Arizona did, which pretty much never happens.
I don't have anything to say about the Arizona St. game that hasn't already been said, but I will say this: There has been lots of frustration expressed towards this team from those who feel they've underachieved, that they should have run away with the conference. If Cal wins their last two games they finish with a record of 13-5 and an outright Pac-10 title. I will no longer care that UCLA lucked into a victory at Haas, or that Monty and Jerome still haven't solved Oregon St.'s evil voodoo magic. I will care that a revenue producing Cal team has won an outright conference title for the first time in my (and most CGB readers') lifetime. That's something to make some noise about. Go Bears.