When: 2:30 pm PT
It was an ugly game, but the Bears emerged with the necessary win over a rugged Colorado team. Bucking the trend, Cal won the game from the free throw line, sinking 24 of 34(!) free throw attempts. Cal struggled to score from the field in the 2nd half as Colorado packed the paint and dared Cal to settle for jumpers. Instead Cal still forced the ball inside and the result was a constant succession of free throws, the majority of which were converted.
Today's opponent is a pretty big surprise. The Cougars finished 11th in the Pac-12 despite having the good fortune of only having to play Cal and Stanford once during the regular season. But they appear to be playing their best basketball at the right time and have defeated 6 seed Oregon St. and 3 seed USC (on their home court!) on back to back nights. Are they ready to play their 3rd game in 3 days against the deepest team in the conference? (It's worth noting that WSU is actually very deep as well) It's time to find out!
The good news is that Cal should be a heavy favorite over Wazzu. The bad news is that a loss would easily become Cal's worst loss of the year and might be enough to lower Cal's NCAA seed. I would have preferred playing top 50 RPI USC rather than over 100 RPI WSU, but those are the breaks. Cal has no choice to to earn the win and go for the tournament championship against Stanford tomorrow.
More WSU previews and your game thread after the jump. To discuss all the non-Cal action go here! Go Bears!
WSU's offense is tough to preview because they have 9 players that average between 9 and 5 points per game. True to form, 8 Cougars scored between 4 and 10 points against Cal earlier in the year. So there's not really any one player to watch out for. Just play the same solid, disciplined defense that we've seen down the stretch and Cal should be fine.
Tempo Free Preview
Our computer overlords (Sagarin) predict: Cal by 8.8 points
|Cal eFG% vs. WSU def eFG%
|Cal def eFG% vs. WSU eFG%
|Cal TO% vs. WSU def TO%
|Cal def TO% vs. WSU TO%
|Cal Reb % vs. WSU Reb. %
|Cal FTR vs. WSU def FTR
|Cal def FTR vs. WSU FTR
|Cal O-PPP vs. WSU D-PPP
|Cal D-PPP vs. WSU O-PPP
Washington St. doesn't really excel at anything other than taking care of the ball and forcing turnovers. That was reflected in Cal's 60-55 win over Wazzu in their only matchup. The Cougs stayed somewhat close by winning the turnover battle but ultimately Cal's advantage on the boards and from the field allowed the Bears to hang on for the win.
WSU's defense is solid enough to potentially give Cal trouble, but if the Bears can take care of the ball they should be able to score enough. And WSU's offense has been very bad most of the year before suddenly sinking 10 3 pointers last night against USC. I don't think they'll hit 10 against the Bears - if I have my way, they won't even attempt more than 10.
Take care of business today and I think we'll all be pretty happy on Selection Monday. Let's Go Bears!