clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cal Basketball Hosts the Furman Paladins

"Who?" and "Where?" are probably the first questions that come to mind regarding tonight's opponent.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Per Wikipedia, "Furman University is a private, coeducational liberal arts college in Greenville, South Carolina, United States. Furman is considered South Carolina's oldest and most selective private university."

Roughly translated, it sounds like Furman is like Furd. So let's crush them.

At risk of angering the woofing gods, this really is a game where we should look dominant. Cool mascot notwithstanding, the Paladins are ranked anywhere from #284 to #308. They have a roster dominated by sophomores and freshmen with only two upper classmen who play significant minutes. Basically, they are the basketball equivalent of Andy Buh's defense. (too soon?)

Their new coach prefers to play a sagging man to man defense which packs the paint at the expense of allowing contested jumpers. That's fine in theory.(Colorado is a team that does this very well) However, in practice, Furman has one of the worst defenses in Div-I ball. When you add the fact that they're also one of the worst squads at giving up offensive rebounds and you can see why kenpom only gives them a 4% chance of victory.

Offensively, it's painful to watch the Paladins in more ways than one. Not only do they play their motion offense at an often excruciatingly slow tempo, but they generally do not shoot a very high percentage.

Projected Starters:

F Kendrec Ferrara(So), 6'9, 235 lbs, 5.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg
G/F Keith Belfield(So), 6'6, 205 lbs, 5.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg
G Larry Wideman(So), 6'4, 190 lbs, 14.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg
G Aaron O'Neill(Jr), 6'0, 180 lbs, 3.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg
G Stephen Croone(So), 6'0, 170 lbs, 20.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.3 apg


G William Gates, Jr.(Fr), 6'1, 180 lbs, 10.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg
F Kris Acox(Fr), 6'6, 215 lbs, 2.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg
G/F Charlie Reddick(Sr), 6'5, 200 lbs, 6.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg

The Clank Brothers, Ferrara and Belfield are the starting front court. They're shooting 35% and 34% from the field, respectively. Ferrara restricts his misses to the paint, while Belfield is equally inaccurate from inside or out. Wideman is their best three point shooter. Over half of his attempts are from deep and he's hitting a noteworthy 42% from three. O'Neill starts, but doesn't play heavy minutes. He doesn't shoot much which is why court side spectators aren't required to wear protective gear. Stephen Croone is having a breakout year as their leading scorer and playmaker. He does most of his damage driving to the basket and getting to the line where he's pretty much money. (84% FT) Fortunately, he's not much of a threat from outside the arc(23% 3FG)...and we all know that I just jinxed him into the hot hand against us.

As their sixth man, William Gates, Jr. is like a virus. If you don't constantly upgrade your defense, you're in trouble. Acox is a raw defender/rebounder. Reddick seems to play better in the dark.

Key Matchups:

1) Keep Croone away from the paint

Like Nevada's Deonte Burton, Croone is quick, athletic and likes to finish at the rim. Unlike Burton, Croone's outside shot is still inconsistent. If we make him a passer or a jump shooter, that takes away the most dangerous part of his game. If Cobbs and Wallace aren't able to keep up, expect Monty to go zone.

2) Dominate the glass

The Paladins aren't a great rebounding team on either end. There's no excuse for not out-boarding them by double figures unless we just aren't giving sufficient effort.

3) Chase Wideman off the three-point line

With the exception of Wideman, the Paladins don't take or make a lot of threes. This is a good chance for our young guys to show that they've learned how to shut down the other team's deep threat...or prepare us for a horror show as we enter conference play.

4) Next man up

With Kreklow and Bird out for the next several weeks, it'll be up to the remaining frosh to step up and contribute. Can Singer and Mathews provide the outside shooting to stop other teams from packing the paint and swarming Solo and Kravish? Can Rooks and Moute a Bidias spell our starters as needed without putting us in a hole?

Go Bears!

Tip-Off: 3 pm, Saturday December 28
Television: Pac-12 Network
Radio: 810 AM