As alluded to in the immediate reaction thread, just about everything went wrong for Cal. Here is a list of things that went wrong that Cal couldn't really control:
- UCLA played really, really well. They are somewhere between the 10th and 15th best team in the country, and they played near to the peak of their abilities. That might have been the single best game a team has played against Cal all season.
- Cal was the victim of numerous bad calls in the first half when the game was hypothetically in doubt, including one of the single worst calls I can ever recall in terms of both game impact and sheer egregious wrongness. Norman Powell intentionally fouled Tyrone Wallace on a dunk attempt (as in, Powell literally stopped playing in anticipation of a whistle) but the no call led to an easy UCLA lay-in.
- Even when Cal did things right, they got punished. Twice Cal blocked interior shots . . . right into the arms of UCLA shooters, who both buried 3s. Every mistake was punished, every success not rewarded.
Here is a list of things that went wrong that Cal had some level of control over:
- Cal again came out slow and UCLA built a double digit lead before the 2nd TV timeout. Cal has now faced an early deficit (6 points or more) in 11 of 13 conference games. Considering that, it's rather stunning that Cal is above .500 in the Pac-12.
- The Bears again failed to move the ball with any purpose against UCLA's zone, and the offense was frequently static and aimless all night. The result was a series of iffy shots and bad turnovers that fed directly into UCLA's transition game.
- Cal's starters all failed to register double digits. Bryce Alford and Tony Parker each individually scored as many points as any of Cal's starting five, who combined to shoot 10-30.
- When UCLA responded to Cal's one run midway through the 1st half, the Bears never responded in any way. Cal rolled over and died on their home floor.
Add it all up and you get a 20 point loss to UCLA that was basically over with 10 minutes left. Credit to Jordan Mathews and Jabari Bird for bringing some scoring and energy off the bench. Otherwise, blah. After the game coaches and players brought the same recycled quotes about effort and focus and making plays and energy. It must be frustrating as a coach or a player to be able to diagnose the problem without having a solution. It's certainly frustrating for the fans.
A few weeks ago I said something about this team being what it is at this point. I'm not really expecting anything to change about this team so late in the season, but they will have every chance to prove me wrong with the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 7th place teams in the conference still left on the schedule. But with only USC as a 'presumed' win (now there's a dangerous statement) that means that there's also the possibility for further decline. The Bears are in a very precarious position in terms of positioning within the conference and in March.
MISERABLE CHART OF DEFEAT
Shooting, shooting, shooting. Always shooting. That and UCLA playing immaculate, clean basketball when Cal didn't sealed the blowout.
That's about as much time as anybody should want to spend on this game. Can we at least get a bit of revenge against USC on Sunday?