After two tough losses in Las Vegas, Cal returns to Haas to take on Seattle. The Las Vegas trip was a disappointment to say the least, as Cal lost both games, the first in self-destructive fashion. As painful as those games were, it's time to solve those problems that were brought to the forefront. That's the beauty about having preseason games, it gives you time to experiment and figure yourself out, just like you're supposed to do in college. Anyhow, coming home against Seattle may be the best time to do that.
Seattle comes into this game at 2-3, dropping games to Sacramento State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and Eastern Washington. They do play in the WAC, which is pretty much a new conference after the realignment that football provided. They aren't the highest scoring team, but they have a few solid players. They have a solid defense that ranks in the top fifth of the NCAA. Cal will have to be on alert, but should beat this team by 20 unless they know how to play a zone. In fact, the spread is -21.5 Cal, so Vegas expects a 22 point win.
G Brendan Westendorf (Jr.) 6'5" 12 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 4.6 apg
G Jadon Cohee (So.) 6'4" 8.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.4 apg
G Jack Shaughnessy (Fr.) 6'2" 4 ppg, 1.2 rpg
F William Powell (Jr.) 6'6" 9 ppg, 6.8 rpg
C Jack Crook (Sr.) 6'11" 12.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg
G Manroop Clair (Jr.) 6'2"
G Malik Montoya (Fr.) 6'2"
C Aaron Menzies (Fr.) 7'3"
Westendorf and Crook are the two big players that have the potential to cause issues. Westendorf, whose last name evokes Gossip Girl, is a JC transfer who fills the statsheet like Tyrone Wallace. He recorded double digit rebounding numbers in the first two games, and has the ability to fill it up on a regular basis. Crook is a skilled center, and is their best player. As a senior, he's been honing his craft and is a bright spot for a team not expected to do much on a national scale.
Keys to the Game:
1. Turnovers. Please don't commit them. The issue that showed from San Diego State was the turnovers. Once the Aztecs went to a zone, everything crumbled. That's hopefully what the weekend of practice brought on in making crisper passes and generally making better plays. Maybe figuring out the focal point of the offense against the zone is necessary. What I want is for them to use Rabb in the Kravish role. Get him in the high post and let him make the passes to the cutters. Jabari and Jaylen can be excellent cutters. When Mathews gets back on track, he can spread out the defense and help break the zone even more.
2. No more hero ball. It's funny that we gt some more Ty Wallace hero ball after we thought it was gone. This team can be the unselfish team that play basketball in the "Spurs way." They aren't the Warriors and aren't going to play like the Warriors unless Roger Moute a Bidias turns into Draymond Green overnight. I feel like the Spurs are a better example on the offensive end. Rabb can play the Duncan role, Brown can do a Kawhi imitation, and there's a few crossovers in this category. With enough solid passing with off-ball movement (not just Braun-like passing around the perimeter), this team can reach new heights in half court sets. They're already excellent in transition, this is just the next step to being a great team.
3. Stop fouling. I know the new foul rules are somwehere between godawful and the weaponization of Pac-12 refs, but please stop the fouling. Richmond had 38 FT attempts, which is absolutely horrifying. Limiting that, and therein limiting the foul trouble from Rabb and Brown will help.
TV: Pac-12 Network