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Cal Men's Basketball Preview: Colorado

PAC12 play begins. And the Bears open with a tough matchup against Tad Boyle's Buffs.

Dunk Time
Dunk Time
Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Here we go. It's time for PAC-12 Basketball. No more excuses. No more adjustment period. It's time for the Bears to put everything they've learned in the last 13 games and take charge of the conference. So here we go the first preview of PAC-12 play. Bears. Buffs. Game on.

Colorado's Predicted Starting 5:

G Dominique Collier - 8.8PPG/3.2RPG/3.5APG/1.3SPG/48.7%(3PT%)

G Josh Fortune - 11.8PPG/4.5RPG/3.2APG/42.9%(3PT%)

G George King - 14.4PPG/4.2RPG/46%(3PT%)

F Wesley Gordon - 6.8PPG/6.7RPG/1.4APG/2.4BPG/42.9%(3PT%)

F Josh Scott - 18.4PPG/9.4RPG/1.8APG/1.8BPG/62.3(FG%)

Key Bench Players:

F Tre'Shaun Fletcher - 7.4PPG/2.5RPG/1.7APG

F Tory Miller - 5.3PPG/4.2RPG/61.9%(FG%)

G Thomas Akyazili - 4.3PPG/1.3RPG/1.5APG/42.3%(3PT%)

G Xavier Talton - 3.8PPG/2.4RPG/1.9APG

Key Statistics:

  • Colorado is shooting the ball extremely well from beyond the arc, shooting 40.7% from 3. (That's good to be #17 in the country!)
  • The Buffs are also very good from the free throw line knocking down 72.4% from the charity stripe.
  • Colorado does not allow offensive rebounding from opposing teams by only allowing teams to rebound at a rate  of 24%.
  • The Buffs are very good from the floor in terms of knocking down their shots. Colorado has an effective FG% of 53.1% on offense, which ranks in at #58 in the country. On the flip side, Colorado limits opposing teams to an effective FG% of 46.1 which ranks in at #65 in the country.
  • Strength of schedule wise, Colorado has only played 2 teams in the top 25 losing both games to Iowa State and SMU. Their highest profile win came against BYU at home in a 92-83 win.

Rob's Report to Victory:

  • Run the Buffs off of the 3PT Line - The Bears have not been good at defending the 3PT shot throughout this season. Cal is allowing 37.4% from 3PT range which is 281st in the country. Inside the arc however the Bears are extremely stingy only allowing 37.1%, that's the 3rd best percentage in the country. It's easy how Cal will win on defense, Do not allow shots from beyond the arc, and force the Buffaloes to take shots that the Bears want them to take.
  • Stay hot from beyond the Arc - If the Bears need to limit 3s on defense, they need to make every open 3 they get on offense. The biggest weakness in the Buffs defense is their inability to create turnovers and limiting 3PTs. Cal needs to play that to their advantage. Whether that be running Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews off screens or driving and dishing to hit corner 3's, the Bears need to keep the ball moving and create open looks for our deadly sharpshooters.
  • Do not allow Ivan Rabb to get into early foul trouble - Ivan will be up against Josh Scott and Wesley Gordon and needs to be battling them all game long, Allow Ivan to play off the weak side and focus his energy on beating those two players on the offensive side of the court. Josh Scott will provide to be a huge challenge taking Ivan on from the perimeter and on the blocks, and being a senior his basketball IQ will force mistakes from Ivan early on. Limit Ivan's chances to accumulate fouls on the defensive end, and allow him to play to his strengths as a weak side shot blocker.

The Bears have a huge test against a very good but young Colorado team as well. If we can limit the opportunities for Josh Scott to dominate the offensive tempo, it will be an easier game for the Bears especially the freshman to handle. Getting out into the open court will not be an issue, but slowing things down and executing on offense against a very good interior defense will prove to be the deciding factor in our PAC-12 opener.

Tip-off: 8PM PST (@ Haas Pavilion)
TV: PAC-12 Networks
Radio: KGO 810AM & Tunein Radio

California Love. California Rising.