What do you think when you hear the name of our next opponent, Incarnate Word? Since I have limited life experience, I think of the word in incarnate, and then play word association to get to the Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar. Incarnate Word is no Brock Lesnar. They will not suplex Cal around Haas. In fact they just got bumped up to the Southland Conference and Division I in 2013. That being said, Incarnate Word is still dangerous. As luck would have it they play a lot of zone defense, which is going to be tough to handle for a team that has struggled against the zone.
All in all, Incarnate Word is not known for their basketball program. They do have the HEB Business and Administration program, which I'm going to assume is responsible for making all the excellent commercials for the Spurs over the years. The basketball program did receive an invitation to the CIT last year, losing in the first round to Louisiana-Lafayette. They currently sit at 3-3, beating renowned powerhouses Dallas Christian, Texas Lutheran, and Schreiner. In fact, this Cal game is just a tuneup for when they matchup with Houston Baptist, Waco Episcopalian, and El Paso 7th Day Adventist. On a more serious note, they have played a tough schedule so far, having lost to ranked Oklahoma and Purdue, as well as a tough Sacramento State team. For now, they're headed down to Berkeley Wednesday night.
G Jontrell Walker (So.) 6'1" 188 lbs, 15.2 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.3 APG
G Mitchell Badillo (Sr.) 5'10" 175 lbs, 9.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 5.3 APG
G Sam Burmeister (So.) 6'5" 200 lbs, 10 PPG, 4 RPG, 2.2 APG
F Kyle Hittle (Sr.) 6'5" 210 lbs, 12.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.5 APG
F Derail Green (So.) 6'7" lbs, 9.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG
G Shawn Johnson (So.) 6'4" 195 lbs
G Tyler Singleton (Fr.) 6'3" 170 lbs
F Simi Socks (Fr.) 6'6" 210 lbs
Walker and Hittle are going to be the players to watch out for. Walker appears to be the main volume shooter for the Cardinals (named because they are Catholic, not Furd). Walker averages 13.5 shots per game, making only a third of them, but does get to the foul line the most, where he shoots about 96%. Be prepared for him to draw way more fouls than he should, but don't expect to have the kind of game that Adams from Wyoming had. Hittle is a little more difficult to project. He's a solid 3 point shooter, as well as someone to look out for in the passing lanes, as he averages 2 steals a game. Another person of interest is Tyler Singleton, whho has done well off the bench. Singleton is set to be their 6th man, bombing away and averaging 14 shots per 40 minutes.. He can make them too, as he's got a 50% shooting percentage so far. Look out for him.
With that, we come to the keys of the game, sponsored by Fireball (probably)
1. Adjust to the refs:
This is one that I hate saying. There were lots of fouls called in the Wyoming game, specifically a few charges on Jaylen Brown, that were grade A horse malarkey. This is unpleasant, but the refs are going to call that all year, and Brown is good enough to figure out how to play around it.This will be a step forward in his and Rabb's development.
2. Passing works
Against Wyoming, we say a little more offensive movement that led to a much better shooting performance. Keeping the ball moving against a primarily zone team will break up the zone. Getting everyone open leads to point number 3.
3. Make the open shots.
There will be a plethora of opportunities in this game. Mathews and Bird will have opportunities from the 3 point arc that they need to take advantage of. This goes for Mathews especially, since he had such a cold start against Wyoming and turned it up so fervently in overtime. If he can keep that heat, he'll be the biggest producer tomorrow.
4. Make free throws please
I can't say any more that hasn't been said.
Time: 8 PM
TV: Pac-12 Network
Where you should be: Haas Pavilion