After a disheartening loss to the Lobsterbacks, we've come back to Haas Pavilion to take on an Oregon team who has been playing excellently, coming off a big win over Utah. This may seem like a game of two teams heading in different directions. There is at least one thing that Cal has going for them. That is what I like to call "The Curse of Garrett Sim."
For those that don't know, Garrett Sim committed to Cal in late 2007, when the Bears played under the direction of Ben Braun. The squad that Braun put together had talent (as showcased by winning the Pac-10 title two years later), but Braun's offensive principles encouraged little movement, and he played Nikola Knezevic over Jerome Randle at key times, which seems heinous in retrospect. Anyway, Braun was fired after the 2007-08 campaign concluded. Mike Montgomery was hired, causing Sim to decommit and stay home in Eugene with the Ducks. Montgomery had a scholarship open to use, and he found a tough young man at Findlay Prep in Nevada, who had come from a tough living on his own in Colorado. That man was Jorge Guttierez. Since Sim decided to go to Oregon, giving Jorge a space to become one of the most memorable Bears of all time, Cal hasn't lost to Oregon. Even after those two left, Cal still has reigned over the Ducks, winning twelve straight over Phil Knight's pet project. They have a chance to keep that streak going.
The only problem to continuing this streak is Oregon's success this year, beating Utah in their last game. Dillon Brooks led the way for the Ducks, with 19 points, 7 rebounds, and one NBA Jam-like dunk. Like us, they have some talent in the back court with guys like Joseph Young and Ahmaad Rorie. Young is a scorer who can drive well, finish with either had, and hit from spotting up behind the arc. Elgin Cook is playing a similar role to Dwight Tarwater in Oregon's offense, filling that role with slightly more athleticism. Jordan Bell starts at the 5 for Oregon, at least he did against Utah. He's not as big as Kravish, so David may have the opportunity to continue his performance from last Saturday.
G Joseph Young (Sr.) 6'2" 185 lbs 19.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.7 APG
G Dillon Brooks (Fr.) 6'5" 205 lbs 12.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG
G Jalil Abdul-Bassit (Sr.) 6'4" 187 lbs 8.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG
F Elgin Cook (Jr.) 6'6" 206 lbs 12.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG
F Jordan Bell (Fr.) 6'7" 190 lbs 5.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG
G Ahmaad Rorie (Fr.) 6' 170 lbs 5.0 PPG, 2.1 APG
G Casey Benson (Fr.) 6'3" 175 lbs 3.8 PPG, 2.1 APG
F Dwayne Benjamin (Fr.) 6'7" 200 lbs 7.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG
C Michael Chandler (Jr.) 6'10" 240 lbs
Lots of youth and transfers on this roster, after the incident that got three players kicked off the team. Young is the do-everything scorer, who can shoot, pass, and rebound. He plays a similar role to Tyrone Wallace, and sometimes inefficiency can get a hold of him. Brooks is a bigger guard capable of hitting the offensive glass and driving through traffic with his size. Benjamin and Rorie are guys who are excellent off the bench, Rorie being a decommit from Cal. Oregon doesn't seem to have too much size, perfect for our lack of big man depth, but they make up for it in athleticism. Cook does a bit of everything in his game, similar to Anthony Brown of Stanfurd. Corralling him is necessary for the curse of Garrett Sim to continue.
And now, here are your #tracepuntos to victory.
1. Pound the rock
Something that Utah failed to do consistently against Oregon was to make their inside shots. Considering the game Kravish had against the Lobsterbacks, we can exploit the lack of size and depth the Ducks have down low. Chandler appears to be the sole center to play any minutes for the Ducks this year, and considering his lack of minutes, we may not see anyone who can match up with Kravish height-wise. It's up to David to take advantage of this and play to his potential.
2. Force Young into poor shots
Joseph Young is going to get his. He's the leading scorer in the Pac-12, and will probably end the season that way. Even if he gets his 20, we want to see it come on 20 shots or more. Make him as inefficient as possible. Make his drives tough, his threes contested, and his shots at the end of the shot clock. The more pressure, the more shots he will take, and the better that is in limiting everyone else on the team.
3. Dominate the Glass
In addition to being skilled at cleaning windows, we need to assert ourselves on the offensive and defensive glass. This is an area that Jabari Bird tends to excel at. In Oregon's last loss to UC Los Angeles, they were at -14 rebound deficiency. That means more one-shot possessions for them, more possessions for us, and taking the ball out of their scorers' hands. This is a team we can play physically, and hopefully assert our will on them. It won't be easy, but the Ducks are eminently beatable. It's not easy, but it is possible.
Time: 8 PM
TV: ESPN U
Radio: 810 AM