An era ends. A new one could begin. It is a very exciting time for Cal Basketball, but this Sunday at Noon, Haas says goodbye to one of its most beloved players.
Before we get into the emotions and other exciting parts of Sunday, let us begin with the opponents coming into town.
Wayne Tinkle's squad at Oregon State has surprised many people this year in the Pac-12. Led by the son of former Oregon State standout Gary Payton, the Beavers stand at 18-12 with a 9-9 conference record. They have beaten the likes of Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Washington, Washington State and Colorado. All have been home wins but, nonetheless, an impressive resume under a 1st year head coach.
G Gary Payton II 6-3 Jr (36.4 MPG/13.4 PPG/7.5 RPG/3.0 APG/3.0 SPG)
G Malcolm Duvivier 6-2 So (34.5 MPG/9.9 PPG/3.5 APG)
G Langston Morris-Walker 6-5 Jr (30.8 MPG/9.7 PPG/4.7 RPG)
F Olaf Schaftenaar 6-10 Jr (30.3 MPG/7.7 PPG/3.4 RPG/81.6 FT%)
F Daniel Gomis 6-10 Jr (20.6 MPG/4.4 PPG/3.7 RPG)
F Jarmal Reid 6-7 Jr (21.5 MPG/7.8 PPG)
C Cheikh N'diaye 7-0 So (7.7 MPG)
G Dylan Livesay 6-3 Fr
Let us delve into some statistics to see why this OSU team has been so successful. The Beavers have been a stout defensive team this season. In conference play they rank 1st in TO%, Block% and Steal%. They also have the 3rd best DEF FG% at 45.5% coupled with the 2nd best DEF 3PT% at 30.8%. Scoring against them has not come easy for any team in the conference. Flip over to the other side of the ball, and you can see why the Beavers have not capitalized on their top tier defense. On offense, they rank dead last in efficiency, FG% at 44.9%, 3PT% at 28.9%. They are also in the bottom 4 for TOs, Offensive Rebounding% and 2PT%. Talk about unbalanced statistics. But the real question is; can the Bears beat them? Here are my Rally Roars
Rob's Rally Roars:
- Deny The Paint. Not only do we need to deny post play but, we also need to stop Malcom Duvivier and Gary Payton II from getting into the lane. We need to force them to beat us from beyond the arc, where they have been abysmal. This will allow our defense to set inside the 3PT line, which theoretically, will help our defensive rebounding.
- Do not become stagnant on offense. The Beavers play some great zone defense, but if we start to settle for long jumpers to try and stretch the zone, it might be a long night for us. The Bears need to get out and attack the zone, collapse the defense and kick out for open looks. Playing Sam at the PG spot will help us establish our most efficient Drive-and-Dish offense. Look for glimpses of the Syracuse game, from early on in the season, to appear.
- Establish Kravish at the high post. As stated earlier, the reason we beat Syracuse was because Kravish had started the game with some baskets from the elbows. The back line will be forced to play higher up to not allow him open looks, in turn that will allow our swingmen to baseline cut for backdoor layups and jumpers.
- Get the crowd involved. There are plenty of ways the team is pumped up but the crowd at Haas this year has been one of the best over the last few years. Being the last game of the season, the team needs to have fun and allow the crowd to influence the game. Let's see if somebody steps up for a highlight reel move or a barrage of 3s. (Personally wishing for Kingsley hit a Double-Double of Points and Blocks.)
Key Game Notes:
The Present: Rather than focus on the opponent, David Kravish deserves a special note. Forward David Kravish. Team Captain David Kravish. Senior David Kravish. One of the most beloved members of the Cal Program is graduating this year. The senior embodies what we wish from all our athletes. Never will I forget David sitting at Gypsy's after the Colorado Win at home 2 years ago. When we went up to congratulate him on the win and asked him why he wasn't celebrating with the team, he simply said, "I have an OChem midterm to study for." Picked up his pasta and was on his way. David will be celebrated on Sunday afternoon, but there aren't enough words to describe what he has meant to this team and to this program the last 3 years.
The Future: Ivan Rabb, Caleb Swanigan and Davon Dillard are making their OVs to Cal as you read this preview. They will be attending the OSU game and will likely take in what could be the deciding factor in their recruitment. Cal hasn't had this much hype around basketball recruiting in a few years. (2 years ago doesn't count because we weren't REALLY in it for Aaron Gordon.) How well the team plays and how fired-up Haas gets will be a big factor for them. So many things to pay attention to on Sunday, It'll be an interesting couple of hours to say the least.