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What teams will Cal basketball be challenged by most?

Go Bears!

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at California Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

What teams will give Cal the most trouble this season, in and outside of the Pac-12? (If you're not certain of what other teams are like, describe the style or scheme of teams that could give this Cal team trouble).

Nick Kranz: That's a tough question. Last year, I never got the sense that there was a certain style of team that Cal struggled with. True, they had a tough time single defending efficient bigs like Jakob Poeltl, Josh Scott, and Kaleb Tarczweski . . . but those guys are all gone, and besides, everybody struggled to defend those guys without bringing doubles.

Oregon, Arizona, and UCLA are the three teams that have as much or more talent than Cal, and thus are teams that Cal (and everybody else) will have trouble with. It's worth wondering how much Arizona's attrition and turmoil will hurt the Wildcats, and it's worth wondering how much Steve Alford's general mediocrity as a coach will hurt the Bruins. Beyond that? I don't really see a team that should cause Cal trouble, beyond the fact that random chance means that any decent team can give a better team a tough game on the right night.

Nik Jam: I expect Oregon and Arizona will be tough and the favorites to win the conference. Luckily, we play both twice.

UCLA and USC are going to have a lot of young talent that can pull some wins, and unfortunately we only play them in LA and are always reliable at having road stinkers even against inferior opponents.

And of course, we can't seem to figure out how to beat the decidedly mediocre San Diego State Aztecs. Lets change that this year. (Lets not forget Virginia, too)

Kevin Wu: Teams with multiple effective big men will give Cal fits this year. Rabb will be amazing on offense (and maybe a little amazing on defense). But he doesn't have much to support him down low other than big bodies with not-so-great talent. If teams are able to lock down on Rabb, that will force our guards to make shots. If I'm thinking about Bird, Domingo, and Singer - I don't see guaranteed buckets there. We will sorely miss Jordan Mathews - like a lot, a lot.

boomtho: I'm definitely in the camp of those who don't know what styles teams are going to play, so I'll go with a couple archetypes

*Teams with a commitment to playing fast that have good shooting (Oregon?): Cal's half court D should continue to be great, but I worry a bit about our ability to stop transition teams, especially those with a drive and kick mentality. Ivan Rabb is an all world defender but his domain is the paint, and I have a bit less faith in our perimeter defenders to stop the ball at the point of attack.

*Teams with bigger, defensively inclined PG's: Moore and Mullins are smaller than Ty, so I worry a bit about our ability to initiate offense effectively vs a defense that extends and pressures the ball with length. Though, I was encouraged by what I read abut Moore's ability to blow by a guy and keep his head up in the CGB recap

*Decidedly average offensive teams that decide to shoot the nets off the rim: Aztecs who?