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Cal MBB vs. UC Davis: Preview

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Can the Bears get back in the win column when they welcome UC Davis to Haas Pavilion?

NCAA Basketball: UC Davis at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of a tough loss to Seton Hall in the Pearl Harbor Invitational, the Bears are looking to get back on track against UC Davis. What can they expect to see from the Aggies?

Season Review

UC Davis’ season so far has been up and down. They came out of the gates hot as they won four consecutive games after losing the season opener, but the Aggies have stumbled as of late having lost three of their previous four games.

They started the season in California by participating in the Cable Car Classic, which is hosted by Santa Clara. Their first opponent, Tennessee State, handed Davis a 78-64 loss. The Aggies closed out the tournament in strong fashion by defeating Santa Clara 63-58 before beating Northern Arizona 89-76. Next up was a home victory over Holy Names 89-75. UC Davis’ hot start to the season continued with a nine-point victory against Sacramento State at the Golden 1 Center.

The Aggies then traveled to Alaska for the Great Alaska Shootout and endured a rough tournament. Weber State handed UC Davis an 86-58 annihilation in the tournament opener. UC Davis then squeaked out a 64-58 win against Drake, before ending the tournament with a 79-66 loss to Oakland.

Their last run out before taking on the Bears ended in heartbreak, as the Aggies lost at the buzzer 68-66 on the road against Idaho.

Advanced Stats: UC Davis

According to kenpom.com, UC Davis ranks 279th out of 351 teams in adjusted offensive efficiency as they average 97.8 points per 100 possessions; this is well below the Division I average of 102.6 points per 100 possessions. Defensively they rank 215th in allowing 104.9 points per 100 possessions, which is a bit worse than the average of 102.6.

This matchup against Cal should prove to be a slow paced game as both squads are below average as far as pace. Cal is clearly more talented than UC Davis and there are a couple of numbers that point to this being a bad matchup for the Aggies. They commit turnovers at an alarming rate, and I know Cal isn’t great at forcing turnovers, but a team that isn’t too good offensively cannot afford to gift the better team extra possessions.

Cal is also pretty good at forcing teams to take tough shots inside the three-point arc, and that is the strength of the Davis squad. The Aggies shoot 38.4 percent from downtown, which ranks 62nd nationally. UC Davis ranks 250th by shooting 46.4 percent on two-point shots. If Cal plays the level of defense it has been to this point in the season then Cal should be able to force UC Davis into tough shots and win this one comfortably.

Projected Lineup

F #11 Chima Moneke (JR, 6-6, 223): Averages 12.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG, high usage rate (31% of possessions when he’s on the floor). Could have trouble being as efficient as usual (53.7 FG%) against Cal’s length in the low post.

F #13 J.T. Adenrele (SR, 6-7, 235): 4.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG in 18 MPG; low usage rate. Has not attempted a three-pointer this season, so that isn’t something Cal needs to worry about.

G #0 Brynton Lamar (SR, 6-4, 195): 12.9 PPG, 2.9 APG in 29.7 MPG; significant usage rate (22.8%); 38% from the field and three-point range.

G #1 Lawrence White (SR, 6-4, 203): 6.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG in 23 MPG; limited offensive role; poor shooter.

G #2 Darius Graham (SR, 5-10, 180): Deadly three-point shooter (48%)

Key Reserves

G #5 Siler Schneider (SO, 6-3, 183): 11.6 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 3 APG in 25.2 MPG; the key to their bench scoring; high usage rate (25.2%); 38% three-point shooter.

F #24 Mikey Henn (FR, 6-8, 230): Solid three-point shooter (46.7%) though he does not shoot many of them (15 attempts this season).

Conclusion

Cal should be able to win this one comfortably with a reasonably decent performance. Cal has too much talent for Davis to compete. They lack the length to be able to get much done inside or to disrupt Cal’s scorers. As long as Cal can limit their three-pointers and force them into taking tough two-point jumpers then the Bears should get back on track with a win.