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Cal Men's Basketball vs. Stanford Preview

Desperation meets hate as your sturdy Golden Bears host the Stanford Cardinal at Haas Pavilion.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

When the two teams met down on the Farm, Cal found a way to get everything wrong. It was a sluggish start compounded by a small lineup that negated our defensive strengths. Our star frosh were limited by foul trouble while the Furds were gifted 38 free throws. It was arguably one of the most frustrating games of the season.
Since then, neither team has done much to elevate themselves within the conference. Cal has failed to live up to its pre-season expectations, however over-inflated they might have been. The Furds are used to being praised despite mediocre results, so it's just business as usual.

Not much has changed since Nick Kranz wrote his particularly insightful preview. The Cardinal do two things well: body odor and entitlement. Also, their basketball team protects the ball as if it were precious trust fund while also being best in the league at forcing turnovers.

Considering that our generous Bears cough up the ball more than anyone else, this is perhaps less than ideal.

On offense, the Furds simply can't shoot the ball with any semblance of competence. Despite percentages bordering on the obscene, their coaches have everyone on the roster rated "A." They use a scarlet marker, of course. However, there is apparently a method to all that hapless flailing about as the Cardinal lead the league in points distribution via free throws. It's rumored that their impeccable business school came up with the pay off refs + crash into people = profit formula.

On defense, they're only dreadful instead of hopelessly inept. Although they are good at stealing from society as well as from the opposing team, this is at the expense of being woefully out of position; the Girl Scouts have better shot-blocking and box-outs.


CGB Hoops authority Reef has already sold out:




But True Blues still believe that this season holds promise. Schemes and personnel aside, this comes down to good versus evil. We expect our sturdy Golden Bears to rally around our banner because this is a game where we cannot fail.

Projected Starters:


PG Christian Sanders(Sr), 6'4, 192 lbs, 4.6 ppg, 2.6 apt, 2.8 topg, 18.2% 3FG - Can't shoot. Can't pass. Lucky for him, can't fail either.

G Marcus Allen(Jr) 6'3, 190 lbs, 12.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 39%FG, 26% 3FG - Wears an "I'm with stupid" t-shirt. Not ironically.

G Dorian Pickens(So) 6'5, 215 lbs, 11.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 33% 3FG - Not completely awful at shooting. He takes full grocery carts through the express line.  Mouth breather.

F Rosco Allen(Sr) 6'9, 220 lbs, 15.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 37% 3FG - The only guy on the team who could be considered an average 3-point shooter. Stampeded cattle through the Vatican.

F Michael Humphrey(So) 6'9, 220 lbs, 10.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg - An outlier on a team of very special players, he can actually score. Not by right-swiping, of course.


Bench:
G Marcus Sheffield(Fr), 6'5 180 lbs, 7.0 ppg, 35% 3FG - Misses fewer threes than his teammates. Wears a pork chop around his neck because it reminds him of his childhood.

G Malcolm Allen(Jr), 6'1, 180 lbs, 2.3 ppg, 27.3% 3FG, - Wears a "So am I" t-shirt. Not ironically.

F Grant Verhoeven(Sr) 6'9, 250 lbs, 2.3 ppg, 42% FG - Actually graduated years ago. No one noticed.

When Stanford
has the ball

Category Stanford
Offense
California
Defense
D-I Avg
Efficiency 99.5 11 103.3 3 103.3
Avg. Poss Length 17.9 11 17.8 11 17.2
Four Factors
Effective FG%: 43.0 12 44.9 1 49.7
Turnover %: 14.6 1 14.9 9 18.4
Off. Reb. %: 30.3 8 30.5 6 30.0
FTA/FGA: 42.0 3 45.8 11 36.8
Miscellaneous Components
3P%: 26.5 12 34.2 4 34.6
2P%: 44.5 11 43.1 1 48.5
FT%: 74.3 5 73.5 9 69.6
Block%: 10.2 7 10.8 5 9.2
Steal%: 6.1 2 6.5 8 8.7
Style Components
3PA/FGA: 31.4 7 22.3 1 35.2
A/FGM: 42.9 12 46.2 3 52.7
Defensive
Fingerprint:
Mostly
Man
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3-Pointers: 21.3 12 18.5 12 29.2
2-Pointers: 52.0 7 54.2 3 50.3
Free Throws: 26.7 1 27.3 1 20.5
Personnel
Bench Minutes: 30.9% 240 31.0% 234 33.0%
Experience: 1.72 yrs 173 1.53 yrs 237 1.70
Effective Height: +2.1 46 +3.5 19 0.0
Average Height: 78.2" 23 78.8" 6 76.8"

When California
has the ball

Category California
Offense
Stanford
Defense
D-I Avg
Efficiency 103.6 9 107.5 9 103.3
Avg. Poss Length 17.1 7 17.2 7 17.2
Four Factors
Effective FG%: 51.0 4 54.2 11 49.7
Turnover %: 19.3 12 21.6 1 18.4
Off. Reb. %: 29.1 9 33.8 11 30.0
FTA/FGA: 38.9 6 45.7 10 36.8
Miscellaneous Components
3P%: 36.1 6 37.8 10 34.6
2P%: 49.5 6 52.7 10 48.5
FT%: 68.6 10 65.2 1 69.6
Block%: 10.2 6 6.4 12 9.2
Steal%: 8.5 8 10.9 2 8.7
Style Components
3PA/FGA: 32.2 6 38.8 12 35.2
A/FGM: 48.6 9 61.2 12 52.7
Defensive
Fingerprint:
Inconc-
lusive
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3-Pointers: 27.1 5 31.8 1 29.2
2-Pointers: 52.2 5 46.6 12 50.3
Free Throws: 20.7 9 21.5 8 20.5
Personnel
Bench Minutes: 31.0% 234 30.9% 240 33.0%
Experience: 1.53 yrs 237 1.72 yrs 173 1.70
Effective Height: +3.5 19 +2.1 46 0.0
Average Height: 78.8" 6 78.2" 23 76.8"

Keys to the Game:
1) Confidence.
Indecision and tentativeness are death. They contribute to poor shot selection, turnovers, and guys pressing to do too much. Hopefully, being at home will help our guys to settle down.

2) Effort.
There's no excuse for coming out soft and slow. We're supposed to be all about toughness and playing hard. Let's see it from the tunnel. This is a team we should be able to punish on the boards.

3) Focus.
The Furds are pretty simple. And so is the scouting report. Chase Allen off the three-point line and let the rest of the team take mid-range jumpers. I'd even err on the side of not contesting jumpshots if it means avoiding contact and staying out of foul trouble.  We should shamelessly sag and double off of Sanders and dare him to make shots.  Part of me wants to mix in some zone looks.  But since it's not our strength, the concern here is that slow rotations leads to being out of position and then fouling when they come blundering into the paint.

4) Controlled aggression.
Coach Martin preaches "being in attack mode." But we need to be smart about it. The Cardinal lack shot blocking and are a poor defensive squad. They try to compensate by playing for steals. Rather than driving into a set defense, we need to be opportunistic about striking when they're out of position.  They'll mix up zone and man, so we can't just go 1-4 flat and expect Jaylen to make something out of nothing. It's a given that Rabb needs more touches.  The big question is whether we can enter the ball to him on time and whether we can punish the inevitable double team.

Their guards do a good job of pressuring the ball, so we need to have a Plan C ready in case both Singer and Brown need to sit.  Instead of relying on Chauca to bring it up and initiate all on his own, he should always have another player back with him like we do against teams that press.

5) Make buckets. Unleash El Nino and let it rain.

Go Bears!

Tip-off: Saturday, February 6, 2016 (1:00 PM PST, ESPN2)
Haas Pavilion (Berkeley, CA)