Cal is about to play a former version from the future. In other words it’s like when Flash first realized the Time Force and also other Flashes all the while changing his past so it only affects his reality and not other parallel universes. Okay, I’ll stop with the metaphors. Gregg Marshall has been teaching that at Wichita State for 10 years. Wichita State has its identity, knows what it wants to run and has players that have had the system engrained in them for years. Currently ranked at #7 in the country, the Shockers will be a formidable opponent and toughest we will face before heading into conference play.
The Shockers are without their best player in Markis McDuffie who is recovering from a stress fracture, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they dont have a star man. Senior F Shaquille Morris has picked up the slack and is considered #7 on KenPom’s player of the Year rankings. Over two games, Morris is averaging 17 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.5 steals, 3 blocks. Last season he averaged 9.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1 block a game. Morris shot at solid 52.3% as well.
The defensive system that Wichita runs requires constant fresh legs and able bodies so the roster currently has 9 players that average above 15 minutes over the last 2 games. The defense does not look to have lost a step. The Shockers ended last season 13th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency along with being 4th in the country at defensive effective FG%. Through two games, Wichita State is 6th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 12th in defensive effective FG%. Offensively, they move the ball and take shots wherever they get open looks. 8 players have attempted over 5 shots and 6 of those players have double digit shot attempts. They have the 4th best offensive adjusted efficiency and are 14th in the country at effective FG% at 63.1%.
So that is a more than a handful to deal with. How can the Bears win? Let’s take a look.
1. Take 3s. Make 3s.
39.7% of the shots against the Shockers have been 3PT attempts in the last 2 games, and have allowed teams to make them at a rate of 30.4%. A couple of 3s early on in the game will force the defense to close out harder and stretch the D. Once we can force the man coverage to stretch, it will allow for our bigs some more room to operate along with some skip passes to open up some good looks. Darius McNeill, Justice Sueing, Juhwan Harris-Dyson, Don Coleman, Deschon Winston, and Nick Hamilton are going to get some opportunities from outside. Let’s make the most of those opportunities.
2. Hi-Lo Efficiency
The Shockers only allow 32.9% from 2. Thats good for 8th in the country. Its safe to say, coming by easy buckets inside the arc are going to be hard to come by. The Hi-Lo action between Marcus Lee and Kingsley Okoroh has become an easy way to get some offense. This will be key to breaking down this tough defense. Forcing the defense to zero in on our bigs will allow the short corners to be open or for our other big to cut and crash from the weakside.
3. Force Transition.
The Bears have gotten better at getting out in transition and need to continue their growth in that regard. Getting steals and playing the passing lane will be key in Cal getting easy baskets without letting Wichita State settle into their own press.
Undoubtedly this game will come down to execution. If we can execute our gameplan of getting out in transition and forcing them to stretch their defense, just a tad bit better than the Shockers, it will give the Bears a glimmer of hope to start the trip to Maui with a win. Even with a loss, this game will prove to be a good barometer and game tape for the young players to look at and absorb from their mistakes and how they play.
So in the famous words of Dr. Emmett Brown.
“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious sh*t.”
I hope we see some serious sh*t.
Its Upset SZN