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Cal MBB Preview: Battle at the bottom. Cal Vs. WSU.

Vastly different styles. Fight to stay above the bottom.

NCAA Basketball: California at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears finish off their first real roadtrip with a matchup against the Cougars in Pullman. Washington State is currently sitting at 12th in the Pac-12; the Bears sit at number 11. This is going to be a matchup of the two worst teams in the conference with the loser taking the title of dead last. Gone are the days of Josh Hawkinson and Ike Iroegbu, replaced by the likes of forward Robert Franks and guard Malachi Flynn. This is a new Washington State team, but their play style remains the same. Ernie Kent is still the head coach of the Cougars, so we expect to see more of the same from the last few years.

Key Players:

So G Malachi Flynn - 6’1”/177/24% of possession

So G Milan Acquaah - 6’3”/195/22.9% of possession

Jr G Viont’e Daniels - 6’2”/160/10.8% of possession

Jr F Carter Skaggs - 6’5”/215/18.1% of possession

Jr F Robert Franks - 6’7”/225/25.5% of possession

Jr F Kwinton Hinson - 6’4”/215/20.1% of possession

So F Arinze Chidom - 6’9”/215/20.5% of possession

The Bearswill have to key in on their perimeter shooters. The Cougars shoot 38.2% from the field as a team which is the 53rd best in the country and have attempted 30.6 shots from beyond the arc per game. Their top 4 scorers are all shooting above 35% from beyond the arc as well. F Robert Franks is the man to watch , as he is their leading scorer at 17.3 PPG at a clip of 47.9% from the field, 7.1 RPG, 87.7% from the line and 39.8% from 3 on 88 attempts on the season. Malachi Flynn is the other player to watch. The sophomore guard averages 15.5 PPG at 38.9% shooting. He also averages close to 4 rebounds and 4 assists per game as well. Flynn takes much of his shots from beyond the arc, leading the team with 133 attempts on the season and making them on a 36.1% rate.

The Bears will look to slow down this quick fire offense with the press, but question remain about zone against a very good long range shooting team like Washington State. Can the Bears withstand another barrage of 3s and fight back with their interior scoring? We’ll have to see when they take on the Cougars at 1PM tomorrow.

California Love. California Rising.