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Cal MBB Preview: New Look Ducks come to town.

Its Dana.

NCAA Basketball: California at Southern California Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears are now exactly at the halfway point of their conference schedule. They will welcome the Oregon Ducks to kick off the second half of conference play. Cal only gets one shot at the Oregon schools this year due to scheduling, and will need to make the most against Dana Altman’s good but inconsistent team.

The Ducks have been pretty stellar on Offensive FG% and scoring, but defensively it is night and day. Look at the conference rankings for some of Oregon’s defensive stats! LOOK AT IT. (I know what your thinking, you want to see the Cal stats, but trust me just focus on Oregon’s. Just...do it...)

So looking at the numbers, there are a few lanes Cal could attack in order to sneak out a victory.

  1. Get to the free throw line early and often. The Ducks give up free throws at a rate of 43.7% per shot taken. If the Bears can get Oregon into foul trouble and in the bonus early, that will alleviate some of the scoring droughts that Cal has gotten into late into games.
  2. Get the ball inside to Marcus Lee early and often. King is currently in a shooting funk and looks to have regressed from his early season shooting form. Getting the ball into Marcus will again revert back to point #1. Marcus isnt the greatest of freethrow shooters, but getting guys in foul trouble early will give our guys the chance to either get in the paint or shoot free throws from the bonus. Marcus gives us the best chance to succeed in both.
  3. Force Oregon to play uptempo. The Ducks like to take their time and work the halfcourt set, but if the Bears can force them to play out in transition it could lead to some easy buckets and offensive rebound opportunities. The Bears lead the conference in Offensive rebound percentage, and playing uptempo gives them an opportunity to do so.

Key Players:

It’s a tough matchup for the Bears, but coming back home after a tough roadtrip to LA should help, also the return of Don Coleman will be a welcome addition after missing his scoring punch the last two games. Here’s to victory!

California Love. California Rising.