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Cal MBB Hosts Pure Hateable Evil

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Evil comes to town.

NCAA Basketball: California at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

In the beginning, there was no land. No water. And then there was Cal. And it was good. Somewhat later, there was Stanfurd. And it was not good. But their people thought they were without blame nor peer. Their tablet contained but seven lines…yet this was considered good. Cain was diagnosed with ADHD and was given much counseling. Manna could not eaten unless it was harvested by others, toasted, and served with avocado. In disgust, God spoke to Newell, “I COMMAND THEE TO BUILD AN ARK.”

“Yes, Lord. But we’re having trouble with the cargo manifest.”

“HOW DARE THEE?!?! I CLEARLY REQUESTED TWO OF EACH ANIMAL WITH PRIME SHIPPING!!!”

“Yes you did, Lord. But Jerod of Haase keeps eating them all. He started with the lambs and sloths and carps and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals and fruit bats and large chu—“

“VERY WELL. I SHALL INVENT DONUTS, SO THAT JEROD OF HAASE’S PRODIGIOUS APPETITE WILL BE SATED. NOW PLEASE REMEMBER TO SAVE AN EXTRA SET OF UNICORNS, FOR THEY ARE MY FAVORITES.”

“Oh this is awkward. Jerod of Haase already ate them, Lord.”

“ALL OF THEM!?!!”

“With a side of mint jelly.”

“ME-DAMN IT!!! I SHALL SENTENCE JEROD OF HAASE TO UTTER DAMNATION.”

“Gomarrah?”

“OVERRATED.”

“Sodom?”

“HE’D PROBABLY LIKE THAT.:

“Temecula!?!!”

“I SHALL SEND HIM TO THE DARKEST PLACE KNOWN TO MAN AND BEASTS. THERE SHALL BE NO SOULS, NOR CONSCIENCE. IT IS BLIGHT UPON THE EARTH AS IF HELL ITSELF HAD A BOWEL MOVEMENT COME TO LIFE.”

And so it was the Jerod Haase betrayed Cal to play for Kansas and ultimately came to coach at Stanfurd.

- Excerpt from The Book of Oski

When last we met, Stanford inexplicably managed to blow an 11pt lead in 3:29 for perhaps the lone bright spot on this kidney stone of a season. During the weeks that followed, we have done everything we can to make the Furds feel worse about choking away that game by lowering the bar on every imaginable basketball metric. Normally, it would be fun to mock the Cardinal for being boringly middle of the road…yet by comparison, we’re not even on the road. We’re kind of by the side of the road…in a gully…surrounded by buzzards…sitting in a canoe…made of concrete…which is radioactive…and the buzzards are really robot ninjas from the future come to destroy us all.

Fortunately, we can take heart in the obvious emphasis that Coach Jones has placed on developing our young talent. I’m sure that giving all of those minutes to our backups and bench will all be worth it because we’ve smartly invested in the process of building confidence. For most, repeated “DNP-CD” might cause a youngster to lose heart. Good thing we’ve re-purposed that code to mean “Dynamic Non-Player CoachDoesntReallyPunishYouForYourFamilysCriticalTweetsNowShutUpAlready. Because otherwise, I’d be worried that our myopic and thin-skinned head coach was sitting players to make a point. Which, for this team, is a far easier way to make a point than actually putting the ball through the hoop.

In completely unrelated news, I hear rumors that “Together We Attack” will be replaced with, “You Miss 100% of the Shots You Do or Don’t Take - Trust Us, We’ve Tried.”

Stanford’s offense is unremarkable aside from a knack for turning it over and a predilection for running people over to draw fouls. At least they do this at a relatively uptempo pace so that there’s last time wasted in between watching them clank foul shots.

On defense, they generally play man and rely on their twin beefcakes inside for rugged positioning and board work. A deliberate emphasis on positioning eschews steals and blocks in favor of foul avoidance.

Ultimately, we haven’t shown the ability to consistently score enough points to remain competitive. But to balance things out, we also have the league’s worst eFG% defense. Fortunately, we learned at Cal that a negative times a negative equals a positive - so we should be just fine. Kenpom gives us only a 28% chance despite holding the advantages of homecourt and actual human souls. And this is why I don’t trust math.

Roster (HT Nick Kranz for bios)

Starters

G Daejon Davis(Fr), 6’3 175 lbs, 10.6 ppg, 4.8apg

- High volume combo guard. Turnover prone though has greatly improved this area in conference play

G/F Dorian Pickens (Sr), 6’5 215 lbs, 15 ppg,

- Their best wing scorer and defender. Also their leading 3-pt shooter.

F Reid Travis (Jr), 6’8 245lbs, 19 ppg, 7.7rpg

- Basically the same player he was last year. Crafty power forward who draws a ton of fouls. Would be a great 2nd banana but struggles to carry load on a decidedly average team.

F Kezie Okpala(Fr), 6’8 195lbs, 8.9 ppg

- Started the year academically ineligible. At Furd. Like how is that possible unless you only spell your name correctly part of the time?

F Michael Humphrey(Sr), 6’9 245lbs, 10.4 ppg, 7.4rpg

- Solid all around big. Won’t wow you but he’s the least of Stanford’s problems. Actually hitting 3s this year in a small sample size.

Bench

G Isaac White(Fr) 6’1 185lbs, 7.1 ppg,

- Pretty much just a guy who sits in the corner and shoots 3s if he’s open, at a rate of 36%.

F Oscar Da Silva(Fr) 6’9, 210lbs, 5.7 ppg, 5.0rpg

- True freshman small forward is a threat from behind the arc and a solid shot blocker, hasn’t figured out how to finish inside yet.

F Trevor Stanback(So), 6’11 220lbs - Tall person. Part stiff, part scrub, part bro.

C Josh Sharma(Jr), 7’0 220lbs - Elite shot blocker, good rebounder, but not getting many minutes because he’s just too raw on offense.

PG Robert Cartwright - Out for the year with injury.

Keys to the Game:

1) Lee/Okoroh vs. Travis

Our foul-prone bigs versus one of the league’s best at drawing fouls…marvelous.

2) McNeil vs. Davis

On paper, it’s a nice match-up between young point guards. Unfortunately, Davis has come into his own during conference play while McNeil remains up and down.

3) Sueing/Coleman vs. Pickens/Okpala

Court-sense/grit versus experience/athleticism.

4) Embrace the ugly

The on-court product is rarely pretty, but the guys continue to compete. For a season like this, that’s saying something. We may not be boxers, but sheer effort might give us a puncher’s chance.

Go Bears!

Tip-off: Sunday Feb 18, 2018, 5pm - Haas Pavilion

TV: ESPNU