The revenge match. Cal was not ready for the expected 3PT barrage by Wazzu’s Robert Franks, but this time it’ll be different. The Bears are coming off a hard-fought loss against Stanford, in which the team looked rejuvenated and fully bought into the system that Wyking wished to run. Coach Wyking Jones’ looked his most comfortable with his lineup and adjustments on Sunday as well. Has this team fully turned the corner? Will we see a huge push to end the season with some wins? Let’s start with WSU.
Not much has changed with the Cougars. Robert Franks and Malachi Flynn still dominate most of their offense, which is dependent from the perimeter. Franks currently averages close to 18 points and 7 rebounds, while shooting 41% from beyond the arc. Malachi is the only other double digit scorer, averaging 15 points, 4 assists, and shooting 33.5% from the beyond the arc. The offense goes the way their perimeter scoring is doing. The Bears have struggled all season to run teams off the 3PT line, and face a tough task against a team that has 3 of its top 4 scorers shooting 40+% from beyond the arc.
The Cougars are one of the worst defensive team in the conference, allowing an eFG% of 57.4 and 59.3% from inside the arc. (Cal doesn’t fare much better at the moment but lets not dwell on that). The Bears need to have a field day going at a team that only successfully blocks shots at a rate of 6.1%. Marcus Lee and Juhwan Harris-Dyson should be able to get good looks near the rim at will. Cal is the best team in the country in securing the offensive rebound, and they Justice Sueing, Daris McNeill and Don Coleman will need to work in tandem with the bigs and exploit the mid-range pull-up game that should open up.
So what will the Bears come out and do? Will they build upon the comeback that came up short this past Sunday and play some of the best basketball we’ve seen this team play all year? We’ll find out tonight at 8PM on PAC-12 Networks.