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Cal MBB Preview vs. Utah Utes

Here we go again.

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at California Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Utes

Record: 10-8

Points/Game: 74.9

Points Allowed/Game: 73.3

Last 5 Games

W @ Stanford, 70-66

W vs. Colorado, 78-69

W vs. Washington State, 88-70

L vs. Pacific, 69-53

L @ Arizona , 84-81 (OT)

Projected Starters

SR G Sedrick Barefield - 15.9PPG/1.8RPG/3.8APG

SR G Parker Van Dyke - 6.7PPG/1.5RPG/1.4APG

FR F Timmy Allen - 10.3PPG/4.6RPG/2.4APG

FR F Riley Battin - 6.7PPG/3.1RPG/1.3APG

JR C Jayce Johnson - 6.4PPG/6.1RPG/0.5APG/1.0BPG

Top Reserves

JR G Charles Jones - 3.1PPG/1.0RPG/0.7APG

SO F Donnie Tillman - 11.2PPG/5.6RPG/1.7APG

FR F Both Gach - 8.1PPG/2.4RPG/2.1APG

SR F Novak Topalovic- 3.8PPG/4.2RPG/0.3APG


This is a good Utah team that is currently in a three-way tie for fourth in the conference with a 4-2 record and is coming off of a 3-game winning streak, most recently beating Stanford by four points at Maples Pavilion.

Utah is a team who does nothing great but almost everything well. This season, on a per game basis, they have had a higher FG%, 3PT%, and FT% than their opponents while attempting and making more threes and free throws. They also have more rebounds and assists per game than their opponents. These numbers can obviously become inflated from OOC play, but the fact that they have had an advantage over their opponents in pretty much every single category (without having an overwhelming advantage in a particular category) suggests a balanced attack that has allowed them to achieve relative success so far this season.

The one area that they struggle is with turnovers, as they turn the ball over 13.5 times per game while only forcing 10.4 per game. Ironically, Cal is their statistical opposite, as they trail their opponents in every single category listed above other than turnover differential, turning it over 11.4 times per game while forcing 13.2 per game. I have mentioned this a few times before, but when you are outmatched in every single other facet of the game it really doesn’t matter, especially when Cal has less points off turnovers per game than their opponents despite consistently winning the turnover battle (SMH).

The player to watch for the Utes will be Sedrick Barefield, who has led them in scoring in 10 of their 18 games this season. Parker Van Dyke and Both Gach each have two such games. The Utes also have a very deep bench, usually playing 9 deep.

What do you think Cal fans? Can we pick finally get our first conference W?