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Cal Golden Bears Game Preview/Open Thread

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Washington needs this one against the Pac-12 cellar dweller

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

The Essentials

Date: Saturday, 2/24/18

Tip-Off Time: 1:30pm PST

TV: Pac-12 Network

Radio: KOMO 1000

Location: Berkeley, California

Betting Line: Washington -3

Cal 2017-18 Statistics:

Record: 8-20 (2-13)

Points For per Game: 69.6 ppg (257th)

Points Against per Game: 77.5 ppg (284th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 101.3 (258th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 107.4 (193rd)

Strength of Schedule: 73rd

Cal Key Players:

C- Kingsley Okoroh, Sr. 7’1, 267: 5.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.0 bpg, 41.1% FG, 68.3% FT

Conference-only Percentages: 36.5% 2pt, 75.8% FT (19th)

F- Marcus Lee, Sr. 6’11, 225: 12.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.8 bpg, 57.6% FG, 62.4% FT

Conference-only Percentages: 58.3% 2pt (10th), 54.3% FT

F- Justice Sueing, Fr. 6’7, 209: 14.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.4 apg, 43.5% FG, 34.2% 3pt, 69% FT

Conference-only Percentages: 47.6% 2pt, 33.3% 3pt, 65.5% FT

G- Don Coleman, Jr. 6’3, 193: 15.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.0 apg, 34.8% FG, 27.8% 3pt, 74.3% FT

Conference-only Percentages: 30.4% 2pt, 23.7% 3pt, 74.6% FT

G- Darius McNeill, Fr. 6’3, 175: 11.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.4 apg, 38.4% FG, 35% 3pt, 74.5% FT

Conference-only Percentages: 31.3% 2pt, 28.4% 3pt, 76.2% FT

The Outlook

There isn’t a better team in the conference to go against for a team that’s lost 4 of 5 then the Golden Bears. Cal is 12th in the conference in offensive efficiency and 11th in defensive efficiency. Realistically, I could end my analysis there but I’ll keep going.

Cal actually hung tough in Hec-Ed in their first matchup with the Huskies and any time that Washington is playing on the road they can’t take their opponent lightly. Freshman Justice Sueing was on fire and scored nearly half of Cal’s points going 11/16 from the field but no one else could get anything done. That’s not an uncommon problem for the Bears.

Three of their starting five shoot worse than 40% from 2 point range and Justice Sueing is the only one to shoot better than 30 from 3 point range in conference play. It almost literally doesn’t get worse than that. If Cal is able to score reliably in this game it will be getting the ball down low to Marcus Lee and hoping that he can do similar to what Reid Travis did on Thursday night. And when they miss Cal is 9th in offensive rebound percentage so their best offense will probably be trying for putbacks around the rim.

The Cal defense is better than their offense but not by much. Okoroh and Lee are possibly the best shot blocking tandem in the conference. Any Husky driving to the rim needs to put up a pump fake to get the defender in the air before going inside. If Washington once again shoots a terrible percentage from the outside then scoring may be a difficult proposition.

For whatever reason the Huskies have rarely had two terrible shooting nights in a row. That may be an energy and focus thing or just blind luck. But even if Washington shoots 25% from beyond the arc they still have the talent to win this game on the road.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 72, Cal Golden Bears- 63

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