Date: Saturday, 2/20/21
Tip-Off Time: 7:00 pm PT
Radio: KJR 950 AM/KVI 570
Location: Seattle, Washington
Betting line: Washington -1
California Golden Bears 2020-21 Statistics:
Record: 8-16 (3-14)
Points For per Game: 65.6 ppg (292nd)
Points Against per Game: 71.0 ppg (187th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 105.3 (133rd)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 103.8 (189th)
Strength of Schedule: 53rd
California Key Players:
F- Grant Anticevich, Sr. 6’8, 230: 9.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.7 apg, 42.3% FG, 39.1% 3pt, 88.0% FT
The senior stretch forward has been what you’d expect out of that kind of player. He’s a very good shooter and is at his best when all he’s really being asked to do is shoot the ball. Only about 1/6th of his shots have come at the rim this season despite being 6’8. Washington hasn’t been playing much of their standard 2-3 zone lately but Anticevich is the kind of player who can tear it apart operating in the high post. In the first game against UW this season he had 4 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.
G- Matt Bradley, Jr. 6’4, 220: 18.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.6 apg, 46.9% FG, 38.5% 3pt, 81.5% FT
Bradley is an astounding 8th nationally in % of possessions taken so when he’s on the floor he’s going to get his. He missed the first game against UW but has come back and been as efficient as ever despite the high volume. There’s no question with his shooting ability that he has the potential on any given night to be one of the most dangerous scorers in the conference.
G- Ryan Betley, Sr. 6’5, 200: 8.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.4 apg, 34.5% FG, 32.1% 3pt, 78.9% FT
The grad transfer from Penn has unsurprisingly seen his performance slip transitioning from the Ivy League to the Pac-12. He’s shooting just 28% from 3-pt range in conference play despite the overwhelming majority of his shots coming from deep. A shooting guard who can’t shoot and also isn’t much of a defensive player is...a liability. In the first game against UW this season he had 18 points on 4/7 3pt shooting (his high in Pac-12 play by 6 points).
G- Joel Brown, So. 6’2, 192: 5.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.2 apg, 48.0% FG, 42.9% 3pt, 48.8% FT
Let’s just stop and marvel that somehow Brown is shooting within 6% on his overall FG%, 3pt%, and FT%. That never happens. Brown only averages about 4 shots per game but since he only takes wide open looks he generally knocks them down when he gets them. He’s also 5th in the conference in steal percentage so he’s a tough defensive matchup for UW’s guards. In the first game against UW this season he had 9 points and 5 assists.
F- Andre Kelly, Jr. 6’8, 255: 8.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 0.6 apg, 55.8% FG, 48.8% FT
Kelly is a brick house and will be a load for the Husky big men to deal with down low. He reminds me of a poor man’s Noah Dickerson as he’s got a nice array of post moves and is an above average rebounder for an undersized center. He absolutely eviscerated Nate Roberts last time. In the first game against UW this season he had 22 points on 11/13 shooting and 3 rebounds.
G- Makale Foreman, Sr. 6’1, 190: 8.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.7 apg, 35.2% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 83.3% FT
Foreman is Cal’s other grad transfer coming in from Stony Brook and seeing solid playing time. Similar to Betley he’s primarily a 3-point gunner and really struggles when he makes any forays into the paint. Also similar to Betley he hasn’t shot it all that well despite averaging 5 3-pt attempts per game. In the first game against UW this season he had 14 points on 4/9 3-pt shooting.
California 2020-21 Shot Chart
California Shot Chart From the 1st Game Against UW
At this point we can quite definitively say that these are the two worst teams in the Pac-12. In conference play Cal and UW are tied at last in offensive efficiency and the Huskies narrowly edge out the Bears for being last in defensive efficiency. Neither of these teams are any good and that means is this is Washington’s best chance by far to add one more win this season.
If performance in Pullman is any indication then the Huskies should be able to win this one in a cakewalk. After Washington knocked off the Cougs on Monday night they took out their frustration on Cal with a ridiculous 82-51 romp. That wasn’t necessarily indicative of how Cal has been playing lately. They had been coming off a home upset of Colorado and had 4 losses of 6 or fewer points during the 6-game losing streak that preceded that win.
Cal’s offense is certainly more dangerous with star Matt Bradley back but the Bears haven’t scored more than 75 points in a game since way back in early January when they put up 84 against the Huskies. They rank 160th or worse in 2pt, 3pt, and FT shooting percentages nationally as well as in turnover and offensive rebound percentages. This is as non-descript an offense as you’ll ever see. Essentially the only defining trait they have is that they like to take a lot of 3-pointers and will hoist it up even if they don’t make a lot of them.
Things are a little bit clearer on defense. Cal does their absolute best to take away the 3-point shot but teams generally torch them from the outside. Opponents have shot nearly 40% from deep against them when they’re able to get off a 3-point shot. The Huskies were 9/18 from beyond the arc last time led by Erik Stevenson’s 6/9 effort. It wouldn’t be surprisingly in the least if UW had a rebound in their recent shooting slump tonight.
Cal ranks among the worst teams in the country in getting blocks or steals but are still quite good at getting non-steal turnovers. They aren’t going to try to jump passing lanes and make risky plays but would prefer to stay at home and hope that the opponent beats themselves. Against Washington that doesn’t seem like a terrible strategy...
Last time around Andre Kelly had the game of his life abusing Nate Roberts as he was unstoppable posting up and using his array of hook shot moves. That drew in the UW defense and allowed Cal to kick it out and find success hitting the 3-pt shot. Washington essentially took nothing away as Cal got 11 three-pointers while also hitting 14/17 shots in the paint. The Husky defense needs to at the very least pick one of those away and force Cal to be one-dimensional.
Cal does not have the horses to completely dominate the Huskies on the boards like so many other teams in the Pac-12. Their only inside scoring threat relies on girth and footwork rather than athleticism. Washington should be able to penetrate and make shots at the rim much easier than they have against recent opponents. It’s a complete crapshoot with this Husky team but this is the only remaining game on the schedule where the Huskies will be projected to finish within 7 points let alone be favored. This is a very winnable game and Washington needs to go out and win it.
Washington Huskies- 74, California Golden Bears- 73
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