The University of California Golden Bears host the Utah Utes in a PAC-12 tussle at Haas Pavilion. The surging Bears (18-9, 10-5 Pac-12) survived a scare in Corvallis, OR last Saturday by edging Oregon State 60 – 59 to extend their winning streak to five games. Utah (11-15, 3-11 Pac-12) suffered a 60 – 50 loss to Colorado in Boulder, CO last Saturday.
Cal is led by junior sharpshooter Allen Crabbe (19.0 points per game), junior guard Justin Cobbs (14.9 ppg), junior forward Richard Solomon (8.6 ppg), and sophomore David Kravish (8.0 ppg). Kravish leads the Bears in rebounding (6.9 rebounds per game), backed up by Solomon (6.7 rpg), and Crabbe (5.8 rpg). Cobbs leads Cal in assists with 4.6 assists per game.
The Bears shoot 44.7 percent from the field, 30.9 percent behind the 3-point line, and 70.8 percent from the free throw line.
The Utes are led by the trio of Jarred Dubois (11.8 ppg), Jordan Loveridge (11.7 ppg), and Jason Washburn (11.7 ppg). Washburn leads the Utes in rebounding (6.7 rpg), while Loveridge grabs 6.6 rpg. Dubois is also the Utes’ leading playmaker with 3.1 apg.
Utah shoots 44.6 percent from the field, 36.2 percent behind the 3-point line, and 75.1 percent from the free throw line.
Utah will look to keep the number of possessions low by milking the shot clock, as they can’t match Cal’s athleticism. The keys for Utah on defense are to limit Crabbe’s touches, make him work on defense, and make him work hard to get off shots. They will concede him points, but try to wear him down and force him to take tough shots. Part of that defensive strategy will be to limit Cobbs’ dribble penetration, as Cobbs can finish at the rim or dish to open teammates on the perimeter and cutting to the lane.
Cal’s length and athleticism in the post needs to translate to domination on the boards. Should Cal win the battle in offensive rebounding, they should prevail as they will attain more scoring opportunities. On defense, Cal needs to stay disciplined in their rotations and in the passing lanes, moving their feet to prevent careless fouls, as Utah shoots an outstanding 75 percent from the charity stripe. Keeping their foul count low should ensure Cal of victory.
Tip off is 6 pm Pacific time. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.