Cal Faces Another Challenge in UCLA: Game Preview


Feb 10, 2013; Tucson, AZ, USA; California Golden Bears guard Justin Cobbs (1) forward Richard Solomon (35) and forward David Kravish (45) celebrate during the second half against the Arizona Wildcats at McKale Center. California beat Arizona 77-69. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The University of California Golden Bears host the UCLA Bruins in a classic San Francisco bay area vs. Los Angeles, PAC-12 match up in Haas Pavilion tonight.  Cal (14 – 9, 6 – 5 PAC-12) enters this game with some momentum after upsetting the 7th-ranked Arizona Wildcats 77 – 69 in Tucson, AZ last Sunday.  The Bruins (18 – 6, 8 – 3 PAC-12) dominated the Washington State Cougars 76 – 62 in Westwood, CA on Saturday.

The dynamic duo of Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs leads Cal in scoring with averages of 19.8 and 14.6 points per game, respectively.  Richard Solomon (8.0 ppg), David Kravish (7.9 ppg), and Tyrone Wallace (7.2 ppg) round out a solid starting lineup card.  Kravish (6.7 rebounds per game), Solomon (6.4 rpg), and Crabbe (5.6 rpg) lead the Bears in rebounding, while Cobbs leads Cal playmakers with 4.3 assists per game.

As a team, Cal shoots 44.8 percent from the field, 32.0 percent behind the 3-point line, and 71.3 percent from the free throw line.

UCLA is led by freshman phenom Shabazz Muhammad with 18.5 ppg, with stellar support from Jordan Adams (14.7 ppg), Travis Wear (12.2 ppg), and Kyle Anderson (9.4 ppg).  Anderson clears the boards at a 8.8 rpg clip, with Wear chipping in 5.5 rpg, and Muhammad at 5.0 rpg.  Larry Drew II dishes out 7.9 apg, with Anderson contributing 3.7 apg.

UCLA shoots 46.4 percent from the field, 32.5 percent behind the 3-point arc, and 71.2 percent from the charity stripe.

The Bruins have more weapons on offense and will look to push the pace of the game.  While the game will feature high scorers in Crabbe and Cobbs from Cal, and Muhammad and Adams from UCLA, the key to the game may be UCLA’s Anderson, who at 6’9″, creates match up problems for opponents on the perimeter.  Anderson has a solid all-around game, with perimeter ball-handling skills as well as the length to pound the boards inside.  If Cal can limit Anderson’s touches, while effectively blocking him out on the boards, the Bears should be able to pull the upset at home.

Cobbs will need to be aggressive with dribble penetration, either finishing or creating easy scoring opportunities for his teammates in the post.  Crabbe will need to be active without the ball to get open for perimeter jumpers against a swarming UCLA defense geared to limit his touches.

While the spotlight will be on the headline scorers on both squads, the outcome will come down to defense and rebounding.

Tip off is 6 pm Pacific time.