Cal Faces Utah in Pac-12 Quarters

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By Dan Lachman, Staff Writer
Posted Mar 9, 2017
If by BearInsider Staff or Contributor, this article is Copyright © 2017 BearInsider.com


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The California Golden Bears will face the Utah Utes in the Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon at 2:30 PM in the T-Mobile Arena.
The Bears (20-11) advanced by defeating Oregon State 67-62 in the first round on Wednesday afternoon. Utah, the number four seed, will come into the game with a record of 20-10.
The two teams split their regular season games. Cal won 77-75 in double overtime at Haas Pavilion on February 2, and the Utes blew out the Bears 74-44 on March 2 in Salt Lake City.
Asked what he would do to prepare for Utah after the Oregon State game, Coach Cuonzo Martin said, "Same thing we always do, watch film. It was our worst game all season at Utah. Give them credit, we didn't play well." That is an understatement.
Jabari Bird said of the embarrassing loss last week, "It's not added motivation. But, Utah"s a great team, and like I said before, we're looking forward to the challenge.
Utah mostly played their match-up zone in their loss to Cal in February. In the rematch, Utah Coach Larry Krystkowiak went man-to-man. Martin stated that it does not matter. "Well, we still approach it, even in a match-up, we approach it like it's a man," he said. "We don't run zone plays against it, so it's the same way.
Like Cal, Utah is a strong defensive team, but they are much better offensively than the Bears. On the season, Utah ranks second in the league in field goal percentage at 50.5%. Cal ranks dead last at 42.5%
Cal leads the league in field goal percentage defense (39.4%) and Utah is third (41.5%). Both teams do an outstanding job on their defensive rebounding. Cal ranks fourth nationally in offensive rebounds allowed, and Utah is seventh according to kenpom.com.
Utah's best player is 6-9 forward Kyle Kouzma. The junior averages 16 points per game, and 9.6 rebounds. David Collette, a 6-8 junior, averages 13.7 ppg and 5 rebounds, but Collete's status for Thursday is questionable after he suffered a concussion on Saturday as Utah defeated Stanford.
Lorenzo Bonam pulls the strings for Utah. He burned Cal in the semifinals last year when he went the length of the court to score at the buzzer to force overtime as the Utes eliminated the Bears.
Cal is still considered a bubble team, and will need a win over Utah to keep their flickering NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
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